What's The Young Protectors: Engaging the Enemy about?
The Young Protectors: Engaging the Enemy tells the story of how Kyle—a closeted, young superhero dedicated to helping everyone but himself—ascends to become one of the most powerful champions the world has ever known.
But no one ever said becoming a real hero would be easy. :)
The story begins with Kyle finally summoning the courage to enter a local gay bar. It's his very first step towards accepting himself. Unfortunately for him, his very next step out of the bar places him face-to-face with The Annihilator, "the most dangerous supervillain in the world." And the price that The Annihilator demands to keep Kyle's secret will lead Kyle down a path fraught with danger, adventure and unexpected romance. It's a path that will force Kyle to question what it really means to be a hero and will ultimately thrust him and his young teammates into an epic conflict against vastly superior foes.
The Young Protectors: Engaging the Enemy is a multi-chapter superhero comic with explosive action, sly comedy, tender romance and powerful drama. And you can read it for free at youngprotectors.com.
Why did you write The Young Protectors?
As a gay kid growing up, I loved sci-fi, fantasy and action stories. But I never got to see what I really wanted to see and that’s kick-ass genre stories with gay heroes. Not just gay characters who were the comic relief or who committed suicide or got killed in the end so that the straight protagonist could wind up with the girl. But good stories with real, three-dimensional heroes who get a chance to save the day and who also just happens to like other guys.
With The Young Protectors, I've tried to create the kind of story I’ve always wanted to see.
What do I get if I'm a backer of this project?
If it's successful, potentially lots of things! Read on!
First of all, if this project is funded, every backer choosing a reward will get a copy of The Young Protectors: Engaging The Enemy Volume 1, either as a digital PDF download (for those pledging at the CITIZEN level) or as a PRINTED BOOK along with the PDF (for those pledging at FULL CITIZEN or higher.)
What's going to be in the book?
The Young Protectors: Engaging the Enemy is a five chapter story with a Prologue and the occasional Interlude. Volume One collects the Prologue, Chapter One and Interlude One from the on-going webcomic into a gorgeous 6 5/8" x 10 1/4" softcover trade paperback which will be printed on premium, glossy paper, just like the last graphic novel I funded with Kickstarter, Artifice.
Bonus material in the book will include
- excerpts from a classified dossier compiled on The Annihilator that reveals his secret history and the crimes that made him notorious. These excerpts will also reveal tantalizing details about how superheroes and supervillains came to share our world.
- written features from both me and the artists about how the comic came to be along with other fun anecdotes
- and, since we hit the $45K stretch goal, I will be now able to create and include an additional 25-page BONUS COMIC featuring fan-favorite supporting characters Commander and Spooky Jones!
Speaking of "stretch goals", one of the great things about a Kickstarter project is that, if it is successful, it opens up the possibility of creating all kinds of cool goodies to send out to backers. And one thing that I've been wanting to do for some time is to create special trading cards, just like you got for your favorite heroes as a kid, for the heroes (and villains) of The Young Protectors!
These would be 2.5" x 3.5" full-color cards, with beautiful character art and fascinating character details and would be printed on premium, glossy, thick stock just like traditional pro trading cards!
Depending on which stretch goals are unlocked, the cards would potentially come in up to four different varieties for each character:
a POWERS CARD: detailing a character's abilities and other cool superhero/supervillain stats including their ages, how long they've been active and real names. The card art would feature a powerful image of the character in action.
a ROMANCE CARD: offering details about a character's romantic interests. The card art would feature a revealing "pin-up" image of the character, like what you'd find in a sexy calendar.
an ORIGIN CARD: offering a narration about how a character discovered their powers and chose to be a superhero (or villain!). The card art would feature one of the first uses of that character's power.
a FIRST-TIME CARD: revealing intimate details about a character's romantic experience, namely their first-time experiences with romance and sex (first kiss, first time in love, first...). The card art would feature a sweet, beautiful image of that character's very first kiss.
The first POWERS card got unlocked as a stretch goal at just $1000 over the initial project goal at $15,000. Every backer will get a digital version of each unlocked card and all backers who are getting a printed book will also get the printed version of every single trading card unlocked.
The more successful this Kickstarter project is, the more characters I'll be able to create cards for. And as a backer, you'll get to decide what cards get made and who's on them!
