Liberty is a comic book series that focuses on character interaction, social morality, & gritty realistic fights.
What is Liberty?
Liberty is a comic book series about a revolution taking place in the colony of Atrius. The story focuses on the life of Tertulius "TJ" Justus, the lead actor on a government propaganda broadcast that everyone believes is real. For reasons beyond his control, TJ is fired and while an episode depicting his fictitious death is aired to the public the government kidnaps him and schedules a secret execution (to further maintain that the show is real). Through a series of fortunate events, TJ is able to escape prison with an idealist who convinces TJ that their leader, an eccentric tyrant known as "Mayor" Grimm, needs to be stopped. With no friends and nowhere else to go, TJ uses the only talent he has, his ability to stretch the truth, to put together a makeshift brigade of gun-runners, ex-cons, and gangers to overthrow Grimm. The series will focus on character interaction, social morality, realistic fight sequences, and the gritty city of Atrius.
Atrius is a large colony on a planet cut off from the rest of the universe. A few months after the first wave of construction workers lost contact with humanity they began to fight for control and split Atrius apart in a series of riots. Vastly outnumbered by anarchists and looters, the police were able to wrestle control over a small yet defensible position later known as the "Inner City". Too afraid of unifying the anarchist factions through action, the Citizens of the inner city simply waited & watched as those beyond lost their humanity. As decades became centuries, the people forgot their true history and the technology surrounding them became foreign. The Inner City is still in control of most of the colony's resources thanks to a complex web of military organizations run by Mayor Grimm. These benefits come at the cost of basic freedoms, but the Inner City citizens believe it to be a better fate than that of the savage cannibals that occupy what are known as "The Fringes". While countless gangs and warlords have come and gone in The Fringes, the Inner City has only ever had one leader... The ever-present Mayor Grimm.
"Where Does The Money Go?"
Every penny we receive from this Kickstarter will go directly into creative & production costs to create the entire 15 issue sereis. What are those costs exactly? Well, let's start by assuming that you want to consistently put 20+ hours a week into a project, say... sketching a comic book for the next few years and want to make the equivalent of minimum wage so you can avoid getting a second job (already having a primary job) that would take your free time away. Next let's estimate that it takes 20 hours to sketch 5 pages and that each issue is 24 pages.
For simplicity, let's say it's roughly 5 weeks for 1 issue to be sketched because you need to take into account conceptual work, framing, and initial revisions. Even putting in 20 hours a week it will take you a full 19 months to finish sketching a 15 issue series! So if you work 20 hours at $8 an hour, creating 5 pages a week, for 5 weeks per issue, and create 15 issues that means that you would be looking at $12,000 for over a year and a half of work for the sketches alone! That makes us the quintessential 'starving artists' you've been hearing about. As our sketching process is fairly detailed there is less work to be done on the inking side. We still expect to take 3.5 weeks per issue to successfully ink, add text/lettering, and revise everything (est. $560 per issue or $8400 for just shy of another year of work). Add the cost of inks and sketches together and that's why we're looking at a $20,400 goal to create the series. For examples of other projects we've produced please check out our Biography.
Unlock: $30,000 - Faster Coloring and A Pen & Paper System: So what would we do with $30,000? We'd invest part of the money into a solid color artist who would work simultaneously with the inking process, greatly speeding up production. This would make us insanely happy and we'd like to make it worth your while in the following ways:
1. An earlier release date for the series by roughly a year. (Est. Monthly releases starting Nov. 2013)
2. I'll personally strive to finish a fully fleshed out D20 pen and paper system for the Atrius world (The rules system is a sort of Pathfinder meets Mouse Guard) complete with lots of colorful back story and a built-in campaign. The Game Book Beta would be available early in a Digital form (pdf) to anyone who donates at the COLLECTOR level or above. More information on the system I'm creating can be found at the bottom of this page.
Unlock: $40,000 - Basic Self-Publishing: With $40,000 we could pay for a limited print run of the first few issues in the series and could self publish! This would be the spark we need to get the series started as independent artists without the need for a publisher. If we hit this goal every person who donated at the FRINGER level or above will receive issues 2 & 3 in a signed physical form as well, AND every person who donated at the COLLECTOR level and above will receive the first 5 issues in a signed physical form!
