Funding Canceled Funding for this project was canceled by the project creator on April 26, 2013.
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The Last West imagines a world in which all cultural and technological innovation has ground to a halt... and only one man knows why.

[This just in! We now support the http://www.kickingitforward.org movement! We pledge that 5% of all profits for The Last West will be contributed to one or more Kickstarter comic book campaigns in the future!]

Welcome to the Kickstarter campaign for our beloved project, The Last West!

Whether you have stumbled here by accident or you are a family member or close friend, let us first say: thank you so much for stopping by and having a look at our Kickstarter project page. We hope you've watched the video above... and we hope that you'll read the following article from Dr. John Barber:

And now, we hope that your interest is piqued!

But, seriously though, first things first.

Just who the hell are these guys, Evan and Lou?

The story goes like this... Evan Young and Lou Iovino once worked in cubicles. Lou’s cubicle was better than Evan’s. Lou’s was a corner cubicle, highly envied among the cubical dwellers of the office. So jealousy, unfortunately, marked the early days of their work together.

Lou, however, was uncomfortable with his geographical superiority and, being the bigger man, extended an olive branch to Evan by inviting him for a lunch of cheap, greasy, South Jersey Chinese food. And through that one magnanimous act, the two men made an astounding discovery. They had both grown up on a steady diet of science fiction, D&D and, most importantly, comic books.

From that day forward, they beat back the darkness of corporate life with stories and comics. In 2010, after more than a decade of musing about “someday, when…” they buckled down and co-authored The Last West.

Evan’s collaboration with Lou, however, wasn’t his first foray into comics. In the early 2000s he wrote The Forgotten, a comic that was optioned by Warner Brothers and is currently in development as a feature-length film. In 2009, he wrote and developed The Carrier, a groundbreaking iPhone and iPad digital graphic novel. Evan has since been recognized by the Library of Congress, which displayed The Carrier in its first-ever Electronic Literature Showcase, as an influential pioneer in digital literature.

Meanwhile, Lou worked as a writing professional for many years and taught writing and literature at Rutgers University for nearly a decade. He also used his affinity for storytelling to become an advertising executive in New York and elsewhere. The Last West is his first effort in comics.

Which brings us to...

As mentioned in our intro video, The Last West was inspired by a 2008 article by Steven Levy in Wired about Jay Walker’s personal collection of culturally and technologically significant artifacts from around the world.

When you see the pictures of the "Walker Library of the History of Human Imagination" you’ll understand how the wheels got spinning on The Last West. The library is an evolving testament to human progress, innovation and imagination. You cannot help but marvel at the speed with which humanity has grown across the centuries.

But... we wondered... what if there was nothing left for Walker to chronicle in his library? What if all progress stopped? Not just scientific, technological and artistic progress, but social progress too? We explore these questions in The Last West. And, in doing so, we send our readers on a journey through a different kind of American history.

The first tests of the atomic bomb, the stock market crash and the Great Depression, the Dust Bowl, the bombing of Pearl Harbor – all of these world-changing events serve as the backdrop for The Last West. But, more importantly, they are the dubious legacy of the story’s central characters, the West family, and its most important member - the man responsible for the world being trapped in amber and held in a global stasis. A man named Steven West.

And now that you know the basic story, let's talk about...

The Last West is a 10-issue, full-color comic that will appeal to fans of comic books such as The Unwritten and Sandman, TV shows like Lost and The X-Files, popular fiction like Neal Stephenson’s Cryptonomicon or Stephen King’s The Stand, and movies like Chinatown or Spy Games. It is a bit of "what if?" historical fiction mixed with some action, mystery, and noir. 

The story is completely written, all 10 covers are finished, and we have two full issues completely finished!

Our hope is to publish the comic both digitally and in print ourselves, most likely digitally first and print second. We have added three reward levels to address demand for a print edition: see them at $30 (a trade paperback of issues 1-5), $55 (a bare-bones trade paperback of all 10 issues), and $85 (the "absolute" version of the complete graphic novel, all extras included).

Our other hope is to find the right publisher for the work and let them help us get it out into the world. So while a final printed & perfect-bound (or hardcover! wouldn't that be awesome!?) edition for the rest of the non-Kickstarter public is the ultimate goal, the current goal for this Kickstarter drive is simply to get this entire project finished. We can only do that by raising the money to give our creative team the funding and time they need to finish the artwork - pencils, inks, colors, and letters - for the final 8 issues. 

