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Kedzie Avenue is an experiment in illustrated journalism: a graphic portrait of a city woven from true stories along one single street.
Kedzie Avenue is an experiment in illustrated journalism: a graphic portrait of a city woven from true stories along one single street.
407 backers pledged $12,132 to help bring this project to life.

About this project

$12,132

407

We're a collective of journalists and artists combining on-the-ground reporting with sequential art. Comics journalism, graphic reportage, drawn documentary — call it what you like — we think it's a beautiful way to tell stories.

Over the last three years we've partnered with top media outlets to document issues like gun violence, homelessness and the ever-changing borders of urban neighborhoods, along with some lighter stuff, like the everyday shenanigans you see on your city bus ride.

By combining on-the-ground reporting with sequential art, we aim to capture elements of lived experience that get lost in traditional reporting.

Now we're working on our second book, and we're asking you to be a part of it.

"Kedzie Avenue" is a full-length tour of a single street in Chicago.

Drawing on a year's worth of reporting and interviews, the book will weave personal narrative, journalistic reporting, and frame-by-frame illustration into a portrait of the city at large.

Kedzie Avenue runs north-south across Chicago, and passes through a huge range of urban spaces. In reporting for the book we’ve interviewed folks in the burgeoning developments of hip Logan Square, in a homeless encampment under the freeway in Avondale, and at a ballet school on a tough block of Marquette Park. The wide spectrum of experience we’ve found on Kedzie is what the project is all about. 

We want this book to capture the immense diversity of the city we live in and the people we share it with.

Reporting is nearly complete, illustrations are underway, and the project is set to be published by Curbside Splendor as a full color perfect bound book in fall 2015

Now we just need your help to make our deadline. Every contribution at $25 and above is a pre-order for the book. In addition to the extra rewards listed in each tier, you'll be the first to receive a copy of the book.

But Kedzie Avenue is more than a graphic novel. 

We want to move the medium forward, and so we’ll be working on a whole series of projects to bring illustrated journalism further into the public eye. We’ll be distributing excerpts from the book as newsprint comic books to locations across the city, we’ll be hosting an open studio on Kedzie where we'll do much of the illustration, and we’ll be organizing a series of drawing and reporting workshops aimed at local teens and young adults.

Your contribution will make these outreach projects possible, and will also fund a long winter of drawing for our illustrators. Anything we raise beyond our goal will go directly to fund printing costs of the book.

Thanks for reading, and please spread the word! If you have questions, ideas, or stories of your own about Kedzie get in touch at illuspress@gmail.com

With your support we know we can make this an incredible tribute to the city.

—Darryl, Erik and Jam / ILLUSpress
—Darryl, Erik and Jam / ILLUSpress

Risks and challenges

We've got an experienced crew, a great publisher, and a ton of material in the works.

We've also successfully run one Kickstarter before, and contributors from that campaign can attest to the fulfillment of our goals and the delivery of our rewards.

There are always challenges though, and the biggest for us is time. Illustrating this much material is a huge project.

Along with the various materials related to our outreach projects, your contribution will fund Jamie and Erik while they pore over photographs from the reporting, make trips along Kedzie, and throw down on a winter full of drawing.

Have a question about the process? Ask us! We'll be in touch with our contributors throughout the course of project, and we'll always be happy to talk about the obstacles we encounter.

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $3 or more About $3

    Get a digital download of our first book! "The Illustrated Press: Chicago" has been SOLD OUT since last year so we're making it available via this Kickstarter only. Check out our first set of stories and a look at our process. We'll email you a copy of the full color, 60-page book which features comics journalism stories published our early days, including a look at wedding ceremonies in the Cook County Jail, life in an immigrant detention center, riots in the streets of Chicago and chess games along Michigan Ave., among others.

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    Pledge $5 or more About $5

    We appreciate it! Get a thank you postcard with a hand-written note mailed to your home, exclusive email previews of the book, and a shout out on the website.

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    Pledge $15 or more About $15

    A comic book! We'll send everything above, plus a limited-edition comic book preview with stories from the book.

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    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    The book! We'll send you a signed copy of the completed book as soon as it hits stores.

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    Reward no longer available 14 backers
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    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    The book! We'll send you a signed copy of the completed book as soon as it hits stores. Plus everything above.

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    Pledge $45 or more About $45

    The Curbside Splendor Package: Get a stack of books from five emerging Chicago authors mailed to your home! The package includes five of the best titles available this year from Curbside Splendor:
    "Where To? A Hack Memoir" by Dmitry Smarov "Let Go and Go On and On" by Tim Kinsella "Zero Fade" by Chris L. Terry
    "The Desert Places" by Amber Sparks & Robert Kloss
    "Losing in Gainesville" by Brian Costello.

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    Reward no longer available 15 backers
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    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    Original Art! A signed sketch from the making of "Kedzie Avenue" plus the book and everything else above.

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    Reward no longer available 6 backers
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  8. Select this reward

    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    Original Art! A signed sketch from the making of "Kedzie Avenue" plus the book and everything else above.

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    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    A guided group tour! You'll get original artwork, the book, a hand-written haiku and an invitation for you and a friend to spend an afternoon with the authors on Kedzie (it's a real street!). We'll visit the sites and meet some of the people that inspired the book — the book will arrive separately as soon as it's published.

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    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    You: But I don't live in Chicago... Us: Well how about an original page from "Kedzie Avenue"? The hand-drawn artwork from a page of Kedzie will be yours to keep including a copy of the book. (we'll also send you an invitation to the opening reception of our "Kedzie Avenue" gallery show, just in case).

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    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    We'll draw your story!

    After sending everything above, we'll conduct an interview with you or someone you choose, illustrate the scenes from the interview, and turn them into an original comic panel for you to keep.

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Funding period

- (30 days)