Cirque Du Mort: Volume One is the first in a collection of gruesome stories revolving around the cast of a haunted circus; the Cirque Du Mort. The cast and crew of this spectral show all have a story to tell. From the tragic to the ridiculous; the macabre to the magical; each character in this cursed carnival is treading the eternal boards for some reason or another - and they would like to share it with you.
Meet Felicity and Mallory; the famous Janus sisters. They shared a womb, a life, a liver, a grave... Or Mimi the Mime. Once a chatty clown with stories to tell - she just couldn't hold her tongue - so some one held it for her...Or Antoinette the Magician. Cursed in life to never share a headline, now she makes heads roll every night...
Cirque Du Mort reached its funding goal after only 38 hours of being live on Kickstarter! With 126 backers in under two days! A huge thank you goes out to everyone who helped publicize the project and helped make it such a success in such a short time. As a thank you to the people who have been kind enough to back this project (both in its infancy and since reaching its funding goal), stretch goals and rewards have been added.
£3,000 - UNLOCKED ON OCT 7th - With the extra money kindly pledged to the Cirque Du Mort Kickstarter I will be able to add extra funds into improving the quality of the book and increasing the first print run. As an extra reward, everyone who has pledged £25+ will receive two complimentary Cirque Du Mort post cards as well as their current rewards.
£3,500 UNLOCKED ON OCTOBER 13th - This extra funding will help me re-brand my convention stall as well as improve it to the point where I can receive credit card and PayPal payments at cons! (Great news for those of you who hate queuing for the cash machine). This means that everyone who has pledged £40 or more will now be receiving a complimentary Cirque Du Mort T Shirt alongside their current pledge rewards!
£4,000 UNLOCKED ON OCTOBER 25th - Reaching this goal will allow me to set money aside for Volume 2! Yes, as you may have seen in some of the recent interviews I have been lucky enough to do, there is a Volume 2 planned. Of course, this has no specific deadline as yet (one step at a time), but the extra funds reached in this Kickstarter will help me continue the world of the Cirque Du Mort into a second volume without having to resort to a second Kickstarter. As a reward for reaching this stretch goal, I will be adding an exclusive A5 print of a character NOT INCLUDED IN VOLUME 1! (Yes, a secret character who will not appear in the first book) to all pledges of £15 or more! As Kickstarter backers, you will also get early access to previews of Volume 2 when it is begun!
£4,500 - UNLOCKED ON OCTOBER 31st - As a reward for reaching the stretch goal of £4,500, I will be adding Candy-Skull charms as a reward for all pledges of £60 or over. These little handcrafted clay pieces are completely unique and customised for the owner, with colours chosen by you! You can also choose whether you would like them as a brooch, necklace or key-ring.
Volume One of Cirque Du Mort introduces you to 10 unique circus acts, and 11 diverse characters, each accompanied by their own distinct story. The anthology is based on the Victorian concept of the Penny Dreadful, a precursor to the modern comic, which shared sensational stories of blood and gore - the most famous of which was arguably Sweeney Todd.
Each story is told in a different style, from comedic poetry to newspaper clippings to traditional prose, with a variety of themes from revenge to romance. Each tale is accompanied by high quality illustrations and pin ups as well as illustrated post cards, ticket stubs, playbills and 'photographs'.
Presented in A5 softback, 24 pages with saddle stitching, this illustrated volume will be an ideal collector's piece for fans of horror, ghost stories and dark comedy alike; as well as an introduction to what I hope will be a fun and exciting ongoing series of ghost stories and dark characters.
To follow the production of the book during the process of the Kickstarter campaign, be sure to like the Cirque Du Mort Facebook Page.
Cirque Du Mort was conceived in 2013 while I was sat sketching at a comic convention. I have always loved circus and carnival themes since I attended clowning Summer School when I was 14 and always found it fascinating how easily the idea of the circus and clowns combined with themes of horror and the uncanny (another great passion of mine).
After a few conventions of idly doodling in my sketch pad, I had soon come up with a small cast of characters and before I knew it they each had names, stories, personalities and lives (and deaths) of their own. By the time 2014 came along, the doodles had begun to hone themselves into fully formed illustrations and a cast of a few had grown into more than 30 unique acts and faces that I was now desperate to introduce to people.
Inspired by the dark comedy of Edward Gorey and The Addams Family and the gruesome horror of American Horror Story and Penny Dreadful (not to mention Tim Burton and Carnivàle) I wanted to create an art book which the dark little Wednesday Addams that was 'teenage me' would have loved, and I think I have in Cirque Du Mort.
My name is Anastasia Catris and I am the writer and artist behind Cirque Du Mort. After attending Royal Holloway University of London, where I studied English Literature, I decided to run away to America where I was accepted to the prestigious Kubert School of Comic and Cartoon Art. After one of the best and most artistically inspiring years of my life, I returned to the UK to pursue a career in publishing.
After a year working for HarperCollins (publishers of Lord of the Rings and Game of Thrones), I discovered that as much as I loved helping to create books, I wanted to create them myself even more. So, leaving my office job behind I swapped proofreading for pencil shavings and entered the Red Bull addled, finger blistering world of the professional artist. That was 5 years ago and I wouldn't change a thing.
