About this project
Best-selling author Michael J. Sullivan teams up with Dabel Brothers Publishing, artists Max Raynor and Michael Bartolo, comic adaptation writer Derek Ruiz and letterer and production designer Dave Lanphear to bring Riyria to the graphic novel format for the first time. Sullivan's fantasy novel, The Death of Dulgath was Kickstarter's most successful fantasy novel project, and now it will be adapted into a two volume graphic novel series. The story will be lovingly interpreted in the visual form and supported by bonus material that is sure to excite any fan of fantasy who longs for that inside look into the making of the graphic novel.
Without such a generous fan base and the rampant support for the original novel of The Death Of Dulgath, the graphic novel would not be possible. We need your help again to propel Michael's work towards even further success. More than any other fantasy author today, Sullivan's extensive imagination merits a visual narrative.
This is YOUR opportunity to be part of something truly special and receive the limited edition Kickstarter version of volume one of the graphic novel Riyria: The Death of Dulgath with an exclusive collector’s cover. The Dabel Brothers staff have been long-standing fans of Michael J. Sullivan, and we're thrilled to bring Royce and Hadrian to the world of comics--a dream of ours for over seven years. As the publishers of such wide-ranging graphic novel adaptations as The Wheel of Time, Dark-Hunters, and Game of Thrones, we feel it is our duty to do justice to Riyria and Sullivan’s fans by producing the most amazing, jaw-dropping art possible.
Michael’s The Death of Dulgath was written as a standalone story, and it's perfect for both veteran Riyria fans and those new to the series.
What's the book about?
If you aren't already familiar with the novel version of The Death of Dulgath, it's the ninth adventure of Royce and Hadrian, a former assassin and ex-mercenary who are hired by nobles for various nefarious tasks. Even though it is part of a series, this episode was written as a standalone, and no prior knowledge of the other Riyria tales is necessary to enjoy this story to its fullest.
The book has been a #1 Amazon Best-seller in Epic Fantasy (4.8 rating), has more than 3,500 4 & 5 star reviews on Goodreads and more than 2,300 on Audible.com. Here is the "back of the book" marketing copy along with a link where you can read the opening chapter.
Three times they tried to kill her. Then a professional was hired. So was Riyria.
When the last member of the oldest noble family in Avryn is targeted for assassination, Riyria is hired to foil the plot. Three years have passed since the war-weary mercenary Hadrian and the cynical ex-assassin Royce joined forces to start life as rogues-for-hire. Things have gone well enough until they're asked to help prevent a murder. Now they must venture into an ancient corner of the world to save a mysterious woman who knows more about Royce than is safe and cares less about herself than is sane.
(Read an excerpt from the original novel The Death of Dulgath here.)
Michael J. Sullivan opened the first door to his imagination with typewriter keys found in a friend’s basement when he was just ten years old. Today he uses computer keys and writes classic fantasy with unlikely heroes, including the bestselling Riyria novels (Theft of Swords, Rise of Empire, Heir of Novron, The Crown Tower, The Rose and the Thorn, The Death of Dulgath) and his latest six-book epic series The Legends of the First Empire (Age of Myth, Age of Swords, Age of War, Age of Legends, Age of Wonder, Age of Empire). His standalone novel, Hollow World, is a classic science fiction tale similar to those of Heinlein, Asimov, and H.G. Wells.
Some highlights of Michael's career include:
- More than 800,000 English language copies sold.
- More than 60 foreign language translations in 12 languages.
- Appearance on more than 150 best-of or most-anticipated lists including those compiled by Goodreads, Library Journal, Audible.com and Barnes and Noble.
- Two #1 best-selling epic fantasy novels on Amazon: Theft of Swords & The Death of Dulgath.
- Two successful Kickstarters: (Hollow World: $32,000+, The Death of Dulgath print/ebook edition $73,000+ from Kickstarter and a project total of $95,000+ with additional add-on sales).
Creating a graphic novel adaptation takes a team of people with a wide-range of expertise. We wanted to produce THE BEST version of Michael's work and that meant tapping the most creative people in the comic industry. We're thrilled with the team we've put together. Here's a bit about each.
