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I'm making a super cool fantasy comic filled with  psychic warrior monks, wild kung fu magic battles, monsters, and a bit of romance!
I'm making a super cool fantasy comic filled with psychic warrior monks, wild kung fu magic battles, monsters, and a bit of romance!
431 backers pledged $18,045 to help bring this project to life.

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The Secret Voice Volume One
The Secret Voice Volume One

What Is The Secret Voice??

Doctor Galapagos, a goggled, bandaged mystery man is just one of many agents of the ineffable Red College that we meet in the pages of The Secret Voice. Doctor Galapagos is our hero, our mystic battle man on the spot. He seems wildly capable of facing any and all hand to hand combatants. But Dr.G isn't just battling hundreds of angry trolls or brigands all at once, he's also fighting an unseen, unknown, psychic menace. He's finding his grip on reality becoming more and more tenuous, just when he needs it the most.

The tyrannical warlord known as The Smog Emperor has made his way through the previously impassable mountain range known as the Great Mountain Shelf.  His forces pass like wildfire through a mostly peaceful region, subjugating the people and laying ecological waste to the lands he conquers. Can the Red College and the allied forces of the land turn the tide? Can Dr. Galapagos keep his cool, stay true to himself, hold on to his love, and defeat the Smog Emperor all at once?

The Secret Voice is my own personal version of an epic fantasy saga. Because I'm me, it's a trippy, sometimes discursive affair that's just as focused on the sense of space and atmosphere as it is on the big picture plot stuff. This is me pouring all my love of adventure & fantasy narratives, artcomics, manga, and eurocomics into one misshapen container. It's about a big olde fashioned land war driven by the invasion of a despot; it's about a bunch of weird psychic warrior monks; it's about wild kung fu magic battles; it's about monsters and supernatural beings. But it's also about someone in over their head and not being honest with themselves or the people they love, and figuring out how to own their mistakes.

Along the way there are brigands, underground kingdoms, cities under siege, mass warfare, kung fu, psychic battles, talking animals, ghosts, and more monsters than you can shake a stick at–and that's just in the first book!

The Book

I've been working on The Secret Voice off and on for a while now–in that time it's run as a webcomic, been published with other material as a series of comic books, and now I'm ready to collect the first big chunk of it into the first of three graphic novels. 

Volume One collects the Secret Voice material from issues #1-3 with newly remastered color and art in early chapters, as well as an additional 30+ pages of new comics and a section of backmatter and pin ups from some of my favorite artists. It's going to be flipping awesome!

Remastered art from issue #1
Remastered art from issue #1

The book we're looking to make is 160 full color 8.5x11" pages, packed to the brim with comics and art. The base tier of funding we're asking for is $12,000, which is enough to make a beautiful softcover book with some spot varnish on the cover and nice paper inside. If we can hit $15,000, everyone gets a fancy hardcover book.

As I mentioned above, the book doesn't just have a ton of wild comics in it, it also has supplemental production art from the various stages of working on the story, a map of the Secret Voice world, and pin up illustrations by some of my favorite artists working today: Farel Dalrymple (The Wrenchies), François Vigneault (Titan), Michel Fiffe (Copra), Sammy Harkham (Crickets), and Simon Roy (Prophet) have all contributed images for the pin-up section!

 The Rewards

If you look to the right there, you'll see a list of rewards and reward configurations. We tried to come up with every possible combination of rewards, so check that out closely for the exact tier that best suits your needs. Here's the various pieces of the puzzle:

 Exclusive Enamel Pin & Embroidered Patch

A cool embroidered patch with an exploding troll head, and a Kickstarter-exclusive severed troll arm enamel pin can be yours! 

(If you want to combine a patch and/or pin with a tier that doesn't already include one, just pledge that item's amount more than the tier, and when the Kickstarter is over, there will be an exit survey allowing you to note which ones you paid for) 

Digital PDFs

A high resolution DRM free PDF of The Secret Voice Volume 1 delivered straight to your email door.

Bookplate Editions

A limited number of illustrated bookplate editions signed by the author will be available. 

