Funded! This project was successfully funded on March 9, 2012.

Photo-main

Help me collect twelve years of webcomics into a complete ebook form while still keeping the files free to all.

One Last Goal! If we hit $50,000, I'm going to make a mini comic chock full of original art by some incredible webcomics all-stars. See update #19.

Hot dang! We hit $35,000, so I'm adding monthly DRM-free collections of my daily strips for a year and driving 3,000 miles to hand-deliver Pac-Man arcade game to Wil Wheaton. Crazy? See update #9.

Did you see the design of the Red Robot thumb drive that the physical copies of the ebook will be shipping on? See update #4.

Update: Due to exceeding the base goal, I'm adding an extra DRM-free book release and publishing the thumb drive copies of the book on custom Red Robot-shaped USB drives. See update #3.

Puny Fleshling! Identify yourself!

My name is Richard Stevens III AKA "rstevens" and I've been drawing my pixelated webcomic Diesel Sweeties since early 2000. I'm about to hit 3,000 comics and would like your help compiling them into a humongous annotated ebook which I can release in a way that respects you, the reader.

Based on recent experiments, I think DS is overdue for this kind of collection. My recent experiment re-releasing my first book as a free ebook led to over 140,000 downloads in the past month. My experiment at collecting a month's worth of comics in magazine format for the iPad racked up over 10,000 downloads in three days. I have no idea how many times the raw, unedited PDFs I provide of older comics have been downloaded. (It's been a while!)

The time is right to do this, but I think it's also important to do it right as both an artist and as a citizen of the inter webs. 

So, what's the plan?

When I hit my minimum goal, I will: Get all 3,000 comics into a comprehensive ebook form and release it free and without DRM in both iBooks and PDF format. I'm budgeting for minor art edits, lettering clean-up, book design and the time to index everything so you can search for characters and dialogue. I'm also budgeting to pick up an Android tablet to make sure this is not too Apple-centric.

(By "minor edits" I do not mean that Han will shoot first. I'll just clean them up, not ruin your internet childhood.)

If I exceed that goal, I will add more elaborate features to the book, including: Remastered and separated storylines, commentary, theme and character reading modes, pixel art guides and commentary. I believe that with a few months to concentrate, I could wind up with about 4,000-6,000 pages of material. There are at least a dozen different "books within books" that I could pull out of this archive and make readable in a more sequential format. I'd also need to add the original titles to the art files of about 1,000 strips.

I feel that there are loads of different ways to read Diesel Sweeties and that much of the continuity is in my head or just below the surface of the gag comics. I'd really enjoy the opportunity to sift through over a decade of me life and give you back a whole new way of reading these strips.


On format and copyright:

I've always regretted that the sheer number of comics and formats I've worked in have made me unable to collect everything in book form— and let's be honest, pixel art looks best on a backlit RGB screen the way it was drawn and designed to be read.

The reason I'm asking you to support the production of this collection is that it's going to be an enormous task and I need to take time away from other work to do a good job. It's also very important to me that this ebook collection be done in the spirit of the original work: Free to read, free of geographical restriction and accessible to as many people as possible.

I care about credit and copyright, and love the idea of selling ebooks, but as long as I am able to work on Diesel Sweeties, I would like payment to be optional. That's the model which has supported me as my main job since 2003, through boom and recession. That's the model this comic was designed for and where it's going to stay.

Those of you who support this project will have free download as well as physical thumb drive options available. You'll also be ensuring I can afford to make a really thorough ebook and both sell it and offer it as a free download.

I hope you'll also store this collection and share it with your friends. Remix it for devices that don't exist, buy a decommissioned missile silo and Apocalypse-proof it, print it out and ask me to sign a twenty-pound stack of paper when you see me at a convention. Once you get a copy, it's yours. The only copy protection I need is the fact that tomorrow's comic doesn't exist yet and my brain's the only place that bakes that cookie. I only ask that you respect the Creative Commons license and do not use them commercially without permission.

Three thousand comics is a lot of comics. Twelve years is a long time. The daily deadline treadmill is like being a mail carrier sometimes ... as long as the clock ticks, you never really get ahead. I love that, but I'd really enjoy a chance to look back and collect over a third of my life into a more permanent form.

Thanks for reading!

FAQ

  • Aw, I don't hate you. That's why I'm also releasing everything in PDF format which will look great on your home computer as well as be printable.

