About this project
"An Unlikely Refugee is a beautiful, moving story of survival. But what’s remarkable about this book is that Max and Morrow Dowdle keep George’s story grounded in the natural world, yet they also maintain a strong sense of empathy for George. Despite George’s narration that runs through the story, George remains, first and foremost, a snake, with a snake’s instincts and needs in full effect. All of this results in a stunning accomplishment."
"Max and Morrow Dowdle have created a very entertaining and thought-provoking story. An Unlikely Refugee can be enjoyed on one level as George’s story of survival and on another as a spiritual journey."
--Christopher Calloway, WordOfTheNerd.Com
"If you like comics that break the mold, but can be told in a subtle and powerful way, this is an excellent choice."
--Luke Anthony, TheOuthousers.Com
George is a Burmese python who begins life in Vietnam as an ordinary snake. As the war turns George's world upside-down, George is rescued by U.S. Army Special Forces. The python becomes an unofficial member of their unit and experiences active combat in their camp. As the violence in Vietnam mounts, George escapes to America and becomes the star attraction at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences. An Unlikely Refugee explores the complicated relationship between humans and the rest of nature through the true story of George, a scientific inspiration and a survivor of one of the most brutal wars the world has ever known.
An Unlikely Refugee began with a road trip in March 2013. We had stopped at a gas station, and we were talking about an advertisement recently heard on a local radio station for the annual Reptile and Amphibian Day at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences. A museum staff member had been relating a story to the radio DJ about this snake, George. . . the next thing we knew, we were saying, “That would make a cool graphic novel.”
Thus began our journey to write An Unlikely Refugee. It began with nine months of research that took us all the way to the archives of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. It then took another two years to put it all together. Some of the story is imagined, but most of it is based on records, articles, and anecdotes by the people who had the chance to interact with George. We ultimately decided to relate the story from George’s perspective. It was quite an exercise, trying to get inside the mind of a reptile, but in the end, we think it was very much worth the effort.
An Unlikely Refugee is the product of our fascination with the life experience of an animal that was born free then became captive, living through the extremes of human-wrought destruction in the form of the Vietnam War, and then human-wrought creation, in the form of the museum and its many exhibits. The story is meant to be thought-provoking, while remaining an entertaining story that can be enjoyed by all ages. We believe that as you experience George’s story in this graphic novel format, you will come to love George as much as we have.
The production of the graphic novel is already complete, and right now our goal is to raise $6,900. That is the bare minimum we need to cover the printing costs of a beautiful hardbound edition of An Unlikely Refugee, as well as shipping and all fees associated with Kickstarter. BUT, if we can raise more than the target goal we have a number of special stretch goals planned. Let's make this happen!
A portion of the proceeds from the sale of this book go to Museum Animal Care at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences.
*Main Exhibit, Fine Art Tier: To see some examples of my portraiture and other paintings explore my fine art website by clicking HERE.
*For those interested in my previous Kickstarted book Shattered With Curve of Horn please click HERE.
We are funded and we have reached our first stretch goal! Check out update #4 for more details about stretch goals. Yes!
Video Shot by Jason Dowdle.
Video Edited by Matthew B. Moore.
Video Music by Purple Planet Music.
Risks and challenges
Normally the risks involved in funding the printing of a graphic novel might involve delays in production, or infighting between ordinarily cohesive members of a group. None of those problems apply to this project as it has already been completed. I've contracted a reliable, professional printer who I've worked with before, and who is waiting in the wings to print the book as soon as I give them the go ahead. My first book was funded through Kickstarter and delivered without a hitch. The only foreseeable obstacle that needs to be overcome for the printing of this book is the actual funding itself.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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