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Collecting the first five chapters of the Lady Sabre steampunk-adventure webcomic by Greg Rucka and Rick Burchett.
2,901 backers pledged $143,379 to help bring this project to life.

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The Final Push

Posted by Greg Rucka (Creator)

Big day today. The last day. Today, we go for broke.

The Final Stretch Goal(s)

I had this idea late last week.

I'd been thinking about a comment someone had left, remarking - kindly! - that we're shipping so much extra material with each book, he was a little concerned that 1) there wouldn't be a place to put everything, and 2) some of it might get damaged in shipping. As for point 2, we're committed to doing everything we can during the fulfillment phase to make sure your books, and everything that may come with them, arrive in the best condition possible.

But point 1 got me thinking, like I said. I was thinking about books that I'd loved that had come with "extras," in particular, with maps and pull-outs and fold-outs and the like. Remembering books of science fiction space ships that had the blueprints included. Things like that.

I started thinking, well, if we make the Pegasus Deck Plans, maybe, instead of doing them as individual sheets, we could do them big. Like, a poster big. Something that could be folded open and laid out and really examined, all on one big sheet, but that could be folded to a more manageable size. Something that would fit in a pouch or an attached envelope at the back of the book, perhaps. At the end, attached to the inside back cover.

I wonder what that would cost?

I mentioned this idea to Rick and Eric, and they both said they liked that idea a lot, but, y'know, how much would it cost?

So I called Bob.

Bob is the incredibly helpful guy I've been dealing with since we settled on a printer. Bob is the guy who's taken all my calls and has walked me through all the things that I didn't understand, and has called me back more than once and said, you know, choice A that you mentioned, that's nice, but choice B is actually better and a little cheaper, too. The 140 GSM woodfree endpapers? It was Bob who said to go with woodfree, because they'd hold up better, that they wouldn't crack or degrade with age.

I like Bob.

Bob was at Book Expo America, in New York City, when I called him and said, hey, what about this idea? And he said, uhm, Greg, I'm at BEA and I can't hear you and what was that again? So I repeated it, louder, you know. The way you do. And Bob says, hmm, let me look into it when I get back to the office.

Bob looks into it. He gives us some options.

I call Sterling. I say, hey, you know, we just cleared the Stretch Goal for the deck plans. Sterling makes a very happy noise - he's made it clear from the start that he really, I mean really, wants to do these deck plans. He and Rick have already been talking about it. I say, so, hey, you know… what about doing the deck plans big. I mean, poster big. Like, maybe… I dunno, double-sided. Sterling checks some of his sources. He says, you know, this could look amazing at 22" by 34", maybe. Lots of room, lots of different details. Both sides, that'd be cool.

I call Eric and Rick and I say, okay, this looks possible. Do we want to go for this? Twenty-four hours left, are we really going to set a stretch goal that may, finally, be our grasp exceeding our reach.

You have your answer. This is the big finale.

150K, The Finishing Touch.

This quite possibly is our Bridge Too Far.

We've already committed to the HMS Pegasus Deck Plans. They're going to happen, no matter what. We don't make this goal, the deck plans are still happening as originally proposed, it's a done deal.

But if we reach this one, then it's across all the books, every edition - Cloth Covers, The Style, R&R, all of them get the pocket in the back of the book to hold the poster-sized Deck Plans. One complete, and rather glorious package.

And wouldn't that just be something to see?

The Rueful Buccaneer

Eric is not off the hook. Eric is putting your money where his mouth is. Eric has found his prop sword and his eyepatch, and has been doing vocal exercises and practicing on his ukelele.

We get the 150K, this is the second Stretch Goal at the same level. Eric will record himself singing "Better Far to Live and Die" from Gilbert & Sullivan's The Pirates of Penzance. While wearing a pirate costume. And accompanying himself on ukelele.

And then I'm going to immortalize him on YouTube for all eternity.

Who says he won't take one for the team?

The Last of the Pin-Ups

Stephanie Buscema's original art of the witch Kaya from our story is now available in its own tier. As with all previous pin-up offerings, the piece comes with a copy of the trade in The Style to Which She is Accustomed edition, and includes all the digital extras. I'm almost loathe to let this piece go, frankly. I suspect it'll be gone by the time this update is released.

