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I am working with Tuttle Publishing to adapt William Dale Jennings' epic novel, “The Ronin” to a comic book format.
I am working with Tuttle Publishing to adapt William Dale Jennings' epic novel, “The Ronin” to a comic book format.
207 backers pledged $7,292 to help bring this project to life.

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The Ronin #1 - An Adaptation Based on a Zen Myth project video thumbnail
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$7,292

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UPDATE - 1/7/2016

Now that we've hit $7,000 pledged, the $8,000 stretch goal has been revealed. With only 5 hours remaining, I understand that $8,000 is unlikely, but please click here to read about the reward.

UPDATE - 1/6/2016

The $7,500 stretch goal has been revealed. Scroll down or click here to see the details. 

UPDATE - 1/3/2016

Stretch goals have been announced. Please click here or scroll down to read about our new stretch rewards. 

UPDATE - 12/20/2016

Just announced! World famous actor Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa joins The Ronin offering his celebrity endorsement and signed rewards! Click here for the update and scroll down to see the official Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa reward poster! Spread the word! 

  

My name is Chris Dickens. I am a comic book writer and creator best known for my Indie series "Vigilante Project". I discovered The Ronin when a friend and I were discussing villains in comics and film. He expressed a concern that bad guys today are too one-dimensional and I agreed. At the end of our conversation, my friend recommended that I read a novel called The Ronin to experience the ultimate bad guy. So I ordered the book and couldn't put it down! I read the whole thing in a matter of hours. The Ronin character is the ultimate bad guy and his story was like nothing I'd ever read. I looked for a film or comic book based on this story but couldn’t find anything, so I decided to make it myself. 

I searched high and low for the right artist to bring The Ronin to the masses and found the perfect fit. The artist for this project is Gian Carlo Bernal. He is an amazing penciler and inker from the Philippines, and he is kicking some serious butt. Gian Carlo has done work for a variety of publishers. 

Pencils by Gian Carlo Bernal
Pencils by Gian Carlo Bernal

 

Inks by Gian Carlo Bernal
Inks by Gian Carlo Bernal

For colors, I reached out to Jeremy Shepherd who came highly recommended. Once I saw Jeremy's work I knew that he was the right person for the job. Jeremy has done work for Image and DC Comics in the past and I am lucky to have him on this project. 

Colors by Jeremy Shepherd
Colors by Jeremy Shepherd

Letters are provided by Sean Glumace. Sean is an experienced graphics and letters person with a number of credits to his name. Sean is an Adobe Certified Associate, and he has lettered books for Image, Dark Horse, and more.  

Letters by Sean Glumace
Letters by Sean Glumace

 

The Ronin by William Dale Jennings is an amazing novel based on a Zen myth, and our books are an adaptation of this novel. The story as a whole is told out of sequence, and from many different perspectives. We start with the Ronin and follow him as he terrorizes every town and village he visits with little resistance and seemingly zero consequences. 

As the story progresses, we also meet the people whose lives the Ronin has impacted, with a focus on one character in particular. One victim, a child made an orphan by The Ronin, vows revenge. We explore his story alongside the Ronin's as they each grow and change over the years. Their two paths collide, ultimately culminating in a final, unexpected conclusion. 

Here's the Amazon.com description: 

The violence of twelfth-century Japan explodes in this half-legendary, half-true story of a violent man who becomes a folk hero. A heartless savage, the Ronin, or "wandering samurai," slashes his way up from the gutter to wealth, honor, and status. In spite of his crimes and bloodthirsty cruelty, he bears the strange mark of destiny that the wise see and respect, even as he destroys them. Told with humor and irony, the tale ranges from the pleasantly colloquial to the brutally satiric, yet never relents in the Ronin's ruthless search for the truth. The storyteller hides nothing and speaks bluntly, yet this jewel-like tale shimmers with tantalizing riddles that will haunt the reader just as they haunted the Ronin. Sure to shock, confound and ultimately inspire readers, The Ronin is loosely based upon an ancient legend told to the author by the Zen Master Nyogen Senzaki.

William Dale Jennings (October 21, 1917 – May 11, 2000) was an American LGBT rights activist, playwright, and author. He was a pioneer for gay rights and an amazing author. If you are not familiar with Dale Jennings and his work, I recommend you click here right now and read up on him.

 

Tuttle Publishing is the publisher of The Ronin by William Dale Jennings. 

From TuttlePublishing.com:

The Tuttle Publishing Company was established in 1948 in Rutland, Vermont, and Tokyo, Japan, and is today regarded as a premier publisher and seller of books rooted in Asian culture, language, and history.

This is chapter one of a multi-chapter project. I estimate the final length to be 150-165 pages. This issue is 20 pages long and includes some character sketches and behind the scenes content. The plan is to release each completed chapter on its own and to collect all 8-10 chapters into a final graphic novel. It is a huge project that will take a lot of time. This campaign is to help put us in a position to produce these chapters, and we thank you for your support. 

WHERE DOES THE MONEY GO?  

This project is unique. The artwork is finished and all art fees have been paid out of pocket, but there are fees and requirements associated with an adaptation that I haven’t had to deal with before. (For example, we are obligated to print a minimum of 2,500 books.) We need to raise money primarily to cover printing, but the funds we raise will go toward fees, shipping, taxes, etc. Any money raised above and beyond our goal will go toward chapter two, which is in production with a projected Summer release.  

REWARDS  

While the books offered in this campaign are called rewards, think of it more as simply pre-ordering what you want to receive. We are estimating a December shipping date and all domestic orders receive FREE SHIPPING! Please check the shipping costs if you’re outside the U.S.

One reward that needs to be shown is the "Bad Guy" t-shirt. 

