Merrick: The Sensational Elephantman is a Victorian adventure/horror/cape gaslamp comic set in 1880s' London. Based on a fictional version of the life of Joseph Merrick, it steps between historical facts and
turn of the century folklore juxtaposed with the American superhero comic
conventions of super powers, masks, secret identities and fantastic adventures.
Recommended for mature readers.
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Betrayed, robbed and left for dead by his tour manager, Merrick finds his way back to London where he is rediscovered by Dr. Frederick Treves who, unknown to Merrick, is the man responsible for his exile to Europe. Treves takes Merrick back to the London hospital where he can recover, promising to search for a cure to Merrick’s condition but actually attempting to unlock the secret of his skin for his own gain.
Why did I decide to give issue #01 away for free? I felt without something to show I couldn't ask you to back my project based on a pitch and some awesome artwork. I hope you've read it and I hope you've enjoyed it and want to read more. I self funded the creation of the first issue and now I'm broke, that's where you come in, if you want to see the end of this story line please back us! I'm not in this to make money, I'm in this to make comics. The cost of issue #01 isn't absorbed into this kickstarter and I'm not going to take any payment, any money will go straight back into creating more issues of Merrick: The Sensational Elephantman.
Joseph Merrick is The Elephantman, the most remarkable human being ever to draw the breath of life!!! Cursed with hideous physical deformities which grant him enhanced strength and toughness, his skin as thick as his namesake. Finding himself back in London, will its dark underbelly envelop him?
"Those who are interested in the evolution of character might speculate as to the effect of this brutish life upon a sensitive and intelligent man. It would be reasonable to surmise that he would become a spiteful and malignant misanthrope, swollen with venom and filled with hatred of his fellow-men, or, on the other hand, that he would degenerate into a despairing melancholic on the verge of idiocy.
Merrick, however, was no such being.
He had passed through the fire and had come out unscathed."
- Sir Frederick Treves
Inextricably connected to the fate of the Elephantman, Dr. Frederick Treves is a respected surgeon at the London Hospital. Well traveled throughout the Caribbean, West Indies, India & Africa, he is versed in Bartitsu, Canne de combat and the handling of small arms.
"Don't worry about genius and don't worry about not being clever. Trust rather to hard work, perseverance, and determination."
- Sir Frederick Treves
But has Treves gotten himself involved in something that should have been left well alone? And will his hubris be the downfall of everyone involved?
Dubbed "The Silver King" by P.T. Barnum himself, Tom Norman is the charismatic showman who runs the Penny Gaff, famous for his patter as much as his exhibits!
"You could indeed exhibit anything in those days. Yes, anything from a needle to an anchor, a flea to an elephant, a bloater, you could exhibit as a whale. It was not the show, it was the tale that you told."
"A penny gaff was a popular entertainment for the lower classes in 19th-century England. It consisted of short, theatrical entertainments which could be staged wherever space permitted, such as the back room of a public house or small hall. Unsophisticated, the props and scenery rarely consisted of more than a stage and a piano. The lessee of the venue would often stand by the stage, calling out when each act should finish in an attempt to maximise the evening's revenue." - Wikipedia
Now let me introduce you to the rest of the team:
Luke Parker: Luke specialises in strong detailed line
work using pen and ink, he mixes paper textures and digital
colour to create graphically striking images.
Starting with delicate pencils, building up to strong angular inks and then finishing with a bold palette of colours, Luke is the perfect match to bring the offbeat world of Merrick to life. He manages to capture both the strength and vulnerability of The Elephantman, his style at ease conveying both subtle emotions and the momentum behind action scenes. His heavy inks create a sinister 1800's London with an oppressive air where anything could be hidden within the bottomless shadows.
Watch out for Luke working on an upcoming sci-fi book from Boom comics later this year along with work featuring in upcoming books from Image and other popular publishers.
Nic J. Shaw: Providing top class lettering, Nic's been working his ass off right through 2013 and has been attached to some awesome projects including; 12 Reasons to Die created by RZA and Ghostface Killah for Black Mask Studios, The Spider King and Imaginary Drugs.
Keep an eye out for him lettering In the Dark for IDW and the launch of several of his own projects including Action Johnson in 2014!
"Stylistically appropriate, unobtrusive, invisible, EVERYTHING good lettering should be" - Andy Schmidt (Editor - Marvel & IDW) on Nic
Clare Lenton: Clare is a professional digital content editor. She has a Masters degree in English Literature, she has completed Intro to journalism; Intro to creative writing; Writing short stories and novels and Writing for radio & TV courses. Clare has provided editing duties on the comic.
Digital vs Physical comics?
I love comics, I'm a fan of both physical and digital releases.
Nowadays a lot of people exclusively purchase/listen to music digitally. I get it, you receive it instantly, there's no postage, you can carry a lot of music with you in a small device and it can't get damaged, but it's not for me. I love receiving vinyl records in the post, nothing beats the feeling in your hands or the smell. I have record sleeves mounted on my walls and I've collected and hunted down rare coloured pressings of my favourite bands.
I want to make the vinyl of comics, not cheap disposable cds. Collectable yet without the cynicism associated with the speculator market of the 90s, don't expect any tacky foil or hologram covers here.
- All our issues will be printed on high quality paper to ensure they look and feel great.
- All will be limited numbered runs of 500 never to be reprinted with the same cover.
- A maximum of 2 print runs for each issue.
- All will be shipped bagged and boarded to ensure they reach you looking as great as they went out.
- Myself and Luke will sign them, or not based on your preference.
- You'll also be sent digital versions of each issue in .pdf and .cbr formats so you can enjoy issues of Merrick on the move on your tablet, smartphone or PC.
