Weird Halloween: Retro Monster Humor and Some Things Human
Where monsters can be as much like people as people like monsters.
Weird Halloween: Retro Monster Humor and Some Things Human
Where monsters can be as much like people as people like monsters.
Welcome to a world where being weird is normal and normal people are the ones who are weird. Where the masks that people wear can be seen and show who they were rather than hide the fact. Where monsters can be as much like people as people like monsters.
Weird Halloween is a gritty-drawn, retro-style, full-color, Halloween-themed cartoon strip to be made freely available to everyone via WeirdHalloween.com, taking its inspiration from a fusion of four things one can never have too much of: Halloween spirit, graveyard humor, pure nostalgia and weird fiction.
I'll break down those four things in a second, but first a little about the project and myself. Weird Halloween takes place under the light of the orange moon in the haunting backdrop of Twila, Kentucky. It follows the adventures of Autumn Rose Kingfisher, a "people-phobic" but cheerful, precocious young girl, and her monster friends as they combat the forces of ubiquitous boredom. All along the way helping her through life in their own usual, weird manner.
The plan? Simple and straightforward as the art. 125 Halloween-Themed Cartoons from October 2017 until October 2018, OR ELSE in addition to those left over 31 more cartoons will be added (25% increase). I think this is a fair compromise as certainly I understand sometimes life can intervene causing delay.
Hi my name's Lenwood, I am a U.S. Army veteran (Finance Corps) with a BA in International Studies and minor in Holocaust, Genocide and Human Rights Studies (cum laude) from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. I grew up in a working-class family of eight in rural Virginia. For little over a year now, I've worked as a fulfillment associate at a warehouse just north of Charlotte, North Carolina. I draw in my spare time as well volunteer as a graphic designer for a local nonprofit.
Additionally, for the past decade I've run the creative project Lumberwoods (http://www.lumberwoods.com) developing original content, providing public access to rare texts and renewing interest in storytelling and a cultural heritage. This project has been referenced by Wired, Mental Floss, Cracked, Save the Pacific Northwest Tree Octopus, The Awl, Listverse, MetaFilter and over 200 domains.
I love what I have created so far and I love creating projects. But since I was a child Halloween has always captivated my imagination. In high school, I hobbled together a little, black and orange book for an arts and craft class. Bound in black rose buttons with a rubber-bat affixed to its cover, I titled it the, "Halloween Journal." Between the tea-stained pages I drew, my very first, Halloween-themed cartoons and for the past fifteen years I have kept this little book tucked away, but not forgotten.
For it represents my artist aspirations, a youthful optimism, a creative appetite just burning inside, awaiting the opportunity to produce something wholly fantastic.
My needs have change since then and accordingly attempts to realize this passion have been sidelined as of late. But I feel it would be an injustice to my younger self not to at least attempt to realize this dream.
Additionally, due to my education, in addition to entertaining you all I have three objectives in mind for this project, these are:
✔ ILLUMINATE: While I hope to create a truly entertaining cartoon, at least partly I want it to serve as a window on the human condition. Similar to the way in which storytellers like Rod Serling, Issac Asimov, Ray Bradbury and others presented not just strange tales, but ones that were rooted in a very human subtext and through clever allegory made us take a hard look at ourselves and another at society.
✔ INCLUDE: Moreover, my promise is to create three-dimensional characters from underrepresented groups and not simply as plot devices due to some tacky stereotype. (Avoiding such as Roma, Gypsies [sic], cast as fortune tellers, Native Americans shoehorned as magical sorcerers or Appalachian folk degraded as subhuman savages.) Rather characters whose representation is not misleading and whose ethnicity or background is simply a part of who they are and not the whole story.
✔ INFORM: And lastly, I would certainly like to touch on issues often overlooked in other media. Such as social exclusion, poverty, cultural rights, rural-urban divide, class conflict, gentrification, displacement, etc. If not literally, at least, allegorically. And if you have a particular issue in mind, feel free to send it to firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll see if I can't incorporate it somehow.
But enough exposition! Let's take a look at those four essential ingredients I hinted at before!
