More than just another zombie story.
Undad is about the challenges of being a husband/father while being (literally) dead inside.
Thanks for checking out this project. My name is Shane W Smith. I'm a two-time Aurealis Award finalist, and the creator and writer of the Undad comic series.
In November and December of last year, I ran a Kickstarter campaign for the first Undad miniseries. Thanks to the generosity of ninety backers, the campaign raised enough (140% of its original goal) to get all four issues made and published as a trade paperback.
The first Undad book is now available to purchase in both ebook and paperback formats. It is also available to backers of this campaign (see the rewards sidebar for all the options).
With the backing of Deeper Meanings Publishing, and Creative Partnerships Australia, I hope that we can make lightning strike twice, and produce a second Undad miniseries that finishes the story off, and pushes it in brave new directions.
The MATCH program gave me an irresistible chance to explore some of the options for an Undad sequel that I'd already started to process conceptually.
Thanks to Creative Partnerships Australia’s MATCH program, every dollar you give to this campaign will be matched dollar for dollar, provided we reach our campaign target of $3500.
This program provides us with a unique opportunity to create a high-quality book for a relatively low investment. If this campaign reaches its relatively modest goal of $3500, I will receive $7000 to produce this book with. This has given me a chance to hire some great artists for the book, to really push up against the boundaries of what small-time indie publications can ordinarily achieve.
In Volume One of Undad, Brett Buckley unexpectedly became a zombie. His transformation was the centrepoint of a story that saw him desperately trying to reconnect with his family, while keeping his status a secret from them. Eventually, the delicate balance was sundered, and he was forced to reveal all his secrets to them.
Volume Two of Undad continues his story.
Brett always knew his days were numbered. But he wasn't expecting that number to be so small. Someone has discovered his hidden stash of live food. He is facing animal abuse charges. His job is hanging by a thread. His kids and wife are facing public humiliation.
And that's just the small stuff. Over the course of the miniseries, Brett's daughter will be picked up for shoplifting, his son will start to exhibit some strange and deviant behaviour, his wife will learn to adjust to life without him, and his layabout brother will blow into town to complicate matters just that little bit more...
As Brett's stable bases and safety nets drop away one by one, he realises that un-life can't go on in the way that he'd hoped. Big changes are coming for Brett... none of them good.
But on the other hand, he may discover that he's not quite as alone as he'd assumed...
Undad is not about the zombie apocalypse. It’s not about the decay of humanity. It’s about one man who struggles to keep his own darker nature at bay and his family together, while feeling (literally) dead inside. His world begins and ends in the family home; its implosion is the apocalypse he is struggling to avoid.
Here's an issue by issue breakdown. Warning: potential spoilers.
It would have been impossible to keep quiet. A man arrested for breeding and eating live animals was always going to be big news.
It’s turned Katrina into a social pariah, though. The kids at school mock her mercilessly for her father’s deviant behaviour, and her boyfriend, unable to handle the pressure, splits with her.
Distraught by this shift, she finds that she is equally adrift at home, with everyone else preoccupied trying to organise Brett’s defence.
It’s at about this time that her uncle blows into town, probably to capitalise on the free publicity generated by his brother's arrest. He has time to spare for Katrina, but his influence serves to land her in even deeper water...
“Dare you to eat it!” Brett’s arrest has caused the other kids Jason’s age to encourage mimicry.
Jason’s willingness to eat carrion is obviously a reaction to losing access to his dad, but it also gets him noticed by a group of older kids, whose claim to individuality is that they bite each other.
Veronica has noticed these changes, but is powerless to prevent them. She knows that Jason is struggling to process what has happened to Brett, but fears that he could do himself irreparable harm before it all plays out.
Only Brett can turn him around, and even then only through an act of supreme personal sacrifice...
Today would have been their fifteenth anniversary. Veronica is missing Brett, badly. Her friends tell her that she's better off, and publicly she agrees with them. Privately, though, she has her doubts.
She still has nightmares about what he has become though. As hard as it is to be a working single mother, she's realised that Brett can't be allowed back in.
Veronica's friends set her up on a blind date, which she reluctantly goes on. The date doesn't go well, and she tries to call Brett - her only confidant of the last fifteen years - to talk about it.
Little does she know that Brett had already seen her out with another man, and is about to lose control in the worst possible way...
This is as low as it gets. Brett has been picked up by the police, again. He's lost his job, his family, and is about to lose whatever freedom still remains to an undead man under attack from within.
