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A melding of the Bram Stoker's last book and Lovecraft's Cthulhu mythos into a terrifying, adventurous, and seductive frenzy!

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!)

Character portrait

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! 

 Character portrait

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%).  

Character portrait

 Page 2 sample.  Dialogue omitted (Gotta keep something a surprise!)

B & W poster art
B & W poster art

Risks and challenges Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

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!

FAQ

  • Easily!

    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

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  • 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.

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  • 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).

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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  • 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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    The "All I want is a B & W Poster" Tier! Maybe you don't want a digital copy of the book, but want to help anyway. Don't fret, because you'll get one of four character posters in glorious black white (just let me know which one you want - all are available to view at mikekeener.com!)

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    I will send you a digital copy of the book in .CBR format, readable on any iOS device, Mac, PC, Android tablet or phone, Kindle Fire tablet! And, of course, a nice "thank you" note.

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    The "All I Want is a Color Poster" Tier! Again, maybe you don't want a digital copy of the book (lots of folks, young and old, are in agreement with you when it comes to physical books!), so here you get your choice of five promo posters (either the character promos or the official book promo poster), all of which are readily availbe to view on my site at mikekeener.com!

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    You will get a Kickstarter Special Edition digital download, with it's own distinct cover, a short foreword to you, the Kickstarter crowd who made the book happen, as well as a nice "thank you note" from me. The other thing you get is this: early delivery! You will have your book delivered electronically one week prior to the official publication date!

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    You get a physical copy of the book, in a single paperback format, as well as a nice "thank you" note. (In case you're wondering, I'll be writing a LOT of personal "thank you" notes here, but honestly, I can't NOT do so.) NOTE: If you live outside the US, there's an additional shipping charge. Sorry for that (but the digital copy's are always the same price!).

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    If you live in the US, you get a Kickstarter Special Edition physical copy of the book, in a single paperback format (with variant cover and foreword), as well as a nice "thank you" note. And, your book will be shipped one week earlier than the official release date! NOTE: If you live outside the US, there's an additional shipping charge. Sorry for that (but the digital copy's are always the same price!).

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    You get the US "Combo Pack": a digital edition of the book, a paperback edition of the book, and a personalized "thank you" note from me! NOTE: If you live outside the US, there's an additional shipping charge. Sorry for that (but the digital copy's are always the same price!).

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    The "Early Bird Combo Pack": You'll get the Kickstarter Special Edition (again, variant cover and foreword) in both digital and physical copies, AND you will get both shipped out (electronically and physically) one week prior to the official publication date! And, of course, the familiar, yet unique, "thank you" note from me! NOTE: If you live outside the US, I will have this option available for you, but with additional shipping factored into the pledge.

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    You get the "Original Art and Book Combo Package"! In addition to the Kickstarter Special Edition digital and physical copies of the book (again, delivered one week early), you ALSO get an original page of art from the book (it's not necessarily pretty, as it's pencils-only on page, since I ink digitally), but it's yours!

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    You get BOTH the "Combo Pack" AND an original piece of art featuring YOU! All you need to do is send me a basic photo of yourself, and I will draw you in the world of the "White Worm", and ship it out to you! NOTE: The original art will be shipped separately, and should be out to you a month or so after the book launch (as, if this tier gets filled out, I"ll have 10 original pieces to finish up, and I don't want to disappoint you by rushing it!)

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    You get the "Combo Pack" and you get a digital... addendum, if you will. You will receive a 5-page digital download of "deleted scenes" from the book - pages that were completed, but that I took out (or wildly re-edited) for pacing issues in the book. They aren't required reading, but they do flesh out some story elements more.

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    The "I'm Out of Reward Ideas" Tier! (Just kidding.) At this level, you've pretty much floored me with your support, I'm not gonna lie. So, what can I give the person who wants to help me out this much....? I got it! The "SUPER-MEGA-CACHUNGA" Package! For this level of support, you'll get: 1. The digital Kickstarter Special Edition digital edition one week prior to launch. 2. The physical Kickstarter Special Edition physical paperback book one week prior to launch (or, at least shipped out one week earlier - I can't take credit or blame for your local Post Office or Fed Ex or what have you). 3. An original piece of art from the book. 4. An original piece of art featuring YOU in the world of White Worm (this might be up to a month later than the other items here, if only for time constraint issues). 5. The digital addendum, with extra scenes deleted from the final book. 6. An original art page of one of the "deleted scenes." 7. An "Extra Special Thanks" credit in the book's credits. As in, directly below the book's dedication to my wife and family. (Yes, your gesture means that much to me!) 8. Five pages (or so) of my own notes and sketches from the creative process of making this book. In other words, you get part of the skeleton of the book. 9. I'll also send you a personalized video thanking you, personally, for helping make a difference. 10. And, lastly, a personalized "thank you" note - with a surprise (a good one, I swear!).

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    The "Now we're up in the Big Leagues" package! I've had a couple of larger pledges I never thought i'd get, so I figured, if anyone is inclined, I'd add a few more, in case there are any more of you out there who are this ridiculously generous. At this level, you'll have not only the Early Bird Special Edition (digital and physical copies), an original piece of art from the book, the extra scenes digital addendum, an extra special thanks credit, five pages oforiginal story notes, sketches, etc., a personalized video, thanking you for your you pledge, a personalized, hand-written thank you note... ...and you will be a character in the book. I WILL need a photo of your for this. AND you will have an additional book credit: "Contributors". The only other name in the creation credits is me, so unless this tier goes hog-wild, chances are you'll be the only one up there.

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    The "Big Spender" level! Not that I expect this to get filled out, but why not add it anyway? At this level, you get everything you would at the previous level, PLUS an extra credit, usually reserved for the rich and famous everywhere else: "Co-Publisher". 'Cause, let's be honest, you're pretty much doing that anyway by pledging... I ought to list you as you deserve to be, right?

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    The "REALLY Big Spender" edition! This is the pinnacle. There can be only one here. This is what you get: everything in the previous reward tier, with one exception: You ARE the head, main publisher (i.e., your name shows up as such: "Published by YOUR NAME"). You will also have a "'YOUR NAME' Presents" credit on the splash page of the book, not dissimilar to how Stan Lee's name shows up all the time in Marvel books (except that your credit will show up significantly larger). You'll get script and art samples that regular backers do not get (everyone gets to watch me work, but story specifics are only known to you and me) via email. Also, when the book is out, your name is going out there as my head publisher on all press releases, media releases of any kind, and so on! I always wanted to be a comic artist... if anyone ever wanted to be a comics publisher, this tier is for you!

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Funding period

- (30 days)