A collection of creepy comics by artist Sarah Gordon, featuring haunted lanterns, owl-headed men, and strange creatures from the woods.
This project will only be funded if it reaches its goal by Fri, December 14 2018 3:00 PM UTC +00:00.
19/11/2018 UPDATE: We're base funded, and now in stretch goal land! Thank you to everyone who has supported so far. We funded in less than a damn week, which was incredible to see. You are all superstars.
There are still things to do though. More money for the next couple of stretch goals means more creative time and more editor time for the book! More backers also means more ink (read the campaign below to discover what I mean by that). There are a couple of thank-you extras that will be added to reward packages if we hit these targets. If we manage to hit those, I'll be back with the rest of my wishlist. But for now, here's what we're aiming for:
Well, okay. Were in the final two days. One last stretch goal?
£15,000 If we hit or go over £15,000 I'll crown the damn owl effigy before it meets its fiery end.
I'll also improve the print quality of the book. At the moment I've been running on a tight costing model, which will make for a good book, but there's always room for improvement. If we hit £15k before the end of the campaign then I can relax that a little, and look into a richer paper stock (something that makes the artwork really sing). I've had some very tantalising offers of help on this over the course of the campaign, and there's a lot for me to chew over during the holiday season.
[FUNDED!] £12,000 Okay! Wow. At £12k I'll add an extra short comic to the book. Backers will get to vote on the animal it will be loosely inspired by. I will also release this short to all backers as a digital download regardless of reward tier as a special thank you.
[FUNDED!] £8000: PRINT CLUB! If we hit £8000, I'll be commissioning mini art prints related to the book from some frankly amazing artists - Matt Bailey (tattoo artist, skull king), GODSTEETH (illustrator, author of the gorgeous The Journey Of Teddy And Marla), Scoobtoobins aka Alisha Huskin (Illustrator who makes the most amazing prints), and Sally Jane Thompson (comics creator, illustrator behind Conspiracy of Ravens, and excellent person) have all said they're up for providing some art for a book-exclusive set of prints. I am a big fan of all of them, so I am incredibly bloody excited about this. I hope you will be too. These will be available in physical form from the Badge+Book tier and up, and as high-quality digital downloads for everyone else.
[FUNDED!] £6666: BURN THE OWL between us we raised the funds to burn an owl effigy of unusual size. Everyone who backs this project at Burnt Offering tier and up will have the opportunity to have some words burnt in this owl, the ashes of which will be used to make ink that will help make the book itself. Confused? Check the campaign below.
So, back to the book:
What is it?
Vicious Creatures is a collection of horror comics that I (comic creator and artist-about-town Sarah Gordon) have been working on for a couple of years. They are short, bloody little tales, exploring the darker side of being human (with some magic, a couple of ghosts, and several crows added for good measure). The book will be full-colour, approx 6"x 8", soft-bound, and over 180 pages long. Half of the book is drawn, and I have plans to draw the second half using strange ink that I need you guys to help me with (more on that down-page).
Here’s some artwork from the existing stories:
So far four of the stories exist in the world as monochrome mini comics. The minis have been doing really well. So well in fact that I now consistently sell out of them at conventions before the rest of my titles go.
So, I've been thinking I should take the existing stories (over 90 pages of comic), and add four more stories (another 90+ pages), colour the artwork, and make it into a hefty book (between 180-200 pages long in total - leaving some wiggle room for edits). It will be more economical for people than buying the mini comics, and who doesn't like a creepy book?
What am I coming to Kickstarter for?
- To get the collection made faster. Life is short, art is long, and releasing a couple of these stories a year (at most) is achingly slow. Backers now will speed up the process a lot and get stories into everyone's hands faster.
- To make a book instead of more minis. I love mini comics, but I love reading a chunky book more. I'm sure a lot of you are the same.
- Colour printing! So far I’ve been releasing the mini comics in black and white but, as you can see, colour is pretty important to this collection. It'll make for a much juicier book.
I'm also running a campaign before the artwork is finished as I want some help with making some weird ink...
Wait. Weird… ink?
Yeah! Weird (or, perhaps I should say wyrd) ink.
I want to make a special ink I from the ashes of my readers' words/thoughts. I like the idea of creating a sort of feedback loop between creator and audience in this book. Here's why:
If a book isn't read by anyone except its author, it’s not a complete work. To function as an actual book it’s got to be witnessed by someone else. So reading is a collective experience, even though we often commit the act alone, in our separate pods of space.
When this happens there's a mashing-up of everything that the author of the book wants to say, plus everything personal that a reader brings to their interpretation of the book. Subtext, context, meta-text (especially if you're a doodle-in-the-margins type). Basically: the act of reading transforms an inanimate page into something living. I love that so much that I'd like to hard-bake something symbolic of this relationship into the raw structure of Vicious Creatures.
Every image in the book is drawn using ink, so this seems like the best and most integral part of the project to mess with.
It turns out some of the oldest ink recipes use ash as a key ingredient. Paper ash works well, which is handy. I've made some test batches of ash-ink, and the results are looking pretty good! So: I’d like backers to write me short messages – their hopes, fears, frustrations, even puns (if you really must) they want to see burned and transformed into ink I will use to help draw the rest of the book. I'll be collecting these once the Kickstarter has ended. There will be an email and a physical address to send things to. I will let you know more when the time comes.
