The Real Folk Blues is a fanbook of 130+ pages of new, original comics, illustrations, and essays paying tribute to the seminal anime, Cowboy Bebop, in its 20th anniversary year.
Released in 1998 from director Shinichirō Watanabe, screenwriter Keiko Nobumoto, character designer Toshihiro Kawamoto, mechanical designer Kimitoshi Yamane, and composer Yoko Kanno, Cowboy Bebop is the much-loved, bittersweet story of Spike Spiegel, ex-assassin turned bounty hunter, his friend Jet and the crew members they begrudgingly pick up along the way: amnesiac gambler Faye, hacker-extraordinaire Ed, and super-intelligent dog, Ein. Not only is Bebop unequivocally one of the greatest anime created but its 26 episodes (and 1 film!) stand as a hugely significant work of science fiction, one that's centred around people and inclusivity, real and yet hopeful. The fact that 2018 marks Bebop's 20-year anniversary makes this feel like the perfect moment to pay homage and celebrate this brilliant show.
The Real Folk Blues is a 130+ page of full-colour comics, illustrations, and essays by a hit list of fantastic artists and writers that take you into the world of Bebop once more. Brand new stories featuring Ed tracking down a mysterious signal- could it be aliens? Spend a day with Jet, space dad as he takes care of his plants, attempts to corral his crew-mates and embarks on the ever-elusive search for bellpeppers and beef. Something sinister stalks the Bebop. Faye teaches the others about fashion: it's a style-guide! Spike meets an old friend - or is it foe?- Ein makes a new friend, gets kidnapped, and looks cute throughout. All this PLUS Faye and Julia team-ups, alternative endings, Big Shot comes to life, the crew go on a night on the town and much, much more!
Here's a list of our amazing contributors:
Nick Dragotta (East of West) / Ron Wimberly (Prince of Cats) / Patrick Crotty (Internal Affairs) / Anabel Colazo (Encuentros Cercanos) / Freddy Carrasco (Hot Summer Nights) / Leslie Hung (Snotgirl) / Emma Rios (Pretty Deadly) / Ahmara Smith (Comics for Choice) / Jane Mai (Sunday in the Park with Boys) / Sam Wade (Stoke) / Will Morris (Silver Darling) / Jade Feng Lee (Half Moon Heroes) / Vivian Ng (Legend of Korra) / Naomi Butterfield / Michael Furler (Helena) / Chan Chau (We Are All Superstitious) / Molly Mendoza (The Worst) / David Brothers / Joseph Ruddick / Anatola Howard (What Are You Thinking About?) / Jamila Rowser (Wash Day) / Ariel Ries (Witchy) / Laura Lewis / Wren McDonald (Cyber Realm) / Valentin Colcomb / Paul Maybury (Sovereign) / Deshan Tennekoon (Elements Fire) / Shenuka Corea / Peo Michie / Choo / Vivian Nguyen 'Lawey' / Kris Mukai (Weeping Flower Grows In Darkness) / Jemar Souza / Eric Kubli
When I first put out the submissions call for a Cowboy Bebop zine, my thought was to actually make a zine: something short and stapled. However, the response from people interested in being part of the project was so overwhelming (over 500 submissions!) with a host of exciting, excellent artists wanting to contribute, that I decided to put together a bigger book. I wanted to make a Cowboy Bebop zine because I love Bebop and the idea of having new comics and art that would allow people to spend more time in that world with those characters; it made sense to accommodate people who shared that same passion and enthusiasm.
Making a high-quality, full-colour, perfect bound, satisfyingly chunky book of 130+ pages of fantastic Bebop comics and art would also require more work. It'd require an editor, a book designer, a cover artist, a print technician, and I wouldn't be able to carry the costs of that book on my own, in the manner that a zine might allow. That was the point where Kickstarter came in as an option. The anthology model means all the artists and everybody involved in making this book as good as it is are paid fairly. I'm really proud and confident about the level of quality we've imbued in this anthology, something you can see is apparent from all these superb sample pages we're sharing with you. Our hope is to reach enough people who love Bebop as much as we do to see this book become a reality.
Here's a quick, simple breakdown of our costs:
- £3000: printing costs
- £12,000: artists & writers payment
- £2000: Kickstarter fees and payment processing fees
- £4000: shipping and packaging
In addition to the book, we have several Kickstarter-exclusive rewards: a bookplate by Choo, an enamel pin designed by Jean Wei, and stunning prints from Ron Wimberly and Emma Rios. These are available in a combination of bundles depending on which reward tier you'd prefer. All pin, print, and bookplate rewards are exclusive to the Kickstarter and will not be available anywhere else once the Kickstarter has wrapped.
All rewards ship worldwide. We have UK and US fulfilment centres, which means we offer domestic shipping within the UK and US that doesn't break the bank!
Our books and prints are printed and produced in the UK with the excellent ComicPrintingUK and Ripe Digital. This helps us to maintain a close eye on the process and ensure everything is produced to a high standard while also supporting local independent businesses.
We're also offering 2 highly sought-after 9 x 12", black-and-white commission opportunities: one from Snotgirl co-creator and artist Leslie Hung, and one from East of West co-creator and artist Nick Dragotta. Further details of each are provided at the tier listing. Examples of Leslie's and Nick's fantastic art can be seen below.
£24,000: French-flap cover. Cover artist and book designer Patrick Crotty has done a superb job making this book look great, and a french-flap cover would make it that extra bit more special. Patrick's already come up with sketches and ideas to put on the flaps, and I think we can all agree that french-flaps are just satisfyingly fancy.
£27,000: Reaching this stretch goals means we'll be adding a 'process/behind-the-scenes' section to the book, comprising of 14-20 extra pages detailing sketches, thumbnails, alternative covers, inks, abandoned images and more! There's some great stuff we'd love to include. A bigger book, and more art for everyone- it's a win-win.
£30,000: Artist's bonus. Everyone involved with the book will get a bonus, from artists to writers, editors and designers.
Thank you co much for checking out our Kickstarter! You can follow ShortBox on Twitter and Instagram where we'll be sharing further excerpts from the book as long as the campaign runs, and also to keep abreast of our future projects. You can see all our current books here.
Special thanks to Patrick Crotty and Jamila Rowser for all their support and assistance.
Risks and challenges
The book is complete and ready for print. All that remains is for it to be printed and additional rewards to be produced. I have run and completed 2 successful kickstarter campaigns for Critical Chips 1 and 2, award-nominated anthologies of essays and comics, and also publish an independent, quarterly comics box via my imprint, ShortBox. I have lots of experience with organising and delivering projects within a specific timeline.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)