Julian Darius, Sequart’s Founder, on his Sci-Fi Comic Kickstarter

Julian Darius, the founder of Sequart Organization, is also a comics writer. His heady sci-fi comic, Martian Comics, is currently on Kickstarter with a 52-page special.

Martian Comics #3
CODY WALKER: For the uninitiated, what is the story behind Martian Comics?

JULIAN DARIUS: The initial story, entitled “The Girl from Mars,” is about a female undergrad who thinks she’s possessed by a Martian, whose life Izzy is seeing. It’s an alien invasion of a sort, but it’s an invasion of the soul. It’s a metaphor for youth disaffection and alienation, especially in a gendered and corporate culture. And unlike almost every other mind control or possession story you’ve ever seen, Izzy struggles to adjust to quotidian life on Earth and even human bodies. She and her sister get summoned to a corporate headquarters in Texas, ostensibly because of a weird YouTube video Izzy posted while not understanding humans at a party. We’re about to find out that this C.E.O. is a Martian, and he’s detected Izzy, and he’s been here for a while.

While we’re continuing this story, we’re also running back-ups. I can’t resist; I’ve got all these stories in my head that take place throughout Martian history.

There’s a long-term plan here. I’ve had a map of the entirety of “The Girl from Mars” since issue #1. I know how everything’s going to be collected, and how these back-up stories will grow and reveal whole strains throughout Martian and human history. There’s a vast plan here, and it’s fun and smart and insanely bold. But we can’t get to it, because I’ve almost maxed out my credit cards doing all of this, and we need a cash infusion to finish issue #3. Hence, this Kickstarter campaign.

WALKER: The description for the project says that Martian Comics is trying to capture the feel of early Vertigo comics. What defines that era for you?

DARIUS: Martian Comics has been really hard to pitch to people. It’s a sci-fi comic, but it’s this weird literary thing that’s more concerned with history and explorations of otherness than action tropes buildings blowing up. We’re doing some things with science fiction that have never been done before, in any medium. “The Girl from Mars” stars a female college student, and it winds up exploring corporatism, how we decide to love each other or brands, how we’re distant from each other, and some other complex stuff you can’t put on a notecard. I can put the plot on a notecard, but the plot’s a bit like “crazy author housesits a hotel” — it doesn’t capture the spirit of what we’re doing. Even then, the story’s bigger than this initial story, with these lines of subjects and characters that run throughout human and Martian history, very little of which we’ve shown people yet. And what people seem to want is “oh, it’s a cyborg gorilla… got it.”

Really, this is a comic that has no business existing, especially in the current market that feels like it’s dominated by “badass” characters and imagery.

So what we’re selling isn’t a character. It also isn’t a plot, like “aliens invade” or “an ancient artifact is discovered that bestows super-powers.” What we’re selling is a certain tone, in which history and philosophy and literary qualities are welcome parts of a comic book. We’re reminded people that comics can do this, even genre comics as weird and retro as those about Martians.

I keep coming back to early Vertigo, because I think that was the heyday of this kind of tone. Vertigo really grew out of Alan Moore’s work on Swamp Thing, and that infusion of literary values into a horror comic. That grew through stuff like Grant Morrison’s Animal Man and Doom Patrol, Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman, and Jamie Delano’s Hellblazer. These are all classic comics to me, but they were smart and literary takes on genre characters. People sometimes forget that a lot of those early Vertigo stories were genre stories, and most of them were set in the same universe.

Early Vertigo occupied this space between standard, largely super-hero comics and the indy, largely black-and-white comics of the time that favored genres like autobiography. Vertigo was this weird place that wanted to do genre comics but wanted them written as well as any novel. Vertigo aspired to that. And it delivered, more often than not.

Martian Comics really harkens back to that era and to this blend of genre comics and a kind of literary intelligence that was ambitious in its intentions and often in its scope. And that’s really what the Vertigo brand stood for. There was no one genre, no easily pitched plots. But there was this same kind of tone, this promise that we’re going to make smart comics, that aspire to do ambitious and literary things with different genres.

