Hello, my name is Daniel Shelton. I'm an illustrator and cartoonist here in Canada.
17 years ago I created a daily comic strip called "Ben". The central characters are Ben and Olivia, a retired couple enjoying their life together. They are active grandparents who find the energy to chase after their grandkids during the day and attend a Stones concert at night.
You will not find the curmudgeonly stereotype of grumpy old man and nagging wife but a more gentle, affectionate and humorous portrayal of people in this stage of their lives and their relationships with their family. They were modelled in part after my own parents who at the time were dealing with new retirement and young grandchildren.
I've self-syndicated "Ben" in newspapers nationwide over the years. Since 1996 I have written and drawn over 5,000 comic strips. "Ben" is also featured daily in the website Gocomics with 21,000 subscribers.
"Ben" also appears in several French dailies in Quebec, Canada. (Being bilingual and from Montreal, I have done all my own translations from English to French).
I have 10 books published in French (by 400 Coups and La Pasteque), and my first one received the Prix de l'Espoir Quebecois at the Quebec International Comics Festival. They are available in Quebec and France. But there has never been an English compilation book.
Fans have been asking for years "Where can I buy a copy of your book in English?" but for one reason or another I have not had the opportunity to self-publish. And as time passed, I wondered if I ever would.
Then I stumbled onto Kickstarter and realized here was my chance.
Your pledge would go towards self-publishing my first English BEN book of compilations. It will cost $5,600 for a print run of 2,500 copies.
If all goes well, my long-term goal is to make all my comic strips available to readers in a collection of BEN books, starting with volume one.
"Filled with subtle, gentle humour, BEN is a light-hearted look at a loving couple adjusting to their new life away from their work-a-day world."- Montreal Gazette
"Ben is newly retired and experiencing the joys of having grandchildren. Ben's wife Olivia is a strong woman, more experimental than her husband -- a go-getter with panache."
- Sherbrooke Record
I have had warm and thoughtful feedback from readers. Here are some examples:
"BEN is now my favorite comic. I leave it to the end...read it last, just like a meal is enjoyed with dessert."
"Your strip is the high point of my morning. You touch on the issues of maturing people with humour and affection -- without the cruelty of some other strips attempting to do the same."
I hope you like the comic strips on this page, because there are plenty more where that came from.
Risks and challenges
This first book of compilations has already been prepared in Indesign. I have looked into registering, copyrights and ISBN numbers and have been in touch with the printers. So as of this moment there are no real risks since it is only a matter of successful funding to go ahead and get my book printed. After my campaign ends, it will take 2-3 weeks for printing, so you would receive your books and rewards no later than mid December 2013 (just in time for Christmas for those of you who might want to give them as gifts to your parents, grandparents, and others).
This will be the first time I am printing and distributing my own books of "Ben" (they are already published and distributed in French) so that will be a new experience which I am looking forward to. I have my wife to help with the packing and mailing, and I hope we have so many pledges that we will have to involve our 4 kids as well!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
Yes! Once the campaign is over you'll be asked on the survey for your email address so that we can send you a PDF of the Book.
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