A LITTLE ABOUT ME...
Hi everyone, my name is STEPHAN FRANCK. You may know my work from movies like THE IRON GIANT (supervising animator), or DESPICABLE ME (story), the TV show CORNEIL & BERNIE (Nicktoons) which I created, or SMURFS THE LEGEND OF SMURFY HOLLOW, which I just directed for Sony Pictures Animation.
I have been writing, drawing, and telling stories all my life, most of them in animation. With my new project called SILVER, I have the opportunity to explore another great love of mine: COMICS!!!
DARK PLANET COMICS & SILVER
My passion for comics is the reason why in 2013, I started DARK PLANET COMICS, an imprint which gives me the ability to put my stories out into the world autonomously, without having to answer to any corporate overlord.
The first story on Dark Planet is SILVER, a 12 issue miniseries. Silver #1 & #2 came out in 2013, and the response from readers, reviewers, and even from comic book artists who I immensely respect, has been tremendous, and humbling.
"Franck knows his customers, what they want, and he gives it to them in spades."— Ain't It Cool News
“With SILVER, Stephan Franck shows how much excitement can be packed into a fast-moving, thrill-filled story...dynamic, unfussy, black and white art, all in the service of speed and momentum...a really, really fun ride.” — Tim Sale (Batman: The Long Halloween; Batman Dark Victory; Superman For All Seasons)
“A beautifully drawn and masterfully told noir/heist story with a teasing side of the supernatural that constantly kept me surprised with it’s reveals. I was particularly taken aback by the creative camera angles and use of shadows. I was kinda blown away, really.”— Takeshi Miyazawa (Code Monkey Saves The World)
A lot of the inspiration for SILVER comes from all the late night movies I watched every friday night as a kid. From Fritz Lang to Murnau; Basil Rathbone to Todd Browning; from The Thin Man to King Kong, Sherlock Holmes to Nick Carter; Bogart to Cagney… All black and white adventures, ripe with horror, action, romance, and most importantly, tales of when the world was BIG and filled with MYSTERY.
The other side of my inspiration for SILVER are my comic book gods--mostly KIRBY and his insane mythologies, WILL EISNER, master of noir, and last but not least STERANKO.
But while SILVER revisits many of the elements that captured my imagination as a child, it is not any kind of postmodern homage. SILVER IS IT'S OWN THING.
The imagination of it came together very organically, as the imagery relates to the deeper themes of the story. VAMPIRES, and CON MEN, for instance, are approached as very similar creatures. They are both soulless and predatory in nature, dwelling on the parasitic margins of society. As the story begins, that is the state in which we find JAMES FINNIGAN, our main character. A figuratively soulless, noir anti-hero. But as Finnigan's world shifts, taking him for a stroll through the garden of the truly undead, and literally soulless, finding his way out will mean having to confront the purpose and ways by which he has been living his life.
Filled with action, adventure, mystery and yes--character comedy (watch for the classic screwball comedy streak between the main leads), SILVER is first and foremost about relationships. Timeless human drama of the personal kind-- father and sons, siblings, lovers, and how everyone struggles with issues of love, guilt, morals, and the elusiveness of feeling alive.
And now, I am very excited to announce that SILVER #3 has been completed, and that issue #1, #2, and #3 have been compiled into SILVER volume 1: 87 pages of kick-ass comic content, PLUS extra material, and super cool PIN-UP art by fantastic GUEST ARTISTS.
And let me be clear about one thing: ALL THE WORK HAS ALREADY BEEN COMPLETED.
So... what is this Kickstarter about exactly, you ask…
It’s about ONE WORD: PRINTING!
With this kickstarter, we will be able to do all of the following:
1-The original runs of SILVER #1 & #2 have SOLD OUT. We will be REPRINTING them, with a larger run. Btw, NOTE THAT ISSUE #1 REPRINT NOW HAS A VARIANT COVER (plus new making-of pages in the back, with even more conversation and insights on the storytelling process).
2-We will be printing SILVER #3, which is brand new, and also contain exclusive making-of info in the back.
3-We will be printing SILVER Volume 1: a trade-paperback compiling issues 1,2,& 3, with original cover, and extra exclusive content.
WIth all this, we will be all set up for the convention circuit this year (about 10 of them), including COMIC CON in SAN DIEGO and starting MARCH 28th with EMERALD CITY COMIC CON. Conventions are super important to us, as they are where we meet new fans, and where, so far, we’ve done most of our business!