Originals

I've known Rick for over a decade, and in that time I've visited his home twice. I've been in his office on each of those visits, and each time, I've been stunned to see that he has kept almost every single page he has ever drawn. Seriously. Most comic book artists, they sell their art, and with good reason; it's supplemental income, after all.

Rick, he doesn't do that. Seriously. He just doesn't sell his art.

Except for today.

Over the years, Rick and I have worked together on a handful of stories outside of Lady Sabre. We did a couple issues of Detective Comics, the Batman 10-cent Adventure, a mini-series called Batman/Huntress: Cry for Blood, and a mini-series based on my creator-owned comic Queen & Country, called Queen & Country Declassified III

Rick is right now going through his piles and piles of art, and he's pulling pieces from each of these stories that he's willing to part with. Later today, we'll be offering these in their own tiers. Each page is original art by Rick, from a script by me. Each page will be signed by each of us, and will come with a copy of the Cloth Covers edition of the Lady Sabre & The Pirates of the Ineffable Aether Vol. I trade, as well as the complete digital package.

As an aside, perhaps, I'm genuinely moved by Rick's willingness to do this. Like I said, he doesn't sell his pages. He just doesn't.

But for this campaign, he's willing to make an exception, and neither Eric nor I can thank him enough.

There will be an update as soon as these tiers go live.

We're almost done.

Hold fast!

Greg

The Eric has the Keys to the Kickstarter Update

Posted by Greg Rucka (Creator)

Hi everybody,

Eric here. Greg called me earlier and warned me that he'd be away from the computer this evening, asking if I could update the new unlocked stretch goal if you guys helped us reach it.

Ha ha. If.

We continue to be completely overwhelmed by your support for Lady Sabre. Even through this weekend, I doubted we'd be seeing these deck plans. But you sure showed me. We've already been talking to Sterling Hershey about the maps over the past few days, and we're all excited to be able to expand our conversation now!

Multiple identities

We'll be posting information about a new stretch goal tomorrow, pending a conversation with our printers about cost and feasibility. We might also be posting some new limited and exciting reward tiers.

We've had some questions about the possibility of pledging for multiple limited reward tiers, and it seems that some of our backers have had success signing up for multiple Kickstarter accounts. I believe the way it works is you simply have a second account for Kickstarter, and can use the same Amazon account and credit card for the actual payment process.

...If we get around to offering what I hope we'll be offering, you might want to take advantage of that.

Why do you read Lady Sabre?

One of the things people dislike about Kickstarter campaigns is the endless drone of "Please support me" posts. This can get rough especially when, like ours, they're coming down to the wire. One thing we've really tried to do with this campaign is to provide discussions or items of substance in our updates, in our interviews, and in our social media outreach. I hope we've not failed completely at that.

To this end, we want to ask if you'll consider spreading the word in a constructive way over the next few days via Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, blogs, message boards, or whatever new media you use that we're too old and un-hip to know about.

If you'd be so kind, we'd like you to answer the question posed in the header above by saying, "I read Lady Sabre because _______" while filling in the blank with your own personal reason, and giving a link to either our Kickstarter page or directly to our (still free!) webcomic (http://www.ineffableaether.com). Greg, Rick, and I will be checking in as well across all of the social media networks on our radar to see what you all have to say!

Thanks from me (me being Eric still)

I know you are all fans of Greg's and Rick's and probably still have no clue who I am, but I want to thank you for what you've done here. When Greg talks about how overwhelmed and humbled he and Rick have been by your support, I can verify that he's being truthful.  This has been an incredible experience for all of us, and we hope you've enjoyed the ride too.

Hey, did you know Greg (the one who insists on including my promise to sing for you all in every update) gets an email every time each one of you posts a new comment? It sure would be rough on his inbox if all 2,475 of you decided to say something nice below.

The Forty-Eight Hour Update

Posted by Greg Rucka (Creator)

Well, just under that now, I guess.

Folks who knew told us that the last couple days of the campaign would be… active.

They weren't kidding.

Timing, Friend. It's Called Timing.