Early Bird Pricing

Save money & get a free bookplate edition ( with a design that is exclusive to Early Birds) by being one of the first backers!

Silkscreen Print Bundles

Get the book and a beautiful 8x10" silkscreened Secret Voice print!

Retailer Tiers

Are you a comics retailer? Have your own shop and want multiple copies to sell? Maybe some key Study Group Comics titles as well? We got you, at a wild discount (50% on The Secret Voice book & something like 80% on those older titles)!

Sketch Edition

The book plus a nice ink drawing on thick 8"x10" paper. Subject negotiable, within reason, but I reserve final say on what I draw.

 Original Art Editions

The book plus one page of original Secret Voice art of your choice! First come first serve. 

The Money

The money, where does it all go, you ask?

Well, if we're printing 2,000 copies of the book in softcover then about $9,600 goes to basic printing and freight costs. Another $1,000 goes to production costs for the book designer and color assists. Kickstarter takes about $930, and the rewards like the prints, bookplates and patches eat up the rest. It's a pretty tight ship.

The Stretch

Stretch Goals! You gotta have em.  Why? BECAUSE WE GOT FULLY FUNDED in just over a week!

GOAL #1: if we hit $15,000, the book becomes a fancy hardcover instead of a semi-fancy softcover.  

LET'S DO THIS!
LET'S DO THIS!

GOAL #2 ANNOUNCED: KESHI SET!!

Well, as we leave stretch goal #1 in the dust and head into our final week of the Kickstarter (! Yep it ends this Wednesday), I figure we might as unveil one more stretch goal on this bad boy. Honestly, we could add a dust jacket or a sewn in bookmark ribbon or something but I feel like that would be gilding the Lilly. This book is already going to be awesome. Why don’t we do something a little different? Do you remember M.U.S.C.L.E. Figures? Those little squishy rubber wrestlers many of us played with as a kid? I was in love with them! They had so many different imaginative designs, it seemed like a literal universe of wild characters. And I’ve always wanted to make my own.

Well, when we hit the $18,000 mark that will unlock STRETCH GOAL #2: The Three Piece Keshi Set! (Keshi is what that style of toy is called in Japan, where they originated)

Sculpted and cast by master Keshi Maker Eric Nilla ( http://ericnilla.storenvy.com/ ), the set will contain three 2” rubber figures: Doctor Galapagos, a Troll Warrior, and The Creep. The images here are just for reference, the final designs may vary slightly. Eric does great work with the sculpting and casting and he will translate these designs into something that makes perfect sense as a classic style Keshi figure. The Keshi set will probably have to be sold for more than this after the Kickstarter, but for all of you awesome peoples I’m going to price it at a flat $30.

So I’m going to assume that we are going to hit the 18k mark and just open up pre-orders for the set now. There will be a tier that’s just the Keshi Set + shipping added to the reward options. If you want to add the Keshi set to any of the reward tiers that have already got shipping factored in to the pledges, DON’T change your reward tier. You can actually just adjust your pledge upwards by $30 with no change in shipping. If you just got the digital tier, you can add $36 to your pledge to cover the Keshi Set + shipping, that should be enough. If you want to take this time to add a patch and or pin to your order, now is the time to add on those dollar amounts as well!

When the Kickstarter is all over, I will be sending out surveys so everyone can confirm which add ons they paid for, no need to send me a note now, just fill out your exit survey next week!

Ok, stay awesome! I’m stoked about this rubbery reward!

Let's Do This!

Please spread the word on social media, and check out the reward tiers. See which one fits your needs and PLEDGE EARLY! The sooner we hit our goals, the sooner we can consider our stretch goals!

Thank you so much for taking the time to read this, and thank you for your support.

-Z

Risks and challenges

Honestly, there's not much in the way of risks here. We're currently finalizing the designs for the book so we can send it to the printer as soon as this Kickstarter ends. All the new work and revisions of old work are all done. I've successfully fulfilled an even more complicated KS before this, and even if I hadn't, I'm planning to use a Kickstarter fulfillment service for shipping.

