We have made our goal. We are the champions. You're all awesome, by the way.
And now that's $8,500, which means we've hit our first stretch goal and earned a month's worth of daily It Never Rains comics. If we somehow hit $9,500, we'll get another month's worth. COMICS EVERYWHERE!
In Which I Explain Why I'm Doing This in the First Place
So once upon a time, way back in 2006, I started a webcomic. Somewhat later, in 2014, I finished the very same webcomic. In the interim, I kept promising to publish bits of the webcomic in a print collection. I got pretty close in 2010, even though I was basically creating the book in Word, and it would have looked terrible and made people laugh at me. Luckily, I stopped myself just in time, but unluckily, that left me here in 2014 with 1,463 in-sequence comics, some in black and white and some in colour, and a number of sad readers who wanted a print collection and couldn’t have one. I have thus set out to rectify this monstrous injustice.
In Which I Describe the Comic in Reasonably Non-Spoilery Terms
West of Bathurst is a webcomic about a young woman named Marie who moves into a graduate college at the University of Toronto. If that were all that happened to her, the webcomic would mostly involve grad students weeping through the night as they put the finishing touches on seven hundred useless footnotes. However, this graduate college, which is based on a real and actual graduate college called Massey College, is a strange place. The resulting weirdness is rooted partly in the real bizarreness of the real Massey and partly in a tangled plot full of ominous fairy tales, mythology, oblique references to Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and the Sherlock Holmes stories, oddly significant Canadian coffee-and-doughnuts franchises, floods of shiny objects, and the possibility that one of the characters is Satan, albeit in the nicest possible way.
In Which I Proclaim This a Good Idea for Various Reasons
Of course, all this stuff is already available online for free, so why am I asking people to pay money for a print version? That would be because of my archaic belief that a physical book is a thing of beauty and a joy forever. It is difficult, though not impossible, to read a webcomic under the covers late at night when you should be sleeping and/or memorising a long and useless list of French verbs. It is nice to be able to let one’s eyes slide seamlessly from one comic to the next without having to go clicky clicky clicky clicky clicky. It is wonderful to breathe in that new book smell, which, admittedly, probably exists mostly because of the glue. It is fantastic to be able to use an improbably large book as a weapon. This could likely also be done with an e-reader, but not without breaking it.
If all this doesn’t convince you, note that the webcomic has completed its run, meaning that the book will constitute a finished story with an ending and everything. It will also include extras: copious footnotes, an explanation (in comic form) of the fairy tale, “Bearskin,” that lurks behind the narrative, guest comics from Errol Elumir (Debs and Errol) and Peter Chiykowski (Rock, Paper, Cynic), and possibly more. I need to keep the book under 700 pages if I want to get it printed without breaking the bank, but aside from that, the world is our oyster.
In Which I Appeal to Your Emotions
If you know and love West of Bathurst, this book is for you. If you don't know and love West of Bathurst but have the potential to do so, this book is also for you. Alas, its size makes it expensive, but I’m also offering an electronic version, so there’s that. If you’ve just stumbled across this Kickstarter and are wondering why you should contribute, know that this book is designed to cause you to laugh, cry, and make vigorous strangling motions in my general direction. As a bonus, you don’t have to read the story at the rate of four panels every two days, and if it makes you angry enough, you can throw it at a wall.
In Which I Outline the Campaign's Goals
I am aiming for $7,500 because that is how much it will take to cover a modest print run, the fees of my designer and of Kickstarter itself, and the alarming costs of shipping the books first to me and then to you (see the more detailed breakdown below). I am not looking to make a huge profit and end up bathing in money. I'm Canadian. We have a lot of coins in Canada. Bathing in Canadian money would cause a great deal of physical pain.
If the campaign does exceed expectations, stretch goals are always a fun way to go, so here are a few. Yes, I go all the way up to $25,000, simply because talk is cheap:
- LEVEL 1 UNLOCKED ($8,500 RAISED): For every extra $1,000 raised, It Never Rains, my current webcomic about a teenage girl who does not care to keep her mouth shut about anything, will spend a month as a daily comic, with that month coming at a time of my choosing (i.e., probably not during a marking-heavy time of year).
$10,000: I shall find some way to make the book prettier. In other words, I shall buy it a present: better-quality paper, perhaps, or a few extra pages of content. This present will remain a surprise until the book is close to completion because surprises are fun and decision-making is not my strong point.
- $15,000: All backers contributing to levels involving physical books will receive a print of some comic or other (of my choosing). I'll also draw a special panel involving Casey and a shiny object and post it online.
- $20,000: The bonus story about "Bearskin" will be joined by a second bonus story. It could be about anything. Anything.
- $25,000: I shall gather some of my friends together and make a short film in which we recreate one West of Bathurst comic. I shall not warn my friends beforehand that this is happening. The results may not exactly resemble the comic concerned.
Risks and challenges
The main risk is that the production of the book will run up against the demands of the six classes I’ll be teaching this fall. There will be an almighty bang, and someone will lose a limb. I've been doing my best to get as much of the work as possible done this summer, but there’s an awful lot of work involved.
There’s also the problem of cost. My goal is to keep the cost of the book as low as I can without bankrupting myself, but printing does take money, and printing 700-page colour comics collections takes rather a lot of money. (True, only a third of the pages will actually be in colour, but that still means I have to print the entire book as a colour publication.) The goal will cover the cheapest possible printing and shipping process and the fees of my designer. If we somehow exceed the goal, there may be a possibility of higher-quality printing.
I shall do my very best to get you the books themselves before the end of 2014 (other bits and pieces may take longer). There is still a possibility that this won't work out and the rewards won't be distributed until 2015, but I really, really want to finish this year, partly because I would like you to have the books by Christmas and partly because I do not want to end up with $7,500 worth of "other income" to declare for 2014. That's just a little quirk of mine.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)