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$23,553 pledged of $30,000 goal
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By Bill Willingham
$23,553 pledged of $30,000 goal
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About

UPDATE

At his request, Frank Cho (the more serious member of this team) wants to do more rewards, not fewer, and so we’ve added a few new things at different levels. Pay heed of this moment. When the artist on a project wants to do more work, it’s a rare occasion, worth marking. We’ve also taken out a couple of the silly bits that have no backers so far (and seriously, we never expected them to attract such).

Hello, my name is Bill Willingham. Some of you already know I write a comic book series called Fables, which has been published for about eleven years now and just shipped its 128th monthly issue. It’s won a few awards, and lost a few, which is the way of things. I’ve written other comics too, and a few novels.

Most of you also know of Frank Cho, an artist of astonishing talent, the creator, writer and artist of the syndicated comic strip Liberty Meadows, and illustrator of various Marvel comic books, along with far too many other comics and books, to mention here. We’ve posted a few select pieces of his previous work below, just so you know how much I’m not exaggerating when I praise his abilities.

But here’s the problem. For years Frank and I have wanted to do a project of some kind together, but were always stymied by the fact that I was often exclusive to DC Comics while Frank was exclusive to Marvel Comics. For those of you unsteeped in the lore of the funnybook business, that’s a lot like being family members of the Montagues and the Capulets, respectively.

The exclusives meant I couldn’t hop over to write a project for Marvel whenever I wanted, nor could Frank take a sabbatical to draw a DC project when he liked. Nevertheless, Frank and I were determined to get together, someday.

So look, someday is here.

I’m no longer exclusive to DC (or anyone) and even though Frank Cho is still exclusive to Marvel, that agreement covers comic book illustration only. It doesn’t prevent us from creating a lavishly illustrated novel, which is precisely what we’ve decided to do.

The Story

Our working (and probably final) title is BIFROST, which is the name of the fabled Rainbow Bridge of Norse legend.

This is a story about Mary Fimbul, illegitimate daughter of a Valkyrie and a certain hammer-wielding god of the north. Mary’s tough and strong, can see ghosts, and also happens to be the only survivor of Ragnarok, the final battle that ended the gods and their rule over mankind. As the sole surviving descendant of the royal line, Mary now controls Bifrost, the Rainbow Bridge, which still connects our world to Asgard and the other nine worlds, even though they’ve been unlivable wastelands for untold millennia.

Today Mary is a licensed private hero (still serving out her one-year probationary status), working out of Spokane, Washington.

Mary’s partner in the hero trade is Mr. Finn (short for Infinity Chimp), an immortal talking chimpanzee. He’s an amateur gourmet cook, a recovering biblioklept, and such a savant at pattern-recognition so as to make him quite possibly the greatest nonhuman detective who ever lived.

He’s the brains. She’s the muscle. Got it so far?

The fun starts when the two of them take on an easy assignment to find out who is killing sheep on one of the ranches owned by the Volusungs, the largest registered lycanthrope wolf pack in the greater Seattle metropolitan area. It’s a simple weekend job. It’ll put a little money in their pockets while allowing Mary to travel into the big city, on someone else’s dime, for her first annual Panthan Society Ball, now that she’s a newly minted member of the worldwide fraternity of heroes for hire.

But it turns out not to be just a simple weekend job. A handful of missing sheep is only the tip of the iceberg. In no time at all things spiral out of control, and our intrepid duo of paid heroes find themselves caught up in a desperate struggle for the safety and very existence of the known worlds. The question of who ends up with control of Bifrost is the key that will settle the matter, one way or another.

The Plan

Bifrost is going to be a novel-length work of prose fiction, written by me and lavishly illustrated by Frank Cho, in the tradition of Neil Gaiman and Charles Vess’ Stardust, or Berni Wrightson’s crowning version of Frankenstein.

We imagine twenty full-page illustrations at a minimum, but that number may rise, if and as we exceed our minimum funding goal.

At the moment Bifrost exists only in outline form. I still need to write it and Frank still needs to draw it. And while the writing part of the project can take place in the spaces between other publishing obligations, drawing that much material takes months of time, dedicated to a single project. That, and only that, is what this Kickstarter project was created to pay for.

The Goal

We need to raise thirty thousand dollars, so that Frank Cho will have an income while drawing this story.

Stretch Goals

If we raise $40 thousand dollars, the minimum number of full-page illustrations goes up to 25. At $50 thousand dollars, the minimum number of full-page illustrations goes up to 30. Other stretch goals will be posted if and as the situation calls for it.

The Illustrations

Since the art isn’t done yet, we want to show you examples of the style of illustrations Frank is going to produce for this story. Look at this:

This Frankenstein-esque fellow doesn’t appear in our book, but this is the style in which the illustrations will be done. Impressive, no?

And of course Spider-man isn’t in our story. We’ll get back to you though, if any angels plan on showing up. Spider-man is TM and © Marvel Comics.

