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A print version of the online photographic novel, Happenstance: a story about two simultaneous, opposite religious transformations.
48 backers pledged $6,374 to help bring this project to life.

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Update: Aiming for Stretch Goal #2!

I am thrilled to be able to say that, thanks to the incredible generosity of each and every one of my backers, not only is the print edition now going forward , the first stretch goal — a brand-new cover for the print edition — has also been unlocked. My profoundest gratitude towards everyone who has backed this project so far.

I am now working towards a second stretch goal:

Stretch Goal #2: If the project hits $7,000, I will record a "DVD-commentary", a video in which I page through the PDF and talk about the production — process, funny stories, thoughts on the narrative, etc.  (Note that this will be completely distinct from the "Making-of" video offered in the levels above.  The "making-of" video will show you how a page is created, step-by-step; the DVD commentary is broader chatter about how the comic was made, notes on page structure, etc.)  This will be provided to all backers (at every level) as an extra thank you.

So keep spreading the word!  The DVD commentary will be really fun — lots of funny stories & intriguing observations to share.  And of course I'd like to get this book into the hands of as many interested readers as possible!

Again, many, many thanks to everyone who has supported this work so far.  I am deeply grateful to each and every one of you.

We now return you to your original product description, already in progress:

A physical copy of my online photographic novel, Happenstance

I spent more than a decade creating a 444pp graphic novel which describes two friends who influence each other on two (opposite) religious journeys, one into faith, and one out of it, and on the impact this has on their respective spouses.It is a story of emotional and religious exploration, a quiet story that asks the big questions and explores very different answers.  It's called Happenstance.

The title page of the online edition of the graphic novel
The title page of the online edition of the graphic novel

I have been serializing it online for the past two years (you can go read it here), and the response has been very encouraging.

"As a rule, I don't like photo comics. Stephen Frug's Happenstance is the wonderful exception. Happenstance features exceptionally strong panel-to-panel storytelling, interesting layouts, and great use of body language to convey emotion and character. In short, the beating heart of a real cartoonist runs through Happenstance. Add to that a strong sense of place and a religious conundrum story solidly grounded in character, and what we have is a unique graphic novel that everyone who likes smart comics should read."

Barry Deutsch, author/illustrator of Hereville

"Happenstance shows us the personal, the cosmic, and the spiritual as they really are: inseparable. Through four characters whose lives spiral around one another, Frug examines the intersections of faith, sexuality and identity in ways that leave the reader with no easy answers, but with a new set of questions with which to continue searching on their own."

--Bob Proehl, author of The Nobody People and A Hundred Thousand Worlds  

But Happenstance was never designed to be a web comic.  It was designed for the medium of print.  Thus some chapters are dependent upon the contrast between two simultaneous sets of events, one on the left-hand pages, and one on the right-hand ones:

Two sets of characters, in simultaneous but very different conversations
Two sets of characters, in simultaneous but very different conversations

The book is also paced, organized and structured to be read as a whole, not in two-page twice-weekly installments.  And, of course, graphic novels are just not as fun to read on screens.

So now I am hoping to make a print edition.

Because of the economics of printing, one can't just order a small number of copies — the cost per copy is higher the fewer one orders, and it just isn't economical to order fewer than, say, 1000.  But that costs a lot — over $15,000 (counting shipping).  So I need help to get it done.  Basically, if enough people can pay for the book in advance (or even chip in more, if you're able!), then I'll be able to bring this work fully into being in the world.

This is a project I have poured my heart, soul and years into, and I am quite happy with how it turned out.  But I would really like the book to be able to be read in the physical world, in the format for which it was written and designed.  If you can be part of that, I would be very grateful — and, I hope, you will also enjoy this product of mine (and many others') "heart's reflections, writ in tears."

Our noble printers.
Our noble printers.

Risks and challenges

This is a low-risk project. The graphic novel is finished, and I have locked-in a price with a reliable printer (PrintNinja). Aside from the slight chance of some disaster (the boat the book is on is seized by pirates, or something), I think it's on solid footing.

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 1 or more About US$ 1.00

    My Sincere Gratitude

    This is the reward level for if you just want to help support the project. I am very grateful for your help!

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    PDF of the Finished Book

    A full pdf of the printed book, including all edits for the print edition.

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    Happenstance: The Print Edition (1 copy)

    This is the point of the kickstarter! Donate at this level to get a copy of the physical book.

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    • PDF of the printed book.
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    Signed & Personalized Copy

    A copy of the print book, signed by the writer/illustrator, and personalized with a brief message (if desired).

    Includes:
    • Thanks in the acknowledgments in the printed edition.
    • PDF of the printed book.
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    Copy signed by cast & creator

    Get a copy signed by the four staring actors in the book as well as the writer/illustrator, , and personalized with a brief message (if desired).

    Includes:
    • Thanks in the acknowledgments in the printed edition.
    • PDF of the printed book.
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    Pledge US$ 100 or more About US$ 100

    Signed Copy & "Making-of" Video

    In addition to a copy signed by the writer/illustrator (and personalized with a brief message if desired), get a copy of a video about how the book was made, describing the overall process plus showing, in detail, the creation of a page from Happenstance. (approximately 1/hour)

    Includes:
    • Thanks in the acknowledgments in the printed edition.
    • PDF of the printed book.
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    Pledge US$ 150 or more About US$ 150

    Signed Copy & Specially Photoshopped Pic

    In addition to a copy signed by the writer/illustrator (personalized if desired), I will photoshop one image of your choice in the style used throughout Happenstance. (The extra image will be produced as a jpg or pdf, not printed.)

    Includes:
    • Thanks in the acknowledgments in the printed edition.
    • PDF of the printed book.
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    Pledge US$ 250 or more About US$ 250

    Signed Copy & an hour of my time

    In addition to a signed, personalized copy of the book, I will spend an hour of my time doing any of the things I know how to do. I could tutor you in photoshop or read your comics script. Since I have a Ph.D. in history from Cornell, I could also give academic advice, read an academic paper, or do research. The main limit is I have to be able to do it from Ithaca, NY.

    Includes:
    • Thanks in the acknowledgments in the printed edition.
    • PDF of the printed book.
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    Pledge US$ 500 or more About US$ 500

    All Four Special Bonuses

    At this level, you'll get the three bonuses in the above levels: a copy signed by the cast as well as the writer & illustrator; the "making-of" video; a personalized photoshopped image; an hour of my time doing any of the things that I can do (writing critique, tutoring, research, etc.)

    Includes:
    • Thanks in the acknowledgments in the printed edition.
    • PDF of the printed book.
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    Limited 0 backers
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    Pledge US$ 1,000 or more About US$ 1,000

    A day of my time & the other bonuses

    For this tier, you'll get all four of the extra rewards, except that instead of an hour of my time, you'll get a full working day (8 hours), of me doing any of the things I can do from Ithaca, NY. (With a day, I could turn a number of images you prepare into a full photoshopped page, or prepare & teach a class for you (locally, or by Skype), or do a longer manuscript critique, and so on — lots of options!) So this tier includes: a copy signed by the cast as well as the writer/illustrator; a photoshopping of an image you provide, in the style of Happenstance; the "making-of" video; and eight hours of my time.

    Includes:
    • Thanks in the acknowledgments in the printed edition.
    • PDF of the printed book.
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Funding period

- (30 days)