My goal here is to create rewards that will delight you and so as each card gets unlocked, I will send out a 24-hour survey link to all backers who pledge at the CITIZEN level or more. Using that survey, you'll get to decide which character you want to see me create a POWERS card for as each one of those are unlocked and then, if the ROMANCE, ORIGIN or FIRST-TIME stretch goals are unlocked, you'll also be able to decide which ones of those you want me to create. (Edit: ROMANCE CARDS now unlocked!)
And that means you'll also get to decide what cards get sent to you! (All backers will be sent digital copies of the unlocked cards and everyone who chooses a book reward gets every one of the physical cards that are unlocked!)
And the voting doesn't stop there! As a backer, you'll also get to choose which characters will star in any stretch-goal bonus prints I'll have my artists create—including what pairings will be in the Bonus Romance Posters!
Eager to see your favorite two of The Young Protectors characters together? Y'know, kissing and stuff? Now you'll have a chance to make that happen!
(EDIT: We've already hit some stretch goals and voting has begun! Look below in the STRETCH GOALS section to see who backers have voted for so far!)
But wait there's more! Anyone pledging at the EXPERIENCED VIGILANTE level or higher will get at least one high-quality 11" x 14" print sent to them. (And everyone who pledges, no matter what their level is, will get a digital wallpaper version of all the regular and bonus prints created for this project!)
The starting prints to choose from will include
- a print made from the final cover art I will have created for the book (which will be awesome, I promise), just like I did with the Artifice Kickstarter
- this action scene starring the entire team (without the watermark, of course):
- and this scene starring our favorite villains: The Annihilator and The Platinum Priestess! (These are the pencils; I should have the colored version up soon!)
Other print options will include an 11" x 14" print of this explosive scene from the comic and this romantic image from the comic. (WARNING: SPOILERS, so don't click unless you've read to the end of Chapter One of the webcomic!)
ALSO there could be even more prints to choose from because, as I mentioned above, some of the stretch goals will include 11" x 14" action prints and romance prints and, through your votes, you'll be able to decide who's in them!
And that's not all because
ALL UNLOCKED POWERS AND ROMANCE TRADING CARD ART WILL ALSO BE AVAILABLE AS 11' X 14" PRINTS!
That's right. Every full-color action scene and every sexy romance character pin-up I commission for the POWERS and the ROMANCE trading cards, I'll also turn into high-quality 11" x 14" prints. Every one of these will be a print option for the EXPERIENCED VIGILANTE and TEAM LEADER backers. And backers at the TRUE SUPER-HERO level or above will get 11" x 14" prints of EVERY SINGLE ONE of the awesome trading card art for the POWERS and the ROMANCE cards that is unlocked! (As well as every other default and bonus print I create for this Kickstarter project!)
The art is going to look awesome on the 2.5" x 3.5" cards but it's going to look simply spectacular super-sized as 11" x 14" prints. It's got me very excited just thinking about it!
The Full Monty
And speaking of, well, excitement, my long-time readers know that my policy for the romance scenes in my comics is to keep things no more steamy that what you'd see in an R-rated film. If I'm creating a romance scene, I definitely want it to feel sexy and exciting. But there are certain things I choose to leave to the reader's imagination—specifically, uncovered weenies.
But over the two years I've been posting my webcomics, I've gotten some feedback that there are those among you who would, frankly, like me to free the willies in my comics from this constraint. And while I will stick to my policy for the printed book and posted webcomic pages, I recognize that a Kickstarter project is something special.
So, I'll make you a deal: if we blow past my previous success with the Artifice Kickstarter project and hit $40,000 in pledges, I'll unlock a ROMANCE PRINT with an NSFW option—you'll not only get to vote on the pairing, but you'll also get to vote on whether you want it to be "Not Safe For Work", meaning "an image significantly more revealing than what you'd see in my regular comic pages." (Edit: Already unlocked! See "Stretch Goals" below!)
And if things go crazy and we hit $50,000 in pledges, then all the unlocked art for the Romantic Trading Cards will have a FULLY NUDE OPTION for both DIGITAL WALLPAPER and 11" x 14" PRINTS.