Now he's walking back home. The rain thunders down around him as he trudges across a long bridge over a river. It's a long way down.
He jumps... and awakens to find a woman leaning over him.
"You're not like them," she says.
"You're like me."
A lost chapter from the first Undad miniseries. This issue will only be made if the Kickstarter campaign raises $5500.
Easter is approaching, and Brett is going through a crisis of faith, the first one he has ever had. His kids both have difficult questions for him that once upon a time he could have answered easily, but now struggles with. Lost in existential crisis, he heads into his church after hours for answers, but finds only more questions.
SHANE W SMITH is an Australian graphic novelist who has been writing since he could hold a pen. He has a Bachelor's degree in Creative Writing, and a number of published graphic novels, including the Aurealis Award finalists Peaceful Tomorrows and The Game. His oddest achievement is getting a comic published in a refereed academic journal in 2007.
Shane is the writer of every issue of Undad, and will be producing the artwork for the final issue in Undad Volume Two.
KATIE WALSH-SMITH once made a tactical error and married Shane W Smith. This mistake was offset somewhat by the subsequent birth of three loyal minions who keep her entertained. She doesn't yet hold any official writing credits, but has in the past saved several of Shane's books from their embarrassing shortcomings, in the editing stage.
Katie will be taking a more active writing role in Undad Volume Two, and will be co-writing at least two issues.
Her keen eye for detail, her unique perspective on life, and her deep intuitive understanding of what makes a story satisfying make Katie an invaluable addition to the Undad team.
TEAM DIAVERIK is composed of graphic designers, illustrators, sequential and concept artists TSUBASA YOZORA and ANDRES BAQUERIZO, graduates of the Savannah College of Art and Design with a B.F.A. in Sequential Art. They have worked with Bluewater Productions and Viper Entertainment, Inc. in titles such as Hell House, World War Hack, Odyssey: God War, and biographical comics Female Force, and Political Power. You can see their work on their free creator-owned comic, HORIZON:E ~Whole World Will~ at: http://www.facebook.com/theworldwill
Team Diaverik will produce the artwork for the first issue in Undad Volume Two.
DIMA DERZHAVIN is an enthusiastic, up-and-coming illustrator, concept artist, comic book artist and pretty much all-things-art person.
Dima will be producing the artwork for the second issue in Undad Volume Two.
DEBORAH CARITÁ HOLLAND is a Brazilian illustrator who worked most of her career for American publishers of comics. She has worked as a penciler for Dynamite Entertainment (N.J., USA) on the book Warlord of Mars - Dejah Thoris (2012-2014), and as a colorist on Project Superpowers, under the direction of Alex Ross (2008-2010). She has also worked as an artist or colorist for DC (Wonder Woman, 2007), Marvel (Arana & Spiderman, 2006), and IDW (Gene Simmon´s Dominatrix 1-6).
Deborah will be producing the artwork for the third issue in Undad Volume Two.
PAUL SCHULTZ is a graduate from the Illustration program at Sheridan Tech. So far his illustrations haunt the pages of four children's books and five graphic novels. When drawing comics his major influences are Berni Wrightson and Mike Mignola. He lives with his most awesome wife and daughter and their three cats in Ontario, Canada. He loves the darker side of things and has a curious affinity for frogs.
ANTHONY SALINAS has been drawing ever since he could hold a crayon. He attended the Illinois Institute of Art and graduated with a BFA with a major in Media Arts and Animation. He has been working as a professional for 8 years as a character designer, animator, illustrator and digital painter, and for the last 2 years as a 2d artist for a video arcade development company in Illinois, U.S.A.
Anthony was the cover artist for Undad Volume One, and is returning to be the cover artist for Undad Volume Two.
Volume 2 of Undad will contain Issues 5-8 of the Undad series.
Issue 1 of the series can be read in its entirety for the duration of this campaign. Here are some pages to give you a feel for the different aesthetic of each issue so far.
Internal splash page:
Issue 5 (to be funded under this Kickstarter campaign)
Here is a preview page from early in Issue 5, in which we see seven-year-old Jason doing what any well-meaning young boy would do upon learning that his father was a zombie.
No matter whether you have $1 or $100 to invest, there's something here for you.
- For just $5, you can get the second Undad miniseries,between 160-200 pages. For just $10, you can get both volumes of Undad, totalling some 400 pages.
- For just $40, you can get an additional 1500 pages of Shane W Smith comics, including the Aurealis Award finalists Peaceful Tomorrows and The Game.