How do you boil The Sandman down to a simple pitch? It was another revival of an old, unused super-hero, reinvented as a god who was the King of Dreams and kind of looked like the lead singer of the Cure. The initial storyline was “after being held captive for almost a century, the God of Dreams goes looking for three objects that were taken from him.” There’s no compelling core character, no easy plot to pitch. But there’s so much intelligence on display. It’s more about these literary stories, and their subtleties, than fight scenes. And we know that stories that took place throughout history came to be as compelling as the main narrative.

And it’s because Sandman did all these things that it’s so beloved today. Yet no one’s imitating this. No one’s saying, “Okay, you can do this with comics. You can weave this mythology spanning all of history with a genre character. Now, let’s take this one step further.” Like, maybe we can alter issue and story lengths, even more than Sandman did. Maybe we can learn from subsequent things, like decompression, WildStorm’s use of color, and the kind of universe-building that we see in the Marvel movies. And maybe we can do science fiction, because one of the curiosities of early Vertigo is that it didn’t do a lot of sci-fi.

I didn’t set out to make Martian Comics the sci-fi Sandman that never was. I simply grew up with these ambitious comics, so that their devices are part of my vocabulary. I also loved genre stories and the idea of elevating them with these literary techniques. I loved some old-school super-hero stuff and some black-and-white stuff, but early Vertigo was my personal comfort zone. Back then, it was very wedded to the idea of advancing comics — to elevate their literary values without jetisoning the genre aspects. The idea was to take genre comics, whether super-heroes or not, and make them so good that they could sit comfortably on the bookshelf next to any literary classic. And I feel like that dream has kind of died, or at least like no one’s doing it anymore.

Please don’t get me wrong. I love a ton of comics published since. I’ve written books about some of them! Maybe people felt like they couldn’t beat Sandman, so they went in less literary directions. Grant Morrison, Jamie Delano, and Peter Milligan kept doing some very literary stuff, but more action-packed stuff sold better. By 2000 or so, comics were in a new heyday, dominated by glorious computer-colored artwork and smart super-hero stories at WildStorm and Quesada’s Marvel. Soon, the influence of super-hero movies added a further preference for action spectacles. But that was more of a super-hero heyday, rather than a comics heyday overall. Interestingly, a lot of the best ones had some kind of literary or historical bent, like Planetary’s initial exploration of different genres in each issue and incorporation of pulp history. And there are undoubtedly several good comics, including genre ones, at Image and at other publishers. But they’re not quite in that Vertigo sweet spot.

So Martian Comics didn’t start as an homage to Vertigo or anything. It was as influenced by 2000AD and other British anthologies like Warrior. There’s a lot of Miracleman in Martian Comics, which shouldn’t surprise people who know my comics scholarship. But if you look at that first chapter of “The Girl from Mars,” it’s very Grant Morrison, filtered with some Philip K. Dick themes and an Alan Moore-esque focus on structural details. The next chapter’s very much like one of those Sandman issues where you follow a character through her daily routine, and you see how a bizarre genre situation plays out in quotidian life. There are a lot of other influences at work, but the historical back-ups are very much like Sandman, albeit filtered through stuff like 2000AD or The Last Temptation of Christ. Anyway, it was while reading the issues and talking with people about them that I realized the easiest way of explaining what in the world they were to an outsider might be to recall this heady early Vertigo period, which kind of philosophically embodied a lot of what I personally wanted comics to do.

WALKER: One of the main aspects of Martian Comics is the history of Earth through the eyes of Martians. How are the human and Martian cultures connected in your mind and work?

DARIUS: One of the key principles of science fiction, at least since the 1960s, is the idea that you can’t assume alien planets have human values or even human bodies. Before this shift, you could kind of just depict aliens as humans in weird dress, and they could basically have the same values as 1950s America. Their idea of privacy was the same. Their cars might fly and be called something different, but they interacted with their cars in the same way. There might be superficial differences, usually for dramatic purposes, such as aliens having an absolute monarchy. But they were culturally and psychologically the same as the West at the time those stories were written.

