Sunday, January 13, 2013

Go, Team Talented-&-Positive-Comic-Creators!

"No matter what you pledge, I'm gonna give you these comics. No matter how much you pay, even if you don't choose a reward tier, I will find you and I will give you comics. That's just a fact!"

That's what Ryan Estrada is telling potential Kickstarter backers as he's standing on a (I presume) Korean rooftop in the rain. And even though he's standing in one place for the duration of the video, his excitement and energy seems boundless.

I talked a bit about his Whole Story project from last summer. He basically said the same thing, "Pay what you want, and I'll give you these comics." I've caught in other interviews where he noted that some people paid him, got the comics and, after reading them, gave him more money because they liked them so much. Using Kickstarter to do the same thing is, at first blush, kind of an odd choice. Their normal rewards system is very much set up on a tiered payment structure; the more you contribute, the more you get. What Estrada has done with it, then, is basically make all his new comics available at the $1 level (the lowest a Kickstarer project will allow) but then provides stickers and print copies and original art as you increase your pledge. But his stated goal of giving you his comics is universal.

In fact, he's gotten so many pledges already and has been so thankful to those people that he's given them some of his comics already, more than two weeks before the Kickstarter campaign is complete! The comics I've read from him are good -- both the ones from last year and the review copies of Plagued and The Dog's Sins he sent me this past week. They're not all by Estrada personally -- as he notes in the video, he's basically going around asking people who's work he likes to do cool comics.

I could do a proper review of the books here, but I'm not going to. You want to see what you think of his comics? Go over to his Google+ page where he's posted a bunch of them; you can read a lot of them for free to see for yourself. What I think is more noteworthy here is that any sort of pledge will get you the collection of books. A bare minimum of 300 pages of comics, even if you only pledge one dollar. It's kind of an anthology thing, but the only theme really is people who make good comics. There's almost certainly something you'll like in there, since Estrada's interests are pretty diverse and he's just on the hunt for good work.

You know, after my divorce a few years back, I started making some changes in my outlook towards life. There was a lot of "playing it safe" and "doing what you're supposed to do" and all that. And, divorce aside, I had been doing okay for myself. But just okay. I've made no secret that it was Bob the Squirrel comic that kicked me off my ass, and got me back into the world of the living and I think I've mentioned once or twice that it was "what are you waiting for" post from Seth Godin that finally got me working on my first book. The last few years when I've been getting more into the idea of living my life in a deliberate way and taking more of a 'just do it' attitude have been very fruitful in many ways.

And what's interesting is seeing how that manifests in other people as well, Estrada being a prime example. He's been living a fantastic life and has really been making a name for himself in just doing some great comics work. From the standpoint of the stories he creates, of course, but also his experimentation with different publishing models. And it works! His Kickstarter, still ongoing, raised over double the funds he was asking for in less than 24 hours! He's at something like eight times over as of this writing, and he's not even half-way through the campaign.

I've seen a number of friends and acquaintences in the past couple years start letting go of old ideas and dogma, and living more on their own terms, and I'm seeing them achieve more success and (more importantly) more happiness than before. Now maybe that's partially due to my personal focus moving away from Negative Nellies or so-called "toxic relationships" and concentrating on creative people who are just out there trying to do good work, but it's uplifting and inspiring and energizing to see that going on more and more.

Some of the Kickstarters I've backed have been pretty-down-to-the-wire on whether or not they'd get funded. Estrada's set, like I said; whether you opt to back him or not, his project's funded already. But what I'd like to suggest is just supporting those comic creators who are doing great work and enjoying what they're doing. There are many talented folks out there who turn in fantastic comics, but can be miserable, bitchy SOBs. I'm not saying they don't deserve any support, especially if they can still turn out good comics, but let's put our energies in 2013 to helping make successes out of people who deserve it AND will be happy and excited to do more of the same!

2 comments:

Matt K said...

Now I really feel this compulsion to figure out a way of getting money to him and eluding his comics. Just because this sounds like a challenge demanding an "oh, yeah?" response. ;-)

There's no hope for me is there? heh

Sean Kleefeld said...

That would be pretty fun, I think. I think he'd take on that challenge... and probably turn THAT into a clever comic book story. :)