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From editor/publisher Robyn Chapman comes American Cult, a nonfiction comics anthology about religious cults in the United States
547 backers pledged $18,128 to help bring this project to life.
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$18,128

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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...

art by Vreni Stollberger
art by Vreni Stollberger

...NXIVM...

art by Box Brown
art by Box Brown

...the Source Family...

art by Andrew Greenstone
art by Andrew Greenstone

...the Children of God...

art by Rosa Colón Guerra
art by Rosa Colón Guerra

...the Westboro Baptist Church...

art by J.T. Yost
art by J.T. Yost

...the Oneida Colony...

art by Emi Gennis
art by Emi Gennis

...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.


The Plan

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.

Push Goals

$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.


Rewards

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...

art by Robyn Chapman and Box Brown
art by Robyn Chapman and Box Brown

...a screen print...

art by Jesse Lambert
art by Jesse Lambert

...a Risograph print...

art by Ben Passmore
art by Ben Passmore

...books and merch by our amazing contributors...



...and even original art!


art by J.T. Yost
art by J.T. Yost

Sample Pages 

Below you'll find a small sampling of the comics that will appear in American Cult.

art by Jesse Lambert. Check out the Jesse Lambert Author Bundle!
art by Jesse Lambert. Check out the Jesse Lambert Author Bundle!
art by J.T. Yost. Check out the the J.T. Yost Author Bundle!
art by J.T. Yost. Check out the the J.T. Yost Author Bundle!
art by Ellen Lindner. Check out the Ellen Lindner Author Bundle!
art by Ellen Lindner. Check out the Ellen Lindner Author Bundle!
art by Steve Teare
art by Steve Teare
story by Josh Kramer, art by Mike Dawson
story by Josh Kramer, art by Mike Dawson
art by Box Brown. Check out the Box Brown Author Bundle!
art by Box Brown. Check out the Box Brown Author Bundle!

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.

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $1 or more About $1

    Virtual High-Five

    Want to lend your support but you don't want anything in return? We won't say no! Every little bit counts. Send us a buck and you'll have our sincere gratitude.

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    Cult Postcard Dispatches

    Get intriguing and educational cult postcards in the mail! During the production of American Cult, we will send out at least four postcards featuring art by American Cult authors. (Only available in the USA. Free shipping. Please update your address if you move!)

    Includes:
    • Cult Postcard Dispatches
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    10 backers
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    American Cult, the PDF!

    Get the digital version of American Cult!

    Includes:
    • American Cult (digital edition)
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    American Cult, the book!

    Get the print edition of American Cult! Free shipping within the USA.

    Includes:
    • American Cult (print edition)
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    285 backers
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    Ellen Lindner Author Bundle

    Ellen Lindner's contribution to American Cult is about Fruitlands, a short-lived and ill-conceived utopian community founded in 1843. In this bundle you'll get American Cult (both digital and print editions) and the cult postcard dispatches (for international orders, the postcard set will arrive with the book). You'll also get two issues of The Cranklet's Chronicle, Ellen's zine about women in baseball (for more info, go to etsy.com/shop/littlewhitebird).

    Includes:
    • American Cult (print edition)
    • American Cult (digital edition)
    • Cult Postcard Dispatches
    • The Cranklet's Chronicle Issue 1
    • The Cranklet's Chronicle Issue 2
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    Limited 31 backers
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    Robyn Chapman Author Bundle

    Editor Robyn Chapman's contribution to American Cult is about Heaven's Gate, a UFO cult whose members died in a mass suicide. In this bundle you'll get American Cult (both digital and print editions), the cult postcard dispatches (for international orders, the postcard set will arrive with the book), and a Risograph reproduction of Heaven's Gate recruitment flyer. You'll also get Twin Bed, Robyn's handcrafted comic/artist book (for more info go to thetinyreport.storenvy.com).

    Includes:
    • American Cult (print edition)
    • American Cult (digital edition)
    • Cult Postcard Dispatches
    • Twin Bed by Robyn Chapman
    • Heaven's Gate Flyer Reproduction
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    Limited 22 backers
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    Jesse Lambert Author Bundle

    Jesse Lambert's contribution to American Cult is about his own experience growing up in what he calls a "communist psychotherapy cult." Jesse is a renowned fine artist and we are honored to be turning his illustration "Lost and Found" into a limited edition two-color screen print. This bundle also includes American Cult (both digital and print editions), the cult postcard dispatches (for international orders, the postcard set will arrive with the book), and The Underground, a minicomic by Jesse based on a childhood dream about systematic oppression and radical politics.

    Includes:
    • American Cult (print edition)
    • American Cult (digital edition)
    • Cult Postcard Dispatches
    • "Lost and Found" Screen Print by Jesse Lambert
    • The Underground by Jesse Lambert
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    Limited 45 backers
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    J.T. Yost Author Bundle

    J.T. Yost's contribution to American Cult is a 22-page story about life inside the Westboro Baptist Church. In this bundle you'll get American Cult (both digital and print editions), the cult postcard dispatches (for international orders, the postcard set will arrive with the book), and a mini-poster featuring J.T.'s illustration of Dorothy Martin, failed doomsday prophet. You'll also get two themed anthologies that J.T. edited and published: Bottoms Up and Cringe (for more info go to birdcage-bottom-books.myshopify.com).

