Hi, I'm Mike Keener. I've been drawing since before I could read, and reading since before kindergarten. I'm a cartoonist, and I'd reallly, really want to share my work with all of you.
White Worm is a very loose adaptation of a Bram Stoker novel (The Lair of the White Worm), which, by my re-working, ties into the Cthulhu mythos, and is a long-time gestating project that I have working on, in little pieces, for almost a year now (it's been a busy freelancing year... otherwise, I'd be a little more ahead, in terms of completed pages).
This is the basic plot: A rich, adventurous man, and a poor, resourceful country girl work to defeat an ancient evil beast threatening to destroy reality as we know it! (and I managed to distill it down to 25 words or less, just by a hair!)
What I want to do is simple: I want to be able to afford the time to devote to the book's completion (penciling, inking, coloring, lettering, etc.) in a relatively short block of time (2 months now, as a third of the book will be complete by the end of this campaign), so I can release it out to the world!
Page 1 sample. Dialogue omitted (Hey, some things you have to wait 'til you buy!)
The funds requested here are solely for art production (50%), publication (40-45%), and shipping charges (5-10%).
Page 2 sample. Dialogue omitted (Gotta keep something a surprise!)
Risks and challenges
I recognize that I am, for all intentions, unknown to most of you out there, and I'd like to give you a little insurance that you're spending your money wisely. TO that end, I came up with a relatively novel (and possibly entertaining!) way of circumventing this:
From 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. CST, I will be streaming video LIVE from my drawing table/workstation (from a webcam provided by me personally, out of my own pocket), where you, the supporters and backers, get to watch me physically work on the book in real time via webcam! I'm dead serious about getting this book done, and if that means being held accountable every day until the book's done, well, I'm more than happy to do so! I've already set up a UStream channel just for this purpose.
Short of unforeseeable/uncontrollable things (printing/shipping/customs issues), that's about it!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
While reading the book, I had an idea in my head about the titular White Worm... there's only one of them, and I had this idea in my head that it was an ancient evil. Thinking more about it, imagining the monster in my head, I found I wasn't imagining it like the standard serpent-like beast that it usually is portrayed as, but much more like an eel-like creature, with blank, almost trout-like eyes, unfeeling, etc.
Then I got to thinking, "it's sort of like a proto-Ancient One." Or rather, the description I gave myself for the White Worm/Arabella character was, as I realized later, pretty much dead-on for Chtulhu's bride, Idh-yaa... and it sort of brought everything together: villainous motive, heroes' goal, aftermath, etc.
And so, in crafting my script, I found that involving the Cthulhu mythos around it not only gave it a more interesting story, but it also helped in having the overall story make more thematic sense.
There's even a Lovecraft cameo
I have some in mind, but I'm not counting my chickens, so to speak.
But, if you're interested, here's what I was thinking:
If I raise $1000 more than expected,the regular edition of the book will be upgraded from TPB to hardcover - for everyone who bought a standard TPB. The Kickstarter Special Editions are printed in a much smaller run, and would still be TPB.
If I raise even more than that, I would add T-shirts, hats, and more posters into the mix.
Above that... well, I don't want to jinx it.
Well, I wanted to do something novel with the production of the book, while, at the same time, give backers a little reassurance that everything's done in a quick and timely fashion, and that's what I came up with. I'm still toying with whether or not there's any audio (I tend to listen to a lot of music and podcasts while I work), and while I'm glad to talk for a while as I draw, it can be tough to be "on" for an entire day (let alone weeks of work). I WILL add updates through this page, letting you know where we are at the start of the week, what got done during the "official" on-camera work day, as well as what got done off-camera (I'm pretty much going to be living at my drawing board, assuming I'm successful here, so I expect a lot will be done in between the hours and weekend days of streaming time).
Good question. I didn't go into detail above, as I was sort of wanting to not have a long-winded intro. Here are the important things:
1. The main heroes and villains are named the same. Some have different professions. (the hero is now an aircraft engine magnate, the main heroine is the primary caretaker of one of the villain's estates, etc.)
2. One character was killed off before the story started (or rather died of old age) to keep the cast down to a workable format. (I already have one septuagenarian hero, I felt another who just sat at home all day being told about what happened, like in the original book, would be pointless for my book.)
3. One character was written out entirely due to crazy, crazy racist reasons for him to exist in the original book in the first place (really, D.W. Griffith would probably tell Bram Stoker that he "Had problems.") So that character, in my book, simply does not exist (as there's no way to rewrite him to be anything other than an insulting racist caricature).
4. The original book takes place in the 1850s, for no specific reason (the book was written around 1911). I updated to the mid-1930s, the golden years of Universal Horror and the setting for so many cliffhangers, because I thought it was a better idea.
5. The main villain of the piece has had her origins messed with to make for a more engaging story (It's the Lovecraft fan in me that seemed to push for this!).
6. The main heroine has been made more assertive and take-charge, based on her upbringing, position, and motive.
7. One supporting character has been added in place of the "recently deceased" character, as it would make narrative sense for the main hero to need such a person around him (a pilot/driver/sidekick).
8. The ending's toyed with as well; it has much farther-reaching implications.
If push comes to shove, the production budget has a small section set aside for emergencies (certainly enough to cover a new hard drive, a motherboard, etc.). If isn't needed, then I will put that towards either a stretch goal, or an extra reward for everyone to be decided upon later. Also, all my work is backed up on disk and cloud. Every day.
So no worries! I've already planned ahead for that.
Well, if it's something you can't plan for, it's something you can't plan for! If the printing house takes longer than expected, or a family issue arises that I need to leave my desk (ior town for a day or two), or what have you, I'll have to take care of that, but (and this is the most important thing) I will ALWAYS keep you informed and in the loop. No one wants the book out on time more than me, I can guarantee you that, and as such, I feel it is my duty to keep everyone involved in making my book a reality as informed as possible.
Chances are, you'll be tired of seeing all the updates, as they will be that plentiful (@ least once or twice a week, as the book production soldiers on).
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