After this changed, you couldn’t get away with that anymore. Aliens would be different, even radically different, and this allowed you to question aspects of human culture, or see them in a different light. An awful lot of the best science fiction is predicated upon this basic observation. Solaris is entirely about how aliens would be incomprehensible to humans. 2001 is largely about how a sophisticated interstellar species would be beyond human comprehension. Filter that down, and you can see how some aliens in Star Trek are basically just humans. But a lot of the best Star Trek episodes are based on how the humans can’t adapt to particular cultural practices of certain aliens.

Comics were largely behind the times. Kryptonians looked like humans, and when we got stories set on Krypton, in the 1950s, they looked like characters out of Buck Rogers. Sure, they had wacky stuff like volcanos with lava made of gold, or whatever, but they basically had 1950s American values, albeit placed into a futuristic utopia. In the 1960s, you got the Green Lantern Corps, and they were basically just humans with different skin colors and hair. The 1978 Superman movie was key here, because it presented a truly alien Krypton, in which technological advance had led to this very austere, sexless, minimalistic culture.

Alan Moore’s Green Lantern stories are key for me too. They’re not great on their own, but they kind of suggest how the Green Lantern Corps might have been written well. Moore had already kind of explored this with Warpsmith in Warrior, where the Warpsmiths’ culture and bodies weren’t like our own, and their masters (the equivalent of the Oans / Guardians of the Universe) were super bizarre and beyond our short-term moral thinking. In his two most famous Green Lantern stories, Alan Moore created Mogo, a Green Lantern who was a planet who seemed to communicate through changing his foliage and tree cover. “Mogo Doesn’t Socialize” was very much a 2000AD story, with a Future Shock-esque twist ending, and it has a huge hole in that the hunter doesn’t see the planet as he arrives, which would spoil the ending. However, it played with the idea that some Green Lanterns would be really different. Moore’s “In Blackest Night” is a deeper story. It’s about a Green Lantern recruit in an area with no light, so that he doesn’t have a sense of sight. Of course, there would be aliens like this, and it’s silly to assume the cosmos would be filled with aliens with our own senses, balanced pretty much like they are in us. Brilliantly, Moore realizes this recruit wouldn’t understand much of the Green Lantern oath he’s taught, so he has to be given translations that are his cultural equivalents. There’s another timeline that exists only in my mind in which Moore had a major run on Green Lantern, and Green Lantern would have been infinitely better for it. These are imperfect stories, but they point to how Green Lantern might be written, were it written by someone who understands what’s a very basic principle of science fiction.

This idea that aliens should be, well, alien isn’t simply a demand of the genre today, nor a way of bowing to realism. Because we always write stories that mirror our own culture and own own civilization. The Greek imagined gods on Mount Olympus who were basically Greeks and didn’t have air conditioning, but they used the gods to tell stories about the raw nature of power, the destructiveness of war, and the consequences of sexual desire. When we write aliens as truly alien, we make space for difference. An alien culture with odd practices is always inevitably a stand-in for a foreign culture with practices that are, to us, odd. The alien is the gay, the transgendered, the Muslim, the Jew, the outsider. Through their eyes, we’re able to understand ourselves better and see how much we take for granted that is really rather strange, when you think about it. But we also learn to tolerate the different, to see through different eyes, rather than force the alien into our own cultural molds. So the idea that aliens should be different, and that these differences inform our stories, is really just a basic humanitarian idea.

What makes this more frustrating to me is that this idea wasn’t invented in the 1960s. It’s there in Voltaire, who has aliens who are gigantic visit Earth and comment on the absurdity of Voltaire’s own society. And it’s both devastating and funny, much in the way his Candide is devastating and funny.

