About this project
The Details: Zep (in the Curse of the Evil Dr. Sumac Who Lives Next Door) is a full-length, limited-edition, two-in-one book for young and old. It will be a 5 1/2 x 8 1/2" perfect-bound book of approximately 144 pages, with content suitable for all ages.
The Book's Origin: In a thud of inspiration about 25 years ago, I wrote and sketched up Zep. The book's 130 photocopied pages were held together using a single binder ring. When my daughter Jamie came along, I started reading Zep to her, and it soon became one of her favorite stories. I've dreamed for years of turning Zep into a real book, building on that devoted audience of one. But I always seemed to be busy with something else. With your help, that dream could finally become a reality.
What's with the "Two-in-One" Bit?
Part one is the story, an amusing and action-packed tale told in a far-from-classic way (core audience: ages 7-12). Zephyr X. Weber, Zep for short, is the proud owner of the Zipmobile, a one-of-a-kind, hovercraft-like vehicle he discovered in a secret laboratory beneath his house. Only Zep and his trusty dog Nose (a female mutt who's half nose) know about it.
Zep's nemesis is the evil Dr. Sumac who lives next door. Aided by his henchmen Kirp and Hinch, Dr. Sumac's main hobby is creating mayhem.
Part two is a baffling, multi-step puzzle hidden within the book's pages. Note, this is NOT some simple, lame-o-rama kid's puzzle! It will be intricate and devious, requiring finesse, logic, skill, and persistence — an ultimate puzzling challenge that will take solvers (crafty adults and brainiac teens) weeks, months, maybe even a year or more to crack.
Wall of Fame: The name of the first Kickstarter supporter to correctly solve the puzzle will be emblazoned in the champ's spot atop the Wall of Fame on the Zep website. Any subsequent supporters who correctly solve it will also be listed on that page.
Website Thank-You: Every supporter's name will be listed here.
The Book's Content: Everything will be created by me, Patrick Merrell. I've been a professional cartoonist, illustrator, graphic designer, puzzlemaker, and writer for more than 35 years. But this is the first time I'll be free to create a project just the way I want, finally bringing a 25-year-old dream to reality ... I hope!
Zep as a Gift: The book won't be out before the holidays but, if you'd like to give it as a gift, I can send you a personalized gift-notification pdf in early December for you to print out.
Thanks a ton if you decide to take part!
Risks and challenges
The story is written and all the pages have been sketched out in rough form (see above). The first chapter of art has already gone to final art. The puzzle is far from complete and will take a lot of work to create. A lot of time will also be required to draw up the balance of the final art (about 100 pages), especially since I intend to pack some of the pages with lots more background detail. Some of the writing has already been revised, but the rest needs to be overhauled as well. On the plus side, this will be a joy to work on, with plenty of motivation already built in. Also, I tend to work quickly and often finish ahead of time.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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