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1912 Historical fiction steam punk based on my ancestor - 17 yr old Burrell Hecock, a real hero - and the ice bridge at Niagara Falls.
1912 Historical fiction steam punk based on my ancestor - 17 yr old Burrell Hecock, a real hero - and the ice bridge at Niagara Falls.
82 backers pledged $3,623 to help bring this project to life.

About this project

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Hecock Graphic Novel Logo
Hecock Graphic Novel Logo

Me

My name is Leda Miller and I'm an artist/ illustrator and writer. This is my first graphic novel, but not my first self-published book. Without getting into too much ancestry, I married into the family on which this story is based. There were the Burrells: Captain Jabez and his brothers Isaac, Arnold and James; and the Hecocks: Erastus and Davis, who were among the pioneers that settled the town of Sheffield Ohio. Erastus and Issac were the progenitors of our famly.

The Real Burrell Hecock

Burrell (he was given his mother's maiden name) was your ordinary 17-year-old, an only child to Belle Burrell and Harry Hecock. The extraordinary thing about Burrell was his courage and compassion for others, something we could use more of in this crazy world we live in. He lived in the early 1900's and worked for the Lake Shore RR in Cleveland, Ohio. Until he became a hero.

The Story

BOOK 1 starts at the end. It's a horrific event, full of thrill, danger, and tragedy. Then we find out what happened in the previous 24 hours back home in Cleveland Ohio. Later, you'll meet his best friend, Iggy Roth, his mom and dad, and some close relatives who are partying at his home that night. The plan is to go to Chicago, but the railway doesn't come through with the tickets, and fate takes them to Niagara Falls. On the way Burrell and Iggy meet a pretty Micmac girl named Finzel. They all arrive at the winter wonderland to frolic and play on the frozen river below the falls. It was all the rage in those days. Then all hell breaks loose.

After that, the story takes some twists, so hang in there. There are about thirteen books in this series and each will be published as it is finished!

A Sampling of Rewards

Look at all the cool stuff you can get!
Look at all the cool stuff you can get!

And, of course, The Book!

The cover design for Book 1
The cover design for Book 1

Is It Safe Here?

YES! Kickstarter is one of the best ways to support a creative project. Still not sure? Go to What Is Kickstarter? and read more about it. I want you to feel good about supporting my project!

Why a graphic novel?

This actually started out as an historical fiction/ biography, about 10 years ago. Back then I was part of a great critique group. They helped me in many ways, but I'm not quite sure any of them understood where I was going with this story. So in frustration, I socked it away and worked on a children's picture book, which I self-published, Kana and the Missing Koi, an early reader. 

Years later, the Hecock story still haunted me. It was such a good story, and someone as great as Burrell really did deserve a tribute. He was family, after all. So I started writing again, but found it difficult to put the finer details into words. Then an "Ah ha!" moment! I am an artist first. Why wasn't I telling the story through illustrations? ( Although it never occurred to me how many hundreds of illustrations I would need to do it!) But here I am, in the thick of it, 100% committed to producing the entire story, in thirteen short books. I would have published it in one big publication, but you'd be waiting a while and I wanted people to start reading it now.

Here you see the original sketchbook, which is the Angel Reward, where I fleshed out the first chapter. I was going to publish under my children's book author identity Noni Gross, but later decided to use my given name.
Here you see the original sketchbook, which is the Angel Reward, where I fleshed out the first chapter. I was going to publish under my children's book author identity Noni Gross, but later decided to use my given name.
Page 19 of Sketchbook
Page 19 of Sketchbook

Book Specs

Because there are going to be thirteen books, I want them to be affordable. They will be printed through Lightning Source, a subsidiary of Ingram Content Group, right here in the USA. Each book will be 6"x9" using standard inks and papers (which are really quite nice,) approximately 28 pages, in full color, and a soft cover with Perfect Binding.

The retail price for the standard edition will be $9.99.

Publication Date

My goal is to have Book 1 printed and shipped in September of this year, at the latest. I may get books in hand sooner, in which case your delivery will be sooner. Book 2 should follow a few months later (most reward levels include Book 2.) Book 3 is slotted for publication by the anniversary of the Ice Bridge Tragedy, February 4, 2016. By subscribing to the blog, www.HecockGraphicNovel.com, you'll get the latest updates on future books. 

Risks and challenges

I believe the risks are very small and unlikely. I've worked with Lightning Source before. They are located in the USA and communication is easy. I'm experienced with the software and the process. And they ship the books within a few weeks once the final product is uploaded. Barring unforeseen illness or a freak production problem, I expect things to run smoothly. But if there is a delay, I will keep in touch with my backers, keeping them informed and up to date on the progress. I will put my heart and soul and sleepless nights into fixing the problem and get the book in your hands asap.

That being said, if this thing explodes and I get a huge response, like some of the other comic book projects I've seen, I may have to call on friends and family to help with the distribution of rewards. Not a bad challenge!

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Support this project

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $1 or more About $1.00

    • The PDF version of Book 1: The Last Hour
    • Your name listed on the Thank You page of the website, (with my gratitude. Every dollar counts!)

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  2. Select this reward

    Pledge $10 or more About $10

    • A physical copy of Book 1
    • The PDF version
    • Your name listed on the Thank You page of the website with much gratitude!

    International orders, $10 will be added at checkout to cover shipping. Thanks!

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  3. Select this reward

    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    • A signed copy of Book 1
    • The PDF version
    • Two book marks
    • Your name listed on the website
    • A signed 5x7 fine art print of one of my paintings (a $20 value!)
    (See my fine art prints at www.MillerHousePublishers.info.)

    International orders, $10 will be added at checkout to cover shipping. Thanks!

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  4. Select this reward

    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    Best Value!

    All the previous rewards... PLUS
    • BOOK 2 signed, (shipped several months later)
    • The PDF version
    • A beautiful antiqued "Hold Tight; Hang Tough" collectable Hecock lapel pin
    • An additional fine art print to give to a friend.

    International orders, $15 will be added at checkout to cover shipping. Thanks!

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  5. Select this reward

    Pledge $75 or more About $75

    All of the previous rewards PLUS:
    • YOU as a steampunk cartoon, featured on the HecockGraphicNovel blog.
    • A full color 8x10 print of steampunked cartoon-you.
    International orders, $15 will be added at checkout to cover shipping. Thanks!

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    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    All of the $50 rewards PLUS:
    • YOU will be a cartoon character with a cameo appearance in one of the 13 books.
    • A brainstorm session about your character and lines.
    • A poster of cartoon-you and Hecock (or his girl Finzel.)

    International orders, $20 will be added at checkout to cover shipping. Thanks!

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    Reward no longer available 10 backers
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    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    The Angel Award

    • The original Sketchbook of Book 1. It was intended for the Brooklyn Art Library Sketchbook Project, but I knew I would publish this someday, so I held on to it. There is only one.
    • All the rewards of the $100 level.

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Funding period

- (30 days)