$54K STRETCH GOAL REACHED! *
* And if you order at least three books, you can request specific color plates. Bookseller's Pledge will get one of each.
Most people know my work through the series of illustrated novels I created, The Chronicles of the Imaginarium Geographica, but not all of my readers realize that this series was not my first extended work of fantastic fiction. More than twenty years ago, I began writing and illustrating a massive graphic novel I called StarChild. Released first as a series of comic books, the stories were later collected into two volumes: AWAKENINGS, and CROSSROADS. A third volume, MYTHOPOLIS, was never completed.
The years when StarChild began were a thrilling time to be in comics, and the book amassed a following that included some of the greatest luminaries in the field: Will Eisner and Neil Gaiman, and Rick Veitch and Paul Chadwick, and Whilce Portacio and Ray Bradbury, and many, many more. I self-published most of the comics and collected editions, but the latter issues were published by industry leader Image Comics, under Jim Valentino. Then, the business changed — and other than a few shorter stories, StarChild went on hiatus.
(One of the trade show jam prints I did with my friends and colleagues Dave Sim, Jeff Smith, Martin Wagner, and Colleen Doran.)
I always wanted to go back to complete the stories I started, and many readers clamored for more — but I discovered that over the two decades since I began, my work had also changed, and I faced a dilemma. I had changed too much as a writer and illustrator and storyteller to finish the stories in the same way I began them. So, I decided that I would revisit and complete those stories in another way, as a series of illustrated novels called Fool’s Hollow.
But… A lot of what was in the original comics only works as comics — and I mourned the idea that so much wonderful work that I loved creating might be lost. Over the years, there have been a number of reprint editions of the StarChild material, most recently as the six volume Essential StarChild collections. But multiple editions are hard to keep in print and make available. So, I decided that what was needed was what I had planned for almost from the very beginning: One extraordinary, deluxe volume containing every page of the entire StarChild story that I had ever created.
(Above: one of the little-seen MYTHOPOLIS pages.)
All the stories, including the first two storylines, AWAKENINGS and CROSSROADS; the "Little Neil" short stories from the anthology NEGATIVE BURN; the long story "Hobblesmith;" the unfinished MYTHOPOLIS chapters that have never been reprinted; all the development sketches and notes; guest illustrations and art features from some of my pro friends; literally everything that had been associated with the title StarChild - as well as the Prologue of the forthcoming illustrated novel, Fool's Hollow.
Almost 700 pages of material.
Everything has been rescanned from the original art and digitally cleaned for the highest quality reproduction, and I have also hand-retouched several of the pages to both assure the final quality of the work, as well as alter (slightly) a few of the more mature-reader-oriented pages to make this edition more family-friendly for my younger readers.
My good friend Steve Bissette, who not only inspired a lot of the art within but who also was a fellow traveler along the self-publishing highway with his book TYRANT is contributing an introduction.
In one book, I can share the work that established my career for readers old and new to enjoy — and YOU can help make it happen.
(Above: the title page from the story "Hobblesmith.")
Add a Second Book for a Friend: there have been requests for a way to receive a second hardcover and this is the solution - add $45 to any current pledge level and you will be sent an additional signed hardcover and signed mini-print of the cover illustration. If you change your pledge level, you will need to add the $45 again to your new pledge to receive the second hardcover and mini-print. If the hardcover is shipping outside the US, please add an additional $30.
Digital: A PDF of the entire book is available to supporters who pledge at the $20 and $30 levels and all levels at $60 and higher (exclusive of the $125 Bookseller's Pledge)
Hardcover: The entire 700+ page collection, finely printed on heavy unbleached recycled stock, bound as a high-quality hardcover, with a foil-stamped Kivar leatherette binding in a felt finish and a tipped-in full-color cover plate, available for a pledge of only $45, and available for all greater pledges. The hardcover will include a signature from the grateful author on the title page.
Prints: A signed 5" x 7" mini-print of the color cover art included for pledges $30 and greater (exclusive of the $125 Bookseller's Pledge)
— A special 13" x 19" B/W StarChild print, produced just for this project, limited to 245 copies maximum, and not to be offered for sale after this project's completion for pledges at $75, $125, and greater (exclusive of the $125 Bookseller's Pledge).
(Above: the art for the backer-exclusive print.)
— Artist proofs of the two massively detailed 28" x 40" Fool's Hollow art prints: "The Gatherum", and "Old Tom's Study" for the $250 pledge level. The prints will be shipped separately in a sturdy tube, and are the ideal wall decoration for the dedicated StarChild collector (exclusive of the $125 Bookseller's Pledge).
(Above: details from "The Gatherum" and "Old Tom's Study.")
Sketches: Pledges at the $100 level and greater have an ORIGINAL head sketch of one of the characters (artist's choice) drawn in marker on the front endpapers of the hardcover collection.
(Above: an example of a head sketch I did in a French edition of StarChild: Awakenings.)
Original Art: A FULLY-RENDERED FINISHED ILLUSTRATION commission of the character(s) of your choice (within reason and subject to approval), to be rendered in pen and ink on a 10" x 14" illustration board for the greatest pledge level of $750. Please note the artist (me) may take several weeks, months, or possibly over a year to deliver - but with the understanding that as I almost NEVER sell original art, it will most assuredly be worth your sponsorship and your while, for which I will endeavor to make your wait as short a period as possible.
(Above: an example of a commission piece I did of RUSH drummer Neil Peart as a Dragon. Obviously, I'm open to all sorts of possibilities for commissioned pieces.)
Bonus in Celebration of Early Funding for ALL pledge levels $1 and up: a signed mini-print (5" x 7") of the popular StarChild character Martin Humble as Cupid, from the cover of Joe Pruett's anthology NEGATIVE BURN.
(Above: the art for the Bonus Reward print.)
Something Extraordinary for a Backer at the $100 Pledge level and higher*: of the hardcovers that contain an original head sketch (Libri Fresco, all Hat Tricks, Überfan, and Michaelangelo Pledge levels), one special hardcover will have an original, remarqued, four-page (both sets of endpapers, front and back) handwritten STORY, which may contain elements of the ENTIRE epic that I'll be sharing in the Fool's Hollow novels that come out in 2014. Which hardcover I write the short story in will be chosen at random after the Kickstarter project ends. The head sketch for that hardcover will then be on the inside endpaper opposite the signature page. *Does not include hardcovers included in the Bookseller's Pledge.
The Pledge Levels
UPDATED! And for worthy Booksellers of discretion and taste, the Bookseller's Pledge now has six books!
These stories and art exist because of the support of my readers. Whether you are an old friend of StarChild (such as Überfan Alex De Luca, who provided the WONDERFUL soundtrack for the video) or a new reader excited to jump in, I have always been and remain truly grateful for your support.
Risks and challenges
Because all of the work is complete, there are very few risks to be had in supporting this project. I've done this — publishing my own work — many times before. When this project funds, the files will be uploaded to the printer and the organizing of the other rewards will begin.
There are always possible challenges such as delays with printing and shipping. Unexpected things could happen: I might get the flu in the middle of signing a thousand books, which could hold up delivery. But I promise I will keep everyone updated as to the progress of the project — particularly if there are any delays or obstacles — and they will be overcome to deliver what you have supported and what was promised.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
Support this project
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