    Includes:
    • American Cult (print edition)
    • American Cult (digital edition)
    • Cult Postcard Dispatches
    • Bottoms Up: True Tales of Hitting Rock-Bottom
    • Cringe: An Anthology of Embarrassment
    • Dorothy Martin Mini-Poster
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    Limited 8 backers
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    American Cult Retailer Package

    AVAILABLE TO BOOK RETAILERS ONLY. Get five copies of American Cult at the wholesale price. Free shipping in the USA.

    Includes:
    • American Cult (print edition)
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    4 backers
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    American Cult Bonus Bundle

    In this bundle you'll get a digital and print edition of American Cult plus a bunch of goodies: the cult postcard dispatches (for international orders, the postcard set will arrive with the book), the Jesse Lambert screen print, and a Risograph reproduction of Heaven's Gate recruitment flyer.

    Includes:
    • American Cult (print edition)
    • American Cult (digital edition)
    • "Lost and Found" Screen Print by Jesse Lambert
    • Cult Postcard Dispatches
    • Heaven's Gate Flyer Reproduction
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    Limited 7 backers
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    Box Brown Author Bundle

    Box Brown's contribution to American Cult is about a group currently in the headlines: NXIVM, a notorious self-improvement group that many have labeled a "sex cult." In the Box Brown Bundle you'll get American Cult (both digital and print editions), the cult postcard dispatches (for international orders, the postcard set will arrive with the book), and three comics by Box: Powerman, Number 1, and An Entity Observes All Things (for more information visit kilgorebooks.com and retrofit.storenvy.com). You'll also get your choice of one enamel pin designed by Box, either a cannabis bud or Andre the Giant.

    Includes:
    • American Cult (print edition)
    • American Cult (digital edition)
    • Cult Postcard Dispatches
    • Powerman by Box Brown
    • Number 1 by Box Brown
    • An Entity Observes All Things by Box Brown
    • Box Brown Enamel Pin
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    Limited 9 backers
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    Ben Passmore Author Bundle

    Ben Passmore's contribution to American Cult is about MOVE, a Philadelphia-based black liberation group whose headquarters were bombed by the police, killing nearly everyone inside. In this bundle you'll get American Cult (both digital and print editions), the cult postcard dispatches (for international orders, the postcard set will arrive with the book), and a MOVE Risograph print illustrated by Ben. Also included is Ben's book Your Black Friend and Other Strangers and his All Cats are Beautiful patch (for more info go to store.silversprocket.net).

    Includes:
    • American Cult (print edition)
    • American Cult (digital edition)
    • Cult Postcard Dispatches
    • Your Black Friend and Other Strangers by Ben Passmore
    • MOVE Risograph print
    • All Cats Are Beautiful Patch
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    Limited 9 backers
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    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    American Cult Patron Package

    In this special package, you'll get a digital edition and TWO print editions of American Cult (give one to a friend!), the postcard dispatches (for international orders, the postcard set will arrive with the book), The Underground minicomic, and all the prints: the screen print by Jesse Lambert, the MOVE Risograph print by Ben Passmore, the Dorothy Martin mini-poster by J.T. Yost, and the Heaven's Gate flyer Risograph reproduction. AND you'll be thanked by name in the back of the book. Free shipping within the USA.

    Includes:
    • American Cult (print edition)
    • American Cult (digital edition)
    • Cult Postcard Dispatches
    • "Lost and Found" Screen Print by Jesse Lambert
    • MOVE Risograph Print by Ben Passmore
    • Heaven's Gate Flyer Reproduction
    • Dorothy Martin Mini-Poster
    • The Underground by Jesse Lambert
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    Ships to Only certain countries
    Limited 15 backers
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    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    American Cult Retailer Bonus Package

    AVAILABLE TO BOOK RETAILERS ONLY. Get seven copies of American Cult at the wholesale price. You'll also get three copies each of these comics from Paper Rocket, Robyn Chapman's micro-press: Limp Wrist, Dear Missy, Carlito, and Texas Chainsaw Sculptor. (These are some of Paper Rocket's most popular titles, and together retail for $66. See thetinyreport.storenvy.com for more info.) PLUS your store will be thanked in the back of the book. Free shipping within the USA.

    Includes:
    • American Cult (print edition)
    • Limp Wrist by Scout Wolfcave and Penina Gal
    • Dear Missy by Daryl Seitchik
    • Carlito by Carlo Quispe
    • Texas Chainsaw Sculptor by Katie Fricas
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    Limited 3 backers
    $

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    Pledge $150 or more About $150

    American Cult Super Patron Package

    One lucky (and generous) patron will get everything that comes in the Patron Package, PLUS original art by J.T. Yost! This reward includes J.T.'s beautifully inked illustration of failed doomsday prophet Dorothy Martin.

    Includes:
    • American Cult (print edition)
    • American Cult (digital edition)
    • Cult Postcard Dispatches
    • "Lost and Found" Screen Print by Jesse Lambert
    • MOVE Risograph Print by Ben Passmore
    • Heaven's Gate Flyer Reproduction
    • Dorothy Martin Mini-Poster
    • The Underground by Jesse Lambert
    • Original art by J.T. Yost
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    Ships to Only certain countries
    Reward no longer available 1 backer
    $

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Funding period

- (30 days)