In a way, Martian Comics is shockingly retro. Mars doesn’t sell anymore, in science fiction. Even the title of the series kind of recalls 1950s pulp sci-fi and even older comics titles like Action Comics or Sensation Comics. However, I want to reinvent these traditions, rather than just doing a retro Flash Gordon kind of thing. And I’m very interested in having the Martians being recognizable, so that they’re meaningful to us, but still rather alien.

Martian Comics is obsessed with Otherness. Permutations of that idea inform almost every story I’ve written or plan to write for the series.

Key to “The Girl from Mars” is the idea that this Martian finds life in 21st-century industrialized human state like a vacation. Compared to Mars, it’s like a desert island. It’s primitive, and people seem so connected in a way that this Martian feels she’s missing on Mars. It’s funny, because we think of our lives as so hectic. They’re filled with cellphones and social media, and we feel like every hour of our days is carved up and allocated. And here’s this Martian, to whom this is like people using smoke signals, or concerned about the telegraph. And people were concerned about the telegraph. We’re also so worried about grades, and all these petty things that signal accomplishment in our society, and we feel like our lives would be over if we failed. And here’s this Martian, to whom people sitting in a class and learning things Martian children know seems so real and like something these humans should totally chill about. And I think these are important messages, because we worry way too much and even hate ourselves about things that are really kind of silly, when you take an objective standpoint. At the same time, we forget that people thought the telegraph was a threat to civilization, but we think cellphones are a threat to human connection, and eventually we’ll be like Martians who think their technology is making them too busy and disconnected from “real” experience.

As far as how the relationship between human and Martian cultures go, it’s tricky, and it’s evolved over time. In “Girl from Mars,” you kind of get the sense that Martians are benevolent towards humans, but in a really patronizing way. They think of us as animals, and they want good things for us, and they kind of fetishize our primitivism. So there’s this double-edged sword there, in which we’re not shown stereotypical evil Martian invaders, but they can’t help but look down on us in a way that’s not entirely comfortable.

The issue that’s on Kickstarter now opens with a short story that depicts Mars landing on one of its own moons for the first time. It’s the dawn of the Martian space age. And it’s established in that story that humans are still making cave paintings at the time.

It’s just a short story, but I think it’s great in how it forces us to contemplate this Martian Other as having a history. We always often see aliens zipping between planets, but we almost never imagine them making their first, tenuous steps into space. Science fiction is filled with stories of humans getting into space and colonizing planets. Here, we invert that, so that we’re watching this alien Other make those steps while we’re comparatively helpless.

Similarly, we typically get alien civilizations that have a single status quo. Aliens often have a single defining trait. And their relationship with humans rarely evolves, or it evolves very radically only in the story that’s being told. Instead, in Martian Comics, a very long period of exploitation follows them coming to Earth. Humans were another Earth animal. Not every Martian exploited Earth, but some Martians saw the exploitation of Earth almost as a Martian birthright. Earth was theirs. They still think that way, but their idea of how humans should be treated has evolved. History bent towards justice.

We’ll see this evolution in later stories. But essentially, Mars entered a period of decolonization, in which it switched to influencing humans indirectly, through the projection device you see in “The Girl from Mars.” They’re trying to enlighten us, in various ways, and largely failing. It’s still a sort of colonization, if you will, but it’s a kind of cultural imperialism. With the best of intentions. As part of this plan, Martians aren’t supposed to go physically to Earth, at least as a normal thing, or let humans know Martians exist.

The next big paradigm shift came recently, when Mars decided to cloak itself. Essentially, humans progressed to the point of having their own space age, but they’re obviously not unified and can’t be trusted as partners. Earth evolves the ability to detect life on Mars, but this decolonization and enlightenment program hasn’t yet succeeded. So Mars has no choice but to cloak itself from our view.

Not all Martians are happy with this, and there’s resentment in some circles, and in some Martian cities, that this old policy has logically led to the superior planet having to hide itself. Throughout Martian history, not everyone is unified, and I’m talking here about broad historical strokes. Martians are diverse, and has different subcultures. It’s not a single, bizarrely uniform alien society. It’s an evolving thing.

