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.
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.
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.
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:
- The Dinosauricon, a website devoted to dinosaur information and illustration.
- Parry & Carney: Friends for Life, a web comic about a ravenous dinosaur.
- A couple of research papers: Hone & al. 2005 and Keesey 2007.
- Three Histories of the Human Body, a chapter about human evolution in the anti-creationism book God's Word or Human Reason?: An Inside Perspective on Creationism.
My other current project is PhyloPic, a database of freely reusable silhouettes of life forms.
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?
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.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)