So here we are. The entire team is ready to get moving on the remaining 8 issues... and we need your support!

Which brings us to...

In 2010, shortly after completing The Last West and while auditioning artists, we met with a very seasoned industry professional, an editor, who graciously agreed to read our overly massive manuscript (at 505 pages, 200 visual references, and 100 footnotes... it kinda got away from us).

On the floor of the New York Comic Con, this editor delivered his verdict: “A really impressive, strong story... in the wrong era of comics.”

And he went on to say the singular thing that has fueled us through this whole process, and that got us to reach into our own bank accounts to prove him wrong and get the first two issues made.

He said:

"I seriously doubt that Sandman would have survived past issue 3 or 4 in today’s comic environment.”

Read that again. It's important.

We know the industry is struggling. And, we get that people have a TON of entertainment options these days. But we refuse to accept that there is no longer a place for thoughtful, multi-layered, smart stories that have interesting themes and ask big questions.

The above quote hopefully makes you as upset and disappointed as it makes us. To think that market pressures mean there might never be comics on par with titles like Sandman or Watchmen is nothing short of incredibly sad.

These are the comics we love. This is the comic we tried to write. We may not have written the next Sandman - in fact, we most certainly have not - but we do think we have a chance to bring a great story to life. 

Please help us make it happen. Thank you!

So now that you're convinced, let's introduce you to...

So now that you know pretty much everything about Evan & Lou, what about the rest of the team?

Novo Malgapo, artist. A relative newcomer to comics who already has strong credits to his name. Novo has penciled Zenescope's Grimm's Fairy Tales, Wonderland, and Charmed.

Liezl Buenaventura, colorer. Liezl is an artist based in Manila, Philippines. She graduated from the UP College of Fine Arts (Majoring in both Visual Communication and Studio Arts). She has worked with various publishers and independents, which include Zenescope Entertainment, Arcana Studios and Ronin Studios.

Kel Nutall, letterer. Kel began his career in comics as a writer and letterer in 2000. His lettering credits cover the spectrum of the industry, from Beowulf for HarperCollins to independents like Big Dog Ink and Devil's Due to diehard self-publishers. His writing credits include the original graphic novel Nothingface, Island Tales from Big Dog Ink, and contributions to various anthologies.

Kody Chamberlain, cover artist. Kody is known for working in a diverse range of styles and will often adapt visually to better suit the tone of the story being told. This is most obvious by comparing the award-winning Sweets to his first creator-owned series Punks: The Comic with co-creator Joshua Hale Fialkov, a project that was recently picked up by MTV for their new line called MTV Comics. His publishing credits include work for Marvel Comics, DC/Wildstorm, HarperCollins, Image Comics, IDW Publishing, 12 Gauge Comics, BOOM! Studios, and Digital Webbing Press.

Together, here are some samples of the work that they've put together for The Last West:

So now... let's talk turkey!

We have littered our reward levels with some pretty cool swag. With any contribution, you get our thanks - of course! But we've unlocked the collectibles cabinet here and are creating, by hand and through hard work and sweat, a series of items that all have direct ties to actions, themes, or important objects in the story.

Here are some examples:

The central action in issue 3 is a game of darts between Frank West and a number of power players in American history. It takes place in a small Manhattan pub in 1845. Thus, one available reward is a genuine feathered wooden playing dart, numbered and limited only to our Kickstarter contributors.

Here's another example. Painting is a major theme in Elizabeth West's life; as she descends into madness in issue 5, she starts expressing herself through painting, cooking, and other hobbies that all blend together in the delirium of her mind. As such, a Last West numbered collectible paintbrush is another available collector's item.

One of our favorites is a collectible West Bourbon Company bourbon bottle (sorry, but it comes completely empty - maybe because we drank it...?). The West family fortune was born during the Prohibition era, amassed by the patriarch of the West family, Arthur West. Arthur's life is detailed in issue 4; you can see the West bourbon bottle right there on the cover.

Now, of course we're offering other fun items - from a t-shirt at an early funding level to a portfolio or screenplay or comic script review at a higher level. 

Have a look at the right of the page and you'll get all the details. We hope you find something you like, and that you contribute - because we truly need your support!

