Before Arkham Bazaar, there was Sigh Co. Graphics!
Most of you know us as the folks who run Arkham Bazaar and the H. P. Lovecraft Film Festival®, but before we got immersed in the Cosmic Horror and Weird Tale market, we were making up geeky, gothy, and alternative designs and printing them on t-shirts! (Scroll to the end if you'd like to hear the whole origin story!)
This year marks the 15th Anniversary of Sigh Co. Graphics! To celebrate, we're re-issuing one of our most iconic designs in a special limited edition: The Cthulhu Knot shirt! Since we're only going to do one print run of this version, we're using Kickstarter to help gather all those interested in one place. This will NOT BE AVAILABLE AFTER THE KICKSTARTER ENDS. If you want one, pledge for it in this campaign before 8pm (Pacific) on Wed, March 15.
The Cthulhu Knot shirt - the classic version!
Designed shortly after our first stint at the H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival®, the very first version of the Cthulhu Knot had capitalized Ia! Ia! below the image. But people just thought it said “La La,” so we redesigned it using all lower case text as shown in the picture below. As a popular design, it has also been bootlegged time and again (sometime I'll tell you the story of the bootleg version we spotted on someone at a Gothic music festival in Leipzig). Well, guess what? We're taking it back!
The 15th Anniversary Special Edition version looks like it was forged in steel! We've taken the classic design and amped it up, adding a little green marble as a nod to the ancient Irish cultists who kept the Cthulhu Cult alive.
This will be the only time that we print this version of the shirt! This is available in unisex tee, jersey knit women's tee, zip up hoody, and button up work shirt.
Unisex T-shirts are available in size S-5XL, Women's tees in S-2XL, both have the 15 year sigil printed on the back under the collar. Zip up Hoodies are available S-4XL, Work Shirts S-5XL, and these have the 15 year sigil printed on front left chest. You'll get to choose your size in the survey after the campaign concludes (a size chart will be provided).
The 15th Anniversary Sigh Co. Graphics Sigil
This magic circle-style sigil is more than just a fancy redux of our Sigh-Eye logo; it's a celebration of our 15 year journey.
New Reward Level - A Personalized Sigil
The new "Final Ritual" level gives 2 backers the opportunity to have a magic circle-style sigil created just for them! If you choose to back at this unique and unusual level, we'll ask you to share some personal details with us (like date of birth, where you've lived, your special interests), and then craft a magic circle-style sigil just for you. As with other talismans of this sort, the design will not be deciphered for you (occult means hidden!), but you can trust that the elements incorporated in your sigil have meaning only to you. (See Update #3 for more on sigils.)
This level includes your personalized sigil etched on a 12x12 piece of black granite along with everything in the “Whole Enchilada” level. You'll also have the option of having your sigil printed on your shirts instead of the Sigh Co 15th Anniversary sigil, so that your clothing items are imbued with your own personal magic, and will be like no one else's.
Need more shirts? You can customize your reward package by adding additional shirts! We'll add info on the stretch goal add-ons as they become available.
Add-on price includes additional shipping. You must be pledged at the $25 t-shirt level or higher to add-on the items below.
- Add a t-shirt or babydoll for $30 US | $36 CA | $38 elsewhere
- Add a work shirt for $55 US | $61 CA | $68 elsewhere
- Add a hoody for $62 US | $72 CA | $77 elsewhere
- Add an embroidered Cthulhu Knot Patch for $5 (everywhere), choice of white or green
- Add a Sigh Co. Sigil Tote Bag: $16 in US | $18 CA | $18 elsewhere
Already pledged? Click the "manage pledge" button, then adjust your total pledge amount. Your reward level can stay the same.
- ACHIEVEMENT UNLOCKED! Everyone gets an upgrade when we hit 100 Backers! (at the $10 Art Postcard level and above) – We'll upgrade the Art Postcard to a signed Art Print, suitable for framing!
- UNLOCKED! $5000 – Cthulhu Knot Embroidered Patch will be available as an add-on. These 3" round embroidered patches come in white or green.
- UNLOCKED! $7000 – Sigil Tote Bag will be available as an add-on, and will be included at the $96 Work Shirt & Hoody Combo and $140 Whole Enchilada levels.
Sigh Co. Graphics to Arkham Bazaar: a Journey in Pictures
We started Sigh Co. Graphics in 2002 with the idea that we were going to make a million from bumper stickers (hahahaha!), and quickly switched gears to t-shirts as a method of showcasing our creative efforts. We began making and selling t-shirts that summer, and our first convention appearance was on Labor Day weekend in 2002. We had never heard of DragonCon before, but it soon became the hub of our fan base, and we cherish the many friends we made there over the years! Since then, we have vended at over 50 different conventions, and created well over 200 original designs.
Gwen's brother lived in Portland, and told us about the H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival. As Lovecraft fans, it seemed only natural that some of our designs were based on the Mythos.
Taking part in and supporting local events has always been important to us. Our friend Dave put together a fantastic lineup of bands at the Dark Penguin-Empire All Saints Gala in 2002. The Cruxshadows, Ghoultown, Cut Rate Box, and God Module were on the playbill!
Growing pains inspired us to build our own screen printing set up so that we could try out designs in smaller print runs. Our print shop literally started in our living room and moved to our bathroom.
As we created more complex designs, we needed to be able to print more than one color. We moved ops to what must be the biggest bathroom in the French Quarter (it was an architectural mirror to our kitchen).
During our first few years, we tried out A LOT of conventions. Not all were financially successful, but all of them were valuable learning experiences, and we certainly made a few life-long friends along the way!
San Diego Comic Con was sort of the Holy Grail of conventions for people doing anything even remotely geeky.
