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'Dawgtown' is an animated feature film about a young Pitbull who must escape from the brutal world of competitive dog-fighting.

A portion of the proceeds from this fundraiser goes toward Pitbull rescue organization efforts.

"Showdown! Throwdown! Money down! Dawgtown! " -The MC

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WHAT IS DAWGTOWN?

"Dawgtown" is the story of a young Pitbull named Max who is taken from his owner and forced into the brutal world of underground dog fighting. As a competitor in the most well-funded pit-fighting organization in the world, he becomes a symbol of hope to the others, and must lead them in a dangerous fight for freedom. It’s "Gladiator" meets "Animal Farm".

REWARDS SUMMARY:(details on sidebar/images at the bottom)

$1 -Thank You!

$5 -Production Shot (digital file)

$15 -Digital Download of BATTLEDAWGS:The Making of Dawgtown

$20 -Signed Dawgtown Sketch

$25 -DVD or Blu-Ray of BATTLEDAWGS:The Making of Dawgtown

$30 -Dawgtown T-Shirt

$50 -Signed copies of Graphic Novels 'Cleburne' & 'Holidaze'

$100 -1 Dawgtown T-Shirt

         -1 Signed copy of 'Cleburne' & 'Holidaze'

         -1 Dawgtown Baseball Cap

$250 -2 Dawgtown T-Shirts

         -2 Signed copies of 'Cleburne' & 'Holidaze'

         -2 Dawgtown Baseball Caps

$400 -Ernest Hemingway Original Charcoal

$500 -Dawgtown Limited Edition Signed Print

         -2 Dawgtown T-Shirts

         -2 Signed 'Eagle Song' Double-CDs

         -2 Dawgtown Baseball Caps

         -2 Signed copies of 'Cleburne' & 'Holidaze'

$800 -'The Forgotten War' Original Oil Painting

$1000 -4 Dawgtown T-Shirts

           -4 Signed copies of 'Cleburne' & 'Holidaze'

           -4 Dawgtown Baseball Caps

           -3 Signed 'Eagle Song' Double-CDs

           -2 Dawgtown Signed Limited Edition Prints (different shots)

            -2 Original Dawgtown Sketches

$1200 - 'The Cowboy' & 'The Native' Original Oil Paintings

$2500  -Animated cameo in the finished film (contingent on 

             production)-30-minute interview with the Writer/Director

           -4 Dawgtown T-Shirts

           -4 Signed copies of 'Cleburne' & 'Holidaze'

           -4 Dawgtown Baseball Caps

           -4 Signed 'Eagle Song' Double-CDs

           -3 Dawgtown Signed Limited Edition Prints (different shots)

            -5 Dawgtown Original Character Sketches

            -1 Original Full-Color Dawgtown Illustration (with you in it)

            -1 Signed Headshot (contingent on actor)

$5000  -Original Oil Painting of your child, pet, favorite celebrity or

              fictional character

$10000 -All 200 original inked art boards(pages) from the 'Cleburne' Graphic Novel

Max fleeing the New York Subway. Limited Edition Print 1.
Max fleeing the New York Subway. Limited Edition Print 1.
An unexpected 'roll' with some street dogs. Limited Edition Print 2.
An unexpected 'roll' with some street dogs. Limited Edition Print 2.
"This dog is game! You gotta make an exception."  Julius trying to convince Big Boss to let him bring Max to Dawgtown. Limited Edition Print 3.
"This dog is game! You gotta make an exception." Julius trying to convince Big Boss to let him bring Max to Dawgtown. Limited Edition Print 3.

Refreshing about "Dawgtown" is that it is being produced in the style and technique of traditional hand-drawn animation, which audiences are seeing less and less of these days with the proliferation of CG.  I have chosen an angular style that is inspired by urban and graffiti art.

Max Turnaround.
Max Turnaround.

MAX: A young Pitbull Terrier with leadership potential, though he does not yet know it.  He is a compassionate and resourceful dog with an ability to see the good in others.  Max learns that it's fight or die at 'Dawgtown' and must go through his own personal 'trail by fire' to fully become the leader that he is inside.