As a final note, please understand that this project is in no way affiliated with or endorsed by Jay Walker or Priceline.com, or Wired, or Steven Levy, or even William Shatner for that matter. Mr. Walker and his library were the inspiration and Mr. Levy's article made it all happen, but otherwise they have no connection to The Last West in any capacity. (Although if they did want to get involved, we'd welcome their participation!)

BUT... if you have read all the way down to this point... you will be rewarded to know that the Library of the History of Human Imagination - our fictional version of it, at least - plays an absolutely massive role in our story. One might say... it is where the last West himself is hiding away and spending the remainder of his days. So there ya go! Easter egg!

Laslty, music for our Kickstarter video is used under Creative Commons license and supplied by artists DoKashiteru, zikweb, and John Pazdan. Check them out!

Risks and challenges Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

Things happen! People get sick, people get married and have kids, life events force issues that draw our attentions and efforts elsewhere. Rest assured that every one of us is fully committed to this project, and it's only the most dramatic unforeseen acts of nature that will get in our way.

That said, we know we are asking for your backing and for a large amount of money. We have managed large amounts of money before on various other projects throughout our lives, and we know how to make comics happen.

Evan made The Forgotten happen, a 4-issue limited series and a trade paperback: pencils, inks, letters, printing, shipping, going to cons, promoting, advertising, websites, on and on. Same with The Carrier - a much more ambitious project in many ways. Years of work from an art team who lived in Brazil, coordinating payments, pages flying back and forth... then nine months of development to make the iPhone/iPad application work. And all the same stuff re: promotion, building a webpage, exhibiting, etc etc. The effort required is very large in the world of independent comics.

As we note in the video, this is an extremely ambitious project and we know it. It will be challenging. Our art team might find pages taking longer to finish than anyone would like, printing issues may arise causing delays at the printer, other services we may be using to distribute the comic could change their platforms causing delays in our development.

These are the sorts of things that can happen and may be out of control, but will do our absolute best to manage. We're professionals and this is our passion.

FAQ

Have a question? If the info above doesn't help, you can ask the project creator directly.

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    "EVERY DOLLAR HELPS" For a buck, you get our gratitude and a warm welcome on board with The Last West!

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    "A SMALL PART... OF A LARGE MACHINE" Every bit counts, and for this we thank you! Your name goes on our list of contributors who made The Last West happen. We'll post the list on our website, lastwestcomic.com.

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    "WARM UP THE NIXIE TUBE" For $10, you'll get a pdf of issues 1 and 2 delivered to you once our Kickstarter project has wrapped, but before the rest of the world has had a peek! Plus our thanks, and your name on the list of contributors.

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    "FOR YOUR DESKTOP" For $15, you'll get a Last West digital wallpaper file. The artwork would be your choice of covers from The Last West (any issue, 1 to 10 - you choose)! Plus you still get the other stuff: the pdf of issues 1 and 2 right away, your name on our list of contributors, and our thanks.

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    "NOW WE'RE COOKING" For $20, things start to heat up a bit. We'll tack on individual pdfs of each issue as they come out. Issues 1 and 2 you'll get right away (in May), but then you'll also get the pdfs of 3, 4, 5, and so on up to 10, right before the rest of the public does. Plus you'll still get the digital wallpaper file of your choosing, your name on our list of contributors, and our thanks.

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    "OPERATION JUGHEAD" For $25, you can add on a collectible, personalized, top-secret letter to you from Major General Leslie Graves thanking you for your participation in Operation Jughead, only some of which will have been redacted by U.S. Army intelligence agents. Operation Jughead may have failed, but the war effort continues! Along with this letter, you'll still get pdfs of all the issues just before they come out, the digital wallpaper file of your choosing, your name on our list of contributors, and our thanks.

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    "THE HALF, PRINTED EDITION" New reward! Limited! For $30, you can now get a perfect bound, trade paperback printed edition containing issues 1-5: the first half of the series! We'll still send you pdfs of all the issues just before they come out, plus you'll get the digital wallpaper file of your choosing, your name on our list of contributors, and our thanks.

