On Kickstarter, suffering for art, and helping out

August 10th, 2012 by | Tags: ,

Back in early July, Rich Johnston posted about a Kickstarter for Telikos Protocol. I thought it looked neat and I had a spare ten bucks, so I kicked ten dollars their way in exchange for DRM-free copies of their first three issues. They were a few thousand dollars short of their goal, but every little bit helps, right? Three hours later, I got an email update from their Kickstarter that began like this:

We are sat here trying to fathom quite what’s happened. We just don’t know how to react – we hit target after just 2 days, 1 hour and 49 minutes. We’re finding this tough to compute, but while we do that, some extra updates!

Three thousand dollars in three hours and they hit their goal. They wanted 9,500 and they got 50,119. They get to make a series of books that’s much, much better than they ever expected. On top of that, they get to make their book. That’s the most important part, I think.

I’ve contributed to ten Kickstarters thus far, supporting a wide range of comics from webcomics to Image comics to OGNs to Dave Sim’s digital efforts. Ten isn’t a lot of projects, but I feel good about it. I can afford that, and it’s nice to be able to help someone get their work done. Paying it forward, maybe — I’m blessed enough to have a steady job so that I’m not living on exceedingly thin margins. So I do what I can.

There’s a conversation going around comics internet right now about Kickstarter. Tom Spurgeon has a nice conversation going here. It was sparked by a post in which TCJ editor Dan Nadel said this:

-And finally, Kickstarter. Guess what? You don’t get to call yourself underground if you’re on Kickstarter. Guess what else? You don’t get to call yourself a publisher either; you’re just someone who pays a printing bill. Take pre-orders on your site. Sell your boots. Do what you have to do. But don’t go begging for money so that you can then give 5% of it to Amazon.com, which is actively trying to put you (!), and the stores you hope to shove this shit into, out of business. I’m all for raising money for art, but it would be nice if there was some sense of proportion. No one needs this anthology but it might do fine “in the market”. I’m so sick of seeing perfectly viable (viable, but not smart or interesting; viable) comic book projects on there. People can do what they want, but when you’re out there hustling dough for your movie-ready zombie-baseball graphic novel, or fucking Cyberforce, or your poorly thought through Garo book, you just look like a schmuck.

Just this morning I saw Sean Collins saying this:

The problem is, well, why on earth do you need to Kickstart a project in which 60 illustrators who (judging from the samples) draw in lush, inviting, commercial-friendly styles make pin-ups from someone else’s intellectual property, drawn from a show that’s so hugely popular with the project’s target audience that it could make its money back and then some during the first hour of SPX without breaking a sweat? If the project’s publisher had asked its 60 contributors to paypal her twelve bucks, that would have covered the $700 goal of the kickstarter right there. Indeed the modest amount being requested makes it more baffling, not less, since it’s undeniable that the zine could have been independently funded with a modicum of self-sacrifice, which again would no doubt be handsomely rewarded the moment the book went on sale. Instead, what we have is a project that’s made three times its goal amount with 18 days to go.

(the bolds in each quote are mine, of course)

and I have a real problem with this type of thinking. ’cause here’s the thing: life sucks. You can get sick once and find yourself under three years of debt. You can save money for two years and see it all wiped out because of something you couldn’t have predicted. You can live life exactly the way you’re supposed to and still find yourself directly behind the eight ball.

That goes for artists, too. A “sure thing” is a fake idea. It’s a cudgel for an argument. Any number of sure things flop and fail every single day, from a new Superman movie taking inspiration from the Christopher Reeve flicks to asking out a pretty girl who smiled at you on the bus. There is no such thing as a sure thing. This is true in life and it is definitely true in comics.

