About this project
Northwest Press is releasing a new anthology at Comic-Con International in San Diego this July, called Anything That Loves.
We're raising money for printing costs. On this page. Right now. And you can help make it happen! Click that big button to the right, up there!
This will be, as far as I know, the first major comics anthology focusing on sexuality outside of "gay" and "straight". (Bisexual! Pansexual! Omnisexual! Why-are-you-so-obsessed-with-labeling-me-sexual!)
I'm passionate about doing this not only because these are great stories from great creators, but because I think bi-phobia is a major cause of homophobia itself, and it's rampant in both straight and gay communities. (See fascinating explanation in “What's this got to do with you?” way down below!)
Book Details Added 4/13!
As more final artwork rolls in, the book details get more and more set, and it's a much more deluxe package than we originally planned!
The book clocks in at 210 pages of comics from 30 creators. With the introduction, info about the authors, and title pages, we're looking at a 224-page book! It will be paperback, and have a nice soft-touch finish.
I've been working on the cover and have a near-final version of it, which incorporates artwork from just a handful of the creators involved. (The final version will have slightly different art inside the title's letters.)
The interior covers are going to be a mosaic of artwork from John Lustig of Last Kiss, who provided the unforgettable panel that's served as the "face" of this project since the Kickstarter launched.
New Reward Added 4/1!
This is no April Fool! We've added new $50 and $75 rewards inspired by the brand-new sexual orientation we learned about at our Non-Binary Sexuality panel at Emerald City Comic-Con last month. Show your nerd cred and your sexual diversity all at once with this fabulous T (womens and mens sizes), and get a print or digital copy of Anything That Loves and a thank-you as well!
"People assume that time is a strict progression of cause to effect. But actually from a non-linear, non-subjective viewpoint it's more like a big ball of wibbly-wobbly timey-wimey... stuff." — Doctor Who
“Anthology, huh? Who's going to be in it?”
We've assembled a great lineup of talents for Anything That Loves So far, the contributor list includes:
- Agnes Czaja
- Bill Roundy
- Ellen Forney
- Erika Moen
- Jason A. Quest
- Jason Thompson
- John Lustig
- Kate Leth
- Leia Weathington
- Randall Kirby
- Roberta Gregory
- Sam Orchard
- Sam Saturday
- Tara Madison Avery
…and some others who will be in the book but we're still double-confirming them. The work is pouring in now and it's very exciting!
“So… how will you spend the money, if I may ask?”
Our biggest expense is going to be printing. All Northwest Press books are printed in runs of 2000 copies on an offset press; print-on-demand doesn't look good enough and is also way too expensive per book. A 7x10, full-color, full-length book will cost about $8000 before proofing and incidental costs, plus another $1000 for shipping. If we hit our goal on the nose, just about every penny will go directly to the production of the book.
After Anything That Loves, we have three more books in the works for this year (see the "Stretch Goals" below!) and a successful fundraising drive for this book will give us the momentum we need to tackle all four projects comfortably. We'll be able to put Anything That Loves sales revenue immediately into future projects, rather than using it to pay down debt.
“What if you bring in a million-jillion dollars?”
First of all, that's not a number, but I understand your point. If we just meet our goal, we'll be really happy. It will make all the difference to not have to put up the money up front for Anything That Loves, and to skip right to selling copies and saving money for the next project.
But, ohhhhh… if we stretch just a little bit…!
PAGE RATES! — The contributors to Anything That Loves have graciously lent Northwest Press the use of their pages for this book, and Northwest Press is donating royalties from book sales to the nonprofit Prism Comics, in much the same way that our digital edition of the anthology Young Bottoms in Love was done.
But if this project is a hit, the creators are the main reason why, and they ought to be compensated.
Updated 3/27/13. As the number of contributors to the project grew, the original flat amount per creator started to become unworkable. So I worked out a new plan with the contributors where the numbers will add up right. Now, every $5,000 we make over our Kickstarter goal adds to the amount every artist/team will get paid, based on how many pages they contributed.
Updated 4/25/13. Adjusted the formula to account for expanded page count. (Now over 200 pages!)
- $15,000 - $30-85 per contributor (ACHIEVED!)
- $20,000 - $60-171 per contributor (ACHIEVED!)
- $25,000 - $90-257 per contributor (ACHIEVED!)
- $30,000 - $120-343 per contributor
- $50,000 - $240-685 per contributor!
- $75,000 - $390-$1,114 per contributor
There's no upper limit on this! If this appeal goes crazy and shoots to the stars, the creators who generously shared their work will be getting an even bigger reward, as it should be.
STRETCH GOAL: $25000 (ACHIEVED!)
