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An action-packed tale of adventure, intrigue, and gadgetry for kids; a baffling, multi-step puzzle for adults hidden in the art
An action-packed tale of adventure, intrigue, and gadgetry for kids; a baffling, multi-step puzzle for adults hidden in the art
251 backers pledged $17,237 to help bring this project to life.

About

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$17,237

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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.

The ORIGINAL handmade book (left) and a REVISED version I made a few years later (each offered in rewards near the end)
The ORIGINAL handmade book (left) and a REVISED version I made a few years later (each offered in rewards near the end)

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!

Six ink sketches used to make the original handmade book
Six ink sketches used to make the original handmade book

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.

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Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $10 or more About $10

    A THANK-YOU ON THE ZEP WEBSITE for helping to make this project a reality!

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    Pledge $20 or more About $20

    A PDF OF THE BOOK • WALL OF FAME ELIGIBILITY • THANK-YOU ON THE PDF and website

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    18 backers
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  3. Select this reward

    Pledge $30 or more About $30

    A PRINTED BOOK • YOUR NAME IN THE BOOK'S THANK-YOU SECTION + wall of fame eligibility • pdf • website thank-you

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    143 backers
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    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    A PRINTED BOOK, SIGNED AND WITH A SMALL HAND-DRAWN SKETCH ON THE TITLE PAGE • 2 ZEP BOOKMARKS + wall of fame eligibility • book and website thank-you • pdf

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    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    A FULL-PAGE SKETCH USED IN MAKING THE BOOK • PERSONALIZED ZEP MINI-POSTER • SIGNED CD OF THE BOOK (pdf) + signed book • 2 bookmarks • wall of fame eligibility • book and website thank-you • pdf download

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  6. Select this reward

    Pledge $200 or more About $200

    ONE PAGE OF HAND-DRAWN ART* FROM THE ORIGINAL HANDMADE BOOKS (art samples in sky blue box, lower left) + mini-poster • signed CD • signed book • 2 bookmarks • wall of fame eligibility • book and website thank-you • pdf [*black ink and marker on white paper]

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    Pledge $300 or more About $300

    ONE PAGE OF HAND-DRAWN FINAL ART FROM THE NEW BOOK* + mini-poster • signed CD • signed book • 2 bookmarks • wall of fame eligibility • book and website thank-you • pdf [*black-ink line art on translucent vellum; no gray shading, which is added later on computer]

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    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    YOU APPEAR AS A BACKGROUND CHARACTER ON ONE PAGE OF THE BOOK • 2 SIGNED BOOKS + 2 mini-posters • 2 signed CDs • 2 bookmarks • wall of fame eligibility • book and website thank-you • pdf

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    Pledge $700 or more About $700

    YOU APPEAR AS A BACKGROUND CHARACTER ON ONE PAGE OF THE BOOK and GET THE FINAL HAND-DRAWN ART OF THAT PAGE! + 2 signed books • 2 mini-posters • 2 signed CDs • 2 bookmarks • wall of fame eligibility • book and website thank-you • pdf [*black-ink line art on translucent vellum; no gray shading, which is added later on computer]

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  10. Select this reward

    Pledge $800 or more About $800

    THE HAND-DRAWN COVER ART FOR THE ORIGINAL BOOKS* (books in yellow/orange boxes, upper left) + 2 signed books • 2 mini-posters • 2 signed CDs • 2 bookmarks • wall of fame eligibility • book and website thank-you • pdf [*black ink, colored pencil, and Pantone color films on white paper]

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    Pledge $1,000 or more About $1,000

    THE REVISED HANDMADE BOOK* (orange box, upper left) • TWO HAND-DRAWN PAGES OF ART FROM THAT BOOK • ILLUSTRATED THANK-YOU PRINTED IN THE FRONT OF THE NEW BOOK + 2 signed books • 2 mini-posters • 2 signed CDs • 2 bookmarks • wall of fame eligibility • website thank-you • pdf [*pages are photocopies, not original art; the "revisions" consist of final art and revised, typeset text in chapter one]

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    Pledge $1,250 or more About $1,250

    THE ORIGINAL HANDMADE BOOK* (yellow box, upper left) • TWO HAND-DRAWN PAGES OF ART FROM THAT BOOK • ILLUSTRATED THANK-YOU PRINTED IN THE FRONT OF THE NEW BOOK + 2 signed books • 2 mini-posters • 2 signed CDs • 2 bookmarks • wall of fame eligibility • website thank-you • pdf [*pages are photocopies, not original art]

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    Pledge $2,500 or more About $2,500

    SUPER SUPPORTER: A CHUNK OF MY TIME, TO BE WORKED OUT BETWEEN US. It could be my visiting a classroom (something I always enjoy) to share what I do (art, graphic design, or puzzlemaking), a smallish get-together, or a visit to my studio to explore the creative process and how I work. I'd prefer to do something with you, as opposed to my making something for you, but we'll see what makes sense. And it might likely depend on where you live. • 5 SIGNED BOOKS • 5 MINI-POSTERS • 5 SIGNED CDs • 5 BOOKMARKS • wall of fame eligibility • website thank-you • pdf

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Funding period

- (34 days)