However, one of the key rules of the series is that no story set in the past can have led to a present different from our own. In other words, humans in 2015 in Martian Comics are basically humans in our own world. There’s no Atlantis that we somehow haven’t discovered, despite mapping the ocean floor. The continents are the continents, you know? Also, I’m reluctant to minimize human achievement, the way a lot of “aliens landed on Earth in the past” stories tend to do. In Martian Comics #1, the Martian jokes about how humans didn’t need aliens to build the Pyramids. There are points at which Mars influenced human history, as their enlightenment program suggests, but I don’t like the way History Channel documentaries pretend we couldn’t do anything as a species without alien help.

Whether the Earth of Martian Comics will evolve, after 2015, differently than our own world is up for grabs. But while I want to explore our history, I want to do so in a deeper ways than “aliens did this!”

I know all of this is really going to sound pretentious to some readers. But it’s really just that the series is ambitious and thought-out. The truth is, you can read these issues, and these various stories, and you’ll appreciate them on their own terms. They’re not hard to understand. This is just the kind of work I feel like I have to do, in order to conceptualize what it is that I’m doing. At the end of the day, it’s the stories that count, and I think they’re fun and accessible stories that hopefully make you think. But you don’t have to know any of this to understand or appreciate them. And that’s super important to me. I believe in accessible writing, even if some of these stories can be real mindfucks.

Martian Comics #1

WALKER: The first two issues were 26 pages and 28 pages respectively, what is the reasoning behind making issue #3 double the length?

DARIUS: The short answer is, I wanted to. And I can.

By the way, both issues #1 and #2 are available on ComiXology. And they will break the internet.

The long answer is, I had a lot of these back-up Martian stories written, which were intended to run alongside chapters of “The Girl from Mars.” These back-ups don’t belong to “The Girl from Mars” and are really part of subsequent arcs (and sub-arcs), the main one being the comic’s second arc, which is a huge short story collection with its own sweep. It’s kind of how Sandman would alternate between present-day narrative arcs and short story collections. It’s a little daunting, because I’m writing multiple narrative arcs simultaneously, but I can’t resist writing these other tales. I just love them, and they’re really fun.

Issue #1 had a single five-page back-up, and issue #2 had a 13-page back-up, which was kind of sequel to the first one. Originally, issue #3 was only going to have three very short stories, which would have together run eight pages, following the 16 pages of “Girl from Mars.” That would have made a 22-page third issue — shorter than the first two issues. But the back-up for issue #4 was longer — it wound up running 17 pages on its own. And I knew the “Girl from Mars” chapter in issue #4 was going to be extra long. So I decided to shift that 17-page story into issue #3. Besides, I wrote those four back-ups simultaneously, around the time we were finishing issue #1, and I really wanted to get them out there.

Also, I dig big issues like this anyway. Especially given how comics have become more decompressed, 20-page installments often feel too bite-sized for me. I had actually planned a big issue like this, but not until later.

So now I had an issue #3 that was 41 pages: the next 16 pages of “Girl from Mars” and 25 pages of Martian stories. Cool. Except that now there were more back-up pages than “Girl from Mars” pages. So I decided to reverse the order and put the back-ups first, so that everything was in chronological order, with “Girl from Mars” (which takes place basically in the present) at the end. This would also lead nicely into the big “Girl from Mars” story in issue #4.

I spent way too much time meditating over this structure, and I realized that it opened nicely, then shifted to that 17-page short. Then the reader would have read two very short stories, and then the 16 pages of “Girl from Mars.” It felt a little haphazard to me. I wanted it to read like the reader was going on a journey, however brief, through Martian history, and the chronological jump between those two back-to-back very short stories basically leapt over all of human history. I had a few stories written that took place in this period, but none of them fit.

