Comics Finding Success with Kickstarter

In the economic climate of today’s comics industry, where distribution is often the only thing a creator requires a big company to do, the actual production and creative costs of comics is increasingly funded by Kickstarter. The company’s general publishing category reports that the number of publishing projects on Kickstarter increased to $22.2 million pledged in 2013, compared with $15.3 million in 2012, a substantial one-year increase. And comics, though they have a 50% success rate on Kickstarter, are the fourth most successful category of crowd-funded projects on Kickstarter altogether, behind dance (70%) theater (64%) and music (55%). Most probably presume the next largest category would be film, but the large interest in, and success with, comics funding demonstrates something about the crowdfunding audience.

Comics, like music, seem to hit the “sweet spot” for Kickstarter funding, with budgets low enough to be met and yet audience support high enough to meet a sometimes substantial goal. The challenge, as with most Kickstarter projects, is creating an audience for a product that does not yet exist. Comics creators have many challenges, and the economic model will no doubt continue to be mostly working “on spec”, even when the work is supported by a big company like Image. But Kickstarter works for comics in a way that it doesn’t for any other literary property, including magazines and novels. There’s something about comics that people still love enough to fork over money based on promises and some sample artwork. Given how much, and how fast, the distribution models for comics are changing, this is a welcome bit of good news. With Kickstarter and crowd-sourcing, comics are well positioned to continue as an important 21st century medium.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Independent scholar Ian Dawe has been writing for Sequart since November 2013. Before that, he had a mixed background, initially in science (Molecular Biology and Biochemistry), where he earned an MSc from Simon Fraser University and then an MA in Film from the University of Exeter in the UK. He spent a decade teaching at the college level, delivering courses in Genetics, Biochemistry, Cell Biology, Biological Anthropology and Film History. His academic work includes peer-reviewed papers on the work of Alan Moore, Harvey Pekar for Studies in Comics and a dissertation on Terry Gilliam for the University of Exeter. He has presented papers at several major academic conferences including Slayage 2014, Magus: Transdisciplinary Approaches to the Work of Alan Moore in 2010 (in the wizard's hometown of Northampton), Comics Rock and the International Conference of the Humanities in 2012, and at the Southwest Popular Culture Association Conference in Albuquerque, New Mexico in 2014 and 2015. He has contributed to several books, including a chapter about the TV show Archer in "James Bond and Popular Culture" and two chapters on Breaking Bad for "Breaking Bad and Masculinity", both now available from McFarland. At Sequart, he has authored a chapter for New Life and New Civiliations: Exploring Star Trek Comics, A Long Time Ago and two more upcoming books on Star Wars comics. He has also contributed to books on Alan Moore and 1970s Horror Comics. He is currently planning a full-length book on Better Call Saul. Ian currently lives in Vancouver, BC.

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Also by Ian Dawe:

A More Civilized Age: Exploring the Star Wars Expanded Universe

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A Galaxy Far, Far Away: Exploring Star Wars Comics

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A Long Time Ago: Exploring the Star Wars Cinematic Universe

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New Life and New Civilizations: Exploring Star Trek Comics

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