- DEREK RUIZ (Adaptation Writer) began his career in comic books writing The Legend of Isis for Blue Water Productions before coming to work at Dabel Brothers Publishing where he became the writer, editor and publisher he is today. At Dabel Brothers, he has adapted such best sellers as Dean Koontz's Fear Nothing, Paulo Coelho's The Alchemist and Becca Fitzpatrick's Hush, Hush into graphic novels. He has been working closely with Michael to align his vision with the full-length novel.
- MAX RAYNOR (Pencils and Inks) is a British artist, best known for his work at Marvel (The Avengers), Upper Deck (Marvel: Legendary), and Red Giant (Wayward Sons, Markiplier). Working with Michael J. Sullivan his intent has been to represent the Riyria cosmos in a way that stays true to Michael's original vision. The results speak for themselves....
- MICHAEL BARTOLO (Colorist) hails from Pasay City in the Philippines. He will be working in conjunction with Max Raynor to bring Riyria to life. Michael has worked for Marvel comics, Image, Wildstorm, Dark Horse comics, and most recently for Dynamite & Zenescope entertainment.
- DAVE LANPHEAR (Letterer and Production Design) is a 2016 Harvey Award Nominee who has collaborated with Marvel, Disney, DC/Time-Warner, Sony, Image, Lakeshore and RoseArt.
- DABEL BROTHERS (Producer and Publisher) first became known for our stunning adaptation of George R. R. Martin’s (HBO's Game of Thrones) “The Hedge Knight” in 2003. Since then, we've produced and are currently working on titles by numerous bestselling authors including; Laurell K. Hamilton, Charlaine Harris (HBO's True Blood), Orson Scott Card, Raymond E. Feist, Robert Jordan, Jim Butcher, Patricia Briggs, Michael J. Sullivan, Dean Koontz, Stephen King, Tad Williams, Richard A. Knaak, Kevin Hearne, Sherrilyn Kenyon and Robert Silverberg, Paulo Coelho and many more. Dabel Brothers Publishing has worked with Image Comics, Dynamite Entertainment, IDW, Marvel Comics, Random House, Harper Collins, Tor Books, Hasbro, and Paramount Pictures.
What an incredible team to be the first to bring Royce and Hadrian into the visual art form! Take a look at our (and Michael's) vision of Royce and Hadrian as they defend themselves on the Langdon Bridge.
Now, with regard to the graphic novel. We worked up a few pages so you can see the quality of the work we are proposing. Feast your eyes on some of the initial pages.
And here's some more examples.
And here's yet another page.
We hope you'll agree that we've set the bar high, chosen the right team, and the limited edition will be something truly special.
Kickstarter has become the new model for authors and publishers who want a direct relationship with readers. This “democratization of creativity” provides the fuel for us to produce the highest quality product. As we’ve said, we’re huge Sullivan fans, and we didn’t want to simply adapt one of his novels: we wanted to take his work to a whole new level. To produce such a high quality graphic novel requires the talents of top industry professionals--talents that are highly paid--and for good reasons.
In addition, since the graphic novel is made available independently of the retail chain, more of your money goes directly to the project creators. This provides the ability for us to provide other upgrades and bonuses. This streamlining of costs means you get more and we get more. Together we are on a journey to create something truly wonderful, something to treasure and cherish.
Another cool thing about Kickstarter is the ability to get items that just aren't possible through the retail chain--things like free digital content, t-shirts, posters, original artwork, and even portraits of yourself crafted by the amazing Max Raynor.
Some of the bonus material is free to all backers, and some is based on the pledge level you choose. We've even provided add-ons so you can customize your participation to receive items that won't be available for sale anywhere else.
Free Bonus Material For All Backers
Let's start with some of the additional items everyone receives for supporting this Kickstarter.
- Wallpaper artwork for your computer, phone, and tablet .·
- Signed bookmarks from Michael for anyone receiving a physical package (digital only backers can receive signed bookmarks by paying a small fee for shipping and handling).
- eBook versions of two Riyria short stories: The Jester and Professional Integrity.
- Digital bundles of Riyria: The Death Of Dulgath when purchasing any print editions.