From a purely practical standpoint, I really didn’t want to make the issue. It means you’re collecting and paying for more artwork before anyone sees anything or buys anything, and a regular-sized issue is more than enough of a strain for a shoestring-budget publisher like me. Also, you probably want to keep the issues coming, and making them bigger means it takes longer for the next issue to appear.

Like I said, I spent way too much time thinking about this, and I realized that I had another problem. Readers only got a 5-page back-up in issue #1, and although the back-up in issue #2 was 13 pages, it followed directly from the one in issue #1. There was a flow there. Now, I was preparing to throw readers into an issue with 25 pages of these back-ups, and they were going to open the issue, instead of actually being back-ups. And these stories had nothing to do with the previous couple back-ups, except that one short story was Biblical in theme.

And that’s when I hit upon the solution. Issue #1’s back-up kind of led nicely into the introduction of Lazarus in issue #2’s back-up. I had other Lazarus stories in mind. I knew what the next one would be. It would take place precisely where I wanted another story for issue #3, chronologically. Yes, it would make issue #3 even more unwieldy, but it would connect these stories in issue #3 to the ones in issue #1 and #2. Readers would know where those previous couple stories took place and be able to set them easily into this big tour of Martian history. Every story from issues #1 and #2 could be placed without any real effort between these stories in issue #3. So instead of issue #3 feeling like a bunch of Martian stories without previous context, it would kind of subsume everything previous and place it within this historical framework.

So I wrote that next Lazarus story. It worked out great, and I’m really proud of it. It runs 11 pages, which brought issue #3 up to 52 pages — double the size of our first issue.

How cool is that? What series has a big third issue that kind of expands the scope like this? It’s crazy, but it’s pretty awesome.

And it evolved this way precisely to make issue #3 be the best, most complete, mind-blowing reader experience it could be. That was more important than being practical.

Unfortunately, this was so cool that I ran out of space on my credit cards, late in the process. And thus I’m on Kickstarter, looking to cover the remaining coloring and lettering costs.

WALKER: For this issue, you’ve brought in two more artists. Where did you find them? Why bring in more artists?

DARIUS: I always wanted to have different artists working on those back-ups. Our main artist, Sergio Tarquini, would have been willing to tackle them, and I knew he could have nailed these stories. But I wanted these stories to have different artists attached, in order to reflect their diversity. I also wanted to keep Sergio focused on “The Girl from Mars,” which I really want to have the same artistic team all the way through.

For issue #3, I wanted Sergio to illustrate the two Biblical stories, along with the two new “Girl from Mars” chapters, since they flowed from what he’d already illustrated in the first two issues. Like I said, I’m a fan of artistic consistency, and Sergio turned in some utterly beautiful work. All together, he illustrated 30 pages in issue #3. He did all 26 pages in issue #1, all 28 in issue #2, and now 30 in issue #3. And if we can get funded, the plan is for issue #4 to have 32 pages illustrated by Sergio. It’s odd that this is such a perfect progression, and it wasn’t planned that way. Anyway, the point is that issue #3 doesn’t feature less of Sergio’s work. In fact, it features more.

This still left 22 pages (a standard issue!) and three stories that I needed artists for. Two of these stories mirror each other and needed to have the same artist. Fortunately, they only totalled five pages.

Late last year, as Sergio was starting to turn in pages for issue #3, I was talking with Markisan Naso, who’s written for Sequart, about his own comic, entitled Voracious, which he writes and Jason Muhr illustrates. I’d actually seen some panels from it on Facebook and been really wowed by the artwork, even though it was out of context. Markisan sent me a few issues, and I loved it. I hesitated to ask, because I didn’t want to delay production on Voracious, but I really wanted to get Jason Muhr to do these back-ups. Fortunately, he had a window of opportunity, and he agreed to produce these five pages. He turned in fantastic work, right on time, and I love him for it.

This only left “Safari,” which was a big 17 pages. I actually didn’t find an artist for them until early this year. I approached an artist with whom I’d long wanted to work. He said he would do it, but he’d recently been offered an IDW comic and wouldn’t be able to get to “Safari” for months. It was through him that I found Mansjur Daman, who’s a comics legend in Indonesia. I’d never heard of him before, but I was immediately wowed. He agreed to do the story, and I’m thrilled with the result.

