kickstarter

So, you’re looking into Kickstarter…

PART ONE
Being part of a community
by Anthony Feinman

Kickstarter recently reached a milestone of being ten years old.

Ten years ago, I looked at crowdfunding and balked at the idea. People begging other people to fund their projects

crowd_fund1
Strip commissioned by former client. illustrated Anthony Feinman

or causes? How pathetic! I equated the notion to nothing short of panhandling. In fact, when I was freelancing, a client asked me to draw a strip about crowdfunding. My idea came from the notion of banks failing (this was during the financial crisis) and needing their customers to bail them out. (See comic to the right) Unless you’ve worked for a financial institution, you would understand that banks only function and exist from bank fees and the number of loans that they offer. Banks make their revenue from interest paid on loans that they offer to consumers. Of course, those of us old enough have lived through multiple government bailouts from the 90’s to recent times. Unfortunately, everyone needs help from time to time.

Case in point in 2013, Fantagraphics Books needed help. Kim Thompson, one of the founders, passed away due to lung cancer. It was quite a complication as Kim was the main drive behind the daily operations at this independent publishing house. Due to his passing, the company had no way of securing funds for their upcoming line of book publications. The solution, it seems, was crowdfunding through Kickstarter.  Thankfully, it was successful (they secured over $120,000 in four days ultimately gaining an extra $70,000) and Fantagraphics is still around today printing many great compilations that I, myself, have enjoyed. Fans rallied due to their love of comics and saved the day. (Take a look at this Article) Only a community of devoted people could accomplish something like this. This is the big word that can be used to describe Kickstarter, Community.

For me, community has always been a hard word to stomach. I never really allowed myself to be part of a community growing up. Of course, I was part of community while attending my various schools or being a part of a business company. However, I find being associated with some “entity” is annoying. Even today, I am hesitant about posting pictures, words, and thoughts online as for me it’s akin to guilt. My guilt stems from the notion that instead of sharing, I should be working on projects instead of trying to satisfy some need for 15 second gratification from a family member, friend, or fan “liking” a post. I am the antithesis of most others in that I could care less about instant gratification. What I want is be immortalized. In fact, when I was applying to SAIC (School of the Art Institute of Chicago), these were my exact words when I was asked why I created art. My belief is recognition today is fleeting. But to be remembered in the future is forever.

If you are an artist, you are probably aware of how much time is spent alone in a room creating your work. Being an artist is a solitary endeavor that not everyone can endure. Even in college, I hated doing my projects in a classroom environment with other students as they were distracting. I always did my best work alone. I still do. It’s also the only way I can get things completed and done.

What does any of this have to do with Kickstarter? Glad you asked.

You may be a great artist, have a great product that you want to share with the world but if you live a solitary lifestyle (like myself) who’s ever going to see it? This is where community comes into play. ARTISTS NEED AN AUDIENCE.

I recently became that audience for two (now three as of 5/31/19) projects for comic creators on Kickstarter. Here’s the thing: If you are looking to be part of a community, what better way of seeing if you want to be a part of it is to join and participate.

I was first hesitate about putting in my credit card number on a site that I had little or no experience with. My research has brought up stories of projects never being funded, creators taking money and never producing their promised work, or creators freaking out over having to fill thousands of orders due to their project becoming extremely popular. (More on these subjects on later posts. I promise they are entertaining and a fascinating read!) I watched my two projects that I had pledge to until their final days when both were funded. Now for the past month, I have been again hesitate about whether I will ever see any finished products sent my way.

My first pledge paid off as I have recently received the rewards of contributing to a LIMITED release of a graphic novel by Mike Vosburg. (My geek alert hit the roof when I received this package on 06/01/19. He hand wrote MY NAME! “Giggle”)

package
Received package from comic book artist, Mike Vosburg. My name is in HIS handwriting!

Who is Mike Vosburg? For those that are not keen on your comic book history, he is a silver/bronze age comic book artist who was instrumental in the look and development of a MARVEL icon better know as THE SAVAGE SHE-HULK (Vosburg drew every issue from #2-25 of the original complete run). He was also the artist for a little known DC character STARFIRE (which I have almost a complete run in original issues and not to be confused with the Teen Titans character), the covers of the EC comic book covers for the HBO television series, TALES FROM THE CRYPT, and has an Emmy for his work on HBO animated version of SPAWN. Strangely enough, I did not know that I was a fan of his until years after I illustrated Blitz Howser. I discovered that the SHE HULK art I referenced when I illustrated my short Sci-Fi adventure was based on his work. So when I discovered that he was printing a short run edition of a series originally published back in the day at Marvel, I was on board to pledge. I did not want to miss my chance to get a SIGNED book by a legend!