The only potential issues that could pop up are with the printer being overseas, sometimes the shipping can take an extra minute, but we're giving ourselves enough time that that should not be an issue except in the most extreme situation.

My goal is to have the books in hand this fall for convention season, and packages shipped out before the book debuts at any shows I might attend.

I've been self-publishing Secret Voice for the last several years under the Study Group Comics label, but for the collection I'll be partnering up with my friends at Floating World Comics. Floating World is both an amazing shop and an excellent comics publisher. Which is good, because not only am I ready to print Volume One, but I've also already got 100+ pages of Volume Two penciled, and I'm raring to get started on that as soon as this book is made!

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 2 or more About US$ 2.00

    *PSYCHIC PALS*

    Thank you for your help! I'll think of you fondly and you'll feel a hi-five made out of PURE ENERGY.

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    Pledge US$ 10 or more About US$ 10

    *THE CYBERWORLD*

    A high resolution DRM free PDF of The Secret Voice Volume 1 delivered straight to your email door.

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    Pledge $12 or more About $12

    *THE SIGIL*

    A cool embroidered patch with an exploded view of a troll head! To add a patch to any other level, just pledge $12 over the tier value.

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    Pledge $15 or more About $15

    *THORGMAL'S RUIN*

    A shiny enamel pin of Troll King Thorgmal’s claw, an exclusive charm only available to Secret Voice Kickstarter backers! This colorway will ONLY BE AVAILABLE AS A PART OF THIS KICKSTARTER! To add a pin to any other level, just pledge $15 over the tier value.

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    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    *EARLY BIRD TIER*

    The Book + Free Bookplate: A copy of the full color book, plus a signed limited edition bookplate (unique to the Early Bird tier as a reward for ordering before anyone else), and the DRM free PDF.

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    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    *THE BOOK ITSELF*

    The Book + Digital Copy: A copy of The Secret Voice Vol 1 & a DRM free PDF to read on your computer or tablet of choice.

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    Pledge $30 or more About $30

    *THE THREE HOMMUNCULI*

    Three beautiful 2” cast rubber figures of Secret Voice characters Doctor Galapagos, Troll Warrior, & The Creep! This tier is if you just want to get the figures, if you want to add them to your existing pledge just adjust your pledge upwards by $30!

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    Pledge $35 or more About $35

    *THE SPECIALIST*

    Book + Signed Bookplate Edition: A copy of the full color book, plus a signed limited edition bookplate (unique to this tier), and the DRM free PDF

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    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    *DOUBLE DUTY*

    Two Books! Two PDFs! Do you want two books? We can sell you two books! Comes with one patch.

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    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    *THE ARCHIVIST*

    The Book + Silkscreened Print: The book, the DRM free PDF, the Patch, and a beautiful silkscreened 8 x10" print!

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    Pledge $62 or more About $62

    *THE SHOPKEEP*

    Retailer Tier 1: 5 copies of the Secret Voice Volume 1 at wholesale. This tier is limited to US retail establishments only! Sent via USPS Media Mail.

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    Pledge $80 or more About $80

    *THE ROGUE'S INN*

    Retailer Tier 2 : 5 Copies of the Secret Voice Volume 1 PLUS 3 copies each of Haunter, Study Group Magazine #4, Vile #1 & Vile #2 at way way less than wholesale! This tier is limited to US retail establishments only! Sent via USPS Media Mail.

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    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    *THE MEDICI*

    Sketch Edition: The Book & the DRM-free PDF, the Patch, plus I'll draw a nice ink drawing on thick paper.

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    Pledge $150 or more About $150

    *ELDRITCH PATRON*

    The Book + Original Comic Page: The Book & the DRM-free PDF, the Patch, plus a page of original art from the book! The Secret Voice has been in progress for 10+ years, so the paper sizes and sometimes paper stock can vary a bit, but generally these are 11x17 pages on Bristol, inked with india ink. (all the coloring and ink wash effects are done in the computer, so these pages are just the b&w linework) First come first serve, we'll send a list of available pages out when we're getting ready to ship.

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Funding period

- (30 days)