Woke up this morning to discover that the Teramyyd: Earthsphere folks had sent out an update, and it was a Lady Sabre-centric one, at that! Not only were they kind enough to boost the signal on Glen Bricker's LEGO Cuusoo project (and if you haven't given the project your vote, we urge you to do so!), but they also unveiled the Pegasus model prototypes for the game.

I can give you all a long list of things that none of us - not Eric, not Rick, not myself - even dreamed would come about as a result of this campaign. That we would connect with such a fabulous campaign, be met with such reciprocity, and then - then! - to see Pegasus come to life as a game piece? That's got to be near, if not at, the top of the list.

I mean, seriously. Check this thing out.

How cool is that?

Hail to the King, Baby

If you love comics, then you know the name Jack Kirby. If you don't know the name, the chances are that you know at least some of the characters he helped to create. You've seen them on t-shirts and mugs and in movies and, hopefully, in comics, too. In the same way that modern cinema owes a huge debt to Orson Welles, modern comic storytelling owes much the same to Kirby. There's a reason he's referred to as "The King of Comics."

His grandson, Jeremy, is running a Kickstarter as we speak, described as a "Personal look into the King of Comics." His goal is to produce a large-format book that will not only print, for the first time, a play written by Kirby himself, but will also be filled with Kirby's art and collages, and will provide an intimate view of Jack Kirby's life and career.

Please consider giving the campaign a look, and perhaps backing Jeremy's efforts.

Atomic Sabre

We're unveiling Scott Wegener's wonderfully dynamic pin-up of her Ladyship today. Scott is co-creator and artist on Atomic Robo, one of the best books being published today, along with writer Brian Clevinger. Scott's original, uncolored, art (pictured above) is being offered in its own tier, as we've been doing, and, as before, wlll come with a copy of The Style to Which She is Accustomed edition, as well as all the digital options. The colored version, shown below, was done digitally by Lindsay Small-Butera, and will be the version appearing in the trade. Just so we're clear on this - the pin-up in the tier is the black-and-white drawing, not the colored one!

Because we don't want any confusion.

Pretty, innit?

It's My Soapbox and I'll Shill if I Want To

Today, Monday June 3rd, is what's called the "final order cut-off" for LAZARUS #1 by Michael Lark and myself. The series will debut June 26th from Image Comics. The pre-order code is APR130420. Pre-ordering books - any books, but creator-owned ventures like this one especially - helps us enormously. If you've any interest, please let your retailer know you want a copy.

On a very-much-related note, Michael and I will be signing on the day of release at Olympic Cards and Comics in Lacey, Washington, just outside of Olympia. This is June 26th, and it's a terrific store with terrific people, and we're very much looking forward to this launch event. If you're anywhere in the area, please come and say hi!

Teal Shearer

If you haven't seen My Gimpy Life, you're denying yourself one of the best web-series thus far created, and you're further denying yourself the pleasure of Teal Shearer's wit and talent. Teal is a disabled actress, and the series is loosely based on her own experiences navigating - sometimes quite literally - the challenges of Hollywood.

The first season was terrific. Now, Teal Shearer has launched a Kickstarter to help fund the production of a second season.

Check out her campaign, and please consider becoming a backer.

One Last Thing

We're zeroing in on the last of our Stretch Goals... and if we can get past that, I've got an idea for one more, too (not counting the 150K goal of Eric Makes a Fool Out of Himself With a Ukelele).

No, I'm not going to let him live it down.

Thanks, as always, to all of you for joining us here, and for helping to boost the signal about the campaign! Please keep spreading the word!

Hold fast!

Greg

Hours Instead of Days Update

Posted by Greg Rucka (Creator)

Very strange thing to wake up today and see that the countdown has switched over from days to hours. Very strange to think back that it's been almost 30 days now, and they have blurred past. When all is said and done, I imagine I'll be writing up a long post over at Lady Sabre, trying to untangle and describe this particular adventure.

But we're not done yet. Not by a longshot.

So, This Happened.

Yesterday, Eric was answering questions in the comments section, and he posted the following:

The answer to Laura is the relevant bit.

To which I said:

Now, I know full-well that reaching 150K is more than a little crazy. And none of us, not myself, not Rick, and clearly not Eric, think that's going to happen.