“Maybe you should sacrifice some! Maybe you should sell your boots!” is hilariously insulting. It assumes that the people involved haven’t already done so. It assumes that the people involved can afford to do so. If I wanted to launch a new website with robust content right now, or that podcast I talked about, I couldn’t afford to. I have a full-time job, a vaguely-lucrative part-time gig, and I couldn’t afford to do that. It’s a time and money investment that I simply cannot make right now, no matter how great an idea it is or how much money it might make if I take it to SPX or sell it door-to-door. I can’t afford it because I’ve got bills. I’ve got student loans. I’ve got a lot of things on my plate, and even carving out the time that needs investing for those projects would result in something slipping elsewhere. I can only do so much. I can only afford so much. And I possibly have more freedom than a lot of artists, in that I have a job that pays me every two weeks without fail. I don’t have to seek out freelance work like I used to.

Life is hard. It’s hard to make a living. It’s even harder to make a living as an artist. So I honestly, earnestly, believe that if I believe in something or someone, and I can help them along, I should do so. I don’t have a lot of money, nowhere near as much as I should, but I can spare ten bucks to help out an artist, even when I’m scraping to save money. Why not? I like them, I want what they’re doing, and so I do so.

I don’t think that artists should have to suffer for their art. If I’m interested in what they’re doing, and I can help out, I will. Joe and Jane Schmo having to max out their credit cards to print their comics is stupid when there’s an audience right there willing to kick in a few bucks to help get it done in exchange for a book or two.

“Well maybe the contributors should pay first!” is a stupid thing to say when every week some new artist learns the hard lesson of “never work for free.” If someone chooses to pay to get their art out there, sweet! That’s how people have been doing it, and I’m sure Visa will be very happy. But if I can help someone else keep their head out of the muck, to not suffer for their art and actually get a chance to love what they do before they burn out or whatever, then let’s do it!

I don’t know. Maybe this doesn’t make any sense. I wrote this on my lunch break in a burst, brain to page. But I hate this “I got mine, so go screw yourself if you can’t afford to pay for what you want to do” mentality so, so much. It’s the grossest, annoyingest, Ron Paul-iest thing that has hit comics in a long while. You can help someone get their book made, at no extra cost to yourself, and help them not have to go through the pain of choosing between eating three meals a day and putting out their labor of love. I like that feeling, in part because I hope that other people feel the same way.

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26 comments to “On Kickstarter, suffering for art, and helping out”

  1. The line about “Amazon trying to actively put you and comics stores out of business” read weird to me too. I mean, leaving aside that if you’ve managed to get a book published you should sell it wherever you think it will sell, Amazon isn’t actively trying to do anything except make as much money as they can. That may be harmful to comics stores, and that’s a problem, but again, sell wherever the Hell you can.

  2. I’m writing this in a quick burst before I leave work, but long story short Mark Andrew Smith has had many thoughts and expressed them at great length in a number of interviews, both typed and recorded as podcasts, about why he chose to do Sullivan’s Sluggers through kickstarter.

    It was namely because it was a more direct route to get get his book out to the people who wanted it, not dependent upon Diamond orders and wary comic book stores.

    The attention Sluggers got from the media because of its supporters was what got the film business interested. The squeaky wheel gets the oil.

    Sluggers could’ve been put out through Image or whomever, one issue at a time or as a whole book, but a comic on the shelf doesn’t necessarily jump out and grab anyone (especially an original title) even with good reviews on insular comic book blogs.

    But kickstarter isn’t about starting comics, it’s about starting all sorts of projects and artistic flights of fancy. Kickstarter attention gets you more eyeballs, period.

  3. Those dudes quoted just sound mad butthurt. Sure, you can assume the worst of people’s intentions, but why? Kickstarter (and indiegogo too) are good things that will hopefully lead to even more creators making and publishing work that we might not have otherwise seen.

  4. Those guys have generally struck me as intelligent when I’ve read them, so I guess they just didn’t think things through. But yeah, I was pissed off when I read that Comics Journal thing (didn’t see the Sean Collins thing though). Also really confused at the lack of focus to his anger, but whatever.

  5. I agree, big time. Asking every artist on a project to shell out $12 bucks might result in way more of an organizational headache, some not being able to pay, some not wanting to pay, etc. Sure, Amazon taking a slice might be annoying in some respects, but the difference it can make to the artist/creators is potentially huge.

