About this project
NEW STRETCH GOALS ADDED!
STRETCH GOAL #1: If get to $31,415 (Pi. Wow, I'm Mr. Clever Trousers eh?) I will perform a free show at a Worcester,MA school and deliver books to their SADD group or Peer Leader group or simply say to the guidance counselor: "Here's 20 books. Give them to kids who you think will dig them." (THIS GOAL HAS BEEN REACHED!)
STRETCH GOAL#2: If get to $34,000 I will perform a free show at a Massachusetts school and deliver books to their SADD group or Peer Leadership group or simply say to the guidance counselor: "Here's 20 books. Give them to kids who you think will dig them."
STRETCH GOAL #3: $37,000. I will travel ANYWHERE IN THE COUNTRY (Continental US) and do a show in any town for free. I'll also bring books for 20 kids. The backer who is the one who pushes us over the $37,000 mark gets to decide where I go. It has to be a place where they have a contact at a school..And be a school..That, ya know...Wants me there. I'm not gonna stand in the desert and do a show for one dude and a gecko. No. I mean something more like, "Hey, I live in the middle of Idaho, we have a small school, our kids could really use this book and show, and the school would love to have ya but we have no budget and we just got dial up..etc etc." That kind of thing. New show on PBS? Where in the world is John Morello?
Dirt: The Graphic Novel is a direct adaptation of the one man show I wrote several years ago. It is 120 pages, full color, perfect bound, and proudly printed in the USA. It will be on sale by the end of September 2012. It is drawn by artist Michael McMenemy and colored by Joshua Jensen.
The story is about a kid named Pi lost in the wasteland of suburbia. We follow him around town, to school, and around the landscape of his imagination. In the process, we meet the people around him and discover their connection to each other. It touches on themes of substance abuse, bullying, and choices but is foremost a funny comedic coming of age tale.
(Scroll down to bottom to see previews of several pages in the book)
A year after my show opened, my brother, who was a big part of my life, lost his battle to addiction and depression and died of a heroin overdose. Below is a video of him playing bass with a religious band about 3-4 months before he passed. I was very proud of him that night...and always. He mentions me about a minute in. I like that part because he seemed sad and serious that night but he SMILED and relaxed when he mentioned his family.
I was devastated when I lost him. As part of my recovery from this loss, I performed the show even more. I especially began performing it to thousands of young people across the country and discovered that, even though high school was no fun for me, I really loved going back to school and working with young people. Audiences connected with the humor, saw themselves in the characters, and in the process the performer and audience felt a little less alone in a strange world. I feel incredibly lucky to now share "Dirt" as a graphic novel.
(Below is a 1 minute clip featuring some recent reviews of the theatrical version)
Despite the autobiographical element that inspired me and the themes in the book, I want you to know this is not some heavy handed morality tale. Far from it. Ask anyone who has seen it. It is a simple tale of four lives connected. My intentions are nothing more than to share a great story and characters through the incredible artwork of Mike and Josh.
It is a true independent book and until now I have funded the entire project. This has included hiring the team of artists I now call friends, as well as equipment, software, and promotional costs. As risky and strange as that may seem to some, I wouldn't have it any other way. I did not want to be beholden to any outside groups, opinions or a publisher. I wanted to do the story in the way that I wrote it, the way Michael McMenemy dreamed it onto a page, and the way Josh Jensen colored it.
These funds I am raising through Kickstarter will pay for printing the first 3,000 copies of the book and help me to recoup some of the money I have invested. When I reach my goal, most of the costs incurred will be paid and I can begin selling the book...And often times giving it away at cost to those kids who cannot afford it. Also, profits from the sale of the book will help me to lower costs for schools that want to book me but do not have it in their budget.I anticipate about 1,000-1,200 copies will be pre-sold through the Kickstarter and the remaining 1,800 copies will be sold at live performances or online through my website. And then more printings!
I have chosen to print the book in the USA. Many comics are printed in China and I can understand that. Nor do I not fault anyone for doing so. I was offered several quotes from other countries that would nearly cut the cost in half and give me twice as many books, but I have chosen to print in my home state for several reasons. Quality, delivery time, and a belief that, whenever possible, staying local with one's business is the best way to go.
Long term my plans as an artist are:
1. Keep performing.
2. Create sequels to this book and bring to life an entirely different story we have developed. This is not a one and done. We have not spent months out of our lives to learn how to publish an independent graphic novel, only to leave it at this. As long as we have readers, we have stories and art for them.
I always loved comics growing up and I loved the often dark world of misfit characters who became my "friends" in their pages. In some of my life struggles I have seen real villains and real heroes and comics were always great metaphors for helping me wrap my head around bigger things. So, here we are a mere 7 months after the first meeting of the creative team and we are in the final stages. MIchael is carefully inking the final pages. Josh is coloring furiously. I'm giving the characters the words. We begin the lettering of pages next week. We’re on pace to have the book printed by the end of September. I'll try to keep you updated on the timeline of events.
Please help spread the word online through Twitter and Facebook. Any amount you can afford is appreciated and any word of mouth you create helps us and all the awesome artists here at Kickstarter.
I would like to send a HUGE thank you and shout out to Drew Morris of Christian Brothers High School in Sacramento for making the video. He did this with a dropbox full of files and an exchange of emails and skype with me...In like two days. He is super talented and could do any video project you throw at him. Thanks Drew!
Ethereal ambient music in video titled "Caelis Caravel" and composed by musician and sound engineer Michael Ver Steegt.
THE FOLLOWING PAGES ARE PREVIEWS TO GIVE YOU A FEEL FOR WHAT THE FINAL PAGES WILL LOOK LIKE. THESE WERE JUST DONE BY ME DRAGGING LOW RES PREVIEWS INTO A SIMPLE PROSUMER COMIC PROGRAM TO SHOW YOU INTENDED DIALOGUE. ACTUAL LETTERING AND DIALOGUE WILL CHANGE BEFORE GOING TO PRESS. BOTTOM FOUR PAGES ARE OUT OF SEQUENCE.
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