Unlock: $50,000 - Fully Self Published: With $50,000 we could afford a limited print run of the entire series and put together a serious national marketing campaign. This means we'd be on shelves across the nation and in select countries abroad (France, Japan, etc)! In addition, we'll put together a VERY SPECIAL DIGITAL RELEASE of the series, complete with a fully voiced cast, sound effects, background music, and some basic animation! If we hit this goal and are able to self-publish, every person who donated at the FRINGER level or above will receive the first 5 issues in a signed physical form, AND every person who donated at the COLLECTOR level and above will receive the first 10 issues in a signed physical form!
"Why create all 15 issues at the same time?"
Consistency and necessity. If we worked on the series episodically, completing each individual issue from start to finish, it would take roughly 3 months to complete each issue and in the comic book industry a quarterly release (once every 3 months) is pretty much suicide for an unknown writer/artist wishing to gain a following. Because we don't wish to hire on additional sketch/ink artists and can't afford to take on a color artist at this time, this is the best time frame we can hope to consistently achieve for the duration of the series. Therefore it's logical for us to look at creating the entire series at once. Our process reflects the notion that if we sketch, revise, ink, revise, and color the entire series in order everything will be uniform, cuts & bruises will carry over, language, posture, and clothing will remain consistent throughout the series, and the characters will be that much more real. As the same characters are drawn for 20 hours a week our artwork will also dramatically improve by the time we reach the ink phase. That can only benefit the finished product.
"Just how much detail has gone into creating this series?"
September marks the 8th year developing the world, characters, and story that makes up Liberty. Because the city of Atrius is supposed to be located on a distant planet in the far future it can't have too much of a resemblance to anything modern. We spent roughly a year developing the city's layout, technological specifications (for being self-sufficient), designed various building structures, an automated highway transportation system, various methods of mass public transportation, flying vehicles, lighting sources, elevators, built in safety precautions, and SMART objects to make up a realistic city that's ultimately in ruin after centuries of war and neglect. For instance, one of the biggest creative decisions was to distance the series visually from the modern era by incorporating the hexagon as the primary "comfort" shape for citizens as opposed to the circles or squares that dominate modern culture.
Now that there was a city to re-purpose we needed to develop the people who lived there and designed a variety of world views, religions, clothing styles, lifestyles, a simplistic food-based currency system, and a detailed government organizational structure. We also quickly realized that the spoken language needed to phase out a lot of modern terms like "Don't have a cow" because they are irrelevant to a world without a traditional 24 hour day, plants, animals, or large bodies of water. One day while trying to work on designing an enlistment poster Adam had the idea make the jump from written English to Atrian, a fairly straight forward phonetic language. Once this was complete an entirely separate culture was needed for the people on the other side of the wall, the underprivileged but "free" people known as Fringers.
We designed a number of occupation/trade-based slang-heavy dialects of extremely limited vocabulary based on a character's access to education and place in within The Fringes. We also made some big cultural decisions based on the extreme scarcity and violence prevalent in The Fringes like making cannibalism (not enough food to go around) & slavery (protection for servitude) socially acceptable. One big outcome was that altruism would be utterly alien to most Fringers so the story had to adapt to keep a number of the characters involved. One last detail worth mentioning is that we put together a professional three-day photo shoot for the sole purpose of taking reference photos and making the quality of the comic better.
"Are you glorifying violence / drugs / gangs / slavery / cannibalism / totalitarianism?"
No. Our aim is to realistically depict how a world without morals or law might function. For instance, when people band together to form a group/clan/gang for mutual protection (in lieu of family) it's a logical action. We've also gone very far out of our way to make every call to violence as real as possible, with significant risk to those involved. Every fight is significant for those involved and every fight could be the last. As for form/mechanical accuracy we had a day of tactical & professional weapons training from a notable western sword instructor, a state champion sharpshooter, and a marine. Guns jam, people trip up, and we're not afraid to kill off lead characters with nothing more than a stray bullet.