    And I really don’t get Collins’s argument that a book that supposedly will have a good audience necessarily means its success in traditional sales. Who’s to say that audience will actually be able to access it or know about it in the first place?.

    Being able to get a self-published/indie comic digital copy, or ordering a signed copy online is simply convenient, especially when you don’t know if the book will be sold at your local convention/comics festival, or if they’ll have copies left because they had to pay for the printing costs themselves upfront and ran out before you got there. Lost sales.

    A kickstarter/indie-gogo fundraiser also kind of makes it a community project, something people want to get involved in and encourage its success. Makes it an event that a wider variety of people can participate in. I think that’s pretty damn cool.

  6. “I don’t know. Maybe this doesn’t make any sense.”

    It makes so much more sense than either piece you quoted. So, so, so much more. I’m honestly baffled by how people like Nadel and Collins (both of whom i’d say i like and respect overall) get so fuzzed out on this one.

    The arguments against seem like excessively padded versions of “i don’t like it because i don’t like it”.

  7. On today’s ANNCast podcast, I mentioned that I felt as though Kickstarter is now being used for projects and purposes which it really wasn’t intended and shouldn’t be used for. But the stuff described in this post isn’t the sort of thing I was referring to. In fact, I’d say that IS what Kickstarter’s all about. Those guys aren’t established comics creators working for an existing publisher that gets their stuff listed in Previews right now. They’re trying to get established.

    I pointed to DMP’s latest Kickstarter as an example: this was an established, in-place, commercial enterprise looking to raise money to print not just one, but three different comics by Osamu Tezuka, whose comics have been successfully published in English for years at this point with success. Some of which were from DMP, even.

    The success of that Kickstarter was never really in question, especially after the success of their previous TWO Osamu Tezuka-related Kickstarters and the fact that oh yeah, the Tezuka name on the cover sends an automatic “I’m buying this” signal to a whole lot of people at this point and has been doing so for years. At this point, that company is rather cynically using fans to pay up-front costs of stuff that they were gonna commercially release here anyway, and they’re not the only ones. Stuff like that doesn’t need a “kickstart.” It’s already cruising along just fine.

    The most common response heard is “well, nobody’s forcing you to donate to Kickstarters you don’t like.” But that’s only kind of true. Because when an established company goes this route, the implicit–if not directly explicit from the pitch–message they’re sending is “we really want to do this but market conditions won’t allow it, so if you want to see this then the success of this Kickstarter is the ONLY way you can.” And for big-name comics creators, that simply isn’t true.

    If you don’t really follow manga, think of it in terms of this: what would you do if Icon set up a Kickstarter for additional installments of say, Criminal by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips? Would you donate to it because “all right, more Criminal”? I bet a lot of people would; it has a lot of fans. Or would you think “hey, wait a second…”?

  8. It’s probably a mistake to engage someone who has me blocked on twitter for no discernible reason, but I will say two things. First, in the case of this particular project, which is all I was talking about, “sure thing” isn’t a “fake idea.” We have documentary proof of this: The Kickstarter has met its goal multiple times over with weeks to go. It was, indeed, a sure thing.

    Second, I don’t have an “I got mine” attitude about this. I lose money on the comics I make every week; I find nothing ennobling about this, nor do I feel any pride at all that I can afford to do so. It just is what it is. I’m indescribably lucky to be in this position. The idea that because I’m uncomfortable with kickstarting a fanart zine, I’m some Ron Paul who thinks people deserve to suffer (a word I never used because it wasn’t what I meant) economically as a mark of virtue is a straw man, reflective of a lack of engagement with what I actually wrote, which included this:

    “I’m always happy to see artists make a little scratch and don’t begrudge that — in this country, the deck is so stacked against creative-field freelancers in terms of health insurance alone that anything that mitigates against that is worth celebrating.”

