1989nk is short for 1989 nen no koibito tachi in Japanese, Sweethearts of 1989 in English. It’s planned to be an ongoing series that has an all LGBT+ main cast and features a trans male main character!
It’s a LGBTQ+ positive romance/slice of life story with some comedy elements about the everyday lives, struggles and goals of the four main cast, some but not all relating to their identities - and how it affects their relationships with each other and others in their life.
Its major themes are communication, respect and consent within different types of relationships. It’s at its core, an mlm story featuring a gay trans male character that is meant to validate him, not exploit him.
My other goal with 1989nk is to subvert the expectations, implications and cliches of the typical “BL/yaoi” genre and turn them into something more respectable, respectful, and representative of actual gay men and trans people.
THE BEGINNING PLOT
Hiroki, the main character, is a 24 year old transgender male. He's a gutsy, spunky, firey headed boy who spends most of his days bouncing between jobs and indulging in his anime nerd status. Through a series of events (as shown in the prologue) he ends up meeting a hapless but kind and hardworking salaryman named Hideyuki Inoue - and it seems as though they're drawn together by some string of destiny.
Hiroki and Hideyuki end up becoming friends, only to discover that there’s a lot of things they do naturally to benefit and support each other, and they suddenly find they can’t help having deeper feelings for one another.
This leads them to explore what it really means to be in a relationship, and how they communicate and accommodate each other's circumstances, and how they truly discover they love each other for them, not despite them.
Aesthetically, 1989nk is inspired by the 80s/90s anime and manga of my teenhood and is meant to be a reflection of my sheer fondness for the media and aesthetic. I want to invoke that feeling I got as a young teen, picking up my first manga and being absolutely mesmerized by how it looked and felt, and how it would go on to make a huge impact on my art as a whole.
The book itself will be 48+ pages with a mix of colour and color tinted grey scale comic pages and art, perfect bound and traditional manga sized (5 inches x 7.5 inches) with a silky matte cover.
The stretch goals have been UPDATED!! Thank you SO MUCH for making the initial funding goal a resounding success after only 1 week!! You're ALL AMAZING!! but lets keep the ball rolling, shall we?
I still need to figure out the details for including the chapter 2 book as a buy-in / add on to the physical book rewards, but if this goal is reached, there WILL be a way to be able to get the Chapter 2 book as well as Chapter 1! This goes for the collector sets as well.
Hiroki is a 24 year old trans boy with a feisty, firey attitude, but a strong will and big heart. He lives on his own and struggles to keep a job due to various factors involving how he is required to present at them - but he still manages to save up money to keep himself barely afloat. He's pretty content living a frugal life in his single room apartment, except for his anime hobby which he tends to spend a lot on. He is a compulsive maladaptive daydreamer.
Hiroki is a gay trans boy, but is still searching for what really defines him as that. His relationship with Hideyuki helps him develop more confidence as a gay man. He’s a little more gutsy about being open with it than Hide is.
Hideyuki is a wimpy 39 year old salaryman who is an earnest, hard working guy despite his misfortunes with a genetic heart condition and various other things that contribute to his weak health. He tends to try to mask this by being a little bit of a goofball and a people pleaser. He works very hard at his job at a computer software company, and has the favor of his Boss, Jirou. This combined with his poor health tends to have his coworkers side eyeing him.
Hide is gay. He’s the submissive type. He is closeted, but besides being in a relationship with Hiroki, he has confided in Jirou.
Retsuko is a beautiful, sweet natured trans lady with the aura of a princess. She runs a flower shop with her assistant, who is actually her pet corgi, Panpan. Hiroki visits her there frequently. Retsuko comes from a rich family, and while she (sort of) has the support of her mother, she barely knows her father - as he spent most of her life being away from home for work - and has an inner fear of him not accepting her if she ever saw him again.
Retsuko is a trans woman, and most likely pansexual. She doesn't seem to have a preference. Men and women seem to get crushes on her (and constantly visit her shop to buy flowers JUST to see her) and she doesn’t seem to mind - but shes searching for the perfect one for her. She is content being single.
Jirou is the senior manager of the software company that Hide works at, and is his boss, but also his good friend. He has a tendency to be loud, cheerful and boisterous. He's generally in good spirits - especially when he makes many excuses to have company parties and employee gatherings to get drunk.
Jirou is bisexual, and has a wife. He got married out of family and social obligations, and often finds himself seriously lamenting never having been with a man. Jirou dotes on and favors Hide quite a lot, which only further instigates the side eyeing from their coworkers. They often go drinking together one on one, which is where he confided in Hide about his sexuality while drunk.