So if you want the full monty with my characters, you'll finally be able to get the full monty with my characters. :)
(Edit: this has now also been UNLOCKED! It's going to happen!)
There will be a couple rules, though:
1) the characters involved must be 18-years-old or older in the actual story
That means Tsunami, Spooky, The Annihilator, Commander, The Platinum Priestess, Hunter, Killer and (as he'll be over-18 in the story when the art is finally created) our hero Kyle are all fair game for this special treat. But if the image involves Flyboy or Fluke, I'm certainly happy to show a scene of sweet romance or handsome posing, but everyone's pants stay on.
2) no matter what we show, the image is still going to be tasteful and what I personally consider to be great art
The whole impetus behind the creation of my comics is to create the kind of stories I always wanted to see and that means that whatever I create, I need to love too. My goal is to shepherd beautiful & compelling art and stories into this world. Creating some beautiful, lusty and revealing erotic art for my beloved Kickstarter backers sounds like a lot of fun for me. Creating explicit pr0n of my characters? Not so much.
I only want to send you things you'd be proud to display and share with your (most intimate) friends. So if, through your pledging and voting, you decide to go the full monty, that's exactly the kind of art I'm going to send you. Sound like fun? Good. :)
Buttons & Young Protectors Keychain & Your Name in the Book
There are many other goodies as well! Backers at the YOUNG HERO level and above, will get this lovely, metal 1.5" Young Protectors keychain (hand not included):
and these nine nifty 1-inch Young Protector Buttons (the middle YP Flame Logo one is actually metallic and shiny when the light hits it):
As a backer at the YOUNG HERO level and above, you also get your name listed with my thanks in the back of the book!
Dossier on The Annihilator
But wait, there's still more!
Since I've begun working on that additional dossier bonus content for the printed book, I've become excited about the idea of creating a more complete dossier with even more background about The Annihilator, the actions that earned him the title of "Most Dangerous Supervillain" and the world The Young Protectors live in. Namely, I'd like to create a nice physical artifact, a "real" dossier, in a file folder with actual glossy "photographs" paper-clipped inside and "type-written" reports with eye-witness accounts of encounters with The Annihilator, etc. Basically I'd like to create something special and unique for the hard-core fans that fills in the interesting blanks I don't have room to talk about in the regular story.
If this project is funded, I will create it and all backers at the ELITE SUPER-HERO level and above will receive this physical dossier. (And if we exceed the pledges I got for the Artifice Kickstarter, all backers will receive a Kickstarter-exclusive digital version of the entire dossier!)
(EDIT: This also happened! All backers will will receive a Kickstarter-exclusive digital version of the entire dossier I create!)
Get an Original Penciled Page!
Adam has graciously donated the eight nicest penciled production pages from the Prologue and Chapter One of The Young Protectors to this Kickstarter project. Those who back at the SECTION COMMANDER level will receive a page of this original art, chosen at random and signed by Adam, in addition to all the ELITE SUPER-HERO rewards.
Adam is now working exclusively digitally on the line-art for the comic pages of The Young Protectors, so this is your chance (possibly your only chance) to have this piece of The Young Protectors history on your wall!
At some of the highest pledge levels, you can be part of some very special prints. And by part of, I mean, your beautiful face can be included in the actual art! You'll send me your photos and sign a release and I'll have my artists include you in one of the following awesome prints:
At the TRUE PROTECTOR level, you will have the opportunity to get yourself drawn into a limited edition (only 20 printed copies made) action-scene print with The Young Protectors team! You'll get featured as a background civilian, superhero or first-responder character (my choice) along with the other True Protector backers and thus be part of The Young Protectors history!
At the PARAGON OF VIRTUE level - you get to actually GO ON A DATE WITH (or be rescued by/robbed by: your choice!) The Young Protectors character of your choice in a UNIQUE 11" x 14" POSTER. I'll only print three copies each of your safe-for-work PARAGON poster, all of which will be sent to you—so these will be very special. And not only that, you'll also get the ORIGINAL PENCILED PRODUCTION PAGE of your poster art signed by Adam!