Max Expression Sheet.
Max Expression Sheet.
Mauler Turnaround.
Mauler Turnaround.

MAULER: One of 'Dawgtown's' champions; he was raised as a fighting dog and knows no other way of life.  Mauler is aggressive and extremely strong, but he also is very loyal and expects the same loyalty from his owners.  Mauler is suspicious of Max, and becomes jealous of his rise to fame, but when the chips are down he eventually becomes a powerful ally.

Mauler Expression Sheet.
Mauler Expression Sheet.
Big Boss Turnaround.
Big Boss Turnaround.
Big Boss Expression Sheet.
Big Boss Expression Sheet.

BIG BOSS:  The founder of 'Dawgtown' and a millionaire in his own right, Big Boss is practical as well as ruthless.  His loyalty to his dogs only lasts as long as they keep making him money.  He is well-connected and protected by local law enforcement through bribes and kickbacks.

Julius Turnaround.
Julius Turnaround.
Julius Expression Sheet.
Julius Expression Sheet.

JULIUS: An up-and-comer at 'Dawgtown' Julius is ambitious to make his mark.  When he finds Max, he becomes conflicted between wanting to make money but also feeling a bond with the animal.  Julius is not a bad person, but one who has been caught up in the temptation of easy money at 'Dawgtown'.  In the end, Max's revolt helps to redeem him as well the dogs.

This is indie film-making.  It’s done all the time with live action, why can’t it be done with animation? I have the talent on board, and the technology makes it possible now. I love Pixar, Dreamworks and Disney, but there should also be other options for moviegoers who love animated features. This is PG-13 material, and it deals with socially relevant issues.

"The Break-In" Concept Art.
"The Break-In" Concept Art.
"Lost in the Subway" Concept art.
"Lost in the Subway" Concept art.
"The Final Fight" Concept Art.
"The Final Fight" Concept Art.
Background art from "Dawgtown".
Background art from "Dawgtown".
Concept Posters.
Concept Posters.
Concept Poster.
Concept Poster.

WHAT IS MY ART EXPERIENCE?

Animating a scene on the Cintiq Tablet.
Animating a scene on the Cintiq Tablet.

Like many animators, my journey into art began with comics, and I have always self-published my work.  The two most recent works I've done are one-shot books:

"Cleburne: A Graphic Novel" is a 200-page, full-color book about the true story of a Civil War general and his plan to enlist freed slaves in the Confederate Army.  It is written and penciled by me, and inked and colored by Marvel veterans Al Milgrom and James Brown.  The book has won two awards; the Xeric Foundation and ForeWord Magazine's Book of the Year in 2008.

"Holidaze" is a humor book in the tradition of strips like 'Peanuts' and 'The Far Side'.  It's a new take on some old friends, including Santa Claus, Easter Bunny, Cupid and others.

Some examples of my work in oils, charcoal and digital painting.
Some examples of my work in oils, charcoal and digital painting.

My art also includes traditional media, and I find that all of these methods and techniques help me to tell better stories as a filmmaker.

WHAT IS MY WRITING AND PRODUCING EXPERIENCE?

Having diverse interests, and being an actor/singer myself, I have also written and produced two original musicals for the stage. 

The first show was "Eagle Song". It starred The Sopranos' Jamie Lynn-Sigler, as well as several Broadway singers, and I was able to finance an entire concept recording with a full orchestra.  It was released as a double-disc CD set in 2001. 

The second show was "Fallen Angel: A Rock Opera". It told the story of Lucifer and his mythic revolt in Heaven.  The show was produced Off-Broadway at the New York International Fringe Festival in 2006, where it won the award for Most Outstanding Musical.

WHAT WILL THIS FUND RAISING ACCOMPLISH?

This fund raising effort will allow me to hire the voice actors I need for "Dawgtown" and get them recorded.  It will also allow me to finish storyboarding the entire film and prep it for full production.  

Storyboarding involves creating an entire animatic of the film; it's basically the entire movie in still images.  Temporary music and sound effects are added, and the voice recordings are added as well.  This plans out the animation before it is actually animated.  