 

sign_print
Geeking again seeing my name on this signed print included with graphic novel.

This is one pro I see in participating in crowdfunding. My chance, as a fan, to connect with an artist who I will never meet in person. I don’t foresee myself traveling anytime soon back to Cali for a comic book convention he may be attending. Nor him coming back to the Midwest (he’s originally from Michigan). Traveling is expensive these days!

 

Alright, getting away from my geeking out and focusing on Kickstarter once again.

Mike was able to post this project and discover (via the 100%+ success from fans like myself) that he still has a small market for his work. This venue, for small press creators, can help indicate whether or not your work will be accepted by the public. Of course there are many more factors that contribute to the success of a funded campaign which I will discuss at a later date. All in all, crowdfunding can help you see how much support a community feels that you have a viable product. But only if you put yourself out there and contribute.

I now have the benefit of the experience of being a contributor to a Kickstarter campaign from the pledger’s perspective. Unfortunately, as I write this blog, I am still feeling guilt as the hours I have put into writing this blog I could have spent drawing another page (or two) of my own multiple comic books. Why do I have to be part of a community?? Annoying.

book_cover
My signed copy of the limited release of Off Castes by Mike Vosburg. A hero of mine.

Additionally, I cannot read this new graphic novel from one of my heroes for another month as I purchased it for myself as a birthday present. It came a month early… sheesh.

Part Two about the pros and cons of self publishing will be published in the future.

Until next time…
Anthony

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Conventions

Peoria Quad Con, Aftermath

This title sounds ominous, doesn’t it?

Regardless, Julie and I have been going to small cons in Central Illinois for the past 5-6 years. They tend to be only one or two a year for us. However, last year, we did a total of four signings. Come 2019, and we have done only one this year so far: Peoria Quad Con at the RiverPlex on the river front. Perfect for us as it’s only a 45 minute drive from our home and it has been our best convention in quite sometime. In fact, this has been the best convention I have displayed at since doing the first comic book convention ever in Metropolis, IL back in 2007. (Metropolis has been hosting the Superman Celebration for decades but never had a comic book convention outside Superman connections until that year. At least as far as I know.)

cover-image
Cover to The Mask Conspiracy printed 1991

Upon reflecting on our time this past Saturday, the events of the day have been going through my mind. Ink and Feathers Comics has its beginnings dating all the way back to 1991 with the publication of The Mask Conspiracy. My dad, Myke, went to his first convention in Rosemont, IL , the Chicago Comicon (way before it was bought out by Wizard World) with no book. He had a binder with the entire book photocopied for fans to look through. His sole purpose for having a booth was to take pre-sales for his first graphic novel. As I was there with my mother, I watched as my dad did the “hard sell”. How do you convince people to buy your book when all you have are photocopies to show? Much to his showmanship and tenacity, he was successful in securing  pre-sales. The Mask Conspiracy was a mild success (it prompted a sequel in 1997) and to this date, I have been selling the last surviving copies at these small comic book shows along with new publications I have published throughout these past decades.

page7
Page seven from The Mask Conspiracy by Myke Feinman

This past Saturday, those remaining copies returned to their birth home. You see, The Mask Conspiracy was originally printed in Peoria, IL way back in 1991. In fact, the first copy ever sold was at the local mall in a music store. Suffice to say, that store is no longer there but I remember fondly the first words that were ever uttered by the purchaser (one of the store’s employees). “This is kick ass stuff!” This quote has led me on a 28 year journey to studying Sequential Art work and producing my own work.

(To purchase one of the last remaining copies of The Mask Conspiracy, click here.)

Unfortunately, my work has been sporadic. A topic that my dad and I spoke about while we were attending this new exciting and local convention. I plan on doing more. I am in the process of working on two new story lines (one involving Terry Freedom’s characters and the other with The Critters), already written out one (of possibly three) short sci-fi/horror stories that I would like to get illustrated and printed, and had some people stop by and ask me about freelancing again.

Freelancing. One gentleman made me feel like I was attending a job interview. After flipping through my original work, he asked my about my influences (Julie’s as well as she had prints of her fine art displayed as well), had I done any digital work, did I own a Wacom tablet, what kind of tablet was it, why I didn’t produce digital comic work, had I done any animation work, would I be interested in doing freelance work again….the list goes on. Everything he asked me, I had done when I freelanced for six years. Six years of struggling to pay my school loans (I’m still paying them off), having to move back and live with my folks in my late thirties, and trying to develop a customer base. In reality, it was all just bad timing. The economy had just tanked as I re-entered academia life and it was in the toilet when I left school. I had to fight everyday for work during those “freelance” days and it wasn’t enough to support myself.