  9. ETA: I’m not blocked anymore. Sorry about that.

  10. One last note for now: Talking with Dustin Harbin about this on Twitter makes me think I should also point out that in my post, I wrote:

    “I haven’t soured on Kickstarter/crowdfunding in general like the term implies, nor do I intend to make a grand sweeping statement about anything other than this specific project. ”

    Also, a lot of my objection centers on the fanart nature of the zine in question, and that element of the post was also ignored by David here. So was the part where I talk about the three comics crowdfunding campaigns to which I happily donated. It’s not like you’re under any obligation to, like, quote or summarize my entire post of course, but since you touted your own crowdfunding track record I thought that point was relevant.

  11. I got pretty pissed at that TCJ piece, but at the same time, I didn’t really expect anything else. They’re the pretentious hipsters of the comic book scene, who were into superheroes when they were cool or whatever.

    There’s some great stuff on there, but most of the shit that makes me mad I give little credence to because it is so frequently written in a condescending, holier-than-thou tone.

    And yeah, pretty much in agreement with everything you’ve said, which really should surprise no one, considering that the bulk of what you write is well-reasoned and thought out.

  12. @Sean T. Collins: I’m going to respond to specific things you said here, not in an attempt to nerd court you but just for clarity’s sake.

    “The Kickstarter has met its goal multiple times over with weeks to go. It was, indeed, a sure thing.”

    Again, no it was not. There is no such thing as a sure thing, not even on a project with an extraordinarily low goal like the Twin Peaks thing. Andrea Kalfas could print this, take it to SPX, and not even break even if all the Twin Peaks fans don’t come crawling out of the woodwork. (I missed Twin Peaks, I don’t know how deep those fans roll.) Or he books could sell out. Or the books could be printed with a big ugly black stream down the middle and need reprinting, making it too late for SPX. Or any number of things. You can’t point at something that has succeeded and go “See?! Sure thing!” because that isn’t how this works. Anything can happen between conception and success, and I’m pretty sure that success is not the most likely outcome when putting something together.

    “The idea that because I’m uncomfortable with kickstarting a fanart zine, I’m some Ron Paul who thinks people deserve to suffer (a word I never used because it wasn’t what I meant) economically as a mark of virtue is a straw man, reflective of a lack of engagement with what I actually wrote, which included this:”

    What did you mean by “a modicum of self-sacrifice,” then? I didn’t straw man you. I responded to a specific thing you said. If I’m somehow not understanding what self-sacrifice means, then that’s my bad. More on this later, but the idea that I didn’t engage with what you wrote is absurd. I read every single word you wrote and responded to the section that I disagreed with.

    The stuff I didn’t mention I either don’t particularly care about (like the jab about the content of the zine) or agreed with. I’m uncomfortable with fan-work being Kickstartered, too, but presumably this is some type of fair use situation. I think it’s also notable that Kalfas only asked for printing costs.

    “Also, a lot of my objection centers on the fanart nature of the zine in question, and that element of the post was also ignored by David here. So was the part where I talk about the three comics crowdfunding campaigns to which I happily donated. It’s not like you’re under any obligation to, like, quote or summarize my entire post of course, but since you touted your own crowdfunding track record I thought that point was relevant.”

    I didn’t ignore it. It wasn’t relevant to what I’m specific talking about here, which is how people are responding to other people raising money. I don’t care about Twin Peaks or David Lynch or whatever. I don’t even particularly care about Garo, but I like the artists on that one so I chipped in. But I do care when people express the idea that people should have to suffer (or whatever word you prefer that means the same thing but seems less negative, “self-sacrifice”) to get their book out there when there’s no reason for them to, a position that you absolutely expressed in your post when you said “it’s undeniable that the zine could have been independently funded with a modicum of self-sacrifice[.]”

    I think self-sacrifice is the last route someone should have to go through

    Your argument is that I didn’t respond to your entire post, and that somehow misrepresents or distorts what you said in that one paragraph. I disagree. I quoted and bolded the specific parts I was talking about, providing a link to you, Nadel, and Spurgeon in the process. I would’ve quoted more if it mattered to the thoughts I was having when I wrote this. I don’t think I was unfair or whatever, because I’m talking about one thing — the idea that you should have to finance your own comic first, instead of crowd-funding it, because ????? — that’s shared between your post, Nadel’s, and a bit of Twitter chatter I’ve picked up on since Nadel kickstarted the Kickstarter argument.

