A dark comedy about a young man in search of his lost soul. Join his arachnoid journey deep down the labyrinthine Mother's Land...
A dark comedy about a young man in search of his lost soul. Join his arachnoid journey deep down the labyrinthine Mother's Land...
Hopeless is a graphic novel series project started by Oytun Yılmaz and Onur Böle. The storyline and artwork were designed by Oytun Yılmaz, scripted by Onur Böle and edited by Melis Ulutas. The main purpose in submitting our project to Kickstarter is to fund the production and distribution costs. If we can exceed our goal or come to be recognized by a publisher in the process, we are going to create the next episodes of the series.
The protagonist Mr. Hopeless is an unsuccessful, weak and slothful everyman, with a body too naïve a pain in the neck of his soul, who eventually leaves him. Having become all the more spiritless now that he lacks a soul, Hopeless notices that he has also grown invisible and that he does not, in the regular sense of the word, even “exist” in the current world which now seems to him a negatively-aesthetic cluster of images.
Accompanying his invisibility is a dog that only he can see, a dog that can randomly multiply and decrease in number. It turns out that the dog(s) will guide him throughout the search for his soul, as a letter that he receives informs us. The letter is from a man who introduces himself as Mr. Spider. The story begins right in the beginning of the protagonist's surreal journey across the Mother Land, a world of fantasy with metaphysical undertones, inhabited mostly by animals: it is the probable shelter of lost souls, but one that torments, psychologically dissects, forces Hopeless to face his background more than it offers a shelter. It is also a journey in which the main character slowly loses his status as a protagonist, not only because it is a place that dismantles established identities, but also it soon becomes apparent that other (animal) characters have deeper stories than the protagonist's.
WHAT IS IT LIKE?
It is a subtly political, partly existential, and highly absurt story inspired by Dante, Goethe, Kafka, and Burroughs. Imagine walking through darkly humorous prison-wall paintings grabbed tight by a divine lobster and listening to Bob Dylan with a perversely burlesque turn: A journey that expose the ascetic nature of Dorian Gray's homoerotic Portrait. We subvert anthropocentric and theological assumptions, analyze necropolitics, criticize the danger of apathy in the simplest and a seemingly puerile context: Have you ever thought of the farcical opportunities issuing from the different ways of not existing? If not (or if so), we invite you to give it a chance and join our journey.
We attempt to present an enjoyable read. The story includes elements of surreal, black and blue comedy, but first and foremost irrealistic humor with less of an expressionist taste, in a way that challenges and satirizes many recurring questions inherent in modernity, literary conventions and motifs, such as the moralistic undertones in the Faustian canon. Doing all of these in a comic format, in a simplified world that reads like a twisted fable is itself a great challenge to ourselves and the genre in which we apply our methods. You are invited to interpret, revisualize and even complete the universe we offer, while enjoying the read and the artwork (so we hope).
Our target is thus adults who appreciate ambiguity, allegorical/alternative worlds out of their comfort zones, lack of fixated subjectivities. If you strive for liberation but are too conscious of the –global and local – conditions which have generated and continues to structure us beyond our control, then this story might be for you. In a way, we seek people who would not mind letting the gravity of their train of thought and the gusty levity of their chuckle cohabit. As for our format, the non-linerar story arc is optimal for a mini series, since we are more interested in process-driven narratives than Aristotelian structures; however, once it is completed it can be published as a full original graphic novel since it constitutes a whole. It is a colored work, as it is essential for the carnivalesque, grotesque, macabre style of artwork and story.
Some Characters of the First Issue
The would-be protagonist of the story. Invisible, redundant among us. A flour sack dragged, tortured, analyzed, shaken out of his oblivion across the Mother's Land, but has free will as much as we do.
Mr. Four Legs
Hopeless' companion and guide. A mock Virgil and pseudo-Woland. Initially single and mute, he displays a skill to multiply and become a pack.
The welcomer of the Mother's Land. A s-s-stutterer with a perpetual grin that grinds your eyes, before the high-pitched swelling of its fragmented words grinds the entire earwax of your own language. The Pig holds a meat grinder, an animated mouth-device that chews the newcomers all the way through the guts of the Land. Yes, entering the Mother's Land is hella painful and you must be literally ground to bits. Hopeless is about to get each of his cells castrated.
Spider, aka Daddy Longlegs
A man of letters. A Platonic dreamer in a dream world. A masochist with an idealized ego that denies reality. An astute producer of guilt in others. Obsessively in love with Blatta. If he wishes you a happy Christmas, you should see the Mormon in him, sneaking to push his agenda. Beware of him though, for he is unbelievably persuasive! Hopeless doesn't know better when Spider invites him to Mother's Land.
The mirror-image and the object of Mr. Spider's homicidal/homoerotic pursuit. An alleged child killer. A rational and careless superego that must perish so that Spider could be relieved of agony. Blatta's current lover. Though the tension in the first issue is between his alleged infanticidal nature and his congruent position in the love triangle, a deeper story will be unfolded later in parallel with Hopeless' psyche.
One of the bouncers in the club Blatta works at. Just there for fun. Oh, and he accidentally exposes one of Mr. Four Legs' powers: The power of not only increasing in number, but also growing in size on a gigantic scale.
The subject of Spider's unrequited love, his ex-lover. A burlesque performer. An elusive yet authoritative figure. Liberated from all kinds of trauma, she has grown immune to Spider's persuasive and guilt-generating skills. Contains men and fixes them painfully, which might be why Hopeless feels uncomfortable with her.