This and the next one are from Frank’s Liberty Meadows days. If you’re beginning to suspect there will be at least one illustration of a woman in a nicely draped dress in our story, you’re right. It was the non-negotiable first condition of doing this tale together.

And finally, one of the actual Liberty Meadows strips. This is the one that caused Bill to swear an oath most holy that he’d work with Frank one day.

And now you can get a sense of the type of illustrations that will go into this project. We have one last one to show you. This is the first teaser image Frank produced for our story. It shows young Mary Fimbul, one of the two protagonists of the adventure. You might see this image showing up in one or two of the reward items listed above.

Mary Fimbul, of the Finn and Fimbul Private Hero Agency.

UPDATE

At his request, Frank Cho (the more serious member of this team) wants to do more rewards, not fewer, and so we’ve added a few new things at different levels. Pay heed of this moment. When the artist on a project wants to do more work, it’s a rare occasion, worth marking. We’ve also taken out a couple of the silly bits that have no backers so far (and seriously, we never expected them to attract such).

Risks and challenges

As with any publishing venture, there can always be delays. I expect the writing itself to take about six months. The illustrations will take longer, maybe as much as a year. After the writing and illustrations are complete, I will begin submitting the manuscript to publishers, and once it’s in their hands, final publication may take a year or longer. Basically this is a Kickstarter project for selecting out the inordinately patient from the rest.

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Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $1 or more About $1.00

    You’ll have our undying gratitude for supporting this project. Of all the rewards, this one ships immediately. In fact, it’s already gone out into the great ethosphere and has begun the process of seeping directly into your spiritual core.

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    Pledge $10 or more About $10

    You’ll receive emailed versions of Bill’s Writing Journal, which will cover the entire writing process of the novel, from start to finish. These journal updates will come no less than once every week, but sometimes more often, and will continue until the novel is done. Each entry will not only have an update on the progress of the specific novel, but will also include occasional notes about his other work (his Fables comic series for example) along with insights into Bill’s writing process, and hard won lessons about successfully navigating the writing business.

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  3. Select this reward

    Pledge $20 or more About $20

    You’ll receive everything listed above, plus you'll receive an 8 1/2" x 11" black and white art print, signed by Frank Cho exclusive to Kickstarter. Will ship to the US and Canada Only.

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  4. Select this reward

    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    You’ll receive everything listed above, plus an “I supported Frank n’ Bill’s Kickstarter” button. We’ll show you what that looks like as soon as our amazing, all in one, button-making apparatus (and salad chopper) arrives. Will ship to the US and Canada Only.

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  5. Select this reward

    Pledge $35 or more About $35

    You’ll receive everything listed above, plus a thank-you postcard, written to you, from either Frank or Bill. Will ship to the US and Canada Only.

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  6. Select this reward

    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    You’ll receive everything listed above, plus the official comic book sized teaser poster/print for this project. We’ll be posting what these look like soon. Will ship to the US and Canada Only.

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  7. Select this reward

    Pledge $60 or more About $60

    You’ll receive everything listed above, plus an unsigned copy of the Hardcover novel. Will ship to the US and Canada Only.

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  8. Select this reward

    Pledge $75 or more About $75

    You’ll receive everything listed above, plus the official project T-Shirt, designed by Frank Cho, based upon one of the novel’s illustrations. The image from this will be taken from one of the early illustrations, so this will take a little time to create, have printed and start shipping. Will ship to the US and Canada Only.

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  9. Select this reward

    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    You’ll receive everything listed above, plus a phone call from Bill Willingham. This will be a short call, no more than five minutes, and is limited to Canada and the Continental US. Note that this reward does not include the phone call from Frank Cho, listed next. Basically this is a funding level where you choose which one you want to hear from. Will ship to the US and Canada Only.

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  10. Select this reward

    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    You’ll receive (almost) everything listed above, plus a phone call from Frank Cho. This will be a short call, no more than five minutes, and is limited to Canada and the Continental US. Note that this reward does not include the phone call from Bill Willingham, listed immediately above. Basically this is a funding level where you choose which one you want to hear from. Will ship to the US and Canada Only.

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  11. Select this reward

    Pledge $125 or more About $125

    You’ll receive everything listed above, plus signed copy of the novel itself. This reward will take a little longer to ship as it cannot happen until after publication. Will ship to the US and Canada Only.

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  12. Select this reward

    Pledge $150 or more About $150

    You’ll receive everything listed above, plus a Chapbook (8 ½ inches by 5 ½ inches booklet) copy of a Finn and Fimbul prequel story that will not published elsewhere for at least two years after the close of this Kickstarter project. It’s basically the tale of how our two main characters first came to work together. Will ship to the US and Canada Only.

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  13. Select this reward

    Pledge $200 or more About $200

    You’ll receive everything listed above, plus a map poster of the world of Post-Ragnarok Asgard. Bill will be creating this map, first for himself to use as a story guideline, but also for this limited release to our supporters. Will ship to the US and Canada Only.