    If “it’s undeniable that the zine could have been independently funded with a modicum of self-sacrifice” is somehow not bootstraps philosophy, then I’m wrong. But I’m pretty sure that it is exactly that.

    edit: For everyone else, here’s a link to Sean’s thoughts on Kickstarter in general, which he sent to me on Twitter

  13. By self-sacrifice I meant “the money you spend to get things you want, most of the time.” That’s all. Also, you again elided the part where I talk, specifically and enthusiastically, about celebrating anything that makes it financially easier for artists to do what they do, precisely because of all the “suffering for their art” they already have to do thanks to this country’s grotesque health care system and so forth. Moreover, though I now understand that you don’t care about much else than I wrote in that post, that doesn’t make those things irrelevant to the conclusions you’re drawing, especially when they provide context that contradicts those conclusions. But maybe most importantly, here I am, in this thread, telling you directly, that I didn’t mean “suffer for your art.” I’ll cop to inartful phrasing in the original post, in the sense that if you boldface a phrase out of an entire post it’s easy to draw the wrong conclusion about what I think. But if the goal of this discussion is to further understanding and insight into the issue rather than to win, it’s not productive to continue to assert that I mean something I didn’t mean, as made clear elsewhere in that post, and elsewhere on my blog, and right here in this thread.

  14. “much else that,” not “much else than”

  15. David – Between this and the whole “is it fair to exploit IP when the original creators are getting financially or creatively screwed” imbroglio, you are pretty consistent in taking the correct side and I appreciate that. Comics industry commentators get caught up in rhetoric or partisan dogma or pettiness and I think that, especially as we move into an era where medium, distribution channels, commerce and even content itself are undergoing rapid evolution, we should keep fairness, compassion and common sense as watchwords.

    There’s no real reason to shit on Kickstarter and I’m disappointed to see that some critics have gone beyond a healthy questioning of a new system and are instead just being snippy and negative for the sake of it, even going so far as to decide what should and shouldn’t be considered valid Kickstarter projects.

    You’re a good guy for contributing to worthwhile projects and for speaking truth in defence of creators. Keep it up!

  16. wizard edge sure is mad

  17. @Sean T. Collins: Who cares about winning? What could I possibly win out of this argument? You wrote a post about a thing. I wrote a post disagreeing with part of your post. You left a comment explaining your position more thoroughly, I left one explaining mine. It’s a conversation/argument, not a contest.

    “But maybe most importantly, here I am, in this thread, telling you directly, that I didn’t mean “suffer for your art.” I’ll cop to inartful phrasing in the original post, in the sense that if you boldface a phrase out of an entire post it’s easy to draw the wrong conclusion about what I think.

    Then I got it wrong and I apologize. I read what you wrote, I talked it over with some friends, and we all read what you were saying the way I explained it up there. But if you didn’t mean it that way, then I got it wrong. My fault.

    But if the goal of this discussion is to further understanding and insight into the issue rather than to win, it’s not productive to continue to assert that I mean something I didn’t mean, as made clear elsewhere in that post, and elsewhere on my blog, and right here in this thread.

    This is pretty passive aggressive though :)

  18. For whatever it’s worth, I read Sean’s full post at his blog before reading this post, and I certainly didn’t feel like there was any strawmanning going on.

  19. Sean – I’m a fan of yours (and David’s), but what is the difference in your view between “coming up with $700 to print a book out of pocket” and “suffering”? To clarify: is being $700 short for some period of time likely to cause a person/group of people stress or discomfort in some way, or not? There’s a difference between “spending money to get what you want” where “what you want” is the new Air Yeezys and a case where “what you want” is costs covered for a creative project.

    And as far as the work being an “indulgence”, as you mention your post – what separates non-indulgent art from indulgent art? Isn’t indulgence one of the things that makes art art? Latter-day Bill Sienkiewicz is pretty indulgent inking but that’s not a bad thing. The Palais Ideale was an indulgent project, but I’m glad it exists. One of these guys got paid for his indulgences and the other didn’t (although he did build himself a kicky mausoleum), but they definitely should have both gotten paid, right? Instead of the money going toward another bottle of rye or an extra 45 square feet in a new apartment complex?