In essence, this is the Pre-Production Phase, and that is what you will be helping me fund.  The film is 70-80 minutes, and will require a lot more capital to complete, but this phase will get the ball rolling.

WHO WILL STAR IN "DAWGTOWN"?

Because the script has been read and approved by the following individuals (but I have no signed contracts) I cannot name them.  I can, however, give you some hints.  

Up for the lead role of Max is an actor who co-starred in the "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy.

Up for the supporting role of Athena is an actress who co-starred in the film "Bring It On".

Up for the supporting role of Mauler is an actor who co-starred in the film "G.I. Jane".

Up for the supporting role of Thunder is a country singer who has also acted in several films.

Maybe you can guess who these individuals are, and yes they have read the script and are interested in the roles (pending a firm offer of course). A couple of them I have met personally, and they are supportive and enthusiastic about the project.

Each actor can be recorded in only one day. Since getting the voices tracked is the first step in the animation process, this gives the medium an advantage that live action doesn't have.  The time commitment for the actors is small, and as a result, it is easier to get name talent for an indie project.  Their work is done before the movie is even made! 

DISCLAIMER: There is no guarantee that all of these actors will accept my offer, but their strong level of interest gives me confidence.  They understand that "Dawgtown" is not a studio-financed picture and that the budget will be low.  It is not uncommon for stars to work on an indie film they believe in.  It happens all the time. Your support can help make that happen!

WHAT IS THE MAIN THEME OF 'DAWGTOWN'?

It has two themes: 

The godly care for their animals, but the wicked are always cruel.

-Proverbs 12:10

1) On the surface, DAWGTOWN is about animal cruelty.  Illegal dogfighting is one of the most shameful and brutal crimes committed against animals in this country; they are tortured, abused and killed by the very people who are supposed to care for them.  The Pitbull Terrier used to be the American family dog (remember Little Rascals, and Buster Brown?) and for many it still is, but the breed has had to live with the cultural stigma that has been thrust upon it as a result of dog-fighting. Many live in fear of these animals because of their unfair portrayal in the media.

A culture that abuses and brutalizes such a loyal and trusting animal is morally sick, and such people not only pose a danger to these helpless creatures, but to society as well.  DAWGTOWN does not glorify dog-fighting; it shows it for what it is, and it is a damning exposition of the people who engage in it.

None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free.

-Goethe

2) In the subtext, DAWGTOWN is about security verses freedom. I think we can all agree that today we live in a society where our freedoms are being eroded every day, and usually it is in the name of keeping us safe.  Benjamin Franklin said, "he who would trade his freedom for security will lose both, and deserves neither."  Many of the dogs in Dawgtown have been under the system for so long that they don't even know they are slaves.  It takes an outsider like Max to come into their world and show them that there is a better life, if they will only gather up the courage to stand against their oppressors, and break their chains. 

We all want to be free.  Dawgtown is a reminder that freedom has to be demanded, or those in power will eventually take it away. 

REWARDS:

The following are images of some of the different rewards offered. Please check the pledge section for specific quantities and descriptions.

Available as Digital Download, DVD or Blu-Ray.
Available as Digital Download, DVD or Blu-Ray.
Apparel featuring the 'Dawgtown' logo.
Apparel featuring the 'Dawgtown' logo.
'Cleburne' Graphic Novel
'Cleburne' Graphic Novel
'Holidaze' Graphic Novel
'Holidaze' Graphic Novel
EAGLE SONG Original Cast Recording.
EAGLE SONG Original Cast Recording.
'The Forgotten War' Original Oil Painting
'The Forgotten War' Original Oil Painting
'The Cowboy' & 'The Native'. Original Oil Paintings.
'The Cowboy' & 'The Native'. Original Oil Paintings.
'Hemingway'. Original Charcoal Drawing.
'Hemingway'. Original Charcoal Drawing.
Child Portrait (Close-up)
Child Portrait (Close-up)
Child Portrait (Full Figure)
Child Portrait (Full Figure)

All images, characters and story-lines Copyright 2013 Justin Murphy. All Rights Reserved.