Our "Bad Guy" T-shirt Reward
Our "Bad Guy" T-shirt Reward

This is an homage to another iconic bad guy and will look good on anyone. We will have all sizes up to a 3XL in Men's and an XL in Women's. 

For the custom drawing of you as a Samurai reward, please see the examples below. The examples provided are examples of sketches that we did after the first Vigilante Project Kickstarter. Please note that the Samurai sketches will be black and white. 

Triathlete Sarah Reinertsen made into a comic book character.
Triathlete Sarah Reinertsen made into a comic book character.

 

Heather "The Hammer" made into a comic book character
Heather "The Hammer" made into a comic book character

 

JUST ADDED! Check out actor and friend of the project Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa as The Ronin! 

This is available as a reward when you back this campaign, but just as we captured his likeness for this poster, we can do the same for you in the YOU AS A SAMURAI levels. 

Now that we have hit our initial target, it's time to discuss stretch goals. 

$6,500 - Sketch Cards and Keychains

Our first stretch goal is $6,500. If we can hit $6,500 before the end of the campaign on January 8th, we will give every backer at $10 and above three (3) sketch cards, including a custom sketch card by artist Gary Shipman. 

Gary does awesome work, and he records his process turning it into super cool videos. He did an awesome job for us with Vigilante Project, and you can see the finished project below. Check him out on Facebook and subscribe to his YouTube channel

Backers at the $45 level and above will also receive a cool samurai sword keychain in one of three styles. Check it out. 

 

 

  

 

$7,000 - Variant Cover by artist Jimbo Salgado

Our second stretch goal is $7,000. If we can hit $7,000 before the end of the campaign on January 8th, we will offer a variant cover by artist Jimbo Salgado. Jimbo is an amazing cover artist and has worked for countless publishers and titles including issues of Batman: Arkham City for D.C. Comics, numerous titles for Zenescope Entertainment, as well as IDW's Transformers and Judge Dredd. Check out Jimbo's work below, and see even more by clicking here. Jimbo did an amazing cover of the Vigilante Project Graphic Novel and I know that he would do something amazing for The Ronin as well. 

Here's some of Jimbo's work. 

 

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Backers will choose whether or not they want the standard or variant cover, and backers at the $45 level and above will receive two copies of The Ronin #1, with each cover. 

$7,500 - The Ronin #2 Preview

If we hit $7,500, everyone at the $5 level and above will receive a digital preview of The Ronin #2. It's 10 pages of story, in black and white (the color will be added later), introducing new characters and new settings. Here's a quick, 1-page look.

The Ronin #2 Preview
The Ronin #2 Preview

 

$8,000 - A NEW t-shirt design

If we hit $8,000 we will offer another t-shirt design reward. This one will be designed by Jermane Miles, designer of t-shirts worn all over the world. Jermane has designed shirts for Salvage Supply Co., Hard Rock Cafe, and many others. Check out a few samples of his work below and on his Facebook page here.

Backers at the $45 level and higher would have their choice of design while backers at the $175 level and above would get both t-shirts. 

 

Risks and challenges

Chapter One is finished. There aren't many challenges or obstacles at this point. If we raise the funds, the printing and fees will be taken care of and everything should go as planned.

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Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $1 or more About $1.00

    Shuriken

    We appreciate all backers! At this level you get a digital wallpaper, access to all backer updates and exclusives, plus your name in the "Thank You" section of the book.

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    Pledge $5 or more About $5

    Tanto

    At this level, you get all of the previous rewards, plus a PDF copy of Chapter One.

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  3. Select this reward

    Pledge $10 or more About $10

    Wakizashi

    At this level, you get all of the previous rewards, plus a signed, hard copy of Chapter One delivered to your door!

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    106 backers
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    Pledge $30 or more About $30

    Tetsubo

    CARY-HIROYUKI TAGAWA LEVEL 1

    At this level, you get all of the previous rewards, PLUS, a 6X9 poster of Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa as The Ronin, signed by Mr. Tagawa himself! With art by Gian Carlo Bernal and colors by Jeremy Shepherd, this amazing poster is delivered to your door with a hard copy of The Ronin #1.

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  5. Select this reward

    Pledge $45 or more About $45

    Katana

    At this level, you get all of the previous rewards, plus a limited edition "Bad Guy" t-shirt.

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    21 backers
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  6. Select this reward

    Pledge $75 or more About $75

    Tachi

    CARY-HIROYUKI TAGAWA LEVEL 2

    At this level, you get all of the previous rewards, PLUS, an amazing 11x17 poster of Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa as The Ronin, signed by Mr. Tagawa himself! PLUS, you'll also get an awesome Japanese sword letter opener just for fun!

    This amazing poster and the novelty letter opener will be delivered to your door with all previous reward levels.

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  7. Select this reward

    Pledge $175 or more About $175

    Naginata

    At this level, you get all of the previous rewards, plus YOU AS A SAMURAI! 

    With this package, you'll get a custom, full-body sketch of you or someone you love as a samurai complete with your choice of weapon, clothing style, stance/pose, and more.

    All sketches are in black and white and will be done by our artist Gian Carlo. Your sketch will be provided as an 8 1/2 x 11 print, as well as a high-resolution digital file.

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    Pledge $300 or more About $300

    Yumi

    At this level, you get all of the previous rewards, but your custom sketch receives an upgrade! You will receive a full COLOR, full-body sketch of you or someone you love as a samurai complete with your choice of weapon, clothing style, stance/pose, and more.

    This is a full-color sketch done by our artists Gian Carlo and Jeremy Shepherd. Your custom poster will be provided as a FRAMED 13x17 print, as well as a high-resolution digital file.

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Funding period

- (30 days)