SECTION ZERO isn't a secret section of the United Nation's charter. It does not perpetually fund a team of experts and explorers to travel the world investigating the strange, fantastic, and unknown. The idea that this "team" looks into things such as UFOs, Monsters, Lost Civilizations, Time Travel, Ancient Gods and still-living Dinosaurs is no more than an urban legend.
After all, none of these things exist.
SECTION ZERO is a fast-moving adventure comic combining the kinetic energy of Jack Kirby with the world of myth, folklore and urban legends. There's danger around every corner as Our Heroes challenge the unknown and face the fantastic for yet another time. It's also a story about love— what we'll do for it, and how far we'll go to get it back. But with added monsters!
SECTION ZERO was co-created by us— Karl Kesel and Tom Grummett— in 2000 following our successful, fun-fulled runs on DC's Superboy. It was part of the Gorilla Comics imprint from Image Comics, which also included Busiek and Immonen's Shockrockets, Waid and Kitson's Empire, Perez's Crimson Plague, and Dezago and Wieringo's Tellos. It was heady company and exciting times, and we poured our hearts and souls into the project.
But after finishing only three issues, personal matters meant Karl had to step away from the comic, and the book's tag-line— There Is No Section Zero— became ominously prophetic. But we never fully abandoned our labor of love, and have worked to find a way to bring the book back— somehow, someway— ever since.
17 years later...
Kickstarter will help us finally finish what we begun. But we can't do it by ourselves. We need people to make the journey with us, to stand beside SECTION ZERO as we face the Greatest Unknown— crowdfunding! We need your help, and we need your support. In a way, our original tag-line is more true than ever because There Is No Section Zero... WITHOUT YOU.
It doesn't matter if you know everything about SECTION ZERO— or if you know, well, zero. There will be plenty of surprises for old and new readers. But here's a small sample of what you're in for— a 5-page preview that originally appeared in George Perez's CRIMSON PLAGUE #1 back in 2000...
ADAM HUGHES— best known for his breathtaking ability to illustrate beautiful, powerful woman (although he draws everything well)— has agreed to draw a “WOMEN OF SECTION ZERO” print as a Special Reward to SECTION ZERO backers! 11x17, full color, mailed flat in a protective sleeve, this will be a KICKSTARTER EXCLUSIVE— just enough will be printed to fulfill backers’ pledges and no more. Although Adam is too busy to draw the print until after we reach our goal, we can tell you it will include Doc Challenger and Curio from the original book’s run, as well as new characters Lava, Reagan Atomic and a mysterious Selkie who reluctantly aids the team; possibly one or two other characters from the team’s past. While similar in idea to Adam’s famous “Women of DC” poster, we include an image of that below simply as an example of Adam’s work— the look of the WOMEN OF SECTION ZERO print has not been decided.
The print is available at any of the “AH!” pledge levels— we encourage interested, existing backers to simply upgrade their level to keep things as easy as possible for all of us— and also as an add-on for anyone pledging who wants additional copies of the print.
If you've read comics in the past 30 years, chances are you've read something we've worked on— separately or together. We are career cartoonists— it's too late to save us now!— and have written or drawn almost every major character at every major company, from the Avengers to Zatanna.
We know how to tell rousing stories that can have you cheering on one page, and tearing up on the next. We believe you should enjoy reading comics, and that even though darkness is important in a story, hope is essential. That sometimes when things are at their worst, you need to laugh the most.
We co-created the 1990's Superboy, which remains a fan-favorite to this day. And make no mistake: Superboy was a joy for us to work on— but SECTION ZERO is a labor of love.
KARL KESEL: SECTION ZERO is everything I love about comics mixed together, given a few sharp twists, then let loose. It has heroes who rely on determination and skill more than super-powers— ordinary people who face extraordinary odds. A cast of underdogs, misfits and outcasts. An enemy who's organized, efficient and ruthless. A world full of wonder and danger and even death— but also humor. It's my tribute to Jack Kirby (who showed me the power of unbound imagination), Milt Caniff (who showed me compelling comics don't need super-powers) and John Keel (who showed me the strange, frightening— and often absurd— hidden side of our world ). (Hmm… the initials of Kirby, Caniff and Keel are also my initials— K.C.K.! Coincidence... ?) Most importantly, it's what I love in comics more than anything else: the chance to work with Tom Grummett. There is no other collaborator I have ever felt more in sync with, who more effortlessly puts on paper exactly what's in my mind— and more!— and who's very style says (to me, at least) that you can be serious and still smile.
TOM GRUMMET: SECTION ZERO has been and remains a tremendous source of pride to me. I think I can say that it represents the finest work I’ve ever done in comics. I’ve been fortunate enough to work with many of the most talented people in the industry over the years, but the experience of collaborating with Karl Kesel is downright magical.
When we joined forces on SECTION ZERO, we already had a substantial body of work together. SECTION ZERO was our ticket to let our imaginations truly run utterly wild. Flying saucers and Grays? Sure. Lost civilizations and ancient menace? Oh yeah. Secret organizations and occult threats? Sign me up. Anywhere we feel we want to wander, SECTION ZERO is the one vehicle we have to take us there, no matter how strange, how scary, or how crazy.