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    "EXTRA EXTRA" For $35, we literally unleash the treasure trove of work that went into the making of The Last West, and give you our Digital Extras Pack. Chock full of behind-the-scenes stuff, rough layouts, tidbits of script, commentary from the creators, inks, character spins... It's basically our comics version of the "bonus DVD!" Please note: The Digital Extras Pack will roll out in pieces along with every issue, so the first Pack is delivered in June, the last will be delivered way down the pike with Issue 10. Also, you'll get the personalized Operation Jughead letter, pdfs of all the issues just before they come out, the digital wallpaper file of your choosing, your name on our list of contributors, and our thanks.

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    "ENCYCLOPEDIA AMERICANA" The granddaddy of our digital rewards, this 500-plus page monster of a script is the heart and soul of this entire project. It's the backbone. It's every single cultural footnote and annotation that we pulled together to make The Last West relevant; it's everything in every panel you may have missed, every character description, every painstaking action and scene description and word balloon. Simply put, you have to have it... don't you!? So conceivably, you could go ahead and read the whole script before the rest of the public can even read issue 1! How's that for incentive? Plus, you'll also get the Digital Extras Pack, personalized Operation Jughead letter, pdfs of all the issues just before they come out, the digital wallpaper file of your choosing, your name on our list of contributors, and our thanks.

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    "THE LIGHT, PRINTED EDITION" New reward! Limited! For $55, you can now get a no-frills, perfect bound, trade paperback printed edition containing issues 1-10: the entire series! Unlike "THE FULL," this version won't have extras or behind-the-scenes or any of the other things that go into an "absolute," you'll simply get just the comics and that's it. So think hard about whether you want all of those goodies or not... We'll also send you pdfs of all the issues just before they come out so you can keep up with the series, plus you'll get the digital wallpaper file of your choosing, your name on our list of contributors, and our thanks.

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    "WANTED: POSTERS" For $55, you get a medium-sized Last West wall poster. That's one piece of amazing cover art by Kody Chamberlain at 18" x 24," total wall-hanging material. Plus, you'll also get the "Encyclopedia Americana" (our script), the Digital Extras Pack, the personalized Operation Jughead letter, pdfs of all the issues just before they come out, the digital wallpaper file of your choosing, your name on our list of contributors, and our thanks.

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    "WANTED: SIGNED POSTERS" Same as the above, you'll get a medium-sized Last West poster of Kody Chamberlain cover art! But for an extra 5 bucks, $60 total, we'll throw our signatures on that bad boy! At 18" x 24," this is total wall-hanging material. Plus, you'll also get the "Encyclopedia Americana" (our script), the Digital Extras Pack, the personalized Operation Jughead letter, pdfs of all the issues just before they come out, the digital wallpaper file of your choosing, your name on our list of contributors, and our thanks.

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    "BRUSH STROKES" Now we're really getting into it: collectibles based on the mythology of The Last West. For $65, you get a limited edition, hand-numbered paintbrush, the kind used by Elizabeth West as she descends into madness (a story turn that we start to see in issue #5: see the cover in the "Rewards" section of our project description). Each Last West paintbrush will be individually numbered, and the total limited strictly to our Kickstarter project. No one will ever be able to get this item anywhere but right here! Plus, you'll also get the "Encyclopedia Americana" (our script), the Digital Extras Pack, the personalized Operation Jughead letter, pdfs of all the issues just before they come out, the digital wallpaper file of your choosing, your name on our list of contributors, and our thanks.

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    "TEE IT UP!" For $75, you get a Last West t-shirt. T-shirts are easy, fun, useful in the summer but not so much in winter... this particular t-shirt will be black with the Last West icon on the front and logo on the back (see the t-shirt in the "Rewards" section of our project description). And none of that itchy t-shirt business, either: we are pure cotton, baby. Be sure to indicate in an email what size you'd like (S/M/L/XL - sorry, no XXL available), and if you need a men's or women's tee! Plus, you'll also get the "Encyclopedia Americana" (our script), the Digital Extras Pack, the personalized Operation Jughead letter, pdfs of all the issues just before they come out, the digital wallpaper file of your choosing, your name on our list of contributors, and our thanks.