And at the ULTIMATE DEFENDER OF TRUTH AND JUSTICE level, YOU'LL GET DRAWN INTO A TWO-PAGE COMIC where you'll get to ASK THE YOUNG PROTECTOR CHARACTER OF YOUR CHOICE A QUESTION WHICH THEY WILL ANSWER AS YOUR FRIEND. (Depending on the question, I might even "role-play" the scene with you via email to find out how you would respond to their answers and add your responses to this 2-page comic as well.) All backers will receive this comic as a PDF and YOU'LL GET BOTH ORIGINAL PENCILED PRODUCTION PAGES OF YOUR COMIC SIGNED BY ADAM!
Appearing in the comic
There's also the opportunity to be included in actual The Young Protectors comic pages!
DESTINED FOR GREATNESS backers have the opportunity to get included as an in-canon background character (either civilian, hero or villain: my choice) in an upcoming scene of The Young Protectors comic.
PARAGON OF VIRTUE backers will have the opportunity to appear as a "FEATURED" in-canon background character. That means, your character will have either a line of dialogue or will be seen in more than one page as either be a civilian, superhero, or villain (my choice) in an upcoming scene of The Young Protectors!
Truth or Dare Bonus Comic Stretch Goal
If we exceed $75,000 in pledges, we unlock a new Bonus Comic! Using Google Moderator, backers will be able to create and vote on a total of six TRUTH OR DARE questions/dares which The Young Protectors will answer in a short, fully illustrated (5-15 page) comic. Standard AMW Comics rules apply in terms of showing uncovered wee-wees and Tsunami and Commander will be there to make sure things don't get too out of hand with the dares (especially for the underage characters). But all the team has been told this “recorded video” session is for their favorite charities and so they are open to pretty much anything and will approach even unusual or sexy requests with an open mind and good humor. And, of course, they will be completely honest for the Truth requests—heroes don’t cheat!
This bonus comic will be sent as a PDF to all backers.
Spooky Cap Stretch Goal
See the cap that the handsome, young hero on the left is wearing? The one with the cute ghost in the trenchcoat? That's actually part of Spooky's casual superhero uniform and a number of readers of the webcomic have mentioned they might like one. Well, if things go really crazy and we actually hit the $100K stretch goal, then ALL BACKERS AT THE YOUNG HERO LEVEL AND ABOVE WILL BE SENT AN ACTUAL, PHYSICAL SPOOKY CAP, embroidered with that cute ghost character and looking as close to his actual cap as I can make happen in the real world.
Wear it visor-front to shield your eyes from the sun or twist it backwards to adopt a jaunty air when kicking demon ass. If this stretch goal is unlocked, Spooky's coveted cap will at last be yours, Young Hero!
EDIT 6/20/13 8:01 PM: We've passed the $100K mark! This is going to happen! All backers at YOUNG HERO and above will be sent an authentic, embroidered Spooky Cap! :D
The last Kickstarter I did for Artifice exceeded its goal by quite a bit so I wanted to make sure I had ways for everyone to share in this project's success if we happen to do that again.
So far, forty-six stretch goals have already been unlocked! And voting is still ongoing for three of them! Here are the current BONUS REWARDS you can now receive in addition to the regular pledge rewards:
A 2.5" x 3.5" POWERS trading card for KYLE (RED HOT)
A 2.5" x 3.5" POWERS trading card for THE ANNIHILATOR
A 2.5" x 3.5" POWERS trading card for SPOOKY JONES
A 2.5" x 3.5" POWERS trading card for FLYBOY
A pulse-pounding , full-color 11" x 14" BONUS ACTION PRINT featuring KYLE (RED HOT)
A 2.5" x 3.5" POWERS trading card for THE PLATINUM PRIESTESS
A 2.5" x 3.5" ROMANCE trading card for THE ANNIHILATOR
A 2.5" x 3.5" ROMANCE trading card for SPOOKY JONES
A sexy, full-color 11" x 14" BONUS ROMANCE PRINT featuring KYLE and THE ANNIHILATOR.
ALL backers will receive a KICKSTARTER-EXCLUSIVE PDF VERSION of the full Annihilator Dossier
An 2.5" x 3.5" ROMANCE trading card for KYLE (RED HOT)
A 2.5" x 3.5" POWERS trading card for COMMANDER
A sexy, full-color NSFW 11" x 14" BONUS ROMANCE PRINT with KYLE and THE ANNIHILATOR
Colorist Veronica Gandini will be flown to the U.S. from Argentina to join penciler Adam DeKraker and me in signing books for backers at the PILLAR OF COMMUNITY level or above!