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WHAT TOOLS WILL I USE TO MAKE DAWGTOWN?

Though the film is hand-drawn, traditional animation, all the drawing is created via the computer on a device called a Cintiq tablet. I then use a variety of software from Photoshop and After Effects to TVPaint, in order to create each shot. In a small studio set-up, I would have at least ten workstations for a core group of animators to work on, while the rest of the production pipeline is completed by freelance artists and animators via the internet.

WHAT WILL I DO ONCE PRE-PRODUCTION IS OVER?

I will go about raising the financing for the rest of the picture. This can be done several ways:

1) Sell private equity in the film to private investors at a set price per share. This is how I raised the money for all my previous projects. I start an LLC and sell shares in the company. This is done according to SEC regulations by presenting accredited investors with a budget, a business plan, a private placement memorandum and an offering circular.

2) Create another crowd-funding campaign to raise the production money in stages. One stage can be for layout; one stage for animation; one stage for ink & paint, etc. It is possible, but unlikely, the entire film could be funded this way, but portions of it could.

3) Approach a studio for the financing and co-produce it with them. This is is remote at best, but studios have been know to partner with indie productions if they see potential in it.

WHEN WILL "DAWGTOWN" BE RELEASED?

I estimate the film with take anywhere from 3-5 years to complete, and much of that will depend on how quickly I can secure financing, and from where the financing comes. When you contribute to this, you are contributing at the earliest stage of a long-term project. Don't expect to see a finished film for many years. If I had millions of dollars and armies of artists working round the clock, it would be possible to complete the film in a year or two, but that isn't reality. This will take some time.

WILL DAWGTOWN BE RELEASED IN THEATERS?

That is the goal, but that depends on the type of distribution deal that is made. Such a prospect is far down the road, and after the film has been completed. Of course, in the digital age, there are many other alternatives to theatrical that independent films can turn to, but the prestige of a theatrical release is always desirable if possible. Right now the focus is to make the best film possible. If I make a great film, the distribution will take care of itself.

WHAT ARE THE GREATEST OBSTACLES?

Time. If animation were not so time-consuming, I could make the entire movie by myself, literally on my home computer! I have the skills, the equipment and the software to make a feature-quality film. Much of the opening sequence has already been completed (storyboards, layouts, backgrounds, animation and temp sound) with the help of only one animator, and one CG artist. But that is only the beginning. Because it is so laborious, it takes a lot of animators to make a film, and their time costs money. The equipment and software are relatively cheap; it's the labor that consumes most of the budget.

That is why this phase is focused on story-boarding and voice recording. These things can be accomplished in a few months, with myself and a few artists and actors.

HOW WILL I FULFILL ALL THE REWARD OBLIGATIONS?

Everything I am offering I either have in already stock, or will create (such as the sketches) while in the process of working on "Dawgtown", so fulfilling the rewards will be assured. Offering a personal item like artwork is one of the best ways I can show my appreciation for each of you who supports me in this dream.

FAQ

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  • Pledge $1 or more
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    10 backers

    A sincere 'Thank you'!

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    10 backers

    A high-rez digital file of a finished screen shot from the opening sequence of "Dawgtown". Use it as a screensaver or print it out for display.

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    6 backers

    Digital Download of 'BATTLEDAWGS:The Making of Dawgtown'. This documentary includes behind the scenes interviews with actors and animators, a look at the process of animation, and the research behind the story, as well as a digital art book of sketches, concept paintings and character designs. Each year you will receive an updated copy of the doc during the production period of the film.

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    15 backers

    1 Signed Original "Dawgtown" Sketch of the character of your choice. I will personally draw the sketch and sign it for you.

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    4 backers

    DVD or Blu-Ray of 'BATTLEDAWGS:The Making of Dawgtown'. This documentary includes behind the scenes interviews with actors and animators, a look at the process of animation, and the research behind the story, as well as a digital art book of sketches, concept paintings and character designs. Each year you will receive an updated copy of the doc during the production period of the film.

