**UPDATE: We made our funding goal, hooray! But please don't let that keep you from buying a book in these last days. Thanks to reaching $30k, you've ALSO allowed Alex and Image Comics to put out the collected print edition of her digital comic Valentine (which has been downloaded over 200,000 times) as she can now pay for Steven Belledin's gorgeous painted cover and an exclusive 40-page bonus story drawn by Kev Hopgood!
Every further funding increment of $1.5k will allow us to commission a new episode of Valentine. The print edition will collect everything done so far (10 episodes), but we have 14 more to go until the story ends! We've also added an unlocked reward of $100 for signed copies of both Valentine and Ashes.
We have about 200 books left out of the 1,000-copy limited, GORGEOUS hardback run (believe me, Jimmy is going TO TOWN on the print specs). So please buy an awesome book and thus help TWO books happen!**
A disturbed 15-year-old boy reaches out through the internet to two former heroes... but he doesn't want their help. He wants them dead.
Ashes is a bullet ride through the brain of a dystopian Britain into the dark heart of the American psyche. As soldier Rupert Cain and journalist Katie Shah are reunited five years after they brought down a government, punishment -- from an unexpected source -- looms for that good deed. Chased from London's CCTV-bristling streets to the Home Counties, they are finally brought to ground by an acquaintance's betrayal and dragged off to an army base in a high-sierra American wasteland. Their only way out is through the mind of a twisted teenager... providing they can also escape his father.
Alex de Campi is a writer of tremendous talent and, more importantly, a creator of genuine vision. Every time she puts words to paper, she shines a light we'd all be wise to follow. -Mark WaidI've watched with excitement as Jimmy Broxton's re-invented himself over the past few years. "Ashes" is his best art yet, combining a vivid graphic crackle with inspired and involving storytelling. -Dave Gibbons
New comics work by Alex de Campi is big, tremendous, remarkable news, made all the more delightful by the fact that the project itself is an ambitious sequel to one of my favorite graphic novels ever. Stunningly original and smart, De Campi makes the wonderful look effortless. I'm buying this and you should, too, if you have any sense at all. - Gail Simone
Many years ago, some chick nobody had heard of wrote a violent, futuristic thriller called Smoke. Its combination of dark humour and set-piece action sequences with a certain literary sensibility won the book a dedicated readership, rave reviews and an Eisner nomination for Best Limited Series*. Now -- older, wiser, and meaner -- that chick & artist Jimmy Broxton are back with a sequel: Ashes.
Alex de Campi is a writer and filmmaker of exceptional talent and vision. Most cartoonists spend decades pursuing the Eisner nod dream, but Alex nabbed her nom right out the gate with her 2005 miniseries Smoke. On tight budgets, she's created videos with such style and imagination they've shot to the top of the popularity list of YouTube. De Campi's art is to be watched, supported, reveled in. She is extraordinary. -Colleen Doran
Well, we say it's a sequel, but Ashes is really stand-alone. It's a hybrid literary/genre thriller in the grand tradition of books like V for Vendetta, Transmet, The Invisibles, and Preacher.
Jimmy Broxton is in the absolute top rank of comic book artists, capable of great subtlety in every style from satire to bleak realism. I look forward eagerly to everything he does. Catch him now, while he's still under-rated. -Paul Cornell
If you like the books we've just mentioned, you'll probably like Ashes. Still not sure? Download a B&W preview of the first 22 pages here. (Note: some pages are just layouts, and we're still mucking about with pages 6 and 7... we think they'll be expanded to 4 pages). Want to read Smoke? Comixology has it for 99 cents an issue, with a free 17-page preview.
I was lucky enough to have Alex as a peer when we were angry underground comic kids. She always set the bar. When I saw her enter mainstream comics with the brilliant, mercurial Smoke, I was painfully aware that she was setting a bar for people to try and take a run at, which is pretty much what I've been doing ever since. I selfishly urge people to support this, just so I can see what I'm going to have to be trying to live up to for the next decade. Help her make me feel bad and, in doing so, make you feel good. -Kieron Gillen
So who would be crazy enough to fund a 250 page graphic novel that's divided into chapters of varying length rather than issues, has some kind of weird bits, and isn't part of an existing superhero franchise or licenced property? Well, we're hoping YOU will be. We're asking you to believe in us, and buy our book before it is finished.
Luscious artwork. Rich and boldly rendered with a nod to both classic comic illustration and daring graphic storytelling. - John Cassaday
See, we believe that readers like you are still interested in intelligent stories well told, with a bit of the old ultra-violence, the odd gratuitous reference to Greek tragedies/Thomas Pynchon/British panto, and a soupçon of formal innovation.
Jimmy Broxton is a man with more styles than identities, and that's more than most artists can claim! Ashes looks to be his best yet, terrific storytelling skills married to beautifully stripped back line work, lean and mean in the best tradition. -Duncan Fegredo
We believe it so much we already wrote the book. It's done; Alex toiled away nights and weekends over two years to write it. Now all we need to do is support Jimmy while he draws it, and pay the printers to make the nice hardbound edition we'll be sending most of you when we're done.
James' art has that magical quality of being equally classic and set in the now. A fantastic design sense coupled with a strong tradition in storytelling and line work make the imagery instantly memorable. Lovely stuff! -Charlie Adlard
Speaking of which, unless someone buys the trade rights, the limited, numbered hardback edition of 1,000 will be the only time this book is ever printed... and it's only available through Kickstarter. Also, only Kickstarter participants will receive the book's chapters serialised digitally (via Comixology) as they are finished.