A 2.5" x 3.5" ROMANCE trading card for FLYBOY.
A 2.5" x 3.5" POWERS trading card for FLUKE
A 2.5" x 3.5" POWERS trading card for TSUNAMI
A 25-page BONUS COMIC featuring fan-favorite characters Commander and Spooky Jones added to the printed book and PDF!
All ROMANCE CARD art for The Young Protectors characters over 18-years-old in the comic will now have a FULLY NUDE 11" x 14" Print Option. And all backers will be able to receive this art as digital downloads!
A 2.5" x 3.5" ROMANCE trading card for COMMANDER
A sexy, NSFW SUPPORTING CHARACTER ROMANCE PRINT featuring SPOOKY JONES and TSUNAMI
A 2.5" x 3.5" ROMANCE trading card for TSUNAMI
A 2.5" x 3.5" ROMANCE trading card for FLUKE
A 2.5" x 3.5" POWERS trading card for HUNTER & KILLER (That means backers will be getting the COMPLETE SET of POWERS CARDS!)
A pulse-pounding , full-color 11" x 14" BONUS ACTION PRINT featuring Kyle and The Annihilator committing a crime together
A 2.5" x 3.5" ORIGIN trading card for THE ANNIHILATOR
The 11" x 14" SEXY HEIGHT CHART FOR THE GUYS has been unlocked! And through their votes, backers decided the adult characters in the line-up would be fully nude!
A 2.5" x 3.5" ORIGIN trading card for KYLE
A 5-15 page TRUTH OR DARE BONUS COMIC PDF which will be sent to all backers!
A 2.5" x 3.5" ORIGIN trading card for SPOOKY JONES
A NSFWish NEVER BEFORE SEEN ROMANCE PRINT featuring FLUKE + FLYBOY
A 2.5" x 3.5" ORIGIN trading card for FLYBOY
A 2.5" x 3.5" ORIGIN trading card for COMMANDER
A 2.5" x 3.5" ORIGIN trading card for FLUKE
A 11" x 14" SAFE-FOR-WORK ROMANCE PRINT starring KYLE and THE ANNIHILATOR cuddling!
A 2.5" x 3.5" ORIGIN trading card for TSUNAMI
A KICKSTARTER-EXCLUSIVE BOOKMARK featuring the The Young Protectors character you vote for! VOTING IS NOW IN PROGRESS! Become a backer and join the fun!
A 2.5" x 3.5" FIRST-TIME trading card for THE ANNIHILATOR
ALL BACKERS AT YOUNG HERO AND ABOVE WILL BE SENT AN AUTHENTIC, EMBROIDERED SPOOKY CAP!!
THE ANNIHILATOR WHAT-IF ROMANCE PRINT with NSFW OPTION will feature The Annihilator paired with fun-loving and open-minded SPOOKY JONES!
ALL remaining ORIGIN CARDS have been unlocked! That means that backers at the FULL CITIZEN level and above will receive complete sets of POWER, ROMANCE and ORIGIN cards!
A 2.5" x 3.5" FIRST-TIME trading card for SPOOKY JONES
A 2.5" x 3.5" FIRST-TIME trading card for KYLE
A 2.5" x 3.5" FIRST-TIME trading card for FLYBOY
The KYLE WHAT-IF ROMANCE PRINT with NSFW OPTION has been unlocked! VOTING IS NOW IN PROGRESS! Become a backer and join the fun!
TWO MORE Trading Cards have been unlocked! VOTING IS NOW IN PROGRESS! Become a backer and join the fun!
The SHOWER SCENE/LOCKER ROOM PRINT FOR THE GUYS has been unlocked! VOTING IS NOW IN PROGRESS to decide how revealing it will be! Become a backer and join the fun!
A thirty-fourth 2.5" x 3.5" trading card has been unlocked. VOTING WILL BEGIN once the voting for the previously unlocked two Trading Cards is complete!
The ILLUSTRATED PROSE SHORT STORY PDF FEATURING SPOOKY JONES has been unlocked and will be sent to all backers!