All pledges receive my eternal gratitude and a personal thank you via Twitter and Facebook. Your name will also be recorded for eternity in our online book of records honoring you as someone who made this comic book possible.
All pledges will also receive an ad free backers digital download of issue #01 and 3 Merrick desktop wallpapers created using Lukes art from the first issue.
We'll be sharing every step of the creation of the next 3 issues with you in exclusive pledge only updates that won't be found anywhere else, we'll show off steps from the creation of the upcoming issues while making sure not to ruin any surprises.
All pledges from the £5 Fellow Craft Degree and above will also receive a digital "Making of: Merrick the Sensational Elephantman #01". This will be in the region of 140 pages and will show every step of the comics creative journey from the final script drafts and Luke's first concept sketches through layouts, pencils, inks, colours and lettering, annotated with notes.
Merrick: The Sensational Elephantman - DIGITAL #01 - #04
The complete first story arc sent direct to you on the day of release. DRM free and in both .pfd & .cbr format. Each issue is roughly 22 pages. (Issue 1 is 22 pages + 14 page pin-up gallery)
Merrick: The Sensational Elephantman - PHYSICAL #01 - #04
The complete first story arc sent out to you in the post as issues are released quarterly throughout the next year.
Skull Culture: a book of illustrations by Luke Parker
This book encompasses many months of work, it's a collection of
illustrations based around skulls and their use in popular culture from
tattoos to Halloween decorations to Lego. The end result is a visual
catalogue of odd customs and uses of the skull.
The book is A5 size and 64 pages, high quality digital printing of some of the best work Luke has done to date. It's a small print run, so grab a unique collection of art while you can.
SKULL CULTURE CAN BE ADDED TO ANY PLEDGE FOR AN ADDITIONAL £10 EACH.
A3 print of issue #01 cover by Luke Parker - Printed on quality paper, carefully dispatched to you.
A3 Elephantman Vs Evil Print by Luke Parker - Printed on quality paper, carefully dispatched to you.
PRINTS CAN BE ADDED TO ANY PLEDGE FOR AN ADDITIONAL £10 EACH.
Elephantman T-shirt - Punk Rock taught me the DIY ethos required to put this comic out, here's an Elephantman T-shirt paying homage to one of the finest hardcore bands responsible for that. Available in S, M, L, XL, XXL, Womens & Youth fit sizes.
T-SHIRTS CAN BE ADDED TO ANY PLEDGE FOR AN ADDITIONAL £10
Commission from Luke Parker! - You could have your very own personalised 6.37x8.85" pencils and ink commission off Luke. A subject of your choice! We're a couple of pretty open minded dudes but Luke's gonna reserve the right to refuse if it's y'know, really really REALLY messed up.
COMMISSIONS CAN BE ADDED TO ANY PLEDGE FOR AN ADDITIONAL £25
The Autobiography of Joseph Carey Merrick - The original pamphlet as sold at the Penny Gaff by Merrick himself, reproduced for your enlightenment! Exclusive to the higher pledge rewards as a special thank you.
Editing - Clare will perform substantive editing on your comic/book/script whatever up to 25 pages, she'll make notes and corrections before sending it back to you. Your work will be checked for spelling/grammar errors, she'll sniff out continuity errors and plot holes and give you an editor's report. If you want more pages edited just add another £50 to your pledge for every 25 pages of your project.
SPECIAL PLEDGE REWARDS
The original cover art to Merrick: The Sensational Elephantman #01 by Luke Parker.
A one of a kind Item, the original Inks from the cover of issue #01, these were then coloured digitally and the logo etc added. We'd hate to see it go but if it can help fund the rest of the arc we're willing to let one very generous back have it. If the Kickstarter is a success it could well be worth something one day! Measures 11x17"
The following may be added on to any other reward tier by simply adding the amount to your pledge.
- Skull Culture book - £10
- T-Shirt - £10
- A3 Merrick #01 cover print by Luke Parker - £10
- A3 Merrick vs Evil print by Luke Parker - £10
- 6.37x8.85" Pencil & Ink sketch by Luke Parker - £25
We understand that postage costs can be high, so we've implemented a way to save you some money. Most pledges that include physical goods have 2 tiers:
- We can post your issues out as they are released quarterly.
- We have set up 'patient' versions of certain levels where we can keep hold of your physical items until issue #04 is released and post them all out together. This way will save money on postage but you'll have to wait until January 2015 to receive it. Digital rewards will still be sent out on release day as normal so you can keep up with the comic.
APRIL 2014 - Issue #01 printed & dispatched.
T-Shirts printed & dispatched.
A3 Prints printed & dispatched.
Skull Culture books dispatched.
Original art from #01 dispatched.
Luke will begin working through sketch rewards.
Clare will begin working on editing your project.
JULY 2014 - Issue #02 digitally sent to your inbox with 3
desktop wallpapers & the digital 'making of' book.
Issue #02 printed & dispatched.
OCT 2014 - Issue #03 digitally sent to your inbox.
Issue #03 printed & dispatched.
JAN 2015 - Issue #04 digitally sent to your inbox.
Issue #04 printed & dispatched.
All 'PATIENT' pledge reward packs will be dispatched.
Issue #01 contains a 14 page page pin-up gallery that takes a look into the future of The Elephantman. This amazing collection of art is brought to you by Luke and a series of insanely talented guest artists that includes:
Risks and challenges
We've already produced issue #01 hopefully at this point you've already checked it out, maybe even enjoyed it!
The scripts are already finished and edited for Issues #02 - #04 and just waiting for Luke to start on the art if (fingers crossed) the Kickstarter is successful. The biggest risk is that things get on top of us and deadlines start to slip, if this happens we can always bring in an inker or someone to work on colours and expedite the process. The printers are already priced and lined up and I'm 100% dedicated to getting this project finished and out to you all!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (37 days)