A new graphic novel from the pen of the awesomely talented Alex de Campi would be cause for celebration in itself, even more so as Ashes is a sequel to the Eisner-nominated Smoke. Expect another powerful thriller that takes no prisoners. -Bryan Talbot
For believing in us as creators, and buying our book in advance of it being finished, we will give you access to it starting a full year before anyone outside of Kickstarter will be able to read it. The only way the book will be available to non-Kickstarter folks is sometime in early 2013, when we will have it for sale on Comixology. If the trade rights are bought, there will be no trade until 6 months after the hardbacks ship. So... if you have any interest in the book, don't wait! It's only $15 to get the serialised digital edition.
I always hate when someone asks me for a blurb. I’m going to say something nice one way or the other—despite what some may think, I’m a pathetic people pleaser to the core. That said, I love this sh*t—from the minute I saw the thumbnails, which are miniature beauties of organization and pattern. I have no clue what Alex has planned textually—I’m no mindreader, for god’s sake—but James has delivered a beautifully realized old school treat—modern comics that acknowledge the existence of a great history and great tradition. -Howard Chaykin
If you are a retailer, please see Update 3 as we have added Retailer Bundles to the project: 5 books (4 unsigned, 1 signed) PLUS digital editions that can be bought only in your store and then redeemed online for access. We're very excited about this and thank our awesome friends at Comixology for helping make it happen.
If you are a publisher or filmmaker and you're thinking, gee, why didn't these folks come to me? I would have loved to work with this project... well, you still can! The trade rights for major European and North American markets are available, as are the film rights. Please get in touch directly (contact details at bottom) about trade rights or film rights; a copy of the Ashes script is of course available. Guide prices for trade rights are North America: $5k advance on a 50/50 split; major European markets: $2.5k per market on a 50/50 split; and film: $10k option fee representing 10% for 12 months, the rest due at commencement of principal photography, and extendable for another 9 months for another $10k. The trade & film rights are also available for Smoke.
The book is 250 pages long, full colour. Jimmy's quick, and can draw, ink, colour and letter a page a day. But, math fans, that still means the book is going to take the best part of a year to make... and I haven't even gotten to the fully painted section, or some of the other rather more time consuming than normal parts.
So here's the math:
$15,000 to support Jimmy while he draws the book. That's $60/page for fully coloured, lettered, and in some cases painted, art. It's like the worst deal in the world. Not even [REDACTED] offers a page rate that low for finished art.
$9,000 to cover the printing and shipping of the hardback edition, and shipping of other incentives.
$3,000 (a little over 12%) to cover Kickstarter fees (5%), Amazon credit card processing fees (3-5%) and some of you being a little over-ambitious about the state of your credit (3-5%, and, SISTER!/BROTHER! as every time we go to the ATM it's always anyone's guess if we have enough money to actually make a withdrawal.)
If in some crazy world we manage to raise more than our minimum, the first thing that will happen is Jimmy will get a raise, so he can go from Sainsbury's Value Meals to Taste the Difference. Then any excess money beyond that will go towards publishing the long-awaited trade of Alex's webcomic Valentine (available for free right here on Comixology) via our extremely patient friends at Image Comics -- we are still short of money to pay for the painted cover and the bonus story. Beyond that, we can start to get Alex's next book, Margaret the Damned, drawn. Beyond that, f*ck it, we're going to Barbados.
For those of you who bought Smoke back in the day (THANK YOU!), how is the new book different? Well, rather than Igor Kordey (now a French art star, and with a large family to support) on art, we have Jimmy Broxton, an international man of mystery who shares with Igor both a strong influence by Richard Corben, a love of graphic design, a European sensibility, and being damn fool enough to work with Alex and her impossible pages.
We also truly believe Ashes is a better book than Smoke, and maybe the best book Alex has yet written. Alex is older, wiser, more experienced, and cares less if you like her. That freed her up to take more risks with the book, which have resulted in some truly dazzling sequences and not a few rather recherché jokes.
Want to learn more? Watch the pitch video. Have questions? Ask them via twitter (@alexdecampi ) or email us: firstname.lastname@example.org .
Here are also helpful links to interviews with the creative team about Ashes. We'd tend to recommend the Loudpoet one (mostly about comics publishing), the 3Quarks one (mostly about Alex's writing process) and the Forbidden Planet one (mostly about inspirations, influences and references in Ashes):
Publishing Perspectives: publishingperspectives.com/2011/10/alex-de-campi-uses-kickstarter-to-sell-rights/
Comic Book Resources: http://www.comicbookresources.com/?page=article&id=35250
Comicdom (in Greek): http://www.comicdom.gr/2011/11/08/interview-corner-67-alex-de-campi/
Publishers Weekly (profiling our retailer offering, a first on Kickstarter): http://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/book-news/comics/article/49597-kickstarter-for-retailers---ashes--includes-comic-stores-in-crowdfunding-offering.html
Forbidden Planet (Alex discusses influences/references in Ashes): http://forbiddenplanet.co.uk/blog/2011/directors-commentary-ashes/
John Siuntres' Word Balloon podcast (also features Rob Liefeld and Matt Fraction): http://wordballoon.libsyn.com/giving-thanks-with-rob-liefeld-matt-fraction-and-alex-de-campi-
Reddit AMA (discusses breaking into comics, has free download of Alex'sold Batman script): http://www.reddit.com/r/comicbooks/comments/n3wb9/im_alex_de_campi_i_write_comics_direct_music/
Outhousers Interview (very lengthy & thorough): http://www.theouthousers.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=17540&catid=31&Itemid=100437&time=1323360222
The Beat (reporting on Ashes reaching its funding goal, being #7 most funded comics project): http://www.comicsbeat.com/2011/12/06/ashes-gets-funded-on-kickstarter-7-most-funded-comics-project/
*We lost the Eisner to Grant Morrison & co for Seven Soldiers. We deserved to lose; Seven Soldiers was the far greater achievement.