Funded! This project was successfully funded on June 28, 2012.

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Alexis Quinn has positioned himself as a uniquely 21st century Robin Hood, saving lives with stolen technology.

"Put some pants on. It's time to go to work."

ORPHANS is—and my word processor will forever advise me about subject-verb agreements when I tell you that ORPHANS is a science fiction/adventure comic book that explores the relationship between warfare, capitalism and technological advancement -- the "military-industrial complex" that Eisenhower warned us against. ORPHANS ultimately questions whether these are inextricably connected.

In the meantime, we’ll show you lots of punching and explosions.

Alexis Quinn doesn’t believe that the future needs to be built on dead bodies, so he’s positioned himself as a uniquely 21st century Robin Hood, taking dangerous technology out of the hands of killers and redistributing it where it will do the most good.

Or, at least, where he believes it will do the most good.

Each of the five 22-page issues that this project funds will feature a self-contained story. At the same time, those stories will reveal the threads of a larger plot. ORPHANS is intended to remain accessible to a casual reader while rewarding those who stick with it through all five issues.

Artist Branko Jovanovic has already completed five pages and a cover, which were colored by Jesse Heagsta (and lettered by me).

Don't you want to know what's in the truck?! 

As I write this, Branko (and that's a badass first name, right?) is already working on page six and beyond.

The science fictional aspects of ORPHANS are never more than a step or two removed from something that’s possible--or happening--now. Heck, Quinn’s goggles were awesome and impossible when I thought of them twenty years ago, but...LOOK!

I want to tell you so much about the story and the inspirations and the 20-odd-year process that led me to ORPHANS, but I need to save something for those project updates...so, for the next 30 days, I’ll be using this project page as a process blog of sorts, to clue you in on how Alex Marshall, a character I casually dreamed up in junior high school, evolved into Alexis Quinn. I’ll also hope to convince you, over the next month, to help me bring ORPHANS, the comic, to fruition.

Is that it, then?

Heck, no.

I don’t believe that digital comics are the future, but they are almost certainly a future. At the same time, I love comics shops. I owe many of my closest friends to comics shops. I don’t believe that the rise of digital comics should signal the fall of brick-and-mortar specialty stores. That to me sounds an awful lot like chewing off one’s own leg.

So the launch of ORPHANS represents an attempt to develop a digital comics solution for self-publishers that is equitable to all parties.

  • The digital issues will be available for download at a cost of $1.00 each.

Digital comics ought to be cheaper than their physical counterparts. The publisher doesn’t have to pay for printing or freight and the reader doesn’t end up with a physical object that he or she can hold on to.

  • The files will be delivered electronically to you as PDFs.

No proprietary software required. PDF readers are free and available for every platform and operating system. You can open a PDF on a PC or Mac, desktop or laptop, tablet or smartphone.

  • The PDFs will be completely DRM-free.

Each digital issue of Orphans may exist solely as ones-and-zeroes on your hard drive, but once you’ve purchased it, it’s yours. Forever. If something terrible happens to me--dragons,  most likely--you’ll still have those issues you bought, and you’ll be able to read them for as long as there’s electricity.

You’re free to pass it along to friends (and please, pass them along to friends), move it easily between devices, and you’ll be able to access and read it even when no internet connection is available.

  • Digital graphic novels, available on custom printed flash drives.

What?! 

Maybe you’re like me. You’ve moved eleven times in the last fifteen years. You love books, especially comics, but when you’re lugging everything you own from one apartment to the U-haul and from the U-haul to next apartment, the eighteenth longbox seems to weigh just a teensy bit more than the seventeen before it.

The hobby you love is really, really heavy.  

I’m going to make the first five issues of ORPHANS available for purchase pre-loaded on a flash drive with a custom printed logo. In addition to the comics, the flash drives will be loaded with tons of extras: scripts, notes, additional pages, etc., more than would reasonably fit in the the print collection (although that is coming, too; see below). Plus, it’s a flash drive, useful for storing other comics or music or files of whatever else you love.

If you’re like me, then you’re more comfortable with your money going toward a tangible object, something you can hold in your hand, even as the things you hold in your hand take up a lot of space and seem really heavy when you move. A flash drive, on the other hand, is something that fits in your pocket.

The custom printing of the flash drive makes this a collectible of sorts, for that shrinking minority of comics buyers who consider themselves collectors. AND, because a flash drive is a tangible thing you can buy and sell, it’s a tangible thing you can buy and sell at a brick-and-mortar specialty store.  

  • Yes, ORPHANS Volume 1: The Mighty Quinn will also be available in a print collection.

There are those of you out there that would prefer a physical copy of the book, and that’s cool. As I said before, digital is only one of many possible futures.

There’s no way to cram all of the extras from the flash drive into a print collection, but the trade paperback will have something cool: an introduction written by actress ADRIANNE PALICKI (Friday Night Lights, Legion, Red Dawn, GI JOE: Retaliation). Because I have lots of embarrassing stories from when we were kids, she’s even agreed to autograph some of them as rewards.

The individual issues are digital-only, but you’ll have the option to purchase the full collection digitally, in print, or in the hybrid format on the flash drive .

So, Kickstarter, eh?

Yes. Here’s a peek at where the money’s going.