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    'Dawgtown' T-Shirt featuring the logo of the film. The dog-head pyramid is the same emblem that flies on the flag over Dawgtown in the movie. Choose from either male or female vintage-style shirt. Available in XS, S, M, L, XL, XXL

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    I will send you 1 signed copy of each of my published, illustrative works: "Cleburne" & "Holidaze". Both are award-winning books. Summaries/images of each can be found on this Kickstarter page.

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    1) 'Dawgtown' T-Shirt featuring the logo of the film. The dog-head pyramid is the same emblem that flies on the flag over Dawgtown in the movie. Choose from either male or female vintage-style shirt. Available in XS, S, M, L, XL, XXL 2) I will send you 1 signed copy of each of my published, illustrative works: "Cleburne" & "Holidaze". Both are award-winning books. Summaries/images of each can be found on this Kickstarter page. 3) 'Dawgtown' baseball cap featuring the logo of the film. One size fits all.

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    3 backers Limited (197 left of 200)

    1) 2 'Dawgtown' T-Shirts featuring the logo of the film. The dog-head pyramid is the same emblem that flies on the flag over Dawgtown in the movie. Choose from either male or female vintage-style shirt. Available in XS, S, M, L, XL, XXL 2) I will send you 2 signed copies of each of my published, illustrative works: "Cleburne" & "Holidaze". Both are award-winning books. Summaries/images of each can be found on this Kickstarter page. 3) 2 'Dawgtown' baseball caps featuring the logo of the film. One size fits all.

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    1 backer All gone!

    'Ernest Hemingway' This is an original portrait of the man himself in charcoal on paper. You can see it on this Kickstarter page.

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    1 backer Limited (99 left of 100)

    1) 2 'Dawgtown' T-Shirts featuring the logo of the film. The dog-head pyramid is the same emblem that flies on the flag over Dawgtown in the movie. Choose from either male or female vintage-style shirt. Available in XS, S, M, L, XL, XXL 2) I will send you 2 signed copies of each of my published, illustrative works: "Cleburne" & "Holidaze". Both are award-winning books. Summaries/images of each can be found on this Kickstarter page. 3) 2 'Dawgtown' baseball caps featuring the logo of the film. One size fits all. 4) 2 signed "Eagle Song" Double-CDs. "Eagle Song" is a Broadway concept musical written by myself and composer Roger Butterley, starring Jamie Lynn Sigler of HBO's Sopranos, as well as a host of Broadway stars. The soundtrack also features the Bohuslav Martinu Philharmonic (a 40-piece orchestra)! No cheap synth here. In the tradition of the great musicals, the story(told completely in song) follows an ensemble cast as they struggle through the dark days of the American Civil War. With rousing numbers and haunting ballads, one reviewer on Amazon called it, "the best musical since Les Miserables!" 5) Limited Edition Print from a completed shot from the film. Choose from three production stills: 'Lost in the Subway' 'Street Fight' or 'Heading to Dawgtown'. This will be a signed and numbered print of frameable quality.

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    0 backers Limited (1 left of 1)

    'The Forgotten War'. This is a painting I did of the Korean War Memorial in Washington, DC. A great gift for any vet or history buff. One of a kind. Oil on canvas. You can see it on this Kickstarter page.

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    2 backers Limited (48 left of 50)

    1) 4 'Dawgtown' T-Shirts featuring the logo of the film. The dog-head pyramid is the same emblem that flies on the flag over Dawgtown in the movie. Choose from either male or female vintage-style shirt. Available in XS, S, M, L, XL, XXL 2) I will send you 4 signed copies of each of my published, illustrative works: "Cleburne" & "Holidaze". Both are award-winning books. Summaries/images of each can be found on this Kickstarter page. 3) 4 'Dawgtown' baseball caps featuring the logo of the film. One size fits all. 4) 3 signed "Eagle Song" Double-CDs. "Eagle Song" is a Broadway concept musical written by myself and composer Roger Butterley, starring Jamie Lynn Sigler of HBO's Sopranos, as well as a host of Broadway stars. The soundtrack also features the Bohuslav Martinu Philharmonic (a 40-piece orchestra)! No cheap synth here. In the tradition of the great musicals, the story(told completely in song) follows an ensemble cast as they struggle through the dark days of the American Civil War. With rousing numbers and haunting ballads, one reviewer on Amazon called it, "the best musical since Les Miserables!" 5) 2 Limited Edition Prints from completed shots from the film. Choose from three production stills: 'Lost in the Subway' 'Street Fight' or 'Heading to Dawgtown'. This will be a signed and numbered print of frameable quality. 6) 2 original 'Dawgtown' sketches of the character of your choice. Signed by the author. Choose from Big Boss, Julius, Max, Mauler or Athena.

