Hi, I'm Marek Bennett — cartoonist, teacher, & creator of the Freeman Colby graphic novels. This Kickstarter supports the first printing of my new book, The Civil War Diary of Freeman Colby, Volume 2 !
WEEK 3: STRETCH GOALS Reached & announced...
- *REACHED!* $3,600 = BOOKPLATES ~ Original Freeman Colby art on a bookplate sticker for all backer copies! I'm already planning a couple designs... VOTE HERE >>
- **REACHED!** $4,000 = FOLDING MAP ~ VOL. 2 already includes a couple big old maps spread over multiple pages. This goal glues a beautiful full-size folding map inside the back cover of all backer copies! (We did it! Yay!)
- $5,000 = "LIFE IN CAMP" VIgnette Cards ~ When we reach this level, each backer copy shipped out will include a set of 2-3 dozen "Life In Camp" collectible vignette cards! These are based on the original "Life in Camp" series by Winslow Homer -- sort of a "Civil War Pokemon" project depicting typical scenes & characters around a Union camp. (I used these cards as source material for a lot of scenes in Vol. 2, starting with the front cover.)
About Freeman Colby Vol. 2 :
Freeman Colby was an actual school teacher from New Hampshire who joined the Union Army in the middle of the Civil War. I've been drawing Colby's story since 2012, when I found a copy of his Civil War Diary on a dusty shelf at my local historical society. Vol. 2 details his adventures over the course of a single momentous year: January-December 1863. It continues the story started in Vol. 1 (which was selected as a "Great Graphic Novel for Teens" by ALA's YA Library Services Association).
For this new book, I've drawn primarily from Colby's Civil War letters (written to his family back in New Hampshire). I've also mixed in several other storylines drawn from diaries, letters, photos, & artwork by several of Colby's contemporaries. As a result, Vol. 2 features a diverse cast of characters, each with their own unique perspectives on the events of 1863...
Exactly what kind of "graphic novel" are we talking about here?
Vol. 2 is ~540 pages long, with ~480 pages of black & white artwork, plus maps & source notes & other support materials. It'll be the same size & feel as (but a little thicker than) Vol. 1.
This project is part of my "Stick Figure Civil War" — drawing out American history in a simple, clear, & engaging format for readers of all ages (but especially Young Adult & up). It's the Civil War as you've never seen it before, as told by people who lived through it!
Here are some sample pages:
I draw these comics in a pretty stripped-down style because I find (A) it makes the story much easier to read, and (B) it encourages readers (of all ages) to try their hand at making their own historical comics!
What's the storyline?
Over the course of 1863, Freeman Colby & his friend Jonas Bacon struggle to survive a particularly snowy winter in Maryland, stand guard at Washington, D.C, and then march deep into Virginia with the 39th Massachusetts Regiment. Along the way, they cross paths with poets, widows, wounded soldiers, brave nurses, refugees escaping north from slavery (and others returning south to find their families), Confederate troops in search of coffee & songs, and more than a few hostile bullets... As the autumn grows colder, Colby gets sick and ends up in a Union field hospital, while Jonas finds himself sent to the front to take part in the infamous Mine Run campaign.
It's a fun, lively, harrowing, inspiring, illuminating, thought-provoking adventure, all drawn from primary source documents!
Who are the main characters?
This book features most of the characters from Vol. 1: There's Colby himself, his childhood pal, Jonas Bacon, and the ever-menacing Captain Richardson... During the frequent gaps between Colby's letters home, several other characters step forward to share their stories -- such as:
- NH native Sarah Low, a volunteer nurse in Washington's Armory Square Hospital...
- Fannie Dawson is a strong, quick-thinking mother from Fredericksburg, desperately hoping to keep her family together at all costs.
- Walt Whitman makes an appearance (and contributes some poetry) drawn from his work in D.C. hospitals.
- Abraham Tuckson escapes to Union lines, then returns south to find his family -- even as he considers enlisting in the 23rd USCT).
- "Special Artist" Edwin Forbes prowls the Union camps, looking for sensational scenes to sketch!
Your support powers the FIRST PRINTING of this new book!
The flagship reward of this Kickstarter is a SIGNED PRINT COPY of Volume 2 (paperback), but I've also added in a bunch of other fun options, including special collector's edition HARDCOVER versions -- see below for details!
Featured REWARDS Include:
↑ VOL 2 (SIGNED BOOK) = The main attraction! Each copy comes with full-color postcard/bookmarks & the new Freeman Colby's ILLUSTRATED CIVIL WAR MAGAZINE! Signed by the author!
↑ VOL. 1 + 2 (SIGNED BOOKS) = The complete series (so far), 1861-1863! Includes postcards & magazines.
↑ VOL. 1 + 2 (HARDCOVER EDITIONS) = Special for this Kickstarter -- Both books are now available in custom-sketched HARDCOVER editions!
↑ DOUBLE GIFT SET: VOL. 1 + 2 (2 each) = Double up! Share the complete series with a friend!
↑ COMICS WORKSHOP Library: VOL. 1 + 2 + HOUR 72!+ Nicaragua Comics Travel Journal + SLOVAKIA: Fall in the Heart of Europe = The complete Freeman Colby series, plus the 3 travel/history graphic novels that led me to draw Freeman Colby !
↑ VOL. 2 (set of 10) = Perfect for a reading group, or for sharing with friends & family. Includes postcard/bookmarks & a magazine w/ each book.
↑ VOL. 2 + Original Artwork = Add on a page of original artwork from the new book! (Send your top 5-10 choices, or I'll pick one for you.)
↑ VOL. 1 + 2 (sets of 10 each) = The complete series, ready for your book group!
↑ VOL. 2 (set of 20) = A full class set (with a special limited offer for schools & libraries)!
FINAL 48 STRETCH REWARDS:
↑ $300 = DOUBLE original artwork pages! Pick a 2-page spread, OR a final page & an earlier draft! Includes print copies of VOL. 1 & 2! (MORE >>)
↑ $320 = Original POSTER ARTWORK! Full-size full-color Vol. 2 poster artwork! Drawn in ink + colored pencil + crayon on creme cardstock. Various scenes/sizes available. Includes print copies of VOL. 1 & 2! (MORE >>)
Stay tuned for more updates...
THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR SUPPORTING THIS PROJECT!
Risks and challenges
I've spent the past two years researching, drawing, and editing this book (with the help of many kind friends, students, teachers, & Patreon supporters). That means all the hardest stuff is DONE, and this book is READY TO PRINT. This Kickstarter helps me establish the size of the first printing -- once we wrap up here, I'll verify final proofs & place the print order via Ingram Spark / Lightning Source at the end of March. In the past these print jobs have taken about 2-3 weeks. Then I'll do all the signing / sketching, & ship out pre-orders in April...
I've deliberately planned this process so we'll have plenty of time to complete each step.
That stuff is all normal business operations for COMICS WORKSHOP --
Your participation makes it extra-awesome, though!
Anyhow, I'll keep you posted on the whole process via this site + www.MarekBennett.com + www.patreon.com/marekbennett ...
- (28 days)