But this morning, I got an email from Eric where he said, "Well, I sat down and figured out how to play the song last night, just in case." No word on where he intends to get the costume. 

We live in hope ;)

Me and My Big Mouth

One of the by-products of this campaign has been a lot of interest from various quarters. I've done a lot of yammering on and on about Lady Sabre, the Kickstarter, and - it seems almost tangentially - my other work. 

In no particular order:

I was on 11 O'Clock Comics with Chris Neseman and David Price a few nights ago. It's a long conversation. I talk a lot.

Casey Gilly and I had a lovely conversation that she's transcribed and posted at Comic Book Resources (CBR). The conversation turns, as it so often seems to do with me these days, to issues surrounding the portrayal of women in genre, and the inadequacy and frustrations I feel when "strong female characters" gets mentioned.

Then there was this conversation with nom-de-plume Royal Nonesuch at Outhouser's Entertainment. And while we're over at the Outhouse, you can find a link to a conversation with Eric Ratcliffe from an episode of the Why I Love Comics podcast we did back in January.

And then there's this interview, just published this past week, with Michael Lark and myself discussing our upcoming series LAZARUS, published by Image Comics, with Matt Santori-Griffith over at Comicosity. But you probably already knew about that.

Finally, there's this:

This was recorded about a week and a half or so into the Kickstarter campaign, if I remember - and I'm having a hard time keeping track of these things, you might imagine - and was a terrific conversation with "DJ Granpa" for his show, DJ Granpa's Crib, about the nature of Kickstarter and more. I'm just one of the many guests on the show, and you can find the actual episode here

Someone You Should Be Reading by the Name of Mills.

Christopher Mills is the author of... way too many things to list, but in the realm of webcomics, he's got two that we'd like to direct to your attention.

The first, Perils on Planet X, is written by Chris and drawn by Gene Gonzales. It's sci-fi adventure-slash-romance, smart, and fun, and comes complete with requisite princess. But Chris describes it much better than I can, and in his description, you can see the depth of not only his passion for the medium and the source material, but also just how darn smart he is.

"Perils on Planet X is unapologetically a planetary romance. It is not a reinvention, reimagining or deconstruction of the genre. Nor is it strictly pastiche, although there’s definitely aspects of that in there. It follows firmly in the literary footsteps of authors I greatly admire and enjoy: Edgar Rice Burroughs, Otis Adelbert Kline, Leigh Brackett, Lin Carter, Michael Moorcock, Gardner Fox, and the stargods know how many others. If Perils differs significantly in any respect, it’s only because it has been written and drawn in the 21st Century instead of the 20th, and it cannot help but reflect that."

I am a fan of smart. Most people are. Eric actually did a write-up on Perils over at Lady Sabre. Amongst the many praises he heaped upon the Mills and Gonzales team, he had this to say:

"Mills’ love of the planetary romance genre shows through as regularly as his mastery of it. The clarity and form of Gonzales’ artwork falls somewhere between the adventure comics artists of the 30s whose works like Buck Rogers and Flash Gordon are undeniably an influence on this effort, and Scott McCloud’s Zot, one of the great unsung sci-fi comics of the last century. Action sweeps across every page, and each has a fantastic balance of questions answered and questions asked. Plus there’s a red-headed pirate queen, and you know we have a special place in our heart for ladies of that ilk."

Which is one heck of an endorsement, and one with which I am in total agreement.

Then there's this:

You may recognize the artist. In the interests of full-disclosure, yes, that's our own Rick Burchett working with Chris on this noir-series, Gravedigger. It's hard-boiled, it's mean, it's sharp enough you can cut yourself reading it, and it is, for the record, NSFW.

Eric also did a review of the webcomic at Lady S, and once again, pretty much nailed everything I was thinking:

"In any other story, Digger would be the villain — a cold-hearted sum’bitch who pulls no punches — but through the first-person, boiled-harder-than-stone narration, we’re invited inside to live out our tough-guy fantasies vicariously as Digger charges violently through a series of double and triple crosses with his eyes fixed on the ends that best serve him."

