Goal raised -- and surpassed! Read Leif & Thorn online to get more updates, follow the latest strips, and stay on top of news about future books <3
Leif & Thorn is an original fantasy webcomic, starring an LGBTQ ensemble cast and featuring storylines about trauma recovery, slow-burn romance, bilingual problems, time travel, and vampires.
Sometimes it's nail-biting drama. Sometimes it's goofy slapstick. There's always a bit of tragedy in the comedy, and a bit of comedy even in the tragedy. Our heroes solve problems via good communication, caring about each other, and stabbing things with magic swords as needed.
You can read Leif & Thorn online, where it's been updating steadily since 2015.
Now it's time to make a version you can hold!
After Thorn Estragon killed a dragon, he and his team of knights expected to be put on a low-stress assignment to recover. Instead (there's a prophecy involved; he doesn't know that part) they're sent to guard the embassy of neighboring Sønheim.
Leif is a gardener at the Embassy when Thorn arrives. He doesn't speak Leif's language too well at first (and Leif doesn't speak his at all), but they're about to find lots of reasons to learn.
Plus a broad ensemble of lovable characters, all facing their own struggles to communicate across cultural boundaries, deal with traumas and scars, use magic for practical solutions, and pick the perfect song for karaoke night.
For teens and up. (Don't give this one to small children -- it includes adult topics like graphic violence, PTSD flashbacks, stalking, and health insurance.)
Leif & Thorn Volume 1 is packed with concept art, bonus sketches, and more than a year's worth of strips!
This isn't one of those webcomics that posts two pages a month, either. It updates daily. There are almost 400 individual strips in this thing. The full book on your shelf will be 8.25" by 10.5", with a total of 180 full-color pages.
Here's the full Volume 1 table of contents (print preview version), showing off the Obligatory Fantasy Map and including hints about the cool extras:
And here are just a few of the pivotal storylines inside!
HOMECOMING - The one where Thorn impresses Leif by whipping out his magic sword.
VAMPIRE MASQUERADE - A party at the Embassy celebrates one famous author and two infamous vampires. Everyone shows up from anti-vampire protestors to an undercover slayer...and they all want an autograph.
FISH STORY - A class trip to the aquarium gets interrupted by a magical stalker. Good thing the guests that day include two magical girls.
AN INCREDIBLY PLATONIC STORYLINE - The one where Leif and Thorn don't go on a date. They just spend the afternoon together, have dinner, kiss, and go back to Thorn's place.
LANDSLIDE BRING ME DOWN - A party of miners gets buried in a tunnel collapse. The rescue is a major team effort, involving multiple disciplines, multiple countries...and multiple species.
Your writer/artist/creator is Erin Ptah. I fell in love with webcomics in high school, and I've been making them continuously ever since.
And I gotta tell you, I'm so happy with how Leif & Thorn is turning out. Everything I've learned about storytelling in 15 years of writing and comics is paying off here.
Don't just take my word for it. Check out this short sampling of praise from Leif & Thorn readers!
"I just wanted to say I absolutely love your comic. I discovered it two days ago (from a post on a lgbtq comics tumblr post) and then just kept reading it non-stop, for hours."
"They’re just OH SO CASUALLY running into each other! This is fantastic. I love the way you’re developing the relationship. The easy route would be a breathless love-at-first-sight cliche where Leif and Thorn are sneaking off to see each other whenever they can get a few furtive moments, but you’re taking the long road, and it’s excellent."
"I really love how Leif is reacting to [Thorn's PTSD flashback]. Firstly he’s not freaking out, he’s handling this a lot better than many others in that situation, which makes me like him even more. Secondly, even though he is handling it well, he’s not handling it so well that it doesn’t feel real. [...] So basically, HE’S A KEEPER THORN!"
"i love how you draw your female characters with normal body shapes. i know that might sound odd, but even among webcomics so often women, especially women considered beautiful, have disconcertingly small waists etc, and its just really nice to see a change from that."
"This webcomic is great. I really love the depiction of transgender characters as not even noteworthy because they’re just a normal part of this fantasy world, and I wish the real world would be more kind and understanding."
"Just a quick note ‘cuz I’ve spent almost a week reading LEIF & THORN from scratch and I wanted to make this public comment here, even though anyone reading this should know already:
This is an awesome, amazing comic! :D As is BUT I’M A CAT PERSON (very different, but also awesome)!"
Okay, I've said Leif & Thorn is full of representation. And you've heard that readers like it. But I do want to talk a little more about what that means. (Because to me, it means a lot.)
First: this world is LGBTQ-friendly, in every sense of the term. Nobody bats an eye at same-sex relationships. Transitioning is just a medical treatment that some people happen to need. Gender-neutral pronouns, and gender-neutral everything else, are in common usage.
These countries aren't perfect social-justice utopias or anything. They still have problems, biases, power imbalances, issues that need institutional change. Just...not these issues.
Second: I have a lot of feelings about visible representation. Because, look, it's easy to put "this character is [sexuality]" on your cast page. (Or, to use a very vague and general example, in your post-book-7-publication live fan Q&A.) But it's so much more important to put it in the story!