I’ve often been asked by fans at signings, conventions, or even just while hanging out at my local comic store: when are you going to bring back SECTION ZERO? My response would be to sigh, and say ‘ well, for something that special, the stars have to come into just the right alignment…’ The world spins on, and the heavens wheel above, and you can almost feel the tug as those stars begin to move into place… I can hardly wait.
A lot like this, actually:
It also looks like it'll be about 200 pages long, including:
INTRODUCTION BY KURT BUSIEK. Writer of stuff like Astro City and Autumnlands and a little something called Marvels. You may have heard of him. (He actually came up with the name "Section Zero." Bet you didn't know that.)
OVER 150 PAGES OF STORY. The Prologue shown above, all three previously printed SECTION ZERO comics, 12 additional pages that appeared online in 2013 (all of which are completely finished), a 6-page Interlude story (already written and penciled) and 60+ pages of new material (still to be created)— everything we need to tell our story the way it needs to be told.
BEHIND-THE-SCENES sketches and commentary about how the characters and story came to be.
SECTION ZERO GALLERY. Pin-ups of the SECTION ZERO characters by ten of the most talented, most generous artists in comics today. Our never-ending thanks (and yours, mark our words) go out to:
(Hey— we'd buy the book just for these pin-ups! Seriously!)
You give, we give back. Only fair.
Let's get graphic about some of the goodies you'll get...
Note: All design and artwork is in progress and will only get better.
SOLD! SUPERBOY #63, PAGE 21 ORIGINAL ART! The Kid gets (literally) shoved to one side as KNOCKOUT takes center stage— against an army of DOOMSDAYS! From Karl Kesel's personal collection, and if you think he's parting with it easily you're wrong! Will be signed by Tom Grummett and Karl Kesel. Limited to 1— not to be missed! Available for $500 at the SUPER BONUS REWARD #7 level (includes all Non-AH! rewards LAVA-level and lower).
JUST ADDED: ORIGINAL COVER ART to SUPERBOY #67! Nothing says high-stakes Hawaiian hi-jinx like SUPERBOY and KING SHARK! From Karl Kesel's personal collection— and you're not going to see a better piece offered in this KS, believe me! Will be signed by Tom Grummett and Karl Kesel. Limited to 1— not to be missed! Available for $1000 at the SUPER BONUS REWARD #8 level (includes all Non-AH! rewards LAVA-level and lower).
SOLD! SUPERBOY #61, PAGE 6 ORIGINAL ART! Superboy meets... Supergrrrl? And Wonder Woman, Superwoman, Batgirl and... is that Jann Jonz? Ah, the beauties of Hyper-time! From Karl Kesel's personal collection, and he's not going to keep pulling these out, trust me! Will be signed by Tom Grummett and Karl Kesel. Limited to 1— not to be missed! Available for $500 at the SUPER BONUS REWARD #9 level (includes all Non-AH! rewards LAVA-level and lower).
JUST ADDED! SUPERBOY #61, PAGE 3 ORIGINAL ART! Featuring SUPERBOY! BATMAN! SUPER-ROBIN (we're talking Hyper-time, people)! and a knockout image of... KNOCKOUT! From Karl Kesel's personal collection, and he thought long and hard about parting with this one, people! Will be signed by Tom Grummett and Karl Kesel. Limited to 1— not to be missed! Available for $500 at the SUPER BONUS REWARD #10 level (includes all Non-AH! rewards LAVA-level and lower).
You're walking down the street when an unearthly screeching makes you look up— to see a horde of goblin-creatures scuttling toward you. Suddenly, a UFO appears from out of nowhere. Men and women dressed in black beam down from it. One draws a glowing sword. Another shouts something as she throws a small device high into the air. There's a blinding light. You blink, clear your vision… and they're gone. The people in black, the UFO, the goblins. As if they never existed.
This could happen to you— in an ALTERNATE REALITY Reward Level. You— or someone of your choosing— could become an amazed or frightened bystander as SECTION ZERO protects mankind from everything that doesn't exist. Imagine your son or daughter in a day-care where every child's been taken over by Changelings (which, admit it, would explain a lot about their behavior), or yourself or a loved one casually shopping at the Mall of the Americas when... well, let's just say both of these scenes will happen in SECTION ZERO, and there's a place in them for you (and 9 others).
The ENHANCED ALTERNATE REALITY Reward Level gives you not just a chance to appear in the book, but also a page of signed Original Art with your appearance on it! For 10 lucky individuals only.
One brave soul, however, has the opportunity to be an Active, Costumed Member of SECTION ZERO at the ULTIMATE ALTERNATE REALITY Reward Level. This will not be a small cameo, but a pivotal role in the story. You'll also get a page of signed Original Art with yourself in full SZ gear, fighting the good fight. The ultimate reward for the ultimate fan.
Once we hit our initial goal, we have a few other hopes and dreams to reach for (also known as STRETCH GOALS)...
$63,250— All books upgraded to HARDCOVER! This book deserves it. We all know that.