Here's a bit of a sample:

One of the things I love about Mills' work is how effortlessly he shifts from genre to genre, and how he maintains both his reverence and his critical eye. That's not an easy thing to do. Trust me, I know.

So, if you're looking for a little light Sunday reading, here you go.

The Final Days 

Tomorrow (Monday) we'll be putting up at least one more of the pin-up tiers, and maybe - just maybe - scouring the archives for some other goodies. I don't know where we're going to end on this, but please, if you've a moment and the inclination, consider boosting our signal yet again. We're all-in now, looking for the big finish!

Hold fast!

Greg

One Stretch Left Update

Posted by Greg Rucka (Creator)

You did it again.

Rick 2.0 is now unlocked, and while Mr. Burchett attends his son's graduation in New York, somewhere he's looking at his smartphone and he's blushing, because you guys did what he sincerely thought wouldn't be done. I'm telling you right now, we'll be making an "unboxing video" of Rick getting his new set-up and putting everything together. We'll keep you posted post-Campaign's conclusion, but, on Rick's behalf as well as Eric and myself, thank you all.

The HMS Pegasus Deckplans are all that remain. On a similar subject, I spent an hour on the phone with Sterling Hershey last night in a discussion about the maps we're now able to produce, and the larger portion of that conversation ended up in a discussion of what shape the atlas image should take, and, in turn, what is the shape of the Sphere. 

As I told Sterling - who I suspect is much smarter than I am - I know just enough science to be dangerous. The challenges of bringing a sense of realism to our fantasy are daunting, and the creation of an actual world map is both exhilarating to me and terrifying. I'm very, very grateful that your support has allowed us to bring Sterling aboard for this work; not only the book, but our story itself, will be the better for it.

To PDF or Not To PDF

A couple of folks have sent me messages asking if the digital edition of the trade could be available in a format other than PDF, and they've cited some excellent reasons, including one or two of which I'd not been aware. The primary argument in favor of offering additional electronic formats seems to be that PDFs simply are not ideal for reading comics, and a desire for consistency and ease-of-use is, honestly, very persuasive. At the same time, my understanding is that PDF is ideal for text, or text-heavy, documents.

Eric, Rick, and I are now actively exploring our options. My suspicion is that we'll attempt to provide Lady Sabre & The Pirates of the Ineffable Aether, Vol. I, in CBZ or similar; the Annotated Process and the Pocket Guide - both primarily text offerings - will likely remain PDF. If you have thoughts on this, or suggestions, please feel free to share them in the comments section.

That Abominable Karl Kerschl

Today, we're adding a tier for Karl Kerschl's original art for the pin-up of Lady Sabre. This is the same image we've featured on our Story page (the main Kickstarter page) from the start. As with the previous offerings, Karl's piece will come with a copy of the trade in the Style to Which She is Accustomed edition, and include all the digital options.

The Call of Kickstarter

It seems I can't go more than a couple of days without talking about games as much as we talk about comics. Well, today, I became aware that Chaosium has launched a Campaign to produce and distribute the 7th Edition Rules for their venerable and still brilliant Call of Cthulhu RPG.

I love this game. This is, in fact, the only game I'm actively running these days. It is a brilliant and elegant game system, designed to promote storytelling in a world of unknowable horror and globe-spanning adventure. It is a game system that allows for role-playing of the highest order. It is a great game, inspired by the works of HP Lovecraft, full of mind-rattling enemies and universe-ending threats. It's a game that rewards thought, and was one of the very few games I found early that eschewed the violence of D&D and the like for creative, intelligent solutions. After all, as the game itself once wrote, "What happens when you nuke Cthulhu? He reforms ten minutes later. But now he's radioactive."

Hey, Evan? "Are they real crocodiles?" "They're real HUGE crocodiles."

Or is it alligators? I can never remember which….

Rocket Queen and the Wrench

Justin Peniston, who has been doing the webcomic Hunter Black for almost exactly as long as we've been working on Lady Sabre, is a talented and hungry young writer, and he's got a new all-ages book being released this coming Wednesday via the Comixology app. 

This is a creator-owned, self-published comic, available only digitally.

Please consider giving Justin your support and checking the book out when it's released this coming week.

Hold fast!

Greg