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  14. Select this reward

    Pledge $250 or more About $250

    You’ll receive everything listed above, plus you'll receive a special set of 5 art prints, exclusive to Kickstarter. Will ship to the US and Canada Only.

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  15. Select this reward

    Pledge $300 or more About $300

    You’ll receive everything listed above, plus a special version of the map poster of the world of Post-Ragnarok Asgard: one that is annotated (a fancy term for: Bill is going to mark and scribble all over it) to point out, in a very spoilery fashion, the sites of major events in the story. This reward will take a while to get to you, since it depends on the book being finished. You’ll know when that is, through the Bill’s Writing Journal emails you’ll already be receiving. This will be a reproduced version of Bill's hand annotated version. Will ship to the US and Canada Only.

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  16. Select this reward

    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    You’ll receive everything listed above, plus you’ll be thanked by name in the novel’s acknowledgements. This will occur upon publication, of course. Will ship to the US and Canada Only.

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  17. Select this reward

    Pledge $750 or more About $750

    You’ll receive everything listed above, plus a handwritten letter of appreciation, signed by both Frank and Bill. Will ship to the US and Canada Only.

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  18. Select this reward

    Pledge $1,000 or more About $1,000

    You’ll receive everything listed above, plus Special VIP seating to see Bill at the Fables panel at 2014’s Emerald City Comic Convention, in Seattle. Note that you’ll have to already be in attendance at the Emerald City Convention, and your transportation and lodging is not included in this reward. Will ship to the US and Canada Only.

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  19. Select this reward

    Pledge $2,500 or more About $2,500

    You’ll receive everything listed above, plus attend a special dinner with Bill at the 2014 Emerald City Comic Convention. You won’t actually have to be attending the convention to attend this dinner, but you will have to have a convention membership in order to also attend the Fables Panel VIP seating (mentioned above), and you will have to provide your own transportation to this event and lodging while you’re there. We’ll pick up the dinner check though. This reward is strictly limited to six people, to make sure the dinner is reasonably intimate. We’ll try our best to select a restaurant that serves everyone’s tastes. Will ship to the US and Canada Only.

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  20. Select this reward

    Pledge $5,000 or more About $5,000

    Bill will travel to you (Continental US and Canada only) and write one chapter of the novel in your home, store window, or some other suitable venue agreed to by both parties. In this case, Bill will cover his own transportation and lodging costs. This reward is limited to one backer. You’ll also receive the Bill’s Writing Journal emails, the button, the postcard, the comic book sized print, the T-shirt, a call from both Frank and Bill (separate calls), the Chapbook prequel story, the map of Asgard, the 11” by 17” poster, the handwritten letter of appreciation, and you’ll be thanked by name in the novel’s acknowledgements. You will also receive the original art of the character design sheets of both Mary Fimbul and Finn. Will ship to the US and Canada Only.

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    Pledge $8,000 or more About $8,000

    You will receive everything listed above (except the original character design art), plus the original art of the teaser image of Mary Fimbul in the snow.

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  22. Select this reward

    Pledge $10,000 About $10,000

    Frank Cho and Bill Willingham will fly themselves out to your location and conduct an afternoon writing and illustrating storytelling class/seminar for your students, Hollywood studio, writing group, art group, or (pretty much) any sort of group you have. You provide the venue and we’ll do the rest. The timing of this reward will have to be worked out to fit into the schedules of all parties involved. You’ll also receive the Bill’s Writing Journal emails, the button, the postcard, the comic book sized print, the T-shirt, a call from both Frank and Bill (separate calls), the Chapbook prequel story, the map of Asgard, the 11” by 17” poster, the handwritten letter of appreciation, and you’ll be thanked by name in the novel’s acknowledgements. Will ship to the US and Canada Only.

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  23. Select this reward

    Pledge $10,000 About $10,000

    You’ll be written into the story and appear in the background of one of Frank’s illustrations for the novel. Your part is this: When Finn and Fimbul opened up their modest private hero agency in downtown Spokane, they had an open house reception, with food and drink set out for potential clients. Now there’s one bum (you) who keeps coming around the office, looking for more free food. He or she can’t seem to get it through his/her head that the free food was a one-time thing. Are you addled in your head? Is that why you keep coming by? Or are you just that cheap? Who knows? This is a comic relief moment, reserved for one among those backers who’s able to laugh at oneself. Do it. Be the bum. You know you want to. You’ll also receive the Bill’s Writing Journal emails, the button, the postcard, the comic book sized print, the T-shirt, a call from both Frank and Bill (separate calls), the Chapbook prequel story, the map of Asgard, the 11” by 17” poster, the handwritten letter of appreciation, and you’ll be thanked by name in the novel’s acknowledgements. Will ship to the US and Canada Only.

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Funding period

- (30 days)