Hello, my name is Alec Longstreth. Since 2002, I have been self-publishing the Ignatz Award-winning minicomic Phase 7. I have drawn 18 issues so far! From 2004-2011 I serialized my first graphic novel, Basewood in the pages of Phase 7. The goal of this Kickstarter is to raise enough money to get Basewood professionally printed as a hardback book.
UPDATE: We reached the funding goal, so Basewood will be printed! We also reached the push goal, so a cool companion volume which comes with a rock opera version of Basewood will be sent out to all the backers at the $25 level or above!
Basewood is a classic amnesia story set in a fantastical forest. There is a young man trying to discover more about his mysterious past, an old hermit who lives in a treehouse with his loyal dog, a young woman who fights for what she believes in and a giant wolf-dragon who shows up in each of the five chapters of Basewood. It is a story of adventure, love, loss, friendship and growth. You can read the entirety of Basewood on my website right now, for free!
A French-language edition of Basewood was published by L'employé du Moi in 2012. In Belgium, France and Quebec it is marketed as a YA graphic novel.
Here's what some other cartoonists have said about Basewood:
"Drawn with delicate precision, brimming with heart and adventure, Basewood is an exquisite gem of a work. It's a genuine miracle that a comic this beautifully unique exists at all." - James Kochalka, author of American Elf, Monkey Vs. Robot and Johnny Boo
"Longstreth's deceptively simple drawings of this harsh world filled with axes, ropes, pulleys, and levers, a place where you must bend nature with your bare hands to survive, have a layered intricacy that looks like something that should be carved on a medieval cathedral. One of my favorite books to spend time with."- Jeff Smith, author of Bone and RASL
"Alec Longstreth is the most generous and enthusiastic cartoonist I've ever met, and his work brims over with that same contagious energy. His greatest work to date, Basewood, is a full sensory immersion into a meticulously-crafted, warm-hearted, and most of all epic world." - Craig Thompson, author of Habibi, Blankets and Good-Bye, Chunky Rice
It took me seven years to draw all 204 pages of Basewood. It was rendered in a highly detailed crosshatching style on 18" x 24" sheets of Bristol board. It was a lot of work! You may have seen my Basewood Beard project, in which I cut off all of my hair and then took a photo each time I finished penciling or inking a page for the last three chapters. If not, this video will give you a good idea of what those three and a half years of my life were like:
Because of all the work that went into the creation of Basewood, I really want the final book to be something I can be proud of. It's important to me that the art is reproduced at a big enough size so that readers can see all of the detail on every page. And, because of the larger page size, I want the book to have a hardback binding so that it is not flopping around in the reader's hands.
My plan is to use the French edition of Basewood (pictured above) as a template for the English edition. The book will be approximately 9" x 12" with a full-color cover and one-color endpapers. If I raise my goal, I will print 2,000 copies of the book.
I'm hoping to raise most of my goal amount through pre-orders of the book. However, I'm also offering a few exclusive extras for hardcore Basewood fans, which I will list below. The simplest is a signed copy of the book, which will feature a sketch of one of the five characters from Basewood along with a dedication and my signature.
I'm also offering a Phase 7 "completist" set, which includes signed copies of the other three Phase 7 collections: Phase 7, Transition, B-Sides. Along with Basewood, it's 786 pages in all! You can learn more about these collections over on my website.
Back in 2007 Jed McClure at Albatross Press made a letterpress print of a panel from Basewood. For this Kickstarter campaign I will take the remaining twenty-five prints and color them by hand with watercolors. Suitable for framing!
In 2012 my extremely talented wife Claire Sanders designed a plush toy version of the wolf-dragon from Basewood, which is eighteen inches from nose to tail. She has agreed to make five more of these monsters for exclusive backer rewards.
This project surpassed the $16,000 push goal, so backers at the $25 level or above will also receive a very special issue of Phase 7 which will be a companion volume to Basewood. It will have two parts: 1) over 50 pages of concept drawings, character design sketches, building schematics, inking tests and Basewood pinups by other cartoonists and 2) a CD containing Songs From the Basewood, a rock opera version of Basewood composed by Andy Hentz and myself, as well as all of the lyrics. You can learn more about this bonus content and see (and listen to!) samples over in this update.
Also, just so everyone knows, Chris Pitzer at AdHouse Books has agreed to help distribute Basewood if this Kickstarter is successful! That means that if I get enough money to self-publish the book, he will help me enter Basewood into the Diamond Comics Distribution system. Doing so would allow people to find Basewood at their local comics shop, and in bookstores and online. I've never done this step with one of my books before, so I really appreciate Chris's offer of help! I will still be selling the book through my website and at conventions.
Risks and challenges
Although I do have a lot of experience preparing minicomics and print-on-demand books for publication, I've never worked with a professional printer before to make an offset printed, hardback book. I'm working with a printer that was recommended to me by friends in publishing and those same friends have been nice enough to offer their help in walking me through the pre-press process to make sure that everything turns out correctly. Hopefully that will help me avoid any problems!
Twice a year I send out my minicomic Phase 7 to about 200 subscribers, so I'm confident that I'll be able to handle the order fulfillment, but I am a little nervous about receiving the large shipment of books from overseas! I've been reaching out to some other cartoonists who have had successful Kickstarter campaigns to ask their advice about this, so I'm sure I'll be able to figure it out, but that is one of the concerns I'm thinking about right now. Also, where to store all the books - I'll probably need to get a storage space since there is not enough room in my tiny apartment to store 2,000 books.
If anyone has any other concerns or questions about this project, please drop me a line! I'll be happy to respond personally, or I can set up a FAQ below if lots of people have the same question.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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