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Created by Naquasia LeGrand, Anthony Roman, and Maurice Royal, The Unionizer is a hero for our unequal times.
Created by Naquasia LeGrand, Anthony Roman, and Maurice Royal, The Unionizer is a hero for our unequal times.
6 backers pledged $179 to help bring this project to life.

About this project

The Unionizer #1: As Good an Idea as Potato Salad? project video thumbnail
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$179

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Going head-to-head with potato salad is a bold move in crowdfunding.  Potato salad set a goal of $10, and raised $55,000. That’s a high bar to clear. Will we have to overcome the stigma of being less popular than potato salad? 

Listen, we’re tough people. We could handle that and stay strong. But think about the thrill of victory we could share, dear reader.

In case you skipped the video, Anthony Roman, Naquasia LeGrand, and Maurice Royal came up with The Unionizer in the Fight for Fifteen and a Union in New York City.  We’re here to give him some legs. 

Primary Goal: Character Design for Vito Rizzo: MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!

Based on the Potato Salad Standard, our fundraising goal is $10. That funds a draft character design for Vito Rizzo, who finds himself chosen by the spirit of The Unionizer to re-enter the material plane in the people’s hour of greatest need.

As perks, we’re offering original art based on a suggestion from you- something around the level of an amusement park caricature, for about that level of financial support. Check out our still-forming Subscription page for examples (totally cool if a subscription feels premature- we're building as we go).

Small, manageable goals are the key to success. 

So this happened, despite the last-second hail-mary. Sometimes it's hard to tell where being strong-willed and determined ends and being mule-headed begins. Thanks to everyone who's been so supportive. Let's stay focused and keep a spring in our steps, especially when the chips are down.  It’s the only way to live.

 There’s delicious smells comin' from Dave’s kitchen. The less we say, the better.

Sadly, this isn’t a valid stretch goal per Kickstarter’s rules, no matter how great Sister Grace et al's advocacy for the homeless has been. Eventually we’d like to be strong enough to raise money to support the work that inspires us.  That's gotta come out of revenue, though. Kickstarter can only raise money to pay for doing the work, or supplies & infrastructure.

 The Mushroom House is a legendary piece of Rochester culture. It’s on the market again, and has been for so long that the price has come down below what the previous owners paid for it.

That’s because it’s a white elephant.  What fool wants to be responsible for heating, maintaining, and paying real estate taxes on this ridiculousness? 

Loads of fun, highly impractical, and the upkeep is way more trouble than it’s worth.  A metaphor for upper-middle-class bourgeois American life if ever there was one.

That being said, I repeat: look at this place.  Just look at it. Is there a more fitting place we could possibly work out of?

Imagine this being open for kids in public schools to visit and learn about- how it was made, what’s brilliant about it, what’s foolish about it, what it tells us about how we create our dreams…  Imagine the Mushroom House being not just our studio and maybe residence, but open to supporters as a place to enjoy. 

I’m sure we could convene a diverse group of stakeholders and figure out how to cooperate on sharing the costs and benefits. We can make sure this deeply impractical treasure is enjoyed the way it should be. It’s a tragedy to see it constantly on the market as a purely private residence. Let’s take it out of the market economics/private residence framework it’s failing in, and work out how it serves us all.

OK, that about covers everything we could hope to accomplish with this Kickstarter.  If you're still with us, thanks for sticking around.  Let's get into the details. 

 As far as having the right people to tell these stories, we’ve got an absolute dream team. We’ve also got the ability to do a good job executing, but some of our funding request will be to bring in heavy hitting professionals in specific areas like coloring and lettering.

Check out our Contributors pages for details:

All Contributors, overview

Meeka Mason

Naquasia LeGrand

Chris McCamic

 To show you that we’re the kind of sober-minded professionals you can trust to take you on a slightly dangerous Sci-Fi Superhero ride of laughter, tears, triumph and tragedy, and still get you home safely before curfew, we’ve laid out a Gantt Chart that assumes we have full funding and can focus on production, rather than our current low wage jobs.

Partly a creative writing exercise.  But no more ridiculous than the similar documents churned out all over corporate America and the Military-Industrial complex (which maybe isn’t reassuring).  They’re still important establishments of baseline. 

Your support will help make it as accurate a prediction as possible. 

We looked online for professional rates on this type of work. As a startup, we want to run lean, but still set our pay rates above the basement, because who wants to work with you for basement rates?

Our budget is larger than most comix Kickstarters because we’re looking to make this our actual job.This is not a side project we just need printing costs for. Nor are we going with the low-cost printing provider. Our printing will be done by worker-owned P&L Printing in Colorado. The added cost is minimal, the added benefit enormous.  

We’ll also need to expand our team as work scales up. The more we do ourselves, the less we can produce in parallel, and that stretches our timeline. We’d rather compress our timeline, as long as it’s not at the expense of a solid product.

(please also note that our funding targets have Kickstarter's 5% fee built in- they deserve every penny.)

The best thing is to figure out the cash flow mix organically with our supporters.  Would you like to help us design a subscription you’d be stoked about? 

We still have to get a sense of what sales volume is break-even for a single issue. 

Total Cost to Produce One 22-Page Issue: $10,190

(2500 hard copies + Kindle & Nook Editions) 

Our net from print sales will come from some unpredictable combination of direct sales and wholesale prices offered to Comic Shop Owners, where we respect their risk and make sure they can turn a fair profit. Comic Book Shop Guys of the world, you are valued members of our communities and it pains us to see your vital role in civilization diminishing. Also, some of the print issues will be distributed to supporters who’ve already paid for them by contributing.

