Why get one graphic novel when you could have two? This year's publishing list from Cloudscape Comics includes two books for lovers of words and pictures, each with a strong sense of place and a surreal sensibility, each from the hands of a seasoned Vancouver comicker.
Feast of Fields
The thick fog rolled aside allowing our eyes a passage into a small, old cobblestone town. We must have been traveling all night and to a young mind the road is full of surprises. It happened like this before, a recurring dream wrapped in strange reality. Leaning into the window I peered from our van into the glowing dusk. I saw her there, My mother. She was only a child, in black and white like that old photo.
Feast of Fields is a black and white short graphic novel by Sean Karemaker chronicling the hardships of his mother's early years in a Denmark orphanage, where against insurmountable odds she cared for her mentally ill mother and her 3 young brothers.
This is part one of what will eventually be a longer graphic novel. Featuring Sean Karemaker's signature form of storytelling, Feast of Fields will explore the idea of comics without panels, weaving a continuous flow of art from one page to the next, telling the story through precisely placed text and images that evoke emotions where words cannot.
Sean's unique and innovative approach to comics storytelling literally breaks boundaries. His work has been featured in exhibitions throughout Vancouver. Aside from his paintings, sculptures, and dioramas, he is also the creator of comics works such as Astronaut Journal, an autobiographical comic, and The Ghosts We Know, published by Conundrum Press in 2016.
The town of Fir Valley sits on the side of a mountain, nestled up against the forest. The town is shaken when a man is killed and his son disappears. While the community reacts to these events, the mystery is investigated and dark secrets from the town’s past come to light. There are strange things lurking in the woods.
Fir Valley is a full-colour mystery thriller graphic novel with supernatural elements. Set in a small town nestled in a valley, surrounded by BC's iconic northwestern mountains and forests, Jason Turner's newest book takes full advantage of his ability to weave David Lynchian oddity into the everyday. The result is a story where the ordinary and the surreal blend seamlessly together.
Jason Turner is best known for his graphic novel series True Loves, co-created with his wife Manien Bothma. True Loves was the first graphic novel to be shortlisted for One Book, One Vancouver. His love of Vancouver comes across on every page. He has also done innumerable minicomics and was a contributor to the groundbreaking You Ain't No Dancer anthologies. We've all been eagerly awaiting his new work.
Feast of Fields and Fir Valley will be published by the Cloudscape Comics Society, an indie publisher based out of Vancouver, Canada. We seek to promote and publish independent comics creators in British Columbia. Cloudscape has successfully published a dozen books in the past ten years, including anthologies (Waterlogged, Mega Fauna, Bones of the Coast) and two creator-owned projects (Una the Blade and Last Night at Wyrmwood High). We love comics and we love Vancouver, and we're thrilled to be working with Jason and Sean.
What Can I Get?
Obviously you can receive either Feast of Fields or Fir Valley, with or without a personalized sketch from the artists, or you can save some money on shipping and get them both together. Jason and Sean's work looks great in print and you won't be disappointed.
We're also offering a range of other books containing Jason and Sean's work. Sean Karemaker has contributed to two previous anthologies published by Cloudscape Comics. 21 Journeys was published in 2011 and brings together stories from a wide range of Vancouver creators, each telling a story about traveling near and far. Bones of the Coast is Cloudscape's most recent anthology, collecting horror stories of the Pacific Northwest, by West Coast creators.
We are also able to offer the complete set of Jason Turner's True Loves, the three volume story of romance and life in Vancouver, co-written with Manien Bothma. True Loves offers a unique voice on life in Vancouver in the mid 2000-aughts and has become an icon of local (recent) comics history.
For Feast of Fields and Fir Valley, Cloudscape has secured a BC grant to cover most of the production costs of both books. Thanks, BC Arts Council! This Kickstarter will cover any additional costs we may not have accounted for, the advance we've promised to both of our artists, as well as provide an opportunity to deliver these books to you, the reader. We want to be able to pay Jason and Sean as big a cut of the royalties as we can. Rather than offer stretch goals, if we can meet our target and go over, Cloudscape has committed to splitting all additional revenue three ways, with a third each going directly to the creators. The remaining third will go towards shipping, Kickstarter fees, and credit card processing fees. Shipping from Canada is pretty expensive, unfortunately.
Risks and challenges
With most of the funding for the books secured ahead of time, there is very little risk that production costs will exceed what we can afford at the end of a successful Kickstarter campaign. Cloudscape has a track record of many previously published books in our catalogue.
Both artists are putting the finishing touches on their pages as of this writing. They are close enough to done that we feel confident that the books will be ready to print within the timeframe of this campaign. There is always a risk that something could go wrong in the short term, but we consider the probability of the campaign finishing before the books are ready to send to the printer to be very low.
The biggest risk for this project is shipping delays. Shipping prices go up, stuffing envelopes takes time, and sometimes books don't go out to backers as fast as we'd like. The Cloudscape staff has learned a lot from Bones of the Coast, however, and we don't anticipate any shipping problems for this run of books.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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