Hi, I'm Robyn Chapman. I'm a cartoonist and publisher, and I'm the editor of American Cult, a nonfiction comics anthology about religious cults in the United States.
In American Cult I'm collecting compelling, honest, and deeply human comics about religious cults. The book will be printed in black and white, and will be approximately 180 pages.
But what is a cult?
Opinions vary on this, but I define them by four essential criteria:
1. A cult is a group, but it’s better described as a community or even a family. Fellowship and a sense of belonging are really important in a cult.
2. A cult is totalitarian in nature. A cult leader has authority over their followers and controls many aspects of their daily lives.
3. A cult is held together by a shared belief system. Shared values and deeply help truths are what attract members to a cult, and often they're what keep them from leaving.
4. A cult does not conform to cultural norms. Its members' beliefs and way of life challenge mainstream values.
This includes groups like the Branch Davidians...
...the Source Family...
...the Children of God...
...the Westboro Baptist Church...
...the Oneida Colony...
...and many more.
When we see cults covered in the media, their stories are often packaged into titillating and entertaining scandals. American Cult will be different. In this anthology you'll find sincere and fact-based comics journalism that endeavors to understand these groups, their members, and their appeal. It's important to me that these stories humanize the people involved but also call out abuse where it happened.
We have many remarkable contributors:
Box Brown, Emi Gennis, J.T. Yost, Andrew Greenstone, Jesse Lambert, Rosa Colón Guerra, Ellen Lindner, Steve Teare, Josh Kramer, Mike Dawson, Ben Passmore, Robyn Chapman, Lara Antal, Vreni Stollberger, Lisa Rosalie Eisenberg, and others
And we still have room for a few more contributors! If you're interested, please contact me right away.
I'm trying to raise $13,000. Most of that, about two thirds, will go toward paying my authors. The rest will cover printing and shipping.
$13,000 is a lot of money. But if we raise even more, I'm going to give back to my authors.
If we raise $15,000, each contributor gets a $100 bonus.
If we raise $20,000, each contributor gets a $100 bonus PLUS a page-rate bump: The current page rate is $50. If we raise $20,000, that will go up to $70.
If you support American Cult you can get a bunch of awesome rewards in return! Of course, you can get a copy of the book.
But you can also get a postcard set...
...a screen print...
...a Risograph print...
...books and merch by our amazing contributors...
...and even original art!
Below you'll find a small sampling of the comics that will appear in American Cult.
Risks and challenges
About half of the comics for American Cult have been completed, and the last few will be completed in the coming months. There's a lot of hard work for me and my team in the months ahead—editing, copyediting, design, production, and printing—but I'm confident we will deliver. This book means a lot to me—it's currently my primary artistic project. And I have "skin in the game," having already paid $3,000 to my contributors so far. So I'm very determined to see this project through.
Over the years I have created ten Kickstarter campaigns—all of them were funded, and all of them delivering their promised rewards. That experience has prepared me for this, my most ambitious Kickstarter ever. I've done my homework and I've been careful not to over-promise.
Though I self-publish as a hobby, at my day job I'm a senior associate editor at First Second, Macmillan's graphic novel imprint. I have seen many graphic novels through the editorial and production process. I'm very excited to apply this experience to American Cult.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)