- Digital versions of the comic adaptation of Riyria: The Jester
Add-on Merchandise (available for purchase)
For those who want to receive exclusive Riyria: Death of Dulgath merchandise, we are providing add-ons that allow you to pick and choose exactly the items you want. We're going to use a company called BackerKit that not only helps to manage the fulfillment of pledges, but also provides a self-service portal for backers to purchase add-on items. Basically what you do is add additional funds to your pledge that you can distribute to given items after the project ends.
Here's how it works. Let's say you live in the US and are backing the project at the HARD CORE level ($30+$5 shipping), but you also want a t-shirt ($25) for yourself and a copy of the novel ($15) for a friend. You should pledge $75.
After the project is over, you'll get an email which provides access to a self-service portal. From there, you'll be able to allocate the additional $40 to the extra t-shirt and book. You'll also be able to select your shirt's size and specify if the book should be dedicated.
Here's a list of the current add-ons we have available, although others may be added as part of the stretch goals, so if we do fully fund, check back here for others.
- T-shirts ($25 US | $30 Canada | $35 all other countries) will be printed on high-quality black jersey and include 4-color original artwork of Royce and Hadrian.
- Posters ($15 US | $20 Canada | $25 All other countries): Each poster measures 18 by 24 and is printed on high-quality gloss paper.
- Keychain: ($30 US | $32 Canada | $35 all other countries) This 3-D rendering of Hadrian Blackwater depicts him in full battle stance..
- Hand-drawn Portrait ($40 US | $45 Canada | $50 all other countries) Be immortalized in comic form by having Max Raynor draw your portrait in the comic style drawn side by side with Royce or Hadrian. This is the kind of bonus you might find at a comic convention.
- Death of Dulgath Novels (ebook: $8 all countries | Paperback: $15 US | $25 Canada | $35 all other countries | Hardcover $25 US | $35 Canada | $45 all other countries) Haven't read the full-length novel yet? You can get a copy as part of the Kickstarter, and if you want your print editions signed and dedicated, Michael will do that as well.
- Graphic Novel Volume 1 (ebook: $8 all countries | Paperback: $20 US | $30 Canada | $40 all other countries | Hardcover $30 US | $40 Canada | $65 all other countries) Want to get copies for your friends and family? You can add on as many additional copies as you wish.
Limited Edition Items Available at Pledge Levels
A number of collector items will be offered at various pledge levels but only in limited quantities plus one-of-a-kind opportunities such as having your face in the graphic novel for all to see. For a complete list see the pledge levels at the right but here are some highlights.
- Limited edition signed copies - There will ONLY BE 150 OF THESE, making them true rare versions for the discerning collector. This edition will include additional bonus material not available in the standard version, and of course they will be signed, numbered and dated.
- Original Comic Art by Max Raynor. The Jester is a comic of Michael's short story and a few lucky people will receive an original page drawn by Max Raynor. Truly a one-of-a-kind item (LIMIT one per backer)
- Signed Character Sketches
If we fully fund, the graphic novel will be produced, but we have many additional bonuses and perks that we'd like to provide to reward backers of the Kickstarter. We'll roll them out as funding and as prior stretch goals are met.
Our first Stretch Goal of $35,000 will provide all backers who are receiving a physical shipment to also get a printed copy of the comic adaptation of Michael's Riyria: The Jester short story. (Those who are receiving digital only content can get the printed comic by paying a small fee for shipping and handling). Here are some example pages from that comic.
Finally, we'd like to send our thanks to all the fans who have continued to support Michael J. Sullivan and Dabel Brothers! And thank you for showing your support online by tweeting, posting on Facebook, and sharing your love for Riyria and this project in online communities. Be sure to check back regularly for special updates and information about new stretch goals and bonus material.
Risks and challenges
Our dreams are big, and making the highest quality artistic version of Michael J. Sullivan's The Death of Dulgath is not an inexpensive process. We've already invested in obtaining the rights from Michael J. Sullivan and have produced The Jester comic based on Michael's short story. In addition, we have many pages from The Death of Dulgath already created. We have the team assembled, so this Kickstarter will allow us to engage them in producing the rest of the adaptation.
We have produced many graphic novels in the past (listed above) and have a good understanding of the tasks required and the resources needed.
We plan on launching more products with Kickstarter in the future so it's in our best interest to make sure your experience during our first campaign is the best it can possibly be. If you have suggestions as we go along, by all means pass them our way.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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