    Last updated:
  • Why not? That's the beauty of the format. I can publish what would be a six inch thick book without killing any trees. If for some reason the ebook formats can't support this large of a file, I'll break it up into a few.

    Last updated:
  • I'll start by editing the raw art files and creating plain text and spreadsheets of the metadata. Most likely, I'll then create two master files in parallel: One in iBooks Author and another in Adobe Indesign. I love laying out books.

    Last updated:
  • I've wanted to make real ebooks for tablets forEVER. I pinned my hope on phones and Kindles but the screen sizes or lack of color always made for a bad presentation. Pixel art really needs color to shine. I feel that the combination of a good color screen and .ibooks file format finally make this a viable pursuit and a way to potentially share comics with tens of millions of people.

    In a lot of ways, this feels like the early days of comics on the web. The audience was big, but it was still largely made up of tech-friendly people and comics enthusiasts. We early adopters can shape the culture and I think we should bring over the attitudes that make webcomics such a good scene.

    Last updated:
  • I like apps, but this is a book. I don't think they are functionally equivalent. Here's why:

    Part of the appeal to an ebook is that you can "officially" store the file yourself or share it with a friend and they can easily load it on their reader. You can't install an app without running it through Apple's store without jailbreaking your phone, which is not for everyone. (Yes, I know this is not always the case with Android devices, but iPads are currently the majority platform.)

    There are also compatibility issues. The odds of an application no longer running correctly are greater than that of there not being any option to load a specific kind of media file on future hardware. Also, it's easier for me to build this myself and create nearly identical PDF files. (This applies just as much to Android as iOS or any other operating system.)

    Last updated:
  • Absolutely nothing. However, I'd like this work, which has lived freely on the web for over a decade, to stay freely downloadable and shareable. I will probably sell the books elsewhere later, but feel that paid versions should be optional upgrades much like how readers currently support me by buying merchandise.

    Last updated:
  • EPUB files as they currently exist are best suited to free-flowing text documents. That doesn't really work for a comic book with specific page breaks and visual layouts. The upcoming EPUB 3 standard sounds like it will support "hard" pagination. If it does, I'll try to support it.

    Also, Diesel Sweeties is released under a noncommercial Creative Commons license, so if you want my comics in a file format that I don't provide, please feel free to convert it. I'd love to see what you can come up with.

    Last updated:
  • Those PDFs are simple unedited bundles of comics sorted by number. What I'm planning to do with this project is spend a little time with every single comic checking for typos, fixing coloring, indexing the content by hand and doing minor edits. Those PDFs are raw material, this book is intended to be a final release. If I were a little more pretentious, I'd call it a director's cut.

    Last updated:
  • We should know about those rumored devices before this project is over. I will make sure that the Sweeties look crisp and blocky, no matter the resolution.

    Last updated:
  • American supermarket bacon. I feel as if not suffering would count as selling out.

    Last updated:
  • Sorry, but that would be morally wrong because Kickstarter has a limit of $10,000 per contribution,

    Last updated:
1,520
Backers
$60,209
pledged of $3,000 goal
0
seconds to go
  • Pledge $8 or more
    You selected

    490 backers

    Months of Bathroom Reading: You'll get a digital download of a special donors version of the entire ebook collection before the general public. Low-cost reward or not, you get 3,000+ pages of comics. Score!

    Estimated delivery:
  • Pledge $16 or more
    You selected

    109 backers

    The Tinkerer's Delight: You'll get a digital download of the donors edition of the entire collection, plus the source files to remix your own versions. (A .zip of all the comics in PNG format + metadata.)

    Estimated delivery:
  • Pledge $32 or more
    You selected

    458 backers

    The Archivist: All of the above, plus a PHYSICAL copy of the entire project on a signed thumb drive. I'm counting on you to hoard this drive just in case the internet becomes sentient and turns on us. (please add $5 outside the USA)

    Estimated delivery:
  • Pledge $46 or more
    You selected

    108 backers

    The Archivist +1: The archivist package plus a second blank, unsigned 4gig Red Robot thumb drive.