Printing the trade will also open the door to COMIC BOOK STORE DISTRIBUTION, which, along with the conventions, are the heart and soul of this business.
Backers will receive signed copies of the individual comics and/or the trade paperback edition IN PRINT, and/or as DIGITAL DOWNLOAD.
THE INDIVIDUAL COMICS have EXCLUSIVE MAKING-OF PAGES, while VOLUME 1 (the trade), has EXCLUSIVE PIN_UP GUEST ART.
Certain pledge packages also include downloadable versions of the written script pages, as well as the layout versions of the books. Those are a lot of fun as they show the evolution of the storytelling from one form to the next.
Beyond the book, we also structured rewards around our SILVER ART PRINT SERIES, which have been super successful at conventions, and become fan favorites.
We have 11X17 limited edition, signed, black & white large prints of the pages from the book. Those are really striking pieces of sequential art to have on your wall. The stark black and white and the zip-a-tone effect creates a cool combination of vintage and modern. Those are conversation starters for sure.
Our limited edition, signed, COLOR art prints, inspired by images from the books, are available in LARGE (11X17) or EXTRA-LARGE (13X19). Not gonna lie, those are super nice!
PLEASE NOTE: we have A LOT of different designs for the art prints (b&w AND color), so when rewards time comes, we will communicate a full list of available prints so that backers can make their pick.
Lastly, for our most serious backers, we’re putting SOMETHING SPECIAL on the table… MASTERCLASSES
Having worked on about 25 movies, having storyboarded a lot, directed (I am nominated for Best Personal Achievement In Directing in a TV Production for the 2014 Annie Awards), created a TV show that you may know, (and one you will know about soon), done tons of writing for studios, credited or un-, and tons of script consulting, having trained story artists at Disney, and hundreds of artists and writers throughout my career, I have conceptualized and organized my thoughts on visual storytelling in two 3-hour masterclass sessions.
The first session is focused on VISUAL STORYTELLING, AKA the skills to, not only communicate visual ideas clearly, but also the ability to give them emotional impact for the audience.
The second session is called STORY WITH A CAPITAL “S”, and focuses on the mechanics and esthetic of story in general, including concept, structure, character arcs, esthetic distance in story, imagination vs immediacy, etc… not to mention what sells, and what doesn’t, and why.
Please, note that all those concepts have been more than field-tested over the years, as I have trained artists at major studios, gave guest lectures at colleges, and presented at festivals and conferences in various countries.
So for Los Angeles area backers, (or backers willing to make the schlep on their own volition), I am making those sessions available here in town in may. We will keep the group small, and organize as many as needed. For Non-LA residents, I also make one-on-one skype conversations available, where we will cover some of that same material.
Just remember that, for legal reason, I cannot look at, or give you direct feedback on any of your own specific projects.
A COUPLE MORE THINGS YOU MAY WONDER ABOUT:
Q: In the age of digital distribution, are PRINT EDITIONS a point of VANITY, especially for independents?
A: Actually, print editions, are vital, and here’s why. Although we greatly enjoy our digital distribution, it is very hard to compete for viewership against the giant marketing megaphone of the majors. Plus, let’s face it, with net neutrality on the ropes, it will not get any easier. So the only place where we have a real chance to meet new fans, is the convention circuits. Convention is where we did 90% of our business last year, and for that to work, we need physical books on the table.
What’s more, we have met many comic book store owners on the con circuit, who fell in love with SILVER, and said they would be eagerly waiting for the trade to sell in their store. I don’t need to tell you that those stores are the heart and soul of the comics community. WE NOW NEED TO PUT PHYSICAL COPIES OF SILVER vol1 INTO THOSE STORES.
Q: Why print more floppies (Issue, 1,2,3), if you are going to have the trade?
A: We will continue with the floppies because, a) we are committed to the art form, and b) because that way, people don’t have to wait too long between the trades, but MOST IMPORTANTLY, because it’s a point of entry for new readers!
It’s been really awesome at conventions, to see people come in on the first day, and buy issue #1, read it that night, come back on the second day for #2, read it that night, and often come back if there’s a third day, buying copies for their friends. These times are tough for everybody, and new readers are solicited in every direction. It’s very important that they get a chance to try something new at almost no financial risk.
Risks and challenges
Here's the good news! NO RISK AT ALL!!! Why? Because all the work has already been completed! All we need to do is send the files to the printer. The Trade will debut at Emerald City Comic Con April 1rst, and all backers will receive their reward in April!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (15 days)