About this project
"Illegal" is a 15-issue limited comic book series from Jeremy Whitley the writer of the Eisner-Nominated series "Princeless" and Heather Nunnelly the artist of webcomic sensation "Vacant". This Kickstarter's goal is to raise enough money to fund the production of the first volume AND if we reach our stretch goals, the entire series.
"Illegal" follows the story of Gianna Delrey, an undocumented immigrant living in the shadows of an enormous city. All citizens received a microchip that tracks their movements and stores the history of their lives. Anybody without a chip is an illegal. They can’t be tracked, but if they’re caught, they wind up in the deportation camps - where the wait to be deported has become so long that most people die just trying to survive.
Gianna has done her best to stay invisible, but things are about to change and Gianna will have to choose whether to fight or to keep running.
With the funding from this Kickstarter we will be able to publish the first issue of the series in print and fund the first five issue volume digitally. Our hope is create a book which we can share with our awesome backers and get a start on producing the entire 15 issue series.
Illegal is a story with a definite beginning and end and is set to be a grand total of 15 issues. What we are asking for with our initial goal is enough to fund the digital production of the first five issue volume and the printing and shipping of our first 24+ page issue, as well as the rewards we're offering through the Kickstarter.
If we make our initial goal, our plan is to use our stretch goals to fund the making of the rest of the series as well as bringing you a number of awesome exclusives just for backers! For more details, check out the graphic below!
Jeremy Whitley is the writer of "Illegal". Jeremy is best known for his Eisner Nominated and Glyph Award winning series, "Princeless" from Action Lab Comics. He is a co-founder of Firetower Studios and the Director of Educational Initiatives at Action Lab Comics. His published works include: "The Order of Dagonet", "Princeless", "Princeless: Short Stories", "GlobWorld", "NFL RushZone", "My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic", "My Little Pony: Friends Forever", and the story "Zombie Hamlet" for the Red Stylo Media's "Shakespeare Shaken" anthology.
He is a graduate of the University of North Carolina and lives in Durham, NC with his wife Alicia and their daughter Zuri.
Heather Nunnelly is the artist of Illegal. Jeremy and Heather first worked together on "NFL Rushzone" published by Action Lab. Two years ago she graduated from School of Visual Arts in New York and now works as a freelance artist. She is most well-known for her comic "VACANT".
NEW REWARDS UPDATE - ADD ONS
Several people have been asking about adding on additional items to their current pledges and we are, of course, more than happy to oblige! If you wish to add additional items on to you current pledge, add the following amount on and send us a message letting us know exactly what you want added to your order:
Additional Print Copy of Illegal #1 -- $8 each(must already be pledging at $20 or above.
Additional Copies of Princeless Vol 1, 2, or short stories trades - $20 each (must already be receiving any volume in current tier level)
Additional copies of Vacant Vol 1 - $20 each (Must already be receiving Vacant in current tier level)
Additional Posters - $10 each (must already be receiving poster in current tier).
Additional Dogtags - $25 each (must already be receiving dogtag in current package)
"Illegal" is a story that's been with me for a long time. As a white kid growing up in the South, other white kids used to talk trash about "Mexicans" and "illegals" around me all the time. They didn't think anything of it. I was just a white kid like they were and I obviously shared their narrow minded views. I got to hear all about how the "Mexicans" were "stealing all the jobs" and how they were "ruining this country" and how they "need to go back to Mexico". Never mind that half of the people they were talking about weren't even Mexican.
But, of course, those were people who didn't know me. They didn't know that I was raised in part by an actual Mexican. That my grandfather was one of the most amazing people that I'd ever met and will likely every have the chance to meet. How could anyone look at the man who helped raise me - who was closer to me than either of my two biological grandfathers, despite not sharing a drop of blood with me - and label him the same way they might a drug or a bomb - "illegal".
Gabriel Francis "Monty" Montelongo was my grandfather and he grew up in a tough household with an abusive dad and almost no opportunities. He never gave up on a fight when he could double down and he taught me everything I know about arguing and debating. He also taught me how to troll people who got their stupid opinions and political views second hand. Had he been a few decades younger, I think my Tata would have been great at the internet.
Monty was a Navy "lifer". He served until his knees were so bad he couldn't serve any more. That never stopped him from giving orders though. He was a guy with a good heart, strong opinions, and tattoos of dancing ladies of his calves and this comic is for him.
In "Illegal" I wanted to take that same sort of story - a girl from Mexico who has an abusive father and no future worth speaking of makes a split second decision with her mother to leave it behind in favor of a chance to do or be something better. But what I also wanted to do was bring in the current landscape of modern technology, government surveillance, and the increasingly ridiculous state of immigration reform in the US.
The thing that always bothers me about sci-fi stories is that we come in so late in the story. We only really see and learn about the government corruption and abuse when it threatens the life of our well to do young white and male protagonist. That's not the beginning. First they isolate the outsiders: the poor, the sick, the powerless, the minorities. If the government is turning against the young strong white men, then a lot has already gone down. Where are the stories of the sick who were experimented on? Where are the stories of the minorities whose cries of racism were ignored? Where are the stories of the ones who aren't missed when the government turns on them, because the government convinced you that their very presence was illegal?
What resulted was "Illegal", a story about Gianna Delrey - a young woman who is living outside the system and in constant danger of being arrested and detained just for daring to exist in America. But the America she knows is one where the rich live high above the ground in rooftop villas and build themselves neighborhoods they never have to leave hundreds of feet in the air. One where the poor and undocumented are forced to live off the scraps and face constant harassment from the authorities.
But in a world where every move of every citizen is tracked - from their location to their purchases to who they meet - being invisible can present an interesting opportunity in the right hands. And when one of her upper class employers decides to turn on her, Gianna finds herself on the run and falling in with a group that deals in black market identities.
I wanted to see the insane chases through the skyscrapers the make up the city. I wanted to add elements of parkour and sci-fi action. In a world that's packed full of people stacked into massive buildings, it's possible to have a foot chase hundreds of feet in the air. Gianna will be jumping out of apartment skyscrapers and onto rooftop gardens with no net and no chance of rescue. Gianna and her new friends will be using the skyscrapers under which they've been buried as their paths weapons and escape routes.
When Jeremy pitched to me Illegal I was immediately grabbed by the concept, and the fact that GIanna was the female lead. For a while I had wanted to draw a comic with a woman main character, and I was glad that I was able to collaborate with Jeremy on the project. The script was very in depth and explored a lot of politics that we deal with today –racism, sexism, abuse, and the immigrant system. It was a very powerful piece that I think comic books fans today would thoroughly enjoy. Illegal is smart, daring, and different. It stood out to me, and I I am confident others will feel the same.
Risks and challenges
Comics take time!
True! Having worked on a number of comics Heather and I are both well aware of this. The production of the first issue is already well underway. That's why we're only promising the first issue in print and the others digitally. We fully intend on making the others, but we want to get you your physical rewards as soon as possible.
What happens when the series gets picked up by a publisher?
The publisher will help us with producing all the physical issues, but the kickstarter will fund the digital issues. We are committed to meeting the our promises to our backers. If that means you're getting free digital issues while they're selling for $2.99 on Comixology, that's your reward for backing the campaign.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
Have a question? If the info above doesn't help, you can ask the project creator directly.
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