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    "BULLSEYE" As with the paint brush, a significant part of the Last West mythology can be found in issue 3 - when we follow an intense and meaningful game of darts that takes place in Manhattan in the 1800s, and Frank West as he touches the lives of the people around him. (For a look at this collectible, see the cover in the "Rewards" section of our story description.) Each Last West dart is hand-numbered and limited only to contributors to our Kickstarter project, a true collectible. This will never be given or sold to anyone else ever again. Plus, you'll also get the "Encyclopedia Americana" (our script), the Digital Extras Pack, the personalized Operation Jughead letter, pdfs of all the issues just before they come out, the digital wallpaper file of your choosing, your name on our list of contributors, and our thanks.

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    15 backers Limited (185 left of 200)

    "THE FULL, PRINTED EDITION" New reward! Limited! If you're looked to get your hands on the final graphic novel, printed and bound and delivered to you, this is the reward level you're looking for! For $85 you will get a Kickstarter-only printed edition of The Last West in full after the series has completed. And it will contain all the great extras one would expect in an "absolute" edition: behind-the-scenes, some script, commentary from the creators, all ten covers, your name listed right there in the book, and more. Please note that delivery is a long way off, but it'll be worth it! Also note that this will contain Kickstarter-only extras that the rest of the public will not get. We promise! In the meantime, you'll still get the "Encyclopedia Americana" (our script) to read ahead of time, the Digital Extras Pack, the personalized Operation Jughead letter, pdfs of all the issues just before they come out, and the digital wallpaper file of your choosing.

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    5 backers

    "AN AMERICAN SPIRIT" One of the true gems of our entire reward system... at $100, you will get an official - EMPTY - collectible West Bourbon bottle. (Please note, we are not kidding when we say "empty." Kickstarter does not allow booze, and this is a rule we will not be breaking!) As seen in issue 4 when Arthur West builds his empire from scratch, the West Bourbon Company and their signature bottles come to have particular importance to Americans during World War II. (For a look at this collectible, see the cover in the "Rewards" section of our story description.) And bourbon happens to be the last thing to ever touch Arthur West's lips. This is a good one, folks. As with the other collectible items, each bottle will come hand-numbered, and will only ever be available through this Kickstarter campaign! Plus, you'll also get the "Encyclopedia Americana" (our script), the Digital Extras Pack, the personalized Operation Jughead letter, pdfs of all the issues just before they come out, the digital wallpaper file of your choosing, your name on our list of contributors, and our thanks.

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    "THE FAMILY PORTRAIT" For $125, you will get a special, signed, fully colored copy of an original Novo Malgapo "West family portrait" reprint. Each portrait of this dubious family will be framed and mailed out to you - so you can stick 'em on your mantle, look em in the eyes each time you pass by and wonder about the price of progress -- then go get a turkey sandwich. Plus, you'll also get the "Encyclopedia Americana" (our script), the Digital Extras Pack, the personalized Operation Jughead letter, pdfs of all the issues just before they come out, the digital wallpaper file of your choosing, your name on our list of contributors, and our thanks.

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    "GRAHAM, INC." In The Last West, one of the companies we see in our fictionalized present day is reminiscent of a certain real-life, megalithic online search company well-known to us all... and whose name is synonymous with a word meaning "a very large number." In our story, our fictionalized version of this search company is known as Graham, Inc. And for $175, you will get an official Graham Inc company polo shirt and a customized Graham Inc desktop paperweight to keep all of your search requests nailed down. Plus, you'll also get the "Encyclopedia Americana" (our script), the Digital Extras Pack, the personalized Operation Jughead letter, pdfs of all the issues just before they come out, the digital wallpaper file of your choosing, your name on our list of contributors, and our thanks.

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    1 backer

    "THE COLLECTOR'S POT 'O GOLD" If you are a true collector looking for the complete Last West range of items available for this Kickstarter drive, this is your one-stop shop. We'll give you one of each of our main collector's items: the paintbrush, the dart, the bourbon bottle, and the West family portrait; and we'll add the two shirts as well: a Last West t-shirt and a Graham, Inc polo shirt (plus the paperweight!). Plus, you'll also get the "Encyclopedia Americana" (our script), the Digital Extras Pack, the personalized Operation Jughead letter, pdfs of all the issues just before they come out, the digital wallpaper file of your choosing, your name on our list of contributors, and our thanks.