WALKER: The $26 reward is a print edition of the comic that won’t be printed again. What’s the motivation behind not printing this after the Kickstarter?

DARIUS: It’s the edition that won’t be printed again. I suspect the material will eventually see print again, but it’ll be in a very different form, and I have no idea when this will be.

Back when we did the Kickstarter for issue #1, I was adamant about not doing print. I have nothing against it, but it’s expensive and time consuming. I was asking for the absolute minimum to get the issue finished, and I would have had to ask for more to pay for printing costs. But lots of people wanted print. So for this Kickstarter, I realized I had to give people what they wanted. But I decided that, instead of printing all three issues, or simply issue #3, I’d just do a single print edition: a trade paperback collecting all three issues. Because they’re all (especially issue #3) longer than a normal comic, this works out to 106 pages of comics, plus extras. As you know, the cost of printing drops, on a per-page basis, and a single 106-page book made a lot more sense to me than printing three separate issues.

So what you have with this printed edition is the very first time these issues have seen print. It’s kind of like Martian Comics Year One, since by the time issue #3 sees print, it’ll be about a year from when we published issue #1 digitally. Or you could consider it Martian Comics Print Edition #1, because it won’t exist digitally. We just made it for our fans, because they wanted print, and it’ll obviously be a limited edition that will never be printed again.

My current plans call for the ultimate home of this material to be in three separate collections, which I’m writing simultaneously, and each of these will be pretty big volumes. The first of these is “The Girl from Mars,” but only a fraction of this will be complete at the end of issue #3. This is a very long-term plan, and I don’t want to get into it in too much detail, for fear of jinxing it, but also because it’s just so far away, and all of this is utterly mad on my part, utterly unprecedented, and here we are in 2015 struggling to fund issue #3.

Personally, I wouldn’t mind getting those omnibus collections in hardcover on my shelf. But we are years away from this.

In the meantime, print is currently something we’re doing exclusively for our fans on Kickstarter. Our fans asked for print, so we’re doing it for them.

If we do another Kickstarter, who knows? I could see doing a print collection of issues #4-6 or something, to complement this one. I don’t know.

I do know there will never be another collection of the first three issues.

WALKER: What are some stretch goals that you have for your project?

DARIUS: More content, first digitally for everyone who pledges $11 and then added into the trade paperback.

It’s even theoretically possible that we could give all of issue #4 to everyone who pledges $11 or more and include the whole issue in the trade paperback. But for that, we’d need to exceed our goal by several thousand dollars.

I’d certainly love for this to happen, because it would mean we could keep production rolling and help us avoid having to come back to Kickstarter for later issues.

But right now, I don’t know for certain that we’ll make our goal. I’m currently thinking it’s likely, because we’ve got some time to go, but we’re not at 50% yet. So I’ve got some awesome stretch goals in mind, but we’ll see.

I do want to thank everyone who’s backed the project and pushed it on Twitter and Facebook. I know I won’t forget how much they have warmed my heart during some of the tough days of the campaign. Thank you so much!

You can find the project on Kickstarter here. You can keep up with the project on Twitter with @MartianLit and @MartianComics, on Facebook with Martian Lit and Martian Comics, and on Google+. And if you sign up for the Martian Lit mailing list, Martian Lit will give you a free PDF book!

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Cody Walker graduated from Missouri State University with a Bachelors and a Masters of Science in Education. He is the author of the pop culture website PopgunChaos.com and the co-creator of the crime comic NoirCityComicBook.com . He currently teaches English in Springfield, Missouri.

See more, including free online content, on .

Also by Cody Walker:

New Life and New Civilizations: Exploring Star Trek Comics


The Anatomy of Zur-en-Arrh: Understanding Grant Morrison\'s Batman


Keeping the World Strange: A Planetary Guide

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