I began this project almost a year ago, because I really wanted to create a comic series that shows and gives good representation to a healthy, communicative and consensual gay/mlm relationship involving a trans male - something that what limited LGBT media there already is by actual queer creators, is sorely lacking.
My passion for this project comes from many places, but most of all its a sheer desire to give other trans men the representation I never had growing and discovering my identity as a young adult and beyond.
It is my sincere hope that this series reaches them, and allows them to feel represented and confident being trans, in themselves and their relationships. I also want to give reassurance that stories about them can be happy, romantic and about finding love JUST as much as they can be about the tribulations and struggles of being queer.
Of course, the story is meant to be a positive, feel good story BY a trans individual, specifically aimed at an LGBTQ+ audience in general. This series is my genuine offering as artistic media for the community.
The aesthetic of 1989nk is very much my personal love letter to the anime/manga I grew up learning to draw with from the 80s and 90s. This era of anime and manga had a huge impact on me as an artist.
I have more details on my choices for 1989nk's style here in my old FAQ, if youre truly curious.
See Rewards Tiers for more information on each of these!
Also make sure you take your chance to enter the EARLY BIRD TIERS, which feature a special price!!
All prices are in CAD.
Non Material Rewards
Pledge CA$ 5 - Name in the chapter one book's credits page! Exclusive Backer Updates!
Pledge CA$ 15 - Early Access: Exclusive access to the digital PDF before its released and all behind the scenes material and exclusive backer updates!
Pledge CA$ 350 - Appear in the Comic! See reward #9 for details!
Pledge CA$ 600 - One on One Art Tutorial Session with Kale - See reward #10 for details!
EARLY BIRD! Pledge CA$ 25 - Get a physical copy of the chapter one book as well as all non-material rewards!
EARLY BIRD! Pledge CA$ 85 - Get the Limited Edition Collector's Box, containing all of the material rewards!
Pledge CA$ 35 - Get a physical copy of the chapter one book as well as all non-material rewards!
Pledge CA$ 45 - Get a physical copy of the chapter one book, the 5 postcard set as well as all non-material rewards!
Pledge CA$ 50 - Get a physical copy of the chapter one book, the usasan enamel pin as well as all non-material rewards!
Pledge CA$ 100 - Get the Limited Edition Collector's Box, containing all of the material rewards!
Art is my full time job - and my primary source of income. In order to take time away from doing commissions, and other outside work while giving my full attention and focus to the comic itself, while still having the funds to afford rent and other necessities, I felt a Kickstarter is necessary and a fair avenue to provide funding for both the creation and production of the book.
In short - I want to give this comic my all.
Eventually, I'd like this series to see even greater success, and I have even bigger plans and dreams for it, like some form of animated series. I've already been holding auditions for voice actors - as you've seen in the kickstarter video featuring the voice of Hiroki!
But, the comic series itself will be an ongoing chapter by chapter release. This kickstarter is just to get this project as a whole off the ground and to fund the physical book for chapter one. Should it be very successful, I will start planning for a stretch goal of chapter 2 and beyond! I want to shoot for the stars with this project!!
50% Production and Art
16% Printing of the Book
9% Misc (mostly shipping supplies and editing fees)
10% Kickstarter and Amazon Fees
The Total Cost: 16,500 CAD
(About 13,000 USD)
To end off this section, I would like to give a very warm thank you to my friend and assistant for lending me a hand building this kickstarter page. Their experience with running kickstarter campaigns has been an invaluable help to me, someone who has never done this before!
Artist & Creator
@kalematsuba on twitter
Morgan "Sucrebear" Scherzer
@spacesucrebear on twitter
help & assistance, kickstarter planning
a wonderful (but shy) friend who refuses to be credited
@yigablademaster on twitter
"Lonely Highways" by 悲しい ANDROID - APARTMENT¶
**used with permission**
Risks and challenges
The production of any project can be full of challenges, especially with items that one is not personally overseeing the physical creation of. Timelines for the production and printing of the book and materials are all based on conservative estimates to avoid giving backers any significant wait time on receiving their items, but updates on the progress - accessible to backers - should help ensure that backers are kept updated on any changes to the timeline, as well as being a fun look into the actual process of creating 1989nk.
Having a behind the scenes look at the creation of the comic itself for backers will help keep them in the loop about the amount of time it takes to complete the drawing process, as well. Should there be any delays in production at all, backers will be notified immediately - but as of now any delays are not foreseeable in the current estimated timeline.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)