Additional Character Concepts
Pen & Paper Game (D20) Notes
As previously mentioned, I've been working on a pen & paper game that emphasizes resource scarcity & character specialization. In Atrius -- unless you are affiliated with a government branch from the inner city or one of the major gangs in the Fringes -- you will have a hard time finding and reloading ammunition. Players will also have a difficult time maintaining a steady supply of the food/currency known as Meal. Atrius is a very poor place where you have to either find or take what you need to survive and will likely start off with a significant debt.
During character creation you can expect to pick a Race (human, mutant, vampire, augmented human), Body Type (tough/agile/smart/persuasive), and occupation (scavenger, Civil Defense Force recruit, etc) each of which will give you bonus feats, skills, and attribute points for a strong yet very unique starting character. Mechanically the game plays very similarly to Pathfinder, with a lot less hit points. There's also a randomized 'location' chart for ranged attacks and a very detailed Random Encounter chart.
Players don't have a "level" in this system, only set values based on a traditional D&D 3.0/3.5 character. In order to improve a skill or statistic players must use them. The idea is for characters that improve based on the actual experiences they have in the game.
In addition to fun things like mutation charts, expanded rules for surgery/misfires, body specific injuries in combat, and a LOT of background on the the world of Atrius it also includes a fully detailed story-quest.
Should this Kickstarter successfully launch at $30,000 the Pen & Paper system will be added to, tweaked, edited, and revised as quickly as possible and those who donated over $75 will receive a digital copy of the beta as soon as it's ready. (Est. March 2013)
Thank you very much for taking the time to check out the project. We hope you like what you see and will help us spread the word! -Travis & Adam
Have a question? If the info above doesn't help, you can ask the project creator directly.
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Drifter (One who wanders through life): Drifters receive A Digital (pdf) Sheet of common slang terms used in the fringes.Estimated delivery:
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Addict (One who overindulges in an act or substance): Addicts receive a Digital (pdf) of issue Zero & our sincere thanks :) Issue Zero is a prototype of the original comic, written & printed back in March 2010. Illustrated in full color by J. Tai, this proto-issue gives insight into the lives of The Conway Brothers as well as a brief glimpse into the City's true history. *You also receive all the rewards listed for the smaller pledge levels.Estimated delivery:
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The Lost (One who's lost their way in life): The Lost receive a Digital Copy (pdf) of the first Issue when it's completed. *You also receive all the rewards listed for the smaller pledge levels.Estimated delivery:
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Scavenger (One who survives on the scraps they come across): Scavengers receive a digital (pdf) Map of the City of Atrius & a select list of Fringer gang bios. The Digital Map will have two versions: With Labels and Without. Black & white drawn to roughly a 1:633,600 scale. Gang Bios will include information like structure, initiation, rituals, call sign, membership characteristics, and members of note. Gangs to be included are the Penny Saark Gang, S.A. Rock't Punks, CandyPop, Dark Kin, Horse Head, & Skull Clackers. *You also receive all the rewards listed for the smaller pledge levels.Estimated delivery:
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Crafty Scavenger (One who can take care of themselves by using what others discard): Crafty Scavengers receive a Physical Copy of Issue Zero. The physical book is printed on extra high quality paper with a textured heavy linen cover. It contains propaganda, secret real-life sword techniques, and Mayor Grimm's seal of approval. (please add $5 for non-US shipping or we'll actually lose money every time someone donates) *You also receive all the rewards listed for the smaller pledge levels.Estimated delivery:
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Fringer (A person surviving beyond the reach of the law in a place of anarchy and madness): Fringers receive a Signed Physical Copy of issue One when it's completed. (please add $5 for non-US shipping or we'll actually lose money every time someone donates) *You also receive all the rewards listed for the smaller pledge levels.Estimated delivery:
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Literate (One who is gifted with a rare talent of understanding the written word): The Literate receive a Digital (pdf) Key, explanation Guide, and Computer Font (for Mac and PC) outlining how the Atrius written language & system of numbers works. While completely phonetic and based strongly on the English (US) oral language, you'll be hard pressed to understand Atrian text or numbers without a proper guide. Atrian appears in written form throughout the series and while key ideas and concepts are communicated without the need of a key, being literate will immerse you in the series. *You also receive all the rewards listed for the smaller pledge levels.Estimated delivery:
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Raider (One who takes what they need to survive): Raiders receive a Digital (pdf) "Making of" booklet detailing the creative process of Issues Zero & One. The booklet with include sketches, inks, production notes, text descriptions, etc... *You also receive all the rewards listed for the smaller pledge levels.Estimated delivery:
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Casual Buyer (A repeated offender whose interest has been piqued): Casual Buyers receive a Digital Copy (pdf) of the first five issues in the series on a subscription basis. By that point it's expected that they'll be hooked. *You also receive all the rewards listed for the smaller pledge levels.Estimated delivery:
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Informed Citizen (One who understands the true workings of the city and has been outcast): Informed Citizens receive the digital book "A Citizen's Guide" to the city of Atrius (pdf). While the original edition was approved by the Department of Public Affairs your version has some very peculiar liner notes that would likely get you executed for conspiracy & acceptance/disclosure of privileged information. Estimated at 40 pages, A Citizen's Guide is a small piece of colorful back story that aims to outline the following topics from the perspective of the Atrian government: History, Language (and its origin), Math, Legends, Government Departments & their Structure/Purposes, Places to Visit, and The Fringes. *You also receive all the rewards listed for the smaller pledge levels.Estimated delivery:
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Collector (One who strives to complete a set): Collectors receive a Digital Copy (pdf) of the entire 15 issue series on a subscription basis as it is released (in advance if possible). *You also receive all the rewards listed for the smaller pledge levels.Estimated delivery:
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Enlisted Citizen (One who has decided to serve their nation): Enlisted Citizens receive a Kickstarter-Unique Poster (seen as our Kickstarter project image). (please add $5 for non-US shipping or we'll actually lose money every time someone donates) *You also receive all the rewards listed for the smaller pledge levels.Estimated delivery:
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Soldier (One who is willing to go to war for an ideal, cause, or nation. Typically a Ganger): Soldiers receive a physical tee shirt showing their support of either CandyPop or the S.A. Rocket Punks as seen in the Kickstarter Video! CandyPop shirts sport an extra-jolly Rogers with Candy Cane bones and a "Candy or Death" slogan. Rock't Punks boast a cute pinup riding a rocket into space. Designs by Ean Moody & Ross Simms! (please add $10 for non-US shipping or we'll actually lose money every time someone donates) *You also receive all the rewards listed for the smaller pledge levels.Estimated delivery:
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Natural Leader (One who was born with a commanding presence): Natural Leaders receive Printed & Signed Copies of the entire 15 issue series, mailed as they are released (or in advance if possible) on a subscription basis. (please add $20 for non-US shipping or we'll actually lose money every time someone donates) *You also receive all the rewards listed for the smaller pledge levels.Estimated delivery:
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Dark Kin (Keepers & guardians of the most ancient secrets in the city): Dark Kin receive Copies of the Alternate Issues 1 & 2 THAT WILL NEVER EVER BE RELEASED AGAIN… Alternate Issues 1 & 2 were illustrated by J. Tai, covering the events of Issues 1, 2, & 3. Alternate Issue 1 is also in full color thanks to the amazing talents of Ean Moody. These two issues represent the old creative direction the series was set to take before it underwent a complete overhaul by adding a lot of technological, cultural, and social depth. These issues contain Production Notes and an alternate view of the city's prison system in addition to extra scenes that ultimately never made the final cut. *You also receive all the rewards listed for the smaller pledge levels.Estimated delivery:
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Hacker (One who can see and interact with an augmented reality): Hackers receive a Digital Copy (pdf) of all of the technological & cultural concept art with production notes. This includes vehicular designs, aircraft designs, robot designs, non-military clothing designs for citizens & fringers, road designs, building designs, and machinery. *You also receive all the rewards listed for the smaller pledge levels.Estimated delivery:
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Bounty Hunter (One who hunts the most dangerous prey): Bounty Hunters receive a Digital Copy (pdf) of all of the Character Concept art with production notes and Character bios/background. This includes associated tattoos, logos, alternate sketches, b&w concepts, and full color concepts but not weapons as those were confiscated. *You also receive all the rewards listed for the smaller pledge levels.Estimated delivery:
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Arms Dealer (Those who sell firearms and ammunition to survive): Arms Dealers receive a Digital Copy (pdf) of the Weapon Based & Military Based Concept Art with production notes. This includes sketches of various government branches, The GRIMM Militia, and over a dozen unique firearms. *You also receive all the rewards listed for the smaller pledge levels.Estimated delivery:
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Associate (One who is familiar or works with a group or organization): Associates can have their likeness appear in the background of a comic book in the series. Note: Fashion on Atrius is very different than Earth. Certain items like "Wood" or "Leather" simply do not exist on that planet. *You also receive all the rewards listed for the smaller pledge levels.Estimated delivery:
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Freelance (One who is not indebted and is free to work with whomever they please): IN ADDITION to appearing in the series, Adam Cartwright will draw either a concept sketch for your character OR sketch an action shot of him/her doing something cool (your preference)! *You also receive all the rewards listed for the smaller pledge levels.Estimated delivery:
Pledge $275 or moreYou selected
Veteran (One who has survived the horrors and became stronger): Veterans receive a Digital Copy (pdf) of the "Making Of" for The Entire Series! This extremely large book will include sketches, inks, revisions, editorial comments, creative notes, production notes, and excerpts from the script. *You also receive all the rewards listed for the smaller pledge levels.Estimated delivery:
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Mercenary (One who will take risks in exchange for goods or services): Mercenaries have an upgraded "Associate" Cameo (it's one background cameo, not two) in which they will be featured as doing something more "Action Centric" such as fighting, yelling, robbery, gunfire, etc... You can also express your preferences as to a type of weapon, look, or action, within reason. *You also receive all the rewards listed for the smaller pledge levels.Estimated delivery:
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Expendable (An acceptable Casualty): Expendables have an upgraded "Mercenary" Cameo (It's one cameo, not two) in which they are a combatant (or if desired, collateral), that is killed by one of the main characters (or if desired by "Bad Luck" while supplies last on a first come/first serve basis). *You also receive all the rewards listed for the smaller pledge levels.Estimated delivery:
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Saark (A sophisticated elitist who makes what they do look good): Saarks receive a Hand Made Physical "Making Of" Book complete with extra pages of sketches, notes, stories, all the concept art, exclusive secrets, and other goodies :) (please add $30 for non-US shipping or we'll actually lose money with all the things we'll be sending you) *You also receive all the rewards listed for the smaller pledge levels.Estimated delivery:
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2 backers Limited (8 left of 10)
Revolutionary (One who inspires change): Revolutionaries do not receive a Background Cameo or (in theory) an Expendable style death. Instead we will work with you to create a character that will be a part of the story in some way. They'll be promised a line of dialogue and be as involved as their occupation allows. If they protect a water supply rout they might try to charge a toll as the main characters pass by. If they're a mercenary the group might hire them and travel with them for a few issues (depending on life expectancy, etc), at worst they might try to sell the group weapons or illegal goods. *You also receive all the non-cameo rewards listed for the smaller pledge levels.Estimated delivery:
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0 backers Limited (2 left of 2)
Assassin (One who takes lives for a living): Assassins do not receive a Background Cameo or "Revolutionary" Style Story Appearance (see above). Instead your character** kills one of the main characters in the series! In addition to this you will also receive the ORIGINAL SKETCH of the page where you make the kill. *You also receive all the rewards listed for the smaller pledge levels. **We work with you to create this personEstimated delivery:
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0 backers Limited (1 left of 1)
Boss (Leader of the Pack): The Boss will not receive any single cameo described above because we will work with this person to create a gang (leader, logo, creed, etc) that will be featured in the Liberty series & world of Atrius. The easier you are to work with, the more we'll work to feature your gang throughout the series! The Boss will also receive an ORIGINAL SKETCH of a page from the comic featuring your gang, and the original concept sketches of your gang. *You also receive all the non-cameo rewards listed for the smaller pledge levels.Estimated delivery:
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0 backers Limited (1 left of 1)
Reaper (One who dictates fate): The Reaper may pick any ONE of the cameo roles listed above while supplies last. The Reaper also receives an early version of the script/comic in sketch form as we reach issue 14 (!) and can pick if one of the central characters lives or dies. The Reaper will also be credited as an Executive Producer. *You also receive all the non-cameo rewards listed for the smaller pledge levels INCLUDING Boss.Estimated delivery:
- (59 days)