    Estimated delivery:
  • Pledge $48 or more
    You selected

    110 backers

    The Producer's Credit: You get all the digital downloads, plus the signed thumb drive PLUS I will make you a custom ebook with "This book belongs to…" embedded in the cover just like in grade school. You'll be listed in the credits and on my site along with your favorite comic. (please add $5 outside the USA)

    Estimated delivery:
  • Pledge $62 or more
    You selected

    30 backers

    The Producer's Credit +1: The Producer's Credit package plus a second blank, unsigned 4gig Red Robot thumb drive.

    Estimated delivery:
  • Pledge $68 or more
    You selected

    12 backers All gone!

    Are You A Repli-Can or a Repli-Can't?: You get the full signed thumb drive package, plus a signed print of the art from my Electric Sheep shirt. Yes, I picked '68 because that's when the book was published.

    Estimated delivery:
  • Pledge $69 or more
    You selected

    49 backers

    The In-Canon Slash-Fic: You get the full signed thumb drive package, plus a signed print of any two Diesel Sweeties characters you'd like to see in bed together. Fictional characters only, we are not creeps. (please add $5 outside the USA)

    Estimated delivery:
  • Pledge $73 or more
    You selected

    12 backers All gone!

    Coffee, You're My One and Only: You get the full signed thumb drive package, plus a 12" x 12" record album sized signed print of my coffee love Twitter icon.

    Estimated delivery:
  • Pledge $74 or more
    You selected

    9 backers Limited (3 left of 12)

    Breakfast Battle! You get the full signed thumb drive package, plus a sized signed print of The Most Important Grudge Match of the Day.

    Estimated delivery:
  • Pledge $77 or more
    You selected

    7 backers All gone!

    The Sandcrawler: You get the full signed thumb drive package, plus a Class of '77 limited run signed print of my favorite droids from the original Star Wars. The Jawas selling robots scarred me for life and that's why I draw machines with feelings. (please add $5 outside the USA)

    Estimated delivery:
  • Pledge $81 or more
    You selected

    8 backers All gone!

    The B.F.F. (Bespin Friends Forever): You get the full signed thumb drive package, plus a limited run signed print of the 1981 Solo Hunting Varsity Team, AKA my favorite bounty hunters from The Empire Strikes Back. As fellow Scum outside of the Empire, I feel a kinship with those self-employed dudes.

    Estimated delivery:
  • Pledge $82 or more
    You selected

    15 backers Limited (3 left of 18)

    Robot Rock: You get the full signed thumb drive package, PLUS a signed print of the glowing, pixel heads of heroes Daft Punk. (See update #15!)

    Estimated delivery:
  • Pledge $83 or more
    You selected

    8 backers All gone!

    '83 RED LUFTBALLOONS: Do not ever talk smack about the Ewoks in my presence. This print depicts the galaxy's finest metaphor for "the little guy fighting back against the entrenched technocracy" this side of Zuccotti park. There will be Ewoks and they will be celebrating with balloons, as you do. Also includes the "Producer's Credit" package. (please add $5 outside the USA)

    Estimated delivery:
  • Pledge $96 or more
    You selected

    35 backers

    The Tree-Killer: All of the above, plus a signed print of any comic (or single panel) from my archives except for $1310 because that sucker is 54 panels long. I'll even help you find the comic if you don't have a link. (please add $5 outside the USA)

    Estimated delivery:
  • Pledge $124 or more
    You selected

    6 backers All gone!

    The Lover Who As Yet Is Still Not A Fighter: You get the full signed thumb drive package, PLUS I will build you a red, pinky purple and white Pixel Heart out of Lego. (Perma-glued and signed, approx 100 pieces.)

    Estimated delivery:
  • Pledge $128 or more
    You selected

    3 backers All gone!

    The Death's Head: You get the full signed thumb drive package, PLUS I will build you Metal Steve's Pixel Skull out of Lego AKA Nerd Gold Bullion. (Perma-glued and signed, approx 121 pieces.)

    Estimated delivery:
  • Pledge $129 or more
    You selected

    3 backers All gone!

    The Death's Head REDUX: You get the full signed thumb drive package, PLUS I will build you Metal Steve's Pixel Skull out of Lego AKA Nerd Gold Bullion. (Perma-glued and signed, approx 121 pieces.) I had no idea this would sell out before I even posted to my site.

    Estimated delivery:
  • Pledge $131 or more
    You selected

    6 backers All gone!