THE LAVENDER MENACE! — We will now directly fund the production of our upcoming collection of queer super-villain short stories called The Lavender Menace: Tales of Queer Villainy! If you're getting a copy of Anything That Loves as a reward (either digital or print), you can opt to get a copy of this additional book!
STRETCH GOAL: $50000
AL QAEDA'S SUPER SECRET WEAPON! — If we make this goal, we can directly fund the production of our upcoming erotic political satire Al Qaeda's Super Secret Weapon! If you're getting a copy of Anything That Loves as a reward (either digital or print), we'll also send you this additional book!
STRETCH GOAL: $75000
QU33R! — If we make this goal, we can also send out a digital/print copy of Robert Kirby's all-new deluxe comics collection QU33R, featuring 33 amazing queer indie comics talents. If you're getting a copy of Anything That Loves as a reward (either digital or print), we'll also send you this additional book! (This book will be released in the Fall, and shipped separately.)
(For all you folks out there who are eyeing that "I'LL TAKE IT ALL… AND MORE! EDITION" that already includes these books, don't worry. If you pick this reward and we meet these stretch goals, we'll add a super-special something to your shipment. :-)
“What's a gay guy doing editing a bisexual anthology, anyway? What's this got to do with you?”
Okay, let me start at the beginning. This is going to take a while.
IT STARTED WITH A PHONE CALL
Over a year ago, I got a call from Matt, a guy that I knew in art school but hadn't heard from in ages. He was in the process of writing an article about his experience as a bisexual man and wanted to get my perspective on his time in college.
A lot of my gay classmates had been decidedly hostile to Matt. He described to me the scorn he received—people declining to let him sit at "the gay table" with them, constantly yelling taunts at him in the hallways, accusing him of being closeted, accusing him of trying on homosexuality as an art-school affectation. Just out of my teens and still rather self-absorbed, I barely registered his struggle at the time.
Matt says things improved for him somewhat after art school, and he didn't experience as much hostility, even though he continued to be open about his sexuality. Recently, though, he'd endured a new round of taunting from gay co-workers who were dubious about his existence as a bisexual man, despite the fact that he'd been living with this identity for over twenty years. All his old trauma from school came rushing back.
“HOMOPHOBIC? MAYBE YOU'RE GAY”
Around the same time I had this conversation with Matt, I'd read an article published in the New York Times about a series of studies undertaken to examine the relationship between feelings of gay identity and homophobic attitudes. The researchers identified a group of self-identified "highly straight" people, about 20% of them, who appeared to be concealing some same-sex attraction (or affinity, at least) from the study, and possibly from themselves.
The fact that people harbor secret same-sex attractions was not the newsworthy part of the study. The big deal was that these individuals were also significantly more likely to favor anti-gay policies and display greater hostility to gay people. This correlation is something that people have noticed over the years, but it had seldom been borne out by scientific method.
MY GAY IDENTITY IS OPPOSITIONAL
Gay identities are forged in fire: bold and brash personalities that protect us from those who would question and challenge us as we figure out who we are. At the start, and often continuing for the rest of our lives, we are defined in opposition to the straight culture at large. We are at war. This war may be a friendly rivalry most of the time—like "the war between the sexes"—but, like that other conflict, it sometimes gets ugly.
Is it any wonder that another queer college friend—on telling me that she married a man after I asked how she'd been doing—laughed and told me that she felt like a "traitor"? Is it any wonder that Erika Moen's readers of her incredibly personal webcomics about both her queer identity and relationship with a man think of her as a threat?
In the course of the conversation I had with Matt, he confided a long list of people that I knew–fellow students, instructors, high-profile artists—who were bisexual but who lived their lives as straight or gay instead.
Is it any wonder that so many bisexual people choose not to label themselves as such, when faced with the prospect of alienation from not just the straight world, but the gay one as well?
If we're at war, how can you be trusted if you don't pick sides?
TYING IT ALL TOGETHER
While I was on the phone with Matt, talking about the gay and straight people that had such a problem believing he was a bisexual man, I had something of an epiphany.
Some of the people in this study I read about in the Times, it occurred to me, could well be gay, but wasn't it more likely that most were bisexual? Think about it; why would someone cling to the myth of "it's a choice" unless they really felt, deep down, that they had to make one?
Could the refusal to accept the existence of bisexuality be the major obstacle to ending homophobia altogether?
I'd always felt really removed from the concept of bisexuality; I'd been supportive of them and their challenges, but they felt like another letter in the list, another smaller category, banding together with us in the battle, out of necessity.
Now I was faced with the prospect that our failures as a gay community and as a broader culture to more fully embrace bisexual people could be actively hurting all of us.
