Project image
)}
£1,840
pledged of 650 £pledged of 650 £ goal
149
backers
5hours to go

All or nothing. This project will only be funded if it reaches its goal by Tue, February 19 2019 6:45 PM UTC +00:00.

Simon RussellBy Simon Russell
First created
Simon RussellBy Simon Russell
First created
£1,840
pledged of 650 £pledged of 650 £ goal
149
backers
5hours to go

All or nothing. This project will only be funded if it reaches its goal by Tue, February 19 2019 6:45 PM UTC +00:00.

About

Once Upon Again 1 : The Marriage of Njord & Skadi. 

A full-colour comicbook... Norse mythology! Heartbreak! Gender politics! Ink! 

There are a lot of comics about gods and the battles they fought. There are even more comics about women and the flesh they've shown. Our comic is not one of them.

Step inside a little-known Norse myth of mismatched mates ~ where the giantess Skadi, bereaved and raging, finds herself unexpectedly united with Njord, god of trade and the seaways. The twists and turns of their tale evoke the push and pull between civilization and the wilderness; land and sea; partners in love.

Detail from the cover artwork
Detail from the cover artwork

Once Upon Again is the first collaboration between storyteller and folklorist Jon Mason (http://jonthestoryteller.com) and artist Simon Russell (http://www.boinggraphics.co.uk/projects/illustration). The series brings new interpretations to old stories for a modern audience, each release telling a complete self-contained story. In this first release, lush imagery and poetic language combine in a way that has more in common with picture books than traditional genre comics ~ focusing on characters' thoughts and feelings, rather than on violence and titillation. Explore the worlds and meanings of legends in a space and depth that is quite different to most action adventure stories with swords. (Okay, there's one sword.) 

What are we asking you for?

Money, of course, but also your eyes and ears ~ these stories don’t truly exist until they are shared with an audience.

Okay, but what do we want from you NOW?

Money. I'm afraid, it really is your money we need to get this made. The story is written, the illustrations are complete. We need to raise funds for printing and to pay for a calligrapher to do the handlettering (our sample pages use digital fonts but for this project we want to have a handcrafted feel to everything). 

How did we make this?

The two creators met through a mutual friend a while back and found they not only shared an interest in comics and folklore, but both were already considering how to tell their own versions of a particular Norse myth! Simon had sketches for an Asterix-inspired short comic (that he intends to draw still) and Jon was thinking about how rare it is to find a female character with true agency in Norse myths (a topic he would explore in his contribution to Locating Women in the Folk conference at Sussex University).  

Our poster for Jon's Locating Women in the Folk contribution used images from the comic
Our poster for Jon's Locating Women in the Folk contribution used images from the comic

It didn't take long for the two new friends to decide to merge their projects...

That summer, Simon took advantage of a trip to Denmark to soak up inspiration for the Scandinavian landscapes and industries as Jon explored scholarly references to the story for thematic clues.

Jon’s original script was broken down in to thumbnails for a 24-page comic by Simon, and reworked collaboratively before the drawing began. As pages were developed, more script revisions were made to get a balance between artistry and clarity. Type was positioned on digital files to judge the flow of the story and when the script was polished to completion, it was prepared for hand lettering by experienced calligrapher, Katy Rodda. 

Thumbnail to underdrawing
Thumbnail to underdrawing
more thumbs to pages
more thumbs to pages

The pictures themselves have been ‘excavated’ by Simon drawing over accidental marks and found patterns with deliberate lines ~ digging out the right images to add to each page. With the thumbnail of a page in mind, he would mix inks on paper using pine cones or branches, bubblewrap or comic bags, bird feathers or stones. Sometimes these made interesting marks that had nothing to do with the thumbnails but suggested a change in composition. Sometimes they were of no use for this project at all and were put aside. 

random ink marks with the thumbnail in mind
random ink marks with the thumbnail in mind
finished images from two of the above process drawings (digital lettering to be replaced by handletters)
finished images from two of the above process drawings (digital lettering to be replaced by handletters)

An individual panel might involve five or more false starts before the dried ink leaves something that suggests the right sort of figure (there’s a lot of process chat on our facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/folkcomics/).

The marks that looked promising were taken and used as backgrounds over which Simon drew each picture ~ treating the next stage as if he was sketching on the scene of the event in the story. 

So, what are we asking for again?

Money. That’s all. We really want you to read this comic, and everyone else to read it too ~ so we want to get it printed. Neither creator is taking money out of this campaign personally. The costs breakdown quite simply as...

  • Print: £500
  • Lettering: £150
  • £50 video and sound recording

We’re putting down a KS goal of £650 and funding post and any extras from money put aside... we like to think there are some cracking rewards on offer for the money we're begging you to send us!