    Also also, this thing is your Kickstarter Kronstadt in large part because it’s derivative of other work? You don’t feel fanart is “worthy” of Kickstarter? What is lacking from the project that keeps it from being worthy of funding? I saw you mention that you were hoping for “a more thoroughgoing interrogation” of the work. But an illustration is automatically a commentary on the thing being illustrated; otherwise they just would have taken screenshots and put them up.

    I’m not trying to “win the argument” at all, I respect both of your opinions and would like to hear why – as actual comics professionals – you feel the way you do.

  20. This is an amazing piece.

    What makes me sick about the Kickstarter backlash is the whole “viable” idea Nadel mentions. As if any project that has a chance to become absorbed by the traditional publishing gatekeepers should somehow surrender to a decaying, corrupt model just because…I have no idea why, actually.

    Kickstarter gives creators full control and the greatest chance to earn from their creations in proportion to the interest of consumers. I’ll be totally honest–I don’t see how anyone could be pro-creators rights and anti-Kickstarter. :barf:

  21. Full disclosure: I recently ran a successful Kickstarter with Amy Reeder (http://kck.st/Ncnzvo).

    I don’t think you’re asking the right questions if you’re wondering: ‘does the world need a Sullivan’s Sluggers?’ or ‘why would you use Kickstarter when you create in a commercially acceptable style?’ People are making stabs at answering these… and that’s fine, I suppose. But here’s what I think the question should be:

    “Are there enough opportunities in the world for a creator to find out what he or she is worth? And after that, are there enough opportunities to realize that worth?”

    Whether YOU think the Kickstarter project is garbage or question the living necessities of Kickstarting creators is kind of irrelevant—everyone has their own tastes and morals, after all. But people are losing sight of the fact that publishers of all kinds of media—and especially all kinds of comics—benefit from their content creators undervaluing their contributions. I mean, we can all agree on THAT, can’t we?

    Sure, Kickstarter democratizes the audience (and what’s wrong with that?). But more importantly, it lets creators know where they stand. And with a lot of Kickstarters, creators have discovered they’re a lot more popular and valuable than they ever gave themselves credit for. It’s incredibly liberating to discover that readers like your stuff—so much so that they’re willing to put their money where their mouth is. It’s not because you’re working with a popular character like Batman; or with another “name” creator; or because you were in the right place at the right time with an editor; or because someone let you in to their curated convention; or because a publisher’s marketing muscle is pumping you; or because a distributor let you into a catalog. Kickstarter isn’t perfect, and gatekeepers aren’t always bad—but how can you be against something that empowers creators, especially when that power source is the actual readers?!

    There’s a lot of distance between the drawing board and the comic in a reader’s hand. And a lot more distance as to how money comes back into the creator’s pocket. Kickstarter has been making it all a little closer. And it’s making creators smarter, too—if only by demystifying those distances which once seemed impossible to comprehend, let alone overcome.

    So I’m all for allowing creators to find out what they’re worth. Your talent and your hard work building an audience over the years gives you real value. It’s an asset better than the green stuff in a bank. There are a lot more people out there with money in their pocket than there are with good ideas in their head. And it’s a lot easier to pay for a good comic than it is to make a good comic. Kickstarter is helping people realize this.

  22. I agree with Brandon. New media and DIY culture in general is democratic and egalitarian. By removing the networks of middle men between creators and end users, there is a purer connection, which simplifies, strengthens and and makes more fair almost every function, from sales to feedback to the retention of ownership and the upholding of creators rights. Punk and hardcore bands in the 80s knew this but we’ve now reached kind of an unprecedented point in cultural history where DIY is the best and, in many cases, only way forward for everyone, or at least a vast majority. The Kickstarter scene appears to be something of a meritocracy rather than a free handout service. People interested in direct art, commerce, and community, uncluttered by the corrupted hegemony of standard-bearer media and its gatekeepers should embrace this, I cant think of a reason not to.