OTHER REWARDS - UNIQUE TO THE CAMPAIGN:
- A pledge of $1 or more gets your name on a special dedication page in the Undad book.
- A pledge over $10 gets you a 250+ page digital artbook, containing images, information and process details from my back catalogue of books.
- A pledge of $75 will get you, in addition to paperback copies of Undad Volumes 1 and 2, a 4GB USB drive with my entire back catalogue of books loaded onto it in a variety of useful formats.
- For a pledge of $100, you can get your likeness into an issue of Undad. And for $140, your likeness can have a significant speaking role.
- A pledge of $165 will get you a copy of Brett Buckley's diary (limited to 100 worldwide). Covering the events of both Undad miniseries, this gorgeous journal also fills in - in Brett's own handwriting, and utilising photographs, scanned documents, bloodstains and other keepsakes - the gaps between the issues of Undad, and draws out the subtext of the story.
- For a pledge of $250, you can get not only paperback copies of my entire back catalogue of books, but you can also get exclusive early access to each page of Undad as it is completed, copies of the scripts for each issue, and a bonus exclusive preview copy of Triumviratus Issue 1, the first part of an upcoming fantasy epic by yours truly.
- And finally, a pledge of $500 will get you not only all the rewards from the $250 tier, but this stunning original piece of artwork by Undad artists Diego Lopez Mata and Andrea Lopez Mata, signed by the artists. This piece is approximately A3 in size, is very well-protected in plastic and wood, and would make an incredible addition to any collection of fantastic artwork.
It's important to know that when you make a pledge, Kickstarter will not take the money out of your account instantly. Instead, the money will be taken at the end of the funding period (May 29, 7:30pm), and only if the campaign reaches its funding target.
So if you were thinking about making a pledge, it's important to remember to ask yourself the right question. It's not "Can I afford this now?" It's "Can I afford this at 7:30pm on May 29?"
WHERE DOES THE MONEY GO?
Around 10% goes to Kickstarter right off the bat, with various fees and charges. The rest of the money raised will be split pretty evenly down the middle, with around half going to the Undad artists for their work, and the rest going to fulfilling the reward tiers you sign up for.
The one and only stretch goal for the campaign has been reached, thanks to the unexpected arrival of some away-from-Kickstarter finances.
Undad Volume Two will include an extra issue, bringing its page total up from 160 to 200 pages. The extra money will be used to hire a fourth artist to produce the artwork for this issue. The additional printing/postage costs will be minimal.
The bonus issue will be a forgotten chapter from Volume One, which was cut due to financial constraints, and deals with Brett wrestling with his kids' inquisitive questions and his own faith at Easter time.
Work has already begun on Undad. Initial artist payments have come out of my mortgage; I will recover the funds from the Kickstarter pledges. As work has started before the end of the campaign, this should shorten the production schedule, which is good news for everyone.
All reward tiers will be filled as soon as possible. Digital content will be released on a staggered schedule, as it becomes available. Physical goods may be held over and shipped together in one package, though Undad Volume One will be shipped as soon as the campaign is funded.
I've entered a tentative goal of November 2015 for both digital goods and paperbacks. In all likelihood this is a significant overestimation.
Risks and challenges
Undad Book 1 is completed and published. Most of the rewards are being finalised and sent out at the time this project is going live. While this means a bigger workload for me initially, I don't anticipate this will create any unreasonable delays in the production of Book 2. The plotting for Book 2 is pretty much complete, and scripting has begun in earnest.
I am a focused and committed person with an extensive publishing history. I've been shortlisted for the Aurealis Award twice, so I'm reasonably confident (without sacrificing due modesty) that if I bring my A-game, Undad will be a good book.
The budget has been fairly carefully calculated, and I am in pretty good physical health (touch wood), so there is really only one major risk with this project that I can see: that the artwork for the funded book will not be produced on schedule. I have faith in my artists, as they were hired for (in addition to their talents) their professional approach to their work.
I will be monitoring the progress of the book throughout, so there shouldn't be any last-minute surprises. There is a chance that an unexpected delay will impact delivery dates for rewards, but the consequences are unlikely to be more severe than that. The book will still be made, and delivered, and I'll be doing everything I can to ensure that it happens on time.
In all these cases, I will be in constant communication with backers, and intend to be as open and forthcoming about revised delivery dates as possible. I want to get this right, and I want everyone to walk away happy.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (45 days)