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    3 backers Limited (19 left of 22)

    "ORIGINAL ART" For $350, you will be shipped one of the original penciled comic art bristol boards drawn and signed by Novo Malgapo himself, who is donating his entire issue 2 series of boards to the Kickstarter effort! This level is open on a first-come, first-served basis as far as choosing which pages you'd like; we would send you a pdf of issues 1 and 2 so you can read them both, then depending on where you fall in the order of who else has donated at this level, we'll give you your priority-order choice of pages. We think this level will sell out pretty quickly, so you may want to get in on it right away. Plus, you'll also get the "Encyclopedia Americana" (our script), the Digital Extras Pack, the personalized Operation Jughead letter, pdfs of all the issues just before they come out, the digital wallpaper file of your choosing, your name on our list of contributors, and our thanks.

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    "THICK SKIN" Are you a comic book artist, comic book writer, or screenplay writer? Are you looking for feedback? For $400, Evan and Lou will take a look at your portfolio, your comic script, or your screenplay, and will provide you with feedback on your creation. Through notations, we'll tell you what's working, what's chugging, and what's stalling out. And we'll pull no punches. Thick skin, indeed! Plus, you'll also get the "Encyclopedia Americana" (our script), the Digital Extras Pack, the personalized Operation Jughead letter, pdfs of all the issues just before they come out, the digital wallpaper file of your choosing, your name on our list of contributors, and our thanks.

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    "SKYPE" Same as the level immediately above, Evan and Lou will review either your comic art portfolio, or your comic script or screenplay and will provide written notes as feedback. But for an extra $100, we'll rap with you for an hour about your own project in a face-to-face video conference over Skype. Plus, you'll also get the "Encyclopedia Americana" (our script), the Digital Extras Pack, the personalized Operation Jughead letter, pdfs of all the issues just before they come out, the digital wallpaper file of your choosing, your name on our list of contributors, and our thanks. (Note: August is simply the proposed day for delivery, but we'll find a time that works for all parties.)

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    2 backers Limited (3 left of 5)

    "BAD GUYS RULE" For $750, we promise to have you drawn as a member of the Russian spy syndicate that is chasing down the secrets of Operation Jughead, and will guarantee that your character has at least one speaking line in the series. We'll give you one of each of our main collector's items: the paintbrush, the dart, the bourbon bottle, and the West family portrait. Plus, you'll also get the "Encyclopedia Americana" (our script), the Digital Extras Pack, the personalized Operation Jughead letter, pdfs of all the issues just before they come out, the digital wallpaper file of your choosing, your name on our list of contributors, and our thanks.

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    0 backers Limited (7 left of 7)

    "GO WEST" For $1,000, we promise to have you drawn as an actual member of the West family, and will guarantee that your character has at least one speaking line in the series. We'll give you one of each of our main collector's items: the paintbrush, the dart, the bourbon bottle, and the West family portrait. Plus, you'll also get the "Encyclopedia Americana" (our script), the Digital Extras Pack, the personalized Operation Jughead letter, pdfs of all the issues just before they come out, the digital wallpaper file of your choosing, your name on our list of contributors, and our thanks.

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    0 backers Limited (5 left of 5)

    "WE HAVE LIFTOFF" And now we have it. If you're willing to dance with us to the tune of $1,945 - a sum that reflects the year that all progress in The Last West stopped - then Lou and Evan will dance right back with you. (Not literally.) We will not only draw you into the book as a prominent character, but we will fly you to Washington, DC - we'll purchase the flight for you and pick you up from the airport - and hang out for a day. We'll tour the Smithsonian Air & Space Museum and talk about the price of progress, comics, storytelling, and whatever else interests you. We'll take you out to dinner and we'll buy you some beverages afterwards. We will give you one of only 5 very limited edition Last West Nixie tubes, as seen on the cover and prominently throughout the entire first issue. And we'll leave you with one of each of our main collector's items: the paintbrush, the dart, the bourbon bottle, and the West family portrait; and we'll throw in the two shirts as well: a Last West t-shirt and a Graham, Inc polo shirt. All will be hand-delivered to you during your day with us in the capital. (Note: September is simply the proposed day for delivery, but we'll find a day that works for all parties.) Plus, you'll also get the "Encyclopedia Americana" (our script), the Digital Extras Pack, the personalized Operation Jughead letter, pdfs of all the issues just before they come out, the digital wallpaper file of your choosing, your name on our list of contributors, and our thanks. (Also note: Only available to U.S. residents in the continental U.S.)

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Funding period

- (30 days)