And now a thirty-fifth 2.5" x 3.5" trading card has been unlocked. ONE CARD AWAY from all backers receiving a printed book getting FULL SETS of all Trading Cards! VOTING WILL BEGIN once the voting for the previously unlocked Trading Cards is complete!
Here are the OTHER rewards I will unlock:
So those are the rewards!
Let me anticipate a few other questions here:
So, how does this Kickstarter thing work?
If you're not familiar with Kickstarter, here's a brief overview (you can read the official version here). For the next 30 days, you'll be able to make pledges to help support the printing of The Young Protectors: Engaging the Enemy Vol. One, ranging from $1 to whatever you can afford. For your pledge, you get to select one of the rewards—listed up above, on the right sidebar—of equal or lesser value to your pledge. You can always pledge more than the minimum to get a reward if you want (and for all the rewards that involve international shipping outside the U.S., there will be an extra shipping fee added—again, please see the sidebar on the right).
Your credit card or other account will not actually be charged at the time you make your pledge, and you can change your mind or even change the amount of your pledge right up to the final deadline. And payments are handled through good old trusty Amazon, so everything is secure and safe.
If the final deadline comes and the goal is reached, then everyone gets charged the amount they pledged at once and I get busy getting the book ready to print and putting together your rewards. :) But if for some reason the goal isn't reached, then the whole thing is called off. No one gets charged, no fees are applied, everyone just keeps their money. So there's no risk of putting up money and then the printed book never happens. Basically, Kickstarter is set up so no one can lose and if the goal is reached, everyone wins!
Is The Young Protectors a comic that's appropriate for children?
No. I wrote The Young Protectors for other grown-ups. While it's not 18+ "adult content", it has scenes of intense action and romance that are inappropriate for children. Think of it as "R-rated".
Is this comic just for gay people?
Certainly not. :) I write with both straight and gay people in mind (and for one very good straight friend in particular, actually). While I think that those who like guy-on-guy romance will especially enjoy this story, it’s a fun and thoughtful action-story first and is meant for both women and men to enjoy.
Are you willing to ship rewards internationally?
Yes, I will ship internationally! Backers from Canada should look for the rewards that say "Canadian Backers" to get the right extra shipping amount added to their pledge. (This amount reflects the fact that it is less expensive for me to ship to Canada than to other countries.)
Backers from the rest of the world should just choose one of the regular (non-Canadian) pledges—your additional shipping will be automatically added.
What happens if I move before you are ready to ship?
When I ran my last Kickstarter campaign for the Artifice graphic novel, this was the most frequent question I got. But there's really no need to worry. :)
Kickstarter actually doesn't send me your physical address when the project is complete. I have to send out a "Kickstarter Survey" via email to get that and I won't send that out until just before I ship, so you should have no problems there. Just make sure you keep your email address with Kickstarter current! I will need a valid email address to send you your survey!
The vast majority of the backers in my last Kickstarter project didn't want more than one book but if you would like an extra book or books, please add an extra $20 to your pledge for each unsigned copy, $25 for each copy signed by me (Alex) and $30 for each copy signed by me and my artist(s) to your pledge. If you are outside the U.S., please add another $6 for Canada and $12 for other countries for each book you are adding.
Then please also send me an email using the Contact Me link under my name above, letting me know how many extra books you want (and whether they should be signed), so I can make a note of that! (Limit of 3 total books per backer, including initial reward.)
So I think that's it! :D
Good golly, you read all the way down here?!
You are a SUPER-HERO! If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to ask me in the comments or via the Contact Me link under my name above.
Thank you so much for you interest in my project!
Risks and challenges
I've already successfully printed and delivered a high-quality graphic novel funded by Kickstarter (my previous graphic novel Artifice), so you can be confident that I will deliver what I promise.
My highest priority will be to get you rewards that will delight you, so the biggest risk is that things might take a little longer than I expect, especially if I feel that spending a few more weeks on design or hiring additional creative talent will result in a much better product for you (which might happen if we greatly exceed the project's $14,000 goal.) But, as with the last project, I will post frequent updates to all backers about how things are progressing and I am very responsive to questions, so you would always know how things are coming along and when to expect your rewards.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (31 days)