Wouldn't it be great if you could scratch your Halloween itch all the whole year through? With that same old, familiar feeling of eerie fun and all the inspiring Halloween imagery one could ever ask for? Well, unless you have your own year-round Halloween project forthcoming (if so more power to you), don't pass this chance up! Weird Halloween features all your favorite characters skeletons, ghosts, jack o' lanterns, witches, black cats, etc.
Also as an added touch each character has been designed to reflect as specific decade. Some characters, as well as decades, have yet to see the dark of night. So if you would like to see 00s, 90s, 80s, 70s, etc. Halloween incarnations come into being be a sport and consider pledging. Every little bit helps.
Macabre humor, like science fiction or fantasy base, relies heavily on nonsense. Nonsense, unlike other types of humor, is universal, requires no cultural context and provides plenty of flexibility. Something is funny simply due to its level of absurdity. Macabre humor typically features either a normal situation with an ordinary item traded out for a gruesome one, some ghastly character doing ordinary stuff in a weird way, incorporating some bizarre injury or frequently, all of the above.
For example, if in real life one challenges another to a duel-to-the-death by slapping them with a glove then— in macabre humor it would be a skeleton doing so with a severed hand.... Or for added effect the severed hand of the very person being slapped!
Remember when catching fire flies, climbing trees, campfire tales and splashing about streams defined childhood and not electronics? While Weird Halloween owes its imagery to the likes of ghost and goblins at its heart is youthful energy, outdoor adventures and country freedom. Set in the idyllic woods and creeks of Twila, Kentucky, unlike so many today, this cartoon is never to be locked up inside when outdoors it can roam wild and free. Additionally, I'll be happy to include allusions to all your favorite vintage televisions shows, movies, books, etc. Without calling them out by name and not being too specific, so there is no conflict with copyright laws.
Imagine if being weird was normal and normal people were the ones who were weird. Where the masks that people wear could be seen and showed who they were rather than hid that fact. Where monsters can be as much like people as people like monsters.
Weird Halloween is not necessarily a continuous story, but rather a puzzle where standalone cartoons come together to form a greater picture. Nonetheless, this cartoon project provides amble possibilities to explore the frontiers of weird.
For in addition to our reality of people and light, within this cartoon, exists another of monsters and darkness. However, between these places lies a point of intersection, a reality between realities, a plane of existence as much like ours as it is otherwise. This is a place of perpetual twilight, this the setting of Weird Halloween.
As such there is little limit to how much ground this project can cover in defying the genre limiting boundaries of horror, science-fiction, fantasy, etc. In short, expect the unexpected, bizarre twists, strange outcomes and be expectantly pleased.
I've tried to be fair and transparent on pricing for rewards. Based on estimated values for each item, below is a price breakdown on the rewards bundles; each tier includes all the items in the previous ones.
Naturally, I have included many goodies as recompense for your heartfelt support. As I am not working towards a completed book I cannot offer one as a gift. Alternatively, however, I have devised a "Campfire" Series of booklets. These feature original illustrations, commentary by the characters, classic tales of terror (adapted for modern audiences) as well each contains one wholly original story. These are available in PDF or paperback depending on the reward bundle of your choosing.
*** But as an extra special treat, I have created the Weird Halloween Scrapbook which in addition to plenty of new material includes the cartoons and other content from the "Halloween Journal" of my childhood days, as a token of my sincere thanks for your contributions! ***
Of course, there are lots of little things in-between. As well some bigger things like having a cartoon dedicated to someone special or having one of the characters call out an unsuspecting viewer by name!
Lastly, as I really want to ensure that you all will receive your money's worth of cartoons for the Halloween season, if this Kickstarter is successful, I'll be pulling doing double-duty September and October. I would very much like to have at least one cartoon for everyday in October, but we will see how it goes.
However, this means that I won't be able to get around to prepping many of the rewards until November to be sent out the following month. I could do rewards first and double-down on cartoons later, but like I said I really want to get the jump-start on Halloween. Bare in mind, of course, the cartoons are freely, available online, with more to come all-year-round and should tide you over until the rewards are sent out.
I really want to make sure I do right by you all. So I will try my best to get everything out before the year is through, but if there is some delay I can probably add a thing or two and hopefully that keeps us on good terms.