Hand-wavily, let’s say we sell 1500 hard copies with an average net of $1.00 each. If we were in this for the money, we wouldn’t be in this. This gives:

$4650 from hard copy sales (cost of print run + $1.00 x 1500 copies)

$5,540 recouped from Kindle and Nook sales.  At $2.00 apiece (graphic novels are going for $5.00, so hey), we break even at 2,770 sold.

How big a deal do these comix have to be for these numbers to be realistic?  The most useful-seeming reference point I could find was this Indie Comix sales report from 2012.

Going by this, if we really stink up the joint on sales & marketing (which we probably will, because we have to find our legs as we go), 4,300 copies sold is reasonable. That’s where #300 on their list came in- the part of the charts where they worry that a title will go under.  That's more copies than we even plan to print at first, but it sounds around the scale of our break-even scenario.  

 Learning to Work as a Team

Strengthening our team collaboration is worth a little schedule sacrifice. We’d prefer not to sacrifice at all, but a little is natural to expect of people still new to working with each other.

Of all the artists who started Image, Todd McFarlane was the one who had a comic out monthly, like clockwork, from the beginning.  We want to be as McFarlanesque as possible.

More Support = Greater Reliability

Bringing in professional help means shopping around and talking to find good fits, and then working into another professional’s work queue. 

If we hit stretch goals that let us start production on other titles, it increases our schedule predictability and speed across the board, because we can provide those professionals with larger blocks of paying work.

Perk Fulfillment Could Shift Work Schedules

To make sure you get a piece of this project as soon as possible, we want to give you original art based on your suggestion.  Running the numbers, if we plan to give you something on the level of an amusement park caricature (Typically ~$1/minute at current prices- thanks for valuing our work that much, amusement park guests- we appreciate you too!), we’re looking at about 200 hours of one caricature-artist-equivalent’s work. 

That’s four 50 hour work weeks. Some of that can be distributed into our production schedule, so that perk fulfillment only shifts our time-to-print by two weeks from a “go time” when we hit our stretch goal here. 

In the happy event of becoming victims of our own success on Kickstarter, we can scale up the team.  We’ll figure it out in a way that gets you art soon, and doesn’t shift our time-to-print.

Industrialized Civilization May Collapse

We continue to talk about, make policy about, and act on “economic growth” as a proxy for human well-being, without regard to the actual consequences to the biological systems that sustain us. 

Without resolving this absurdity, the global unraveling may expand, resulting in still more refugee situations in which millions of people must be absorbed as they flee from disaster in their traumatized home ecosystems. 

This could disrupt our production schedule.  Fortunately, with collaborators in Rochester and New York City, and our printer in Colorado, we strongly expect to be insulated from these pressures at least through the release of the first 3-5 issues.  

Risks and challenges

I put them above, because I really wanted to use my own section header. I'm obstinate like that. It took me forever to accept that it was better to offer my clients a customized Wordpress website than for me to build from scratch, because God, standing on someone else's shoulders, amirite?

ElegantThemes' Divi theme finally tipped the balance for me. It's cleanly executed and...

I'm rambling, aren't I? You don't care. Anyway, if you've become a supporter, thanks so much. We look forward to making some great comix.

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $5 or more About $5

    Signed thank-you postcard from one of the creators. The postcard might well be inappropriate and in questionable taste. Probably, in fact.

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    Pledge $10 or more About $10

    Signed thank-you postcard with a quick sketch on it from one of the creators. The drawing may also be inappropriate. I don’t know. Maybe it will be a character or setting sketch, as we work out our storylines.

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    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    Original 5 x 7 art from one of the creators, based on your suggestion. Around the level of an amusement park caricature. Check out some examples of similar work on our website.

    - Signed copy of The Unionizer #1.

    Expect your original art before the comic book. Fulfillment time will depend on our volume. We'll fill orders first come, first served, and we'll keep you posted.

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    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    - Signed copy of The Unionizer #1
    - Original, full color 5 x 7 art based on your suggestion. At this level, we can get into more detailed situations.

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  5. Select this reward

    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    - Thank you postcard with quick sketch.
    - Signed copy of The Unionizer #1
    - Original full color 8 x 10 art based on your suggestion. And thanks for supporting us at this super-serious level.

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    Pledge $300 or more About $300

    - Thank you postcard with quick sketch.
    - Signed copy of The Unionizer #1
    - Original pencil art from one page of The Unionizer #1, by Chris McCamic, Anthony Roman, or Maurice Royal (division of this work is still TBD)
    (again, fulfillment on Unionizer work should be expected later- postcards and quick original art for supporters will come first)

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  7. Select this reward

    Pledge $300 or more About $300

    - Thank you postcard with quick sketch.
    - Signed copy of The Unionizer #1
    - Original ink art from one page of The Unionizer #1, by Chris McCamic, Anthony Roman, or Maurice Royal (division of this work is still TBD)
    (again, fulfillment on Unionizer work should be expected later- postcards and quick original art for supporters will come first)

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    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    - Thank you postcard with quick sketch.
    - Signed copy of The Unionizer #1
    - Original pencil comic book art page telling a story we collaborate on

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    Pledge $850 or more About $850

    - Thank you postcard with quick sketch.
    - Signed copy of The Unionizer #1
    - Original pencils and final inks; two comic book art pages telling a story we collaborate on

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Funding period

- (30 days)