Everyday as I sit at my desk at my current job, I keep thinking about comic/illustration work. My time sitting on my rump is time I’m not spending doing my passion projects and it’s a little disturbing. However, Julie and I need to pay bills and eat. My passion projects must stay in the background and I shouldn’t be bothered by it. I’m not the only person in the world that life has done this to.

It was also at this convention that I met Carmelo Chimera. Perhaps you have heard of him. If not, here are some research facts. Carmelo’s bio claims he has a LAW degree. He runs his own comic book stores in the suburbs of Chicago. He has done a national promotion for GIVING away one of his comic book stores. FOR FREE! (Look him up!)

magnificent_cover
Cover to The Magnificent written by Carmelo Chimera

He took nine years to finish his graphic novel, The Magnificent (a graphic novel he signed and I have finished reading by the way. Check it out here!), and has successfully ran three Kickstarter promotions. And he asked me if I would be interested in doing something with him. Well, not in so many words.

When we exchanged books per my suggestion (I tend to do this with other artist/writers to get a glimpse of the independent community’s’ work. Plus I am a nerd and like to collect comics. The trading of books has led to owning signed works from MANY underground artist BEFORE they became FAMOUS. More on this some other time) he flipped through my portfolio that houses some of my “practice/throw away” original pieces that I have for sale. I was given some nice compliments (Thanks, Carmelo) and he asked if I ever did other work besides my own. How much do I charge to do page work? I was thrown back by his questions. How much do I charge?? I haven’t even thought about it in over a decade.

As we conversed further, I told him that my work on a project was contingent on if I felt passionate enough for the work. If I don’t feel a connection to a project, the work suffers and I would only work on something that I felt passionate about. He mentioned a short work he had been working on that he felt might fit my style. I told him to send a sample my way.

One thing to note: I was definitely complimented by the inquires. For years now I have been thinking about finding like minded artists and putting together new work. This convention seems again to be timing as these past few days, the thought of doing a new collaboration sounds interesting and exciting to me. Could a new beginning start once again for IF Comics in Peoria as it did 28 years ago? We’ll see what the future holds.

(Missed our previous posts on our original Sleeping in Panels blog? Visit the FIRST Sleeping in Panels blog here!)

 

Conventions

Peoria Quad Con time!

Looking for something to do before Easter? Come to Peoria IL for the FIRST Peoria Quad Con at the RiverPlex Arena on April 20th, 2019! There will be panels, comic book vendors, artists, and much more! Looking to buy comic books? Come on over! Looking to sell comics? Come on over! Want to get signed copies of original art or independent graphic novels? Then look up our staff! IF Comics staff will be participating in this new event. In fact, there has been so much hype already, an OCTOBER 2019 SHOW HAS ALREADY BEEN PROMISED!

Batman in the Rain
A piece Anthony is working on for viewing and purchase at the Peoria Quad Con

We (IF Comics) don’t do too many shows these days due to most of the prominent shows take place up north (Chicagoland) and it costs a fortune just to get there before you even set foot in the door! (See our previous blog on the subject: Attending Conventions?) However, this show looks extremely promising for Central Illinois pop culture fans. ONLY $3 to get in! FREE Parking! The RiverPlex is by the ILLINOIS RIVER! AND you get to VISIT with the elusive IF Comics Staff.

Still think $3 is too much to pay to get your favorite IF Comics work signed? Then visit these fine establishments listed below to receive a coupon for $1 DOLLAR OFF admission!

Acme Comic & Books
2218 W Glen Ave
Peoria, IL 61614

The Zone
521 Court St
Pekin, IL 61554

Once you get your coupon then it will only be $2 to get your missing IF Comics merch signed! WHAT A DEAL! It’s almost like it’s a no brainer, right?

IF Comics Books for sale!Check out the links below for more info. Want to get your IF Comics books ahead of time to bring to the convention to be autographed? Click on IF Comics website link for more info!

RiverPlex Arena
600 NE Water St.
Peoria IL 61603
10am-4pm
$3 entry

https://quadcitycon.com/
https://www.facebook.com/coolstuffquadcon
https://www.ifcomics.com
https://www.facebook.com/ifcomics/

 

Banned Books, Uncategorized

Ban them. Ban them ALL! NOT!

 

Visit: http://www.ifcomics.com/events for more information.