With that realization, I knew I had to change my thinking about the binary nature of sexuality, and rethink the oppositional nature of my gay identity. I had to find a way to welcome everyone who would embrace queer people as sisters and brothers, and tear down the divisions that hurt us and the people we care about.
ANYTHING THAT LOVES: THE ANTHOLOGY
This happened at the start of a year full of comics conventions, and I have not stopped talking about this subject since. Everywhere I went, all over the country, I got involved in deep discussions about sex and sexuality, about communities and divisions. My desire to take action was undeniable.
What I ended up doing was reaching out to a broad spectrum of talented people— high profile names in comics and rising stars alike—to tell tales about the complicated nature of sexuality, and to set aside the "queer enough" questions and the "too complicated" worries that often haunt LGBT comics projects. I wanted to make a truly groundbreaking collection of stories that were all about the complexity, unpredictability, diversity, and beauty of human sexuality.
I want this project to shake things up. I want it to spark discussions. I hope that seeing other peoples' individual journeys, no matter where those journeys take them, will inspire readers to look beyond limiting labels and categories, to lay down arms in the battle, and work toward a day when we're not "gay" and "straight", but "human".
IT JUST GOT REAL!
The main reason I'm reaching out for community support for this project—aside from the fact that I love this topic and this book and want to share it with everyone— is because, as of this year, running Northwest Press has become my day job.
Thanks for the sudden, surprise shove out of the nest, previous day job of eight years! Oh, wait… actually "$@#! you, previous day job". (It's a messed-up story. Ask me at a convention and I'll tell you.)
Northwest Press has been publishing quality graphic novels and comics for the past three years. We've gotten rave reviews for our books, which we strive to make "bookshelf worthy" and higher-quality than you might expect from a niche press.
Our hard work has been getting us noticed. The work that artist Mark Brill and I did on The Power Within anti-bullying comic got us featured in Out Magazine's "Out 100" for 2011. Northwest Press was voted Publisher of the Year by Cartoonists Northwest. We've had three books nominated for Lambda Literary Awards, and our very first book—Teleny and Camille, Jon Macy's epic adaptation of the "first gay novel"—took home the Lammy for Best Gay Erotica.
The first step in launching a publishing business is building up a catalog and promoting the heck out of it, which always puts you in the red. Having my day job kept NWP on a pretty steady release schedule without amassing too much debt, so I didn't have to delay books or scale back advertising or appearances. We're at the end of that phase anyway but, to be safe, I wasn't planning on leaving the job until the end of this year or later.
Now, with no steady source of income to keep the panic attacks away, I've decided to go all in. (Okay, Amanda Palmer? Here I am, asking. Just like you told me to. Fingers crossed.)
“You're right. That was a lot to read.”
I know, right? Thanks for making it this far.
“How about another video as my reward?”
I moderated a panel at Emerald City Comicon on March 3 called "Beyond Categories: Non-Binary Sexuality in Comics", and had a fun, irreverent and incredibly interesting conversation with Randall Kirby, Erika Moen, Leia Weathington, Ellen Forney and Jason Thompson. Erika was kind enough to record the proceedings and post them to Vimeo.
Isn't that fun? We've got to make t-shirts.
Seriously though, Northwest Press is one of the few comics publishers that actively seek out and support a wide variety of LGBT comics work. I founded the company because I saw beautiful stories being marginalized and passed over because publishers didn't know what to do with them.
We know what to do with them: nurture them, put them among good company, and invite everyone to come take a look.
Help us make the launch of Anything That Loves a big success and we promise to continue doing just that.
Risks and challenges
"Anything That Loves" is already well underway and will be solicited to comics shops to ship in late Summer. We've tied the release of the book to Comic-Con International in San Diego, so there shouldn't be any delay in getting the book printed and mailing rewards in August.
Should the book experience a delay for any reason—"Stop the presses! A reclusive comics legend has decided he wants to participate at the last minute!"—then we will make sure the news travels far and wide and you're kept in the loop.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
Not a thing! The reason I didn't use the word more prominently is that I think so many people reject the label and live as gay or straight "with exceptions", or as pansexual, or polyamorous, or just go label-less, and I didn't want to exclude anyone. Words have a lot of power and can get loaded with baggage, and this project is all about stepping outside of those categories and coming together as a queer community.
We wanted the drive to be open during the upcoming Northwest Press convention appearances: Norwescon (March 28-31), APRIL Small Press Book Expo (March 30), The LA Times Festival of Books (April 20-21) and Stumptown Comics Fest (April 27-28). The funding drive will end right after Stumptown.
Unfortunately, we've reached our upper limit for contributors to this particular project. If you're interested in working with Northwest Press on future projects, you can check out submission guidelines at http://northwestpress.com/submissions
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