    The Death's Head Re-Redux: You get the full signed thumb drive package, PLUS I will build you Metal Steve's Pixel Skull out of Lego AKA Nerd Gold Bullion. (Perma-glued and signed, approx 121 pieces.) These KEEP selling out. This is the last round.

    Estimated delivery:
  • Pledge $132 or more
    You selected

    6 backers All gone!

    The Virtual Pet: You get the full signed thumb drive package, PLUS I will make you a life-size pixel cut out of any kitty, computer or appliance character from my comic. (If s/he sits on a countertop, it counts.)

    Estimated delivery:
  • Pledge $137 or more
    You selected

    3 backers All gone!

    Leg-Oh, Canada! You get the full signed thumb drive package, PLUS I will build you a red and white Canadian maple leaf just like in my Pixel Canada shirt.

    Estimated delivery:
  • Pledge $250 or more
    You selected

    6 backers All gone!

    The Trilogy: You get the full signed thumb drive package, plus the Sandcrawler, Bespin Friends Forever and '83 Red Luftballoons prints. Droids, Ewoks and Bounty Hunters, oh my! These are the last six.

    Estimated delivery:
  • Pledge $256 or more
    You selected

    3 backers All gone!

    The Mr. Mostly-Toasty: You get the full signed thumb drive package, PLUS I will build you a Johnny Toaster out of Lego. (Perma-glued and signed, approx 250 pieces.) He is smaller than actual size, but will have removable toast and pixel flames.

    Estimated delivery:
  • Pledge $384 or more
    You selected

    1 backer Limited (2 left of 3)

    T-SHIRT TIME MACHINE! You get the full signed thumb drive package, plus I will bring back any t-shirt I have ever made for Diesel Sweeties that I have the rights to. I'll sell it on my site for two weeks and you can have a DOZEN of them in any sizes and styles that I can get. (colors permitting)

    Estimated delivery:
  • Pledge $666 or more
    You selected

    2 backers Limited (664 left of 666)

    The Baco-Vegetarian: You get the full signed thumb drive package, plus I'll give up my almost unbroken 2-year stretch of vegetarianism to cook and EAT A POUND OF BACON. I will also make a video, cursing you for how sick this will make me. Bonus: I will hate myself. Double bonus: My ghost will haunt you.

    Estimated delivery:
  • Pledge $1,024 or more
    You selected

    1 backer Limited (2 left of 3)

    The Puny Mortal: Crushed by Red Robot! You get the full signed thumb drive package, plus I'll draw you into a comic strip during 2012 where Red Robot will kill you on-screen. Comes with a signed print of your death. I choose the manner of death, but promise you'll suffer.

    Estimated delivery:
  • Pledge $1,701 or more
    You selected

    1 backer All gone!

    The Holodeck Romance: You get the full signed thumb drive package, plus I'll draw the cast of your favorite Star Trek crew and send you a signed print. This Star Trek crew will be declared The Best and anyone who disagrees with you will hereby be Wrong. (I cannot draw the 2009 movie actors for moral reasons.)

    Estimated delivery:
  • Pledge $2,012 or more
    You selected

    0 backers

    The Apocalyptical: You get the full signed thumb drive package, plus I will PERSONALLY prevent the end of all life on Earth if the Apocalypse occurs on December 21, 2012. No refunds if by some off chance a religious prophecy was misinterpreted and winds up being bullshit.

    Estimated delivery:
  • Pledge $2,600 or more
    You selected

    1 backer

    DON'T CALL IT A BOOK TOUR! All of the above, plus I'll come deliver up to ten of the signed thumb drive editions of the book in person. Need a day of icon consultations at work? Want to do an event at your local book or computer store? I'll bring coffee. (USA only)

    Estimated delivery:
  • Pledge $9,999 or more
    You selected

    0 backers Limited (1 left of 1)

    THE WINDOWMAKER: I have never, ever, ever in my twenty years using Photoshop drawn a comic on a Windows computer. I have turned down jobs with benefits because they didn't have Macs. Choose this reward and I will draw my comic strip using a Windows computer every night for a month. THERE WILL BE SUCH CUSSING… unless you prove me wrong, Mr. Billsworth J. Gates.

    Estimated delivery:
  • Pledge $10,000 or more
    You selected

    0 backers

    I will give up coffee for one month. No Red Bulls or energy drinks, either. Tea and soft drinks stay in my diet.

    Estimated delivery:
Funding period

- (30 days)