About this project
Twenty-five years of This Modern World!
I'm the creator of This Modern World, the weekly cartoon of political and social satire that runs on Daily Kos and the Nation, and has been a mainstay of alt-weekly newspapers around the country since 1990. I've won the Herblock Prize, the Aronson Award, the RFK Journalism Award (twice), and this year, I was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize.
UPDATE: And now that we've met our funding goal (in 21.5 hours, WOO HOO!) I thought I'd better move the stretch goals up higher on the page.
—I would really love to give the slipcover a spectacular 3-D lenticular cover--ACHIEVED! (Adding: this was an ambitious idea and we are working to make it happen—but I'm going to reserve the right to bail on it if I have any hesitation about the probable quality of the final product.)
—Currently, the book covers my work through the end of 2014, but we can add everything I've done this year, right up until we send it to the printer--ACHIEVED!
—I've designed a DIY model of Sparky in his 1958 Nash Metropolitan, which we can print and include with every order--ACHIEVED!
—I have a cool design ready to go for printed endpapers--ACHIEVED!
—NEW! The MTT team and I talked it over and we've decided we made a Very Bad Call by not including my children's book, the Very Silly Mayor. If we hit $165K, we'll add the pages to volume two and make this the TRULY complete Tom Tomorrow compendium!--ACHIEVED!!!
—NEW! If we hit $200K we'll include a 5 inch tall die-cut vinyl weatherproof RANTING SPARKY STICKER with every copy of the book!--ACHIEVED!
—NEW! At $225K, we'll include a die-cut vinyl DRONEY sticker with every copy of the book! -- ACHIEVED!
AND—to truly commemorate this moment, if we reach the absurd level of $250,000, I hereby vow to you that I will post a video of myself getting a tattoo of Sparky the Penguin—ACHIEVED! I'm researching tattoo artists and will try to do this in late August or early September! Thank you everyone, this is astonishing!
ONE MORE: Just to keep this train chugging down the track til we hit the end of the line on Tuesday— if we reach the even more absurd level of $300,000, I will throw a book launch event at the historic Mark Twain House in Hartford, Ct.! If you're in the Northeast, you'll be able to celebrate the publication of 25 Years of Tomorrow in the house Mark Twain built!
I've done a lot of work over the last 25 years! I've written more than 1,500 cartoons, published ten cartoon anthologies and a children's book, and had cartoons featured in the New York Times, the New Yorker, U.S. News & World Report, Esquire, and Spin, just to name a few. I even worked with Pearl Jam to create the art for their 2009 album, Backspacer.
When I realized I was coming up on this major anniversary —25 years!—I decided I wanted to do something big to mark the moment.
Like, a thousand pages, two volumes, fifteen POUNDS big.
This giant two-volume set will feature every cartoon I've ever done: my weekly strip, work I did for magazines, one-offs, rarities, illustrations, you name it. There's some early, non-TMW work that hasn't been seen by anyone in decades, if ever—including experiments with collage, single panel gag cartoons, and even an attempt at a syndicated daily comic strip from the 1980s. I'm including some of the interviews I've done over the years, and to put things in context I've gone through and added extensive annotation to many of the cartoons. I have several pages on the Pearl Jam collaboration, including photos and art that have never been made public before. And of course, there are the cartoons themselves—a contemporary satirical history of everything we've been through over the past 25 years, through the eyes of an acerbic penguin with weird sunglasses.
Even if you have some of my older books, you've never seen my work like this before.
This project is my entire career in book form. It's a labor of love, and I'm doing it here on Kickstarter because no serious publisher would touch it with a ten foot pole. A two volume, thousand page hardcover compilation for the weirdo alt-weekly guy? They'd laugh me out of the building. To be honest, most publishers don't even think there's a market anymore for the standard 112-page compilations I used to put out every couple of years.
With your help, we can prove them really, really wrong!
As you can see, we have a lot of cool rewards lined up. You can get a copy of my children's book, The Very Silly Mayor, which is the only major work I've done that's NOT included in this retrospective. I have some original (pre-digital) strips from the 1990s to give away. And I've got some amazing collectibles for Pearl Jam fans, including vinyl Backspacer albums signed by all five members of the band, not to mention a guitar from Eddie Vedder's personal collection, which he has signed and drawn on! (There are images of many of these rewards at thismodernworld.com/kickstarter.)
Now, I know: $87K is a big ask. But this is a BIG book. It's starting out in the red, as I've already been working intensively with a layout person and others on the Make That Thing team for the past year. And then there are the actual costs of printing and shipping this monster, which are not remotely cheap—did I mention that it's a THOUSAND PAGES LONG and will weigh FIFTEEN POUNDS?—as well as all the other unavoidable random expenses, like printing proofs and video editing and Kickstarter fees and credit card processing fees and on and on. We've gone over the numbers thoroughly, trying to figure out the lowest goal we can ask for and still make this book a reality, and this is where we landed. (I myself literally won't make a dime on this project unless we surpass our basic goal.) (UPDATE: Which we have now done!)
I've been working on this project for more than a year, digging deep into my archives, going through files on my hard drive and boxes of clips I haven't looked at in years, and getting it all sorted out and organized. This is my dream project, the culmination of a quarter century of my life—but boy, do I need a lot of help to make it happen! This work means a lot to me, and I hope it's meant something to you over the years. Pledge now, and before you know it your mail carrier will be cursing my name as he or she lugs this monster to your door!
Risks and challenges
I'm partnering with Make That Thing to produce and fulfill this campaign. They have a ton of experience with stuff like this. We're already in talks with a printer that can handle such an unwieldy project, and the book files are about 99% compiled and designed. Life is unpredictable, but I don't anticipate any significant delays or complications.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
I'm glad you asked! In fact, I made a little video to help clarify this for everyone!
After the end of the campaign, there will be an option at checkout where you'll be able to add more items to your order -- another set of books, or a t-shirt or even a stuffed Sparky.
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