So when I tell you there are LGBTQ characters, I'm talking about the ones where you can tell they're LGBTQ characters. And when I'm Kickstarting this specific book, I'm gonna sell it based on what's visible as of this book -- not on whatever might unfold in later storylines.
So! Pick up a copy of Leif & Thorn Volume 1, and here's some of the representation you'll be physically holding in your hands:
Slow-burn same-sex romance!
Extremely-fast-burn same-sex romance!
Indecisive recently-out trans people!
Confident out-and-transitioned-years-ago trans people!
Teenage sparkle-eyed same-sex crushing!
Adult happily-married same-sex spouses!
Not only that, all these identities show up across a whole spectrum of body types, races, sizes, and ability levels.
It's a fantasy planet unrelated to Earth, so there's no exact 1:1 representation of real-world races. But the fantasy cultures are influenced by a variety of real ones -- and I made sure you'd have to cast people from a wide range of Earth-based ethnicities in the big-budget Hollywood movie.
(Full disclosure: there are no actual plans for a Leif & Thorn big-budget Hollywood movie. Yet.)
This is the part you've been waiting for, right?
Early Bird Art Special -- ALL CLAIMED!
Exclusive bonus for people who back early!
Edit, 1PM on the first day: All 15 been snapped up! So if you were holding off because you didn't want one, you're all clear to make your pledge. And if not...well, don't worry, you'll have another chance when Volume 2 comes around. (In the meantime, all the other rewards are still open!)
The first 15 backers who pledge at least $10 get to request a Leif & Thorn bonus sketch -- any characters, any scenario, canon or AU -- that will be printed in the book. And you'll be thanked by name as an early backer, no matter what tier you're in.
If your pledge includes a book, I'll tuck the original lineart inside before sending, too.
The only content restriction is (a) it's gotta be safe-for-work, and (b) it can't spoil anything that happens in future storylines. (Hold on to those ideas for the Volume 2 campaign!)
Bonus Add-Ons - for any tier!
Want more than one book? Got a friend, family member, and/or local library who would appreciate a copy? Here's how to add the extra to your pledge level:
Click the "Manage Your Pledge" Button at the top of the page (if you haven't pledged yet, it'll still say "Back this project")
Increase your pledge in the "Pledge Amount" box by the total of the add-ons you want to add:
Once you get the backer survey at the end of the Kickstarter campaign, use that to explain how you would like the add-on money assigned!
Every time the project adds another $500, all backers get another set of Leif & Thorn wallpapers to celebrate!
These also come with standard, widescreen, and phone-sized variations. Some were previously Patreon-exclusive, while others made their debut on Kickstarter.
Why Kickstarter? Because I don't have a couple thousand dollars out-of-pocket to fund a print run, even a small one, of a book as big and pretty as this.
Printing and selling them one at a time (like I do with But I'm A Cat Person) is possible, but way less cost-effective. Kickstarter lets a whole bunch of people get together and pre-order the book at once! It takes a lot of setup, but the result is a better deal for everyone.
Where exactly is the money going? Here's a pie chart!
What happens if we make more than the goal? Well, then I use the extra cash to pay down my big Hawaiian vacation...no, seriously, I use it to print more books.
This will be my first funded Kickstarter, so I'm keeping the budget straightforward and the scope limited. No fancy upgrades, no extra merch, just the biggest print run we can afford. The more books I have left after all the campaign rewards are shipped, the more I get to sell in local bookstores, donate to libraries, and take to conventions.
(All of which would be much more exciting than Hawaii, honestly.)
The actual numbers look something like this:
$2,900 - Goal! (100 books)
$4,300 - Bonus! (200 books)
$5,900 - Magic bonus! (300 books)
Check the top of the page for a progress bar, updated regularly to show how far we've gotten.
How long will it take me to get my book? Here's the planned timeline!
I know Kickstarter projects are famous for having their timelines go all to hell...and of course I'll be keeping up two ongoing webcomics the whole way through. So I didn't include any shortcuts, and I never assume the best-case speed scenario is the one that will happen.
If we're really lucky, things will come together ahead of schedule! Either way, I will keep you posted with every step.
That's it! That's the project!
Thank you so much for your interest and support. The most encouraging part of Leif & Thorn has always been the fans. Anything you can do right now to spread the word -- tweet a link to this Kickstarter page, share it on Facebook, tell your friends -- will help it even more.
And now that you've been kind enough to scroll all the way to the end of this thing...you just have to scroll alllllll the way back up to hit "Back This Campaign."
Risks and challenges
The good news is, all the content for the book is already finished -- except for the bonus art I'll be drawing for backers along the way. It's just a matter of sending it to the printer!
I've never done a print run before, which is why I'm getting the consultation of Kickstarter-experienced artists to minimize the amount of first-timer stumbles. I'll keep you up-to-date every step of the way, and take notes on how to make the process even smoother for Volume 2.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (31 days)