Hello! My name is Zainab Akhtar, I live in the north of England (where the accent you never hear in Hollywood films comes from) and for the past 6 years I've been writing about comics on my Eisner-nominated blog, Comics & Cola, as well as for publications such as The Guardian, The AV Club, Publishers Weekly, The Fader, and more.
I started writing about comics as a way of helping myself understand them better, breaking down what worked, what didn't, why, how; thoughts on art, form, issues raised, and so on. I love the medium more than any other, and believe it's enriched by smart, thoughtful discussion: strong, interesting writing that makes you think about and appreciate comics in different ways -even when it may be about a book you didn't particularly like. There are so many approaches and perspectives to be explored, which is what makes writing special and important: it can be an experience in itself; a dialogue to not only understanding comics better but learning about one another.
Which brings us to Critical Chips. A print magazine is something I've always wanted to make. I grew up gorging myself on magazines -on food, books, fashion, music, art- and the tangible, physical presence of print is unique. The feel of the paper, the smell, turning the pages- all of which make for a more immersive, closer experience. So marrying this passion with comics writing was really only a matter of time!
Critical Chips is a 55-page, perfect-bound, full-colour, A5 zine that gathers new writing from 10 of comics most vital and engaging contemporary commentators. Subject topics are wide and varying, from examining the ending of Tite Kubo's Bleach to The Question and corporatisation; the secularisation of Satan to queerness in Krazy Kat; creator self care to comics academia; Jessica Jones to omake; Copra to the curious joy to be found in imperfect work. Each essay is between 1500-2500 words, with work from:
- David Brothers
- JA Micheline
- Claire Napier
- Whit Taylor
- Joe McCulloch
- Juliet Kahn
- Kelly Kanayama
- Annie Mok
- Kim O'Connor
- Zainab Akhtar
With a gorgeous cover and spot illustrations by the fantastic Sophia Foster-Dimino, it also includes a new 6-page comic by Sophie Franz, all laid out and designed majestically by Dan Berry. All the essays, comics, and art for Critical Chips have been completed in full, and the zine is ready and waiting to be sent off to the printers.
As this is my first (and solo-run) kickstarter, I want to keep it as compact and manageable possible. My focus is on creating the best zine I can: top quality comics writing packaged in something that's lovely to look at and hold, and delivering that on time. The aim of this drive is to hopefully bring the project to life by raising enough money to pay each of the writers and artists involved fairly, and to cover production and shipping costs. If this campaign is successful, this will be the only print run produced: these are the *only* copies of Critical Chips I'll be making.
- £4: a digital copy of Critical Chips, whoosed straight to your inbox.
- £8: a physical, print copy of Critical Chips. Yours to touch and smell. And read.
- £9: both a print and a digital copy of the zine: one to peruse, one to keep natty.
- £10: a print copy of Critical Chips and a fab, froggy Comics & Cola vinyl sticker sheet, illustrated and designed by Isaac Lenkiewicz.
- £15: a print copy of Critical Chips, the sticker sheet, and your name in a special thank-you dedication on the inside over.
- £1200: Writers pay. Each contributor is paid £120 ($150) for their essay.
- £840: Payment for Sophia's cover art and illustrations, Sophie's comic, and design and layout work done by Dan.
- £600: Printing. Quote for 200 copies of a 55-page, full-colour, perfect bound book. Printed with a 300gsm white matt recycled cover and 120gsm off-white recycled interior pages.
- £900: Postage and packaging costs.
- £360: Kickstarter and processing fees- these come to approximately 10% of the set goal.
The zine will be sent off to the printers once the funds come through (which Kickstarter says takes about 2 weeks), so factoring in print turnaround, books and rewards will begin shipping out in late November with an estimated delivery of December 2016.
£4100: if we hit this number, the zine will include a new, 6-page comic by the excellent Mathilde Van Gheluwe. Here's an example of her work:
£4400- A new, 4-page comic by the awesome K.L. Ricks will be added to the zine. Here's a look at some of her gorgeous previous work:
Any additional money raised will first go towards printing the requested number of books (the goal is for 200, so if more than 200 are ordered, the print run will rise), then a stamp (of the froggy Comics & Cola logo) to pretty up envelopes and so forth, and lastly towards a second issue of Critical Chips- with added original comics.
Risks and challenges
The zine has been completed and is ready to go to print, which minimises a lot of the potential risks and challenges involved. The printers I have in mind are ones I've used before, and have a good relationship with, so I'm confident the books will be delivered on time, to a quality standard.
I have experience of posting out hundreds of international orders from running ShortBox, and have pinpointed the postage weight, associated costs, and services required. I'm well organised and have set aside time which will allow me to fulfil rewards.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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