$64,000— All books upgraded to ULTRA-COOL DELUXE HARDCOVER with full-color end sheets… spot-varnish on the cover… and a 5th, retina-burning Neon Green Special Ink added to the cover that can not be made by mixing standard printing inks. Probably because it's radioactive.
$69,000— 8-PAGE BONUS STORY! A true Tale to Astonish as the original 1950s SECTION ZERO team face the menace of GADOOM— A REALLY BIG MONSTER! (Exact menace may change, depending on creative whim.)
Here at Panic Central, we firmly believe if you want something, you should get it— now, if not sooner!– and as much of it as you want! In that spirit, you may ADD-ON any of the following to your pledge:
ADAM HUGHES "WOMEN OF SECTION ZERO" PRINT— FIRST PRINT: $20 (if already pledged to an AH! Reward Level); $30 (if not already pledged to an AH! Reward level, to allow for shipping). EACH ADDITIONAL PRINT: $20
SECTION ZERO BOOK— $25 each
SECTION ZERO BOOK WITH SIGN BOOKPLATE— $35 each
SECTION ZERO TEMPORARY TATTOOS— $10 per set of 4
SECTION ZERO: THE GORILLA DOSSIER— $25 each
SECTION ZERO SKETCH penciled by Tom Grummett— $40 each
SECTION ZERO SKETCH penciled by Tom Grummet and inked by Karl Kesel— $80 each
Note: Add-ons to backers at the TESLA level will have an additional charge for postage.
TO ADD-ON ANY OF THESE— simply add the dollar amount to your pledge. So if you want, say, an extra pencil sketch by Tom, add $40 to your pledge. Do not change your pledge level. When the campaign is over you will receive a survey asking how you want that extra money applied and you simply choose the appropriate option. See? No need to panic. And speaking of panic…
SECTION ZERO will be the first title from PANIC BUTTON PRESS— the name of what will undoubtably become a vast, prestigious Publishing Empire supporting and distributing comics created by… well, us (Karl and Tom) to start with, at least. And there are definite plans for other Panic Button projects— comics and concepts with an urgent need to get out there. (Certainly another SECTION ZERO graphic novel!) By supporting this project, you'll be in at Ground Zero (so to speak)— at no extra cost to you!
Note: the Panic Button web site is still under construction. You can find everything you need to know about this project at www.thereisnosectionzero.com
Let's talk money for a minute. $62K is a lot to ask for a comics Kickstarter. Not more than many have raised, but it's a high initial goal. If we were someone like Mike Mignola or Adam Hughes a goal like this might be fairly easy to reach. But we know we're not. We also know it's the absolute minimum we need to make this dream a reality.
The common wisdom is that people like to back a winner, and if you have a low initial goal and meet that quickly, lots of others jump on board and you can end up far exceeding your goal. And we considered doing that and hoping we'd raise the amount we actually need. But there are so many ways that could crash and burn.
There's also the unspoken rule that Backers are willing to pay for printing and things like lettering and colors, but the writer and artist shouldn't ask for a page rate up front. After all, this is a passion project, and we'll have all those leftover books to sell later, right?
This system works well for some creators, but it's not a great fit for our book, or for our families and our careers. SECTION ZERO requires four months of devoted, full-time work to complete – not evenings and weekends. (We haven't had those free since the '80's, anyway!) That means four months of zero income (so to speak) and turning away job offers. We've already put in hundreds of unpaid hours and expect to put in hundreds more, but four months in a row puts our families at risk in a way that no book, however awesome, can justify.
So we've run the numbers and come up with the barebones amount we need to keep our loved ones safe and healthy during this final stretch. They have supported us as we've pursued this dream— we need to be able to support them in return. And in order to do that we need your support. Without you, none of this happens. Bottom line.
For reading this, for helping get the word out, for supporting us. Whatever you are comfortable with and capable of doing, we deeply appreciate it. We've said it before, and we'll say it again… but only because it's true…
Risks and challenges
LIFE IS FULL OF RISKS AND CHALLENGES. HERE'S WHAT WE'VE GOT GOING FOR US TO MINIMIZE THEM:
Tom and Karl have a long history in the comics field. We know the job, what it entails, and how long it takes. We've produced hundreds of comics month after month, year after year, for DECADES now. We know how to do this, and do it well.
We've already completed over half the story! Written, penciled, inked, colored, lettered— DONE! We've got about 3 more issues of material to do. That should take us approximately 4 months (since Karl is both writing and inking) to produce— a little longer to allow for letters and color.
We have enough experience with creator-owned publishing to know how much extra effort that requires— trafficking, dealing with printers, proofreading and checking proofs, etc. As for Fulfillment— that's new to us, but we are currently talking with a number of providers to figure out the best fit. We don't know every curveball that will come our way, but we know to be prepared for what we don't know. Add in another month for us to deal with whatever comes down that road.
Of course, something will probably go wrong. It almost always does. We'll do everything humanly possible to stay on-schedule. If there are delays, we'll keep you informed about them and try to keep them short. And if there are delays of our own making, chances are it will only be because we want to make the book better.
We've waited 17 years to do this. We're going to do it right.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)