  • Art. Art art art. Art. Most of the money will go to making sure that our talented artist Branko Jovanovic is reimbursed for his hard work. I can steal quiet moments to write at the office during breaks and lunches, or at home in front of the television, but drawing comics is a full time job and then some. The same goes for our talented colorist.
  • Stuff. Once the comics are done, we’re printing them in a collected edition, making them available online, loading them onto custom designed flash drives, dropping the logo on a tee shirt, and...
  • Postage. ...and we’re mailing all those goodies to you.

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  • Pledge $1 or more
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    6 backers

    Receive a digital download of ORPHANS #1. Your download will arrive as a DRM-free PDF. Even though it’s all ones and zeroes, it’s YOURS to keep, to share and to move freely to whatever platform you’d like.

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    24 backers

    Receive a digital DRM-free PDF download of ORPHANS #1-5, as they are released.

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    11 backers

    Receive a limited edition ORPHANS logo flash drive. The flash drive will arrive pre-loaded with ORPHANS #1-5, scripts, annotations, and special 8 page story “Impossible” which will only ever be available bundled on this flash drive. Plus, there will be plenty of extra space on the flash drive to store other digital comics, music, or whatever else you love.

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    MINICOMICS! Over the years, Eric has produced several minicomics to promote his digital work, and he has exactly one remaining copy each of The Undertaker's Daughter #1 and #2, and CORDUROY ROAD #1 left in his possession. He'll sign 'em and send 'em to you, and then he'll email you a digital copy of each ORPHANS chapter as it's released.

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    20 backers

    Receive the digital PDF downloads of issue #1-5 along with a copy of the trade paperback collecting all five issues. This trade paperback collection also includes an exclusive introduction by actress ADRIANNE PALICKI!!! (Friday Night Lights, Legion, G.I. Joe: Retaliation). International backers: Please add $10 for S/H.

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    Receive the digital downloads of all five Orphans issues and an Orphans T-Shirt featuring art by Rudolf Montemayor. International backers: Please add $10 for S/H.

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    Receive the T-shirt and the limited edition Orphans flash drive, loaded with comics goodness. International backers: Please add $10 for S/H.

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    TWO copies of the trade paperback, as well as digital editions of each issue as it's released. International backers: Please add $12 for S/H.

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    Receive the T-shirt and the trade paperback. International backers: Please add $15 for S/H.

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    Receive the trade paperback, t-shirt and limited edition flash drive. International backers: Please add $15 for S/H.

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    Receive the T-shirt, the flash drive and the TPB. The trade paperback will be autographed by writer Eric Palicki and by ADRIANNE PALICKI, who provided the introduction. This reward will be strictly limited to 200 signed and numbered copies. (26 additional signed and lettered [A to Z] copies will be made available as rewards further down the list). International backers: Please add $15 for S/H.

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    FIVE copies of the trade paperback, as well as digital editions of each issue as it's released. International backers: Please add $20 for S/H.

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    1 backer Limited (2 left of 3)

    Digital copies of all five issues, a custom flash drive, a tee shirt, a copy of the trade paperback (signed by Eric) and a copy of this month's Maxim magazine autographed by cover girl Adrianne Palicki. You'll also receive a digital photo of Adrianne with your Maxim with print quality resolution.

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    TEN copies of the trade paperback, as well as digital editions of each issue as it's released. International backers: Please add $30 for S/H.

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    You get the t-shirt, the flash drive and the signed/lettered (A-Z) TPB…AND your likeness (or the likeness of a loved one, if you’d like to make this a gift) gets drawn into an issue of Orphans, mostly likely issue #3, where the character with your likeness will meet a gruesome fate (no spoilers, here). You’ll receive a black and white 11” x 17” print of the page on which your likeness first appears. The print will be on heavy paper, suitable for framing.

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    Eric's adolescent scribbling. The original piece of artwork depicting Eric's first attempt (ca. 1993) at drawing the character who would become Alexis Quinn (but who was, at the time, a superhero named Alex Marshall, alias 'Night-Stryker,' because that's how comics rolled in the early '90s) . Anyway, you get the original art, framed and signed, with a personalized message written in the empty word balloon. You also get the digital downloads, the trade paperback, the flash drive, and the tee-shirt.

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    0 backers Limited (2 left of 2)

    Eric will letter your comics project! He's been lettering his own for a few years now, and knows a thing or two about the gig, so if you have a project that's between 0-32 pages, Eric will happily letter it for you. Plus, we'll throw in digital downloads of Orphans #1-5, as they're released.

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    A half-page advertisement for your business will be appended to each of the five PDF downloads. Your ad is subject to approval (although I’m reasonably open-minded) and must be appropriate for PG-13 audiences. You also get the shirt and the loaded flash drive.

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    So you wanna be a villain. The villain of our story doesn’t have a name yet, and with this reward, you – yes, YOU! – get naming rights to the big bad. (Mild spoiler: there are actually two major villains, so the name can be either masculine or feminine, and we’ll make it work). Will it be you, your spouse, your best friend, that guy who still owes you the five bucks you loaned him in high school? The choice – within reason* – is yours. Of course, the name is subject to approval, and there are reasonable limits. (*This reward is intended for someone who'll cherish having their name in a comic book, rather than for someone who'll use it out of malice. It'd be far too easy to the name the bad guy after an ex-boyfriend or an ex-president.)

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    You’re crazy! A full page advertisement for for your business will be appended to each of the five PDF downloads AND printed in the TPB. You’ll also get ten signed and lettered (A-Z) copies of the TPB, ten copies of the flash drive and ten ORPHANS tee-shirts.

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