I now make a living drawing private commissions, working for several international sketch card companies (Viceroy, Breygent, Unstoppable) and freelancing. Most recently I was proud to appear as a featured artist in Kerrang! Magazine's 'K! Komic' and Dynamite's San Diego Comic Con Exclusive sketch card set 'Women of Dynamite'.
As an independent creator, I am working alone on this project, illustrating, writing, publishing and funding it. Kickstarter is a fantastic way to fund the project to its full potential and create high quality prints of the book, whilst also making it available to a wider audience through advertising and marketing.
Kickstarter also allows a unique opportunity for the backers to feel as though they are truly part of the creative process as they follow the creation of the book from sketch to production. Finally, Kickstarter allows me greater insight into those willing to support this project through market research as well as valued communication with the backers including critique and feedback and I truly appreciate everyone who wants to watch this project grow and encourages it.
It is my hope to reach £2,500 of funding via Kickstarter. Please remember, as with all Kickstarter projects, that unless this target is met on the final day of the project no funds will be given to the project. Kickstarter is an ‘all or nothing’ crowd funding platform. Your money will also not be processed until the end of the project.
While £2,500 may seem a lot of money, this is the minimum amount needed to print the book, create the backer rewards and post them out to the backers. The creation of the merchandise detailed in the backer rewards will also help kickstart the Cirque Du Mort brand through pin buttons, bookmarks, prints and other affiliated merchandise which can be used in the future to market the book.
As you can see in the pie chart above, this money will go towards the printing of the first run of Cirque Du Mort which will be sent immediately to backers of the project and used for sale at conventions and online via my website and Comixology. It will also go towards funding smaller merchandise and promotion of the book; initial advertising campaigns and marketing; paying contributing artists; Kickstarter fees and largely postage and packaging costs.
I have a number of rewards available at this time to thank backers for their kind contributions. I will also be adding more pledge rewards to the Kickstarter, depending on their popularity. While I do have stretch goals in mind, these will only be added if we significantly over-reach our goal as obviously production costs will have to be taken into account. Please see the UPDATES tab above the Kickstarter video for previews of the rewards.
[EDIT NOTE: Please Note: As of OCT 7th all pledges of £25 + will also now include two complimentary Cirque Du Mort Post Cards (already added on T Shirt description) due to the Stretch Goal of £3,000 being reached. If for whatever reason the Funding dips below £3,000 on Nov 1st - these rewards will sadly not be included.]
[EDIT NOTE: Please Note: As of OCT 13th all pledges of £40 + will also now include a complimentary Cirque Du Mort T Shirt due to the Stretch Goal of £3,500 being reached. If for whatever reason the Funding dips below £3,500 on Nov 1st - these rewards will sadly not be included.]
[EDIT NOTE: As per the 3rd Oct Update, Selena Thomas' Art Print has also been added to the Art Collector Bundle.]
I also have some backer rewards suitable for retailers and businesses looking to support the Cirque Du Mort. Please bear in mind if considering the ADVERTISING BUNDLE that your advert will be styled in keeping with the aesthetic of the book (i.e. sepia tones, Victorian style). This would be ideal for a company looking to work with the target market of Cirque Du Mort. The book will be sold at some of the biggest comic book conventions UK wide, but also have an online presence.
Thank you for taking the time to look over the Kickstarter page for Cirque Du Mort, remember to check out the Facebook Page if you would like to follow the project's progress. You can also contact me via the Facebook page or Kickstarter if you have any questions.
I hope that you like what you see and any support you can offer the Cirque Du Mort will be greatly appreciated. Thank you.
Cirque Du Mort is a supporter of Kicking It Forward Find out more here http://kickingitforward.org
Music featured in Kickstarter video is 'Music For An Underground Circus' by Ergo Phizmiz courtesy of Freemusicarchive.org
Music featured in Cirque Du Mort Cover - Speed Paint/Draw video is 'Change the World (Coldnoise Remix)' by Controlled Collapse courtesy of Freemusicarchive.org
Images of 'The Black Band or The Mysteries of Midnight'; 'Black Bess or The Knight of The Road' and 'The String of Pearls' are free from known copyright restrictions and courtesy of The British Library for referential purpose only.
'Cirque Du Mort' and its characters and artworks are © Anastasia Catris 2014 onward.
Risks and challenges
Having produced books to a professional level for publishers and clients in the past I am fully aware of the possible challenges of creating a book (deadline, printing etc.). However as I am working alone on this project, I will not have the restrictions of having to communicate back and forth with a creative team, nor waiting for approval. This will afford for a streamlined creative process.
The script itself is already complete and most of the images are on the way to being penciled and inked. This leaves colour and editing, both of which I intend to do alongside the Kickstarter so that the backers may follow my progress.
I have already had quotes from several companies including printers, stickers, postcards and button companies and am ready to go with most of the pledge rewards. Due to my having worked with many companies in the past with such merchandise for conventions, I am confident these products will be of a high quality.
In regards to rewards featuring the work of artists other than myself, I will endeavor to get these out to backers as soon as they are available to me from the various guest artists. However, I will be attempting to collect all items at least a week before the funding deadline (if it looks like the project will be successful, of course) so that I can try to get them out to my backers ASAP.
If your reward package calls for a custom made item, i.e. an art commission or sketch card, these will take a little bit longer to get to you as obviously they will have to be drawn and customized. However, I plan to get these out as quickly as I can.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)