So every week during this Kickstarter I will be posting an update video via Weird Halloween's Official YouTube Channel. This is your opportunity (in the comments section) to ask a question, address a concern and receive feedback on a variety of issues.
I cannot promise I will get back to everyone individually, but I will make my best effort to do so. If enough viewers ask the same question than I will simply address it in the next weeks video. Additionally, I may post general information and updates via Weird Halloween's updates page (http://www.weirdhalloween.com/updates/) if the need arises.
Overall, I consider communication to be essential for both the purposes of transparency and the success of this Kickstarter. Moreover, after the Kickstater is done and if I exceed my target goal, this is also where I will communicate with my audience and negotiate a fair exchange for extra funds.
More cartoons? Positively. Write the Necronomicon? If that's what you're into, sure! Eat a ghost pepper? We are talking about no more than one, right?
Ultimately, it is up to the public in helping decide if extra funds go to funding more cartoons, making a graphic novel (if enough available) or even towards a new related project. Again, I will not make such decisions alone and will try to keep the lines of communication open as I really value all of your input.
The bottom line is time is money and money is time. Every dollar you pledge buys me more time to make art. Accordingly, the more I'll be doing what I love doing, it is simple as that.
This is not for a graphic novel I'll be selling later. This project is free once funded, so there is little in the way to subsidized costs. I am offering 125 cartoons at a rate of $14.40 per cartoon after Kickstarter fees, rewards and materials are deducted. If I manage to develop an idea, draw, ink and digitally color a cartoon all within ninety minutes, then all I'm asking for is $9.60 an hour. Below is a budget breakdown with the bulk going towards time and labor (80.5%), twelve percent towards rewards, five to cover Kickstarter fees and the remaining towards materials (do your math, yes, I am resourceful).
This is the lowest rate I could set aside for time and labor without causing any significant financial strain. Since I do all the work myself, incalculable costs are cut by not having to pay writers, pencilers, inkers, etc. all separately.
We'll refer to it as the "starving artist rate," with a target goal: $2,250.00.
I have no doubt on being able to deliver on the 125 cartoon project. I can very well simply keep on drawing until all the cartoons are produced. Additionally, I have already outline a compromise if due to extenuating circumstances I am unable to do so within the year deadline with a 25% increase in volume.
However, to meet that price range production volume will vary month-to-month and won't be running on a regular weekly schedule.
Could it be sped up? Could it be more regular? Could there be more cartoons?
I would love nothing more than to commit myself through out the year to making cartoons like it was a regular, part-time job, I really would. That's a bit of a stretch... a hundred-yard stretch, but it is entirely up to you guys.
Risks and challenges
Let's see challenges, to be honest my challenges already started long ago.
As you may have guessed finding time was the biggest challenge in making the cartoons for preview here (indeed, TIME that merciless mother of all things). But thankfully I was able to "shave" minutes, working just a little now and then, until I had several produced. But with your support I will be able to set aside "solid blocks" of my time and do much of the cartooning over hours and not little-by-little over days.
Of course, I still pilfer pens and make due with dollar store art supplies, like I said I'm resourceful. But again your support and a little change for supplies goes a long way.
Life hasn't always been easy for me. The fact I've occasionally had to sketch my ideas on the back of unused resumes should readily attest to just some of the difficulties I've had to overcome to simply reach this point. But I am as optimistic as they come, I am dedicated and truly LOVE making these cartoons.
But let us not forget that working in boxes is the very thing that forces us to be creative and real gems are made only under great pressure.
Do I have everything already created? Nope.
Have I ever done a Kickstarter before? This is my first.
I'm ambitious for sure. I've tried to be pretty straightforward about that. But we all have to start somewhere and most things worth wild do not come without challenge. Moreover, you might even say our obstacles are the very thing that drive our success.
In closing, I would like to part you with the immortal words of Orson Welles, who express it best when he said:
"... in Italy for 30 years under the Borgias they had warfare, terror, murder, and bloodshed, but they produced Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, and the Renaissance. In Switzerland they had brotherly love - they had 500 years of democracy and peace, and what did that produce? The cuckoo clock." -- Orson Welles as Harry Lime, The Third Man (1949)Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (34 days)