We were fortunate to get into SDCC before there were long wait lists. We now have an entire endcap for our wares. Look for us there every July, in aisle 500!
Random Throwback photo! We're not actually sure where this was taken, but it looks like the Shim Sham Club. When we started out, there was no social media so we had to introduce our concept to people in person. In New Orleans, most of the people are in bars, so that's where we went too!
It's impossible for us to talk about our history without talking about the first time that we thought our business was toast. Only a week before being slated to attend Dragon*Con 2005, Hurricane Katrina looked like it was going to veer in the gulf towards Texas, then to Florida, then to Texas... but it didn't veer. It was coming right for us! At the urging of friends (thanks, Mike) we evacuated New Orleans the evening before it touched down in Southern Louisiana. On the road for 15 hours, we finally arrived at safe refuge in Dallas (thanks, wRy!), just after the storm pummeled NOLA.
Based on news that morning, we thought we'd grab a nap, have lunch with friends, then get back on the road. Now, that seems like crazy talk... that Katrina could have been anything less than one of the largest natural disasters in memory. The disaster that ultimately changed the face of New Orleans forever, and permanently impacted our psyches. But that morning, the storm was gone, and the sun was coming out... then, the levees broke.
Water swallowed half the city. In the ensuing days, friends of ours who hadn't evacuated waded through waters filled with hazardous chemicals, spotting alligators on their way to refuge. Others boarded up in homes or bars to ride out several weeks without electricity. There, in the middle of it all, where we were not, was our sole means of making a living: our homemade screen-printing press, light box, inks, screens. Everything except the computers we grabbed to evacuate with.
We thought we were done. Totally done. We'd only been in business for 3 years, and now it was unclear when, or if, we'd ever get back home. Worse, customers of ours across the country assumed that we were gone, so we spent a lot of time trying to let them know we'd get back to it as soon as we could.
In the following weeks, we know there were food stamps that helped us eat (a small business like ours, out of business for even a couple weeks, is a business with a $0 bank balance), late nights at Denny's worrying, or drinking on our friend's porch. When we look back, we remember very little. It was a fog of despair, and it affects our memories, not just from that time, but reaches back into the preceding year, tainting and purging previous events. It's a hard thing to communicate about.
We were out of business for almost 2 months. If not for the kindness of friends, our dream of working for ourselves would have been over before it really got started. Our friend Scott, from a "competing" T-shirt company that was based in the Dallas area, loaned us a press he wasn't using, and had an associate of his drive up from Houston with a conveyor dryer for us to use, then made a good-sized wholesale order and paid us upfront for it.
In our friend wRy's garage we set up shop as much as we could, cranked on some shirts, and even printed shirts for that year's H. P. Lovecraft Film Festival®. If you still have one of the "The world is indeed comic, but the joke is on mankind" Lovecraft shirts, you are the proud owner of a shirt we printed at a time when we were at our lowest, evacuated from our home, and unsure of the future of our dream. But, it was also the beginning of where we are today.
After six weeks of evacuation, after the waters had drained, the city of New Orleans let us road-trip back to the city to claim any business files and assets we needed. With rules. We had to have a special permit and we couldn't stay overnight. That was our first look at the seemingly war-torn city, patrolled by the National Guard in humvees, and we were finally able to answer the question so many people had asked us before "What happened to your home?"
Our place suffered very little damage—a couple broken windows, a refrigerator that looked like a meat bomb exploded in it—and our business assets were intact and untouched. We were lucky. We recovered screens and inks and files and were able to finally see for ourselves that the business was not lost... just on hold.
If you've read this far, you realize there aren't really any photos. Much like our brain memories, we're having trouble finding our photographic ones too, and for so much of that time, we just weren't interested in documenting what was happening, so much else was at stake. That time, however, has indelibly marked our characters, for better or worse.
The happy ending to this story is that we were able to get back to work. We created a "Rebuild" t-shirt to raise funds for local and state organizations dedicated to putting things back together after the hurricane, and were able to continue building Sigh Co. Graphics. We consider our fortunes every day, and are thankful for all those who supported us through thick and thin!
Arkham Bazaar & H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival
After expanding our Lovecraftian design offerings and vending at the H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival® for years, we embraced the fact that we were officially purveyors of the Weird. We moved to Portland, OR in 2010, took the reins of the H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival offered by Lurker Films founder Andrew Migliore, and bought Arkham Bazaar.
Since then we have built a boutique website that showcases the finest Lovecraftian and Weird apparel, accessories, films, books, and oddities from independent artists, authors, and filmmakers. We curate and produce DVDs of short films from the festival, and continue to create designs that tickle our fancy - from retro gaming themed and propaganda style Cthulhus to faux liquor and beer labels. We've also had a couple of successful crowdfunding campaigns for our Cthulhu Christmas ornaments, and Cthulhu Mythos petroglyphs.
Special Thanks To
Accolade - the music in our video is by this Seattle based gothic industrial band, fronted by classical singer Stefanie Reneé and her partner Aaron Goldstein. (We have known Stefanie for about 20 years now!) Accolade combines soaring classical female vocals, described as “a force to be reckoned with,” along with tribal industrial rhythms and driving bass. This unique combination delivers a dark and delicious experience.
Our family, convention family, friends, and fans - for supporting us through the first 15 years of Sigh Co. Graphics. We look forward to sharing many more with you!
Risks and challenges
Unlike our previous Kickstarters this one is small by design and on a very reasonable timeline, so we expect to be able to ship all rewards within 4-6 weeks of the close of the campaign (and if we can't for some otherworldly reason or due to interference from Cosmic forces, we'll keep you closely in the loop). However, we have been screenprinting our own shirts for almost 15 years now, and we're pros at shipping things, so we expect things will go smoothly.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (7 days)