If we hit the initial target of £6000 (that’s just under $7860 USD for the non-brits), I will be doing this using a fire urn. However, if we hit one of the earlier stretch goals (£6666), I'll get fancy and build a wooden/wicker/generally-made-out-of-something-flammable-owl effigy, fill it with your word donations, and torch it on a bonfire (which I will document and show to you all). I will then use the ashes to help make the ink I need for the book.
TL;DR: I need you to send me words to burn and turn into drawings because reading is cool and weird.
Here’s how that owl effigy currently looks in my head:
That sounds badass! Why an owl?
Reasons. I’ll write a bit more about that if we start to close in on that particular stretch goal. For now all you need to know is I want to make some really cool, really weird ink to draw this book with.
Who even are you, you crazy, comic-making, owl-burning human?
I'm glad you asked. I'm Sarah. This is me here:
Here's some things people with opinions have said about me/my work:
"Britain's queen of gothic folk horror." - Kieron Gillen (writer - The Wicked + The Divine, Phonogram, Die)
“Sarah Gordon’s darkly fantastical tales and entrancingly grotesque storytelling speak to us of hidden truths about the human condition. Disquieting, macabre and yet eerily familiar, her unforgettable and uncompromising work claws its way into the reader’s imagination with a relentless determination.” – Andy Oliver, Broken Frontier
“Sarah Gordon is a leading light among UK comic creators – jaw-droppingly talented, sickeningly imaginative and endlessly hard-working. This collection of comics represents Sarah at her best.The question isn’t whether she’ll be a big star, it’s how soon the world will catch up.” – P M Buchan has written about comics for The Times Literary Supplement, Starburst Magazine, Rue Morgue Magazine and Bleeding Cool
"Why can't you just draw nice things for once?" - Sarah's grandmother: Jenny (sensible lady, and non-internet person).
I am an artist and creepy story enthusiast. I've been making zines since 2010, and have been Extremely Serious™ about making comics since 2015. I've contributed work to some excellent anthologies, was short-listed for an award (Best comic of the Year at the British Comic Awards) for my book, Strip, successfully Kickstartered another book: Deeds Not Words, with artist and excellent human Howard Hardiman a couple of years back, and have a current mini series in this lovely publication (that's my cover art you see there). Earlier this year (in the world of pc games) I was part of the art team responsible for Cultist Simulator (for those of you have played it: I made the hours cards you see at the end of your descent).
Here's some more of my artwork (hope you like red):
And, for the curious, here's a video of me drawing a prep piece for the project:
If this book sounds like the sort of magical weirdness you would like to see in the world, and you want to push some money towards making it: thank you! I have things to give you in return. See the rewards sections for all the details, but here are a few examples:
I'm really pretty excited about the pin badge I'm commissioning. It's going to be a big, hard enamel beastie featuring the owl I'm using on the cover mock-up (and one of the title pages of the book itself). Here's the design I sent over to the manufacturers:
There's one tier that also mentions totebags. I print these things myself on the press that lives in my studio (called Presston Sturges because I am, if you haven't already realised, a huge nerd).
Here's a photo of one of those bad bois (taken at a convention as I've currently sold out of these things and need to make a new batch - they are VERY popular) for the curious:
I am aiming to have the book finished by Summer 2019. I have a conservative estimate estimate of July for the physical book.
If you want something to read whilst you wait, a lot of the reward tiers will give you access to PDFs of the first four stories in their current black and white form shortly after this Kickstarter ends. To buy physical copies of all of them would usually cost £18 P+P, but you can pick the PDFs up for an additional £8 with the physical book + catch-up reward option (and they come as standard for all higher reward tiers).
Here's a breakdown of where the initial funds for this project will be going:
If you've made it this far down the page, you are a wonderful human. Thank you so much for reading. I am really looking forward to sending you an awesome book x
Risks and challenges
I am mainly working by myself on this project, so it would be unfortunate for everyone (but especially me) if I were stampeded over by a marauding herd of elk (or if I get really sick for more than a couple of weeks). I've built contingency time into my plans though, so even if an elk does step on me a bit the book shouldn't be in major jeopardy.
To Kickstart is to encounter at least some minor issues, dear backers. However, this will be my second Kickstarter campaign, so I've already had to face these challenges once before, and met them successfully.
I've been illustrating professionally now for eight years, and have handled a lot of deadlines in that time. Blank pages don't scare me, I'm just going to annihilate the suckers with ink.
I have one day a week where I have to go be a graphic designer instead of an owl-burning book witch. I am also occasionally working on my series in Meanwhile Anthology, and taking on freelance work here and there. I have already factored all of this into my production timeline (It's these commitments that mean I'm releasing in Summer 2019), so I don't anticipate there being clash (related: the more successful this Kickstarter is, the less I have to push my freelancing, and the more I can focus on making the book).
Basically, unless something really unforseen happens, I am confident that this project will land by the end of July. If I have to push the release date, I will obviously let everyone know as soon as I know.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- All gone!