Got the Funding, Now for the Crowd: EPIC Pilot a 2014 FREE COMIC BOOK DAY Release!
My friends, some awesome news broke today.
Thanks to your support this Fall, we were able to transform the pilot issue of EPIC from a bunch of files sitting on my desktop to a glorious comic, printed on premium stock paper with a foil-enhanced cover, that many of you already have in hand.
But that’s not all you did. Because we far surpassed our initial funding goal, you’ve provided resources and more importantly enthusiasm for us to continue the EPIC series. Truth be told, if the response to EPIC was tepid, and if we only just barely hit our goal, I would have been able to walk away from the project, knowing that we gave it our best shot, happy to have a produced great pilot issue to commemorate that effort.
But there is SOOO much more EPIC story to tell, and the fact that we blew our funding goal out of the water means we’re going to get to tell more of it. And we’re going to try to do it on a scale that no Kickstarter project has ever attempted!
The Funding Is Easy, It’s the Crowd That’s Hard
Richard Bliss, host of the very excellent Funding the Dream on Kickstarter Podcast on iTunes likes to say that most Kickstarters don’t have a funding problem, they have a crowd problem. And it’s so very true.
One of the brilliant things about the Kickstarter platform is that it only takes a small number of backers to makes incredible things possible. With the support of just 219 backers, we were able to make a quality book that can sit on the shelf with any title out there. (And compared to the toilet paper Marvel has been printing their books on lately, I’d “Make Mine EPIC!”) Last year, just 450 backers enabled ComixTribe to produce an oversized hardcover. To produce comparable books in the direct market, you’d need the support of many thousands of readers to do the same thing without losing your shirt.
So, one of the strengths of Kickstarter platform is that you don’t need all that big a crowd to get your funding. The weakness of the platform is that only a small % of comic book fans will ever discover your book on Kickstarter. And once the campaign ends...that’s it.
Kickstarter is the kindling…not the fire.
So, what is the fire? And how does EPIC attract a bigger crowd? Well, here’s one way...
ComixTribe is a 2014 FREE COMIC BOOK DAY SPONSOR
This means that on May 3, 2014, the pilot issue that you helped make happen will be given out for FREE at more than 2000 comic book stores world-wide! This is a HUGE opportunity to get EPIC into the hands of tens of thousands of potential new readers. Bottom line, there is no better marketing opportunity for a new comic book property than FCBD, and we're thrilled to be a part of this event.
The FCBD printing won’t have that fancy foil-embossed cover or be on premium paper stock like the books Backers are getting. It will also, per Diamond Comics Distributor’s request, be numbered as EPIC #0 Pilot for FCBD release, as releasing new #1s on FCBD is discouraged. The important thing is, with the help of retailers around the country, as many as 30,000 readers are going to get their hands on the story you helped us produce! How’s that for Kickstarting something, guys and gals!
And in every one of those Kickstarter copies handed out, you, the EPIC backers, will be thanked by name. Just another small token of our appreciation for giving us a chance to entertain you.
So, What About New EPIC Beyond the Pilot Issue?
I’m glad you asked! My plan is to release the first issue of the new EPIC ongoing series in comic shops THE VERY NEXT WEDNESDAY after FREE COMIC BOOK DAY! Mark your calendars for May 7th, 2014, boys and girls, because that’s the day EPIC: Super Teenage Wasteland Part 1 comes out! Here’s the cover:
This new series will be written by me, with art by Fico Ossio, who drew the last 6 pages of the pilot issue. EPIC co-creator Matt Zolman will be involved on the creative end, will be drawing variant covers, and will be working on the EPIC ANNUAL. (Boy, do we have plans!)
As you can see from these sneak peek pages, Fico has the goods. His art is brimming with all the energy, action and excitement a superteen action comedy like EPIC needs. This guy is a superstar in the making. Here’s the solicit for the next issue:
Miami’s newest teenage superhero has a weakness for beautiful girls…literally! Hot on the heels of its world-wide FREE COMIC BOOK DAY debut, your new favorite superhero action comedy begins its EPIC ongoing series run! Witness the frightening origin of EPIC’s first fearsome foe, the half-man/half-spider monstrosity DADDY LONG LEGS! See the scintillating first appearance of SCAREWOLF! Watch our hero whiff at his first attempt to woo the pretty new girl at school! All that and a FOIL-EMBOSSED COVER, brought to you by writer Tyler James (The Red Ten) and rising-star artist Fico Ossio (Critter)!
That’s right...we’re doing another foil-embossed cover...because I dig ‘em!
How Can You Get the Next Issue of EPIC?
Last month, I surveyed EPIC backers and asked you to tell me how you’d like the get your hands on future issues of EPIC.
Interestingly enough, the most popular response was through Kickstarter. I guess that makes sense. I’m lucky to have plenty of great comic shops nearby, but many of you, especially international backers, don't have that luxury. And even if you have good shops nearby, I’ve always found that a well-run Kickstarter campaign is like a backstage pass into the creative process, and a chance for creators and readers to connect, and get exclusive, limited, and one-of-a-kind merch.
So, I’m taking a page from Burger King’s playbook, and letting EPIC readers “have it your way.” Readers will be able to continue to follow and support the series:
1) Through the direct market by buying from your local comic book shop. (Pre-ordering is the best way to guarantee they’ll have it.)
2) Digitally through Comixology as EPIC will be a “Same Day Digital” release on that platform.
3) Here on Kickstarter as each issue of EPIC going forward will have a small Kickstarter to support it.
Future Kickstarters will be for single issues, and will run once issues are completely finished. Funds raised will help mitigate printing costs, keep us going if retailers are slow to support the book, and allow us to do really cool stretch stuff (Glow in the dark covers? T-shirts? Toys?...I’m getting ahead of myself.) Bonuses for EPIC Kickstarter backers will include:
- You’ll get the book digitally, months before it’s available on Comixology.
- You’ll be able to snag Kickstarter exclusive variant covers, and other bonus merch not available in stores.
- Your books will come signed.
- You’ll have the “backstage pass” to this book, and the whole experiment.
To the best of my knowledge, there has yet to be a comic book series that has attempted to combine the power of crowdfunding with the reach of the direct market on an ongoing series. It will be an interesting challenge to say the least!
So, that's the plan!
Free EPIC for the masses! And more EPIC coming in May of next year. I couldn't be more excited.
P.S. 96% of EPIC rewards now shipped!