About the creators

Jon Mason, Storyteller (https://jonthestoryteller.com) tells stories to all ages at community events, festivals, gigs, schools, spoken word nights, and more. His solo shows include "Taliesin: A Tale of Power, Class and Environmental Catastrophe" (Brighton Festival Fringe 2017), "All's Fair? Tales of Gender, Equality and Relationships" and repeated runs of a Time Travel Treasure Hunt at Brighton Open Market. This is his first comic script. “I love old stories about magic, mystery and mischief ~ and I'm drawn most to those rooted in the landscape around us, exploring the blurry boundary between history, myth, our dreams and our reality."

Simon Russell, Artist (http://boinggraphics.co.uk) splits his time between illustration and graphic design for ethical companies and charities and making comic-based art. "In the comics world I am probably best known as Managing Editor for David Lloyd’s onscreen comic AcesWeekly or for making my own comics art projects (such as the That's Not My Merkin parody,  Nearlymades, or ROY, appropriating Lichtenstein’s paintings for comic book panels). I’ve also done production work for Sequential and designed many books for London’s Cartoon Museum and Ralph Steadman among others.”  

Risks and challenges

With all the pages except the cover complete before launching this campaign, the only risk is in production delays on the additional rewards if technology or workload interfere, but Jon's already started recording the audio story and Simon has worked as an illustrator/designer for three decades now and not missed one deadline, so it’s a very small risk.

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    Pennies for pdf

    We could ask you to make a pledge without a reward, but unless you’re our mum, why would you do this?
    At least claim the digital version of our comic - we made it to be read!
    Once Upon Again 1 : The Marriage of Njord & Skadi file will be available for download the same week we post hard copies.

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    The Comic

    A signed copy of the actual real printed comic Once Upon Again 1 : The Marriage of Njord & Skadi – plus digital version as above.

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    Support Your School!

    Not interested in hoarding comics but want to back the project?
    Why not select this reward of a hard copy of the comic to be donated to a school library in your name? Many schoolchildren learn about The Vikings (it's a common Year 4 topic in England) and we would like to send a copy of this atypical story to them as a counterbalance to the bloodthirsty tales of warriors.
    Plus we send you the digital version to read for yourself...

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    One for you. One for School

    ... or give the spare to anyone else who might like it!
    Somebody asked if we could make it easier to buy 2 copies of the comic so they could keep one and have us send the other to a school library in their name as above?
    Now they can. And so can you.

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    The Comic and Sounds

    Hard copy + digital version of the comic as above plus an audio file of Jon the Storyteller's compelling version of the Norse tale that sets the stage for our story : The Theft of Idunn's Golden Apples

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    The Comic and a Drawing

    Singed hard copy of the comic plus digital version as above plus an original drawing in the style of the comic (ink over accidental marks to draw a character from norse tales)...
    NOTE: if you select this reward we will email to ask for a steer on the character you would like.

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    Support Your School EXTRA

    Like Support Your School above - but this time, we donate 5 copies of the comic to a school in your name, and you get a physical comic too as well as the pdf!

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    The Comic, Sounds and a Drawing

    Hard copy + digital version of the comic plus original drawing and audio file as above

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    Support Your School EXTREME!

    Like Support Your School above again - but we donate NINE copies of the comic to a school! And you STILL get the physical comic and a pdf.

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    The Comic and a Canvas

    Signed hard copy of the comic plus digital version as above plus an original mixed media painting in the style of the comic on a 65x90cm canvas...
    NOTE: if you select this reward we will email to ask for a steer on the character you would like.

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    The Storyteller LIVE

    Get the comic and audio file as above, plus book Jon the Storyteller for a one-hour gig at your venue. Pub, cafe, arts centre, community space, library, school... even your home or a wild location if it's for a party! Your choice. You bring the audience, he brings the tales! Dates to be mutually agreed between April 2019 and June 2020 and venue must be within 45 minutes travel from Brighton. Please make sure the venue is willing and able to host the gig on the agreed date.

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    The Storyteller LIVE on the road

    Get the comic and audio file as above, plus book Jon the Storyteller for a one-hour gig at your venue. Pub, cafe, arts centre, community space, library, school... even your home or a wild location if it's for a party! Your choice. You bring the audience, he brings the tales! Dates to be mutually agreed between April 2019 and June 2020 and venue must be within 2 hours travel from Brighton. Please make sure the venue is willing and able to host the gig on the agreed date.

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    The Storyteller Up and Down the Country

    Get the comic and audio file as above, plus book Jon the Storyteller for a one-hour gig at your venue ANYWHERE IN THE UK. Pub, cafe, arts centre, community space, library, school... even your home or a wild location if it's for a party! Your choice. You bring the audience, he brings the tales! Dates to be mutually agreed between April 2019 and June 2020. Please make sure the venue is willing and able to host the gig on the agreed date.
    NOTE: overseas bookings are also possible, but you would need to pay for travel and accommodation, so... well... we didn't think it was worth listing as a reward, but do get in touch if you are interested!

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