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PALEOCENE is a comic book set 66 million years ago, after a huge meteorite struck the Earth, wiping out three quarters of all life.
PALEOCENE is a comic book set 66 million years ago, after a huge meteorite struck the Earth, wiping out three quarters of all life.
89 backers pledged $1,661 to help bring this project to life.

About this project

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Sixty-six million years ago, the world ended.

A meteorite over ten kilometers in diameter slammed into the Yucatán Peninsula. The explosion released two million times as much energy as the largest nuclear bomb ever detonated. All life in the region was instantly obliterated.

For the rest of the world, death was slower. A shroud of soot and dust engulfed the Earth. Without sunlight, most plants died, setting off a domino effect up the food chain, all the way to great dinosaurs like Tyrannosaurus. Three quarters of all life on Earth perished.

But we survived.

Not “we” as in humankind. This was long before anything resembling Homo sapiens. But our proto-primate ancestors—forebears that we share with all apes, monkeys, lemurs, and so on—they persisted. With clutched hands and shining eyes, they witnessed the end of the world … and the early dawn of a new one. 

The Story

Back in 2000, my friend Michael Kirkbride pitched me the idea of a comic book set after the cataclysmic end of the “Age of Reptiles”. The story would center on little mammals struggling for dominance in a post-apocalyptic wasteland. I was instantly taken with the idea. There's a ton of fiction about dinosaurs, but barely anything about what happened just after the Mesozoic Era ended.

But I didn't return to the idea until fifteen years later. Now a single parent, I thought about what it would be like to raise children in the aftermath of a global catastrophe. And so I began to write Paleocene as the story of a mother proto-primate, stuck with her children in the last tree standing, wondering where her mate has disappeared to.

The Project

Paleocene #1 is a 22-page comic book intended as the first in a series about the trials and tribulations of “Mamma” and her children. I launched it as a web comic in December 2015 with three pages. In April 2017 I published the final page. You can go read the whole thing now. (There's even a French version!)

This campaign is to publish a print edition of the comic book, including some extra content not seen on the website. The specifications:

  • 24 pages (plus covers)
  • 6 ⅝" × 10 ¼"
  • 80-pound gloss paper
  • Saddle stitching
  • Bag and board included

If this campaign goes well, I have plans for future issues, and someday a bound volume.

Page 3
Page 3

The Artist/Writer

Hi, I'm Mike Keesey. I'm a web developer by trade, but I've done a lot of work over the years in illustration and evolutionary biology. I've even worked as a paleo-technician, digging up Late Jurassic dinosaur fossils for the Wyoming Dinosaur Center.

Some of my past projects include:

My other current project is PhyloPic, a database of freely reusable silhouettes of life forms.

Me and my little primate. On the wall behind us are some pages from Paleocene #1.
Me and my little primate. On the wall behind us are some pages from Paleocene #1.

UPDATE: Stretch Goals

Well, we hit the threshold pretty early! A small print run will definitely happen. But what if we could make that run bigger?

100 BACKERS

If we hit 100 backers, I'll be able to order enough issues that the price per issue will come down a smidge. And I can use that money to add FOUR more pages to the comic book. What would I put in those pages? Here are a few ideas:

  • A realistic depiction of early Paleocene proto-primates.
  • An illustrated essay about early Paleocene life.
  • A comic about the albanerpetontid on page 5.
  • Early exploratory sketches and character designs

Extra content for no extra cost!

And, in fact, the way pricing scales, for every 100 backers, I can add another four pages. If we hit 200, you get an extra eight pages. 300? An extra dozen. You get the idea.

Let's see how long we can make issue #1!

Risks and challenges

This is as close to risk-free as you get—the comic is already done! The only work that remains is a bit of touch-up, and then it can be sent off to the printing company. At that stage the bulk of the work will be shipping and handling.

I will grant that this is the first time I've tried a project of this nature, where I have to coordinate a lot of shipping and handling. But I've done my research, calculated all the costs, and I don't anticipate any major problems.

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    Pledge $2 or more About $2.00

    Digital File

    A digital version of the comic book will be emailed to you.

    Includes:
    • High-resolution PDF file
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    Single Print Copy

    One copy of PALEOCENE #1: saddle-stitch printing, 80# gloss paper, full color, 24 pages. Bagged and boarded.

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    • Print Copy
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    Single Signed Print Copy

    Same as the single print copy but signed by the author.

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    Five Print Copies (one signed)

    Save when you buy five copies! Includes a signed copy for you and four extras. (They make great gifts!)

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    Pledge $35 or more About $35

    Ten Print Copies (one signed)

    Save even more when you buy ten copies! Includes a signed copy for you and nine extras. (Did I mention they make great gifts?)

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    Pledge $75 or more About $75

    Original Artwork (plus a signed copy)

    Original artwork created for PALEOCENE #1, pencil and ink on Bristol board. (NOTE: final versions of pages are digital -- the original may appear different.)

    PLUS two signed copies. (One for you and one for a friend.)

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    • Original Artwork
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Funding period

- (30 days)