  23. DIY culture. Man. I remember when a certainly nerdy classmate of mine at the Joe Kubert School started talking about nanobots and the machinations of reconfiguring matter and all sorts of sci-fi stuff that our culture has in store for itself. From our many conversations I dreamt up the future, where everyone is a comic artist, movie maker, and novelist, and we can materialize our actual dreams into realities as individuals to be shared with other individuals. It was a weird monetary thought, because enabling everyone to be an artist basically nullifies any profit gain, but spiritually? It sounded fantastic. The information Age is a thing of infinite potential, only limited by those that wish to profit by encumbering humanity blossoming into its own.

    Over the past decade since then, more and more I see that becoming a reality. So many people are using their iPhones and such to make little shorts and films, webcomics are springing up like weeds, and people are writing millions if not billions of words a day and posting them onto the internet.

    It’s all really dreamy and optimistic, given the state of pretty much just the Earth and all its goings-on in general, and a lot of countries and their peoples have massive hardships to overcome if they ever will, but I love the notion that people have things they wish to express about he human condition, and more and more are obtaining the tools to express such freedoms. In this instance, Kickstarter is another tool (because right now we need money to do so) in order for people to reach the masses. For those who go well past their goals, more power to them. Cutting out middle men is a thing that constantly happens with new technological developments in all aspects of life. I don’t know ultimately what that means for econimic growth/gain, but as far as creativity and sharing it with whoever is open to it? It’s glorious. I am more than happy to support people like Roman Mars and his 99% Invisible radio program, Amanda Palmer in anything she does, and Mark Andrew Smith in his comic book outings., and many others.

  24. I’ve only ever contributed to one Kickstarter, to Amanda Palmer’s new album, and pre-ordered two comics, Adam Warren’s Empowered and Yen Press’ editions of Sailor Moon.

    The former I supported because she’s my wife’s favorite artist, and because there’s no reason for someone to be abused rather awfully by their record label simply to get an album out. Saying “you’re too fat” to an already svelte woman is pretty insulting. $25 for an album and a photobook? That’s a little pricy, but I like it, and as I said, wife’s favorite artist. I could’ve just paid a $1 and gotten the whole album in MP3. Not a bad deal by any stretch, if you like her music.

    The latter I have on pre-order because I want them. Anything Warren does is an automatic buy for me, because he’s that damn good, and I’ve been waiting to own good quality paper copies of Sailor Moon for almost 15 years. If you think I have lousy taste in comics, replace those examples with authors and books you like, and I don’t think I’ll have to explain that any further.

    Now, if the situations were reversed, none of my actions would change. I’d still be buying all 3 things. It’s not that big of a deal to me when I’m paying, provided I get what I paid for when it was promised to be there.

    Thankfully Warren doesn’t need to mortgage his house or desperately sell convention sketches trying to raise the cash to get the books printed, but he’s also been in the business 25 years. I have a friend of a friend who squatted in a cold apartment, because he couldn’t afford his heating bills, and regularly asked if he could take home leftovers because he couldn’t afford food, thanks to the high cost of art equipment and printing books, coupled with the inability to simultaneously hold down a full-time job and draw for 12 hours a day. He’s doing better now, and is regularly a highly praised artist over on Comics Alliance, but the poor guy didn’t deserve to live like that just to make great comics. His art is no better or worse now that he eats regularly.

  25. You articulated so perfectly the problem I had with Nadel’s comment. Thanks so much for posting this, it needed to be said.

  26. I LOVE Kickstarter. You can whine that Cyberforce or whatever project shouldn’t be on there. Maybe you are “right” and maybe you’re “wrong”. BUT, individuals now have the right to choose for THEMSELVES whether the project is “valid” or not. It’s so fucking simple it’s brilliant. I’m not a Cyberforce fan but how awesome is it that 1 rich sonuvabitch who LOVES Cyberforce has the power to not only greenlight a 5 issue CF series but also make it “free” for the entire world????? This is an AMAZING time to be alive and it makes it even better that it pisses off so many people that just want things to stay the boring same!