Production and shipping costs are a major concern for us, especially because our work appeals to international readers and we do not have any financial support or a sponsor. Kickstarter is a great place to accomplish the projects of the like. If we reach our goal, we offer to share with you a limited edition of the first two episodes of our project which is now complete. Since mass production is not yet an option for us, a limited addition will allow for a high quality work with the cost as minimal as possible. We also kept these factors in mind while carefully selecting rewards.
WHAT YOU WILL RECEIVE
Paperback edition, poster and fan art: Our initial and biggest goal is to deliver the first two episodes of our story in high quality paperback form. We have had to limit the first edition to only 250 copies in order to fulfill this goal with a realistic budget: We ensure you will have added a painstakingly created product to your collection. Not only will you receive the 88 page colored book and 20" x 27" sized coated glossy paper posters including the characters of the first issue, but also fan artworks added to the book (5 additional pages and possibly more). The one you see above was made by Şerif Karasu and you will get the artwork of two more artists in print. We are in the process of creating our characters for the second issue, and you can also get posters including them if you would like to take a peek into what is to come.
Lapel pins: We have three designs for enamel pins: Two of them are animal-characters from the story. We surely hope that you will love those characters first, but we tried to make sure our designs would make cool accessories for everyone.
Figure: A part of our project is to produce the figure of our protagonist Mr. Hopeless with his mock-Virgil guide, a dog called Mr. Four Legs. It is the closest these characters can get to life as of now (and a long-time dream of our illustrator), we anticipate to add more figures to the project if we become successful. The figure will be 5.1 inches in length, 3-D printed and hand-colored by us. With your help, we will produce 25 of them. This is more than Mr. Four Legs will ever multiply in the story itself!
This is surely not the end, please check out for more to come. We are looking forward to adding stretch goals as soon as we sense a bit of interest from you. Please note that our story begins in medias res and the second issue will include the backgrounds of the characters and the underlying meaning of the Mother's Land, which we had sketched way before starting to create the first issue since it was important to construct them into what they are now. This means we are ahead of our schedule and have already started working on the second issue. As a sign of gratitude, we are considering to send original artwork: We mean entire sketchbooks where you will see the story developing in artist's hands. We will upload those in the update section. Now it is all up to your support. Stay tuned!
I am an illustrator and graphic designer located in Istanbul, Turkey. My work includes concept art, fashion design and comic art. For the past several years I have been working on storytelling through visual creation. I am also interested in filming, but my primarily area of expertise is illustration. My first attempt in this regard was a downright rebellious project which addressed the depressing and violent political climate in my hometown, but the same climate drained all my energy as an artist and I decided to put it aside for a while, and create a universal work which would allow me to utilize my skills in entirety, stay creative and fluid without turning me into a reactionary zealot whom I have always stood against. Since I do not think that opposition is a productive way to improve as a person and I would like to share my work with everyone regardless of nationality or gender, I was thrilled when the Hopeless project first arose in my mind. The project was propounded by me and I wrote the overall synopsis and the plot. I designed most of the characters as well as the layouts of the rewards.
I am a writer and PhD student in Anglophone literature. I wrote my MA thesis on Thomas Pynchon and the French philosopher Gilles Deleuze, and my current doctoral project focuses primarily on Neal Stephenson's works in relation to Charles Sanders Peirce's pragmaticism and Alfred North Whitehead's process philosophy. I am particularly interested in the neo-Baroque, semiotics, nonrepresentational arts and the relation between aesthetics and ethics. I am also currently working on a lyric play in two universe-acts which explores radical masochism and cultural melancholy. I scripted Oytun's storyline, helped him organize the frames, extended or curtailed certain parts of the work, all for the sake of literary merit (without any compromise of legibility) and the profound desire for autonomy and authenticity which has been an essential tenet in our lifelong friendship and the works that we have collaborated on, including Hopeless.
I am a copywriter and art director residing in New York City, the USA. As someone familiar with the desired styles for art projects and experienced in final touches on layouts and designs, I seemed a great fit for Hopeless. I am enthralled by the project as I have always wanted to be a part of a promising independent artwork but have never found the chance due to my full time work and busy schedule; my exaltation is partly the reason for the pressure I put on my collaborators from Turkey (sorry, fellas). I am responsible for developing deadlines, overseeing, proofreading and editing the project.
Risks and challenges
Over the past years, we have been involved in tasks that required crazy deadlines and work load. We are experienced in getting the job done in time, which gets a tricky matter in any work of art. However, this is the first project that we are prepared to take full responsibility in fulfilling what we offer. After all, our main purpose is to share the work we enjoy doing and this project is an important threshold for what we would like to do in the years to come. The hurdles are inevitable and we have carefully considered them before reaching out publicly to you.
We have priced out printing costs, rewards and shipping in detail, now we know how much money we need to get the job done. For over a year, we have been working on writing and illustrating this first book of our comic series, now we need your help to cross the finishing line. Please note that slightly over 70% of the goal will be lost in shipping, taxes and money transferring (well, it is not really a "loss" but a part of the project but you get what we mean). We really mean it when we say that we just want to "share" the work with you, build a community and pave the way for our second issue with practically no profit at the moment. If we reach our goal we will print 250 copies of the book even if less than 250 pledgers choose the reward; we will send it out to free libraries. A second option would be to choose pledgers randomly and send the second issue with the extra bucket if we are ahead of our schedule and complete it, we will keep you updated about it.
We would have really liked to set a lower goal and publish more books, but our greatest challenge is the location where the physical project is produced: It costs too much to deliver the work from where we live to an international audience. This was the challenge we knew we had to accept in the very beginning; however, since we are confident with the quality of our work, all the hardships we feel at the moment will be worth the effort.
We know there will be more risks and challenges that we can not foresee at the moment. But since the first part of our project is complete, we think that the difficulties can be persevered through. We wish to exceed your expectations.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (60 days)