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    0 backers Limited (1 left of 1)

    'The Cowboy' & 'The Native'. Two original oils I painted depicting Western American culture. Each is one of a kind. Oil on canvas. You can see it on them Kickstarter page.

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    1 backer Limited (24 left of 25)

    1) An Animated cameo appearance in the film. That's right, you will become an extra in the picture (cartoon-version of course!) (This is contingent on the film being completed). 2) 30-minute Online Interview with Author & Director Justin Murphy 3) 4 'Dawgtown' T-Shirts featuring the logo of the film. The dog-head pyramid is the same emblem that flies on the flag over Dawgtown in the movie. Choose from either male or female vintage-style shirt. Available in XS, S, M, L, XL, XXL 4) I will send you 4 signed copies of each of my published, illustrative works: "Cleburne" & "Holidaze". Both are award-winning books. Summaries/images of each can be found on this Kickstarter page. 5) 4 'Dawgtown' baseball caps featuring the logo of the film. One size fits all. 6) 4 signed "Eagle Song" Double-CDs. "Eagle Song" is a Broadway concept musical written by myself and composer Roger Butterley, starring Jamie Lynn Sigler of HBO's Sopranos, as well as a host of Broadway stars. The soundtrack also features the Bohuslav Martinu Philharmonic (a 40-piece orchestra)! No cheap synth here. In the tradition of the great musicals, the story(told completely in song) follows an ensemble cast as they struggle through the dark days of the American Civil War. With rousing numbers and haunting ballads, one reviewer on Amazon called it, "the best musical since Les Miserables!" 7) 3 Limited Edition Prints from completed shots from the film. Includes all three production stills: 'Lost in the Subway' 'Street Fight' or 'Heading to Dawgtown'. This will be a signed and numbered print of frameable quality. 8) 5 original 'Dawgtown' sketches depicting each of the lead characters. Signed by the author. Choose from Big Boss, Julius, Max, Mauler or Athena. 9) 1 original full-color illustration depicting a cartoon version of you (or your child/children) with all of the lead characters of 'Dawgtown'. You will be drawn in the style of the movie based on a photo that you provide me with. 10) Signed Headshot of one of the name stars in the film*(*contingent upon their contracted involvement) 11) A special ‘Thank You’ at the end of the film credits.

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    0 backers Limited (25 left of 25)

    I will paint an Original Oil Painting of your child, pet, celebrity or fictional character. You provide the photo and I provide the paints, the canvas and the skill. Any size portrait you wish up to 24" x 36". For child portrait examples see the images at the bottom of the page.

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    0 backers Limited (1 left of 1)

    I will send you the complete original art boards from my graphic novel "Cleburne". This includes all 200 pages of art from the book, (inked on strathmore 11"x17" board) as well as two additional poster art boards. All were drawn by me and inked by Marvel Comics veteran Al Milgrom. At $50 per page, they could be individually resold at double that rate, or you could keep the entire work as part of a collection. Dialogue is not included in the boards since it was added later on computer, but all the art is there, depicting the entire story and the tragic Battle of Franklin, TN. "Cleburne" sold in Barnes & Noble, Borders and Books A Million, and was the winner of the 2008 Book of the Year Award from Foreword Magazine, the Xeric Foundation Award, and a finalist recognition from the Benjamin Franklin Awards.

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Funding period

- (30 days)