Michael Moreci stops by the Outhouse to share his views on Kickstarter and the motivations behind his own Kickstarter campaign.
Michael Moreci is the writer of Image's Hoax Hunters series and is currently developing Reincar(Nate), a new creator-owned series being published by Viper Comics. Michael is using Kickstarter to fund Reincar(Nate) and agreed to write an editorial for the Outhouse about his reasons for using crowd-funding.
It's always a bit unnerving, when you decide to embark on a certain path, for someone to ask, "well, why did you do that?" You have to take a step outside yourself and really wonder why, exactly, you did make a certain decision (and if you made a colossal mistake). I had this encounter fairly regularly when I decided to launch a Kickstarter drive to support the release of my graphic novel, Reincar(Nate). Many people asked, "why Kickstarter?" which I think is a valid question.
So, here's my answer:
I came to doing a Kickstarter drive for Reincar(Nate) in a roundabout way. See, the book already has a publisher. Viper Comics—probably best known for their books The Middleman and Dead @ 17—had signed the book to a deal way back when (about a year and a half ago, to be more specific). But, the deal was only for a digital release, not print. Signing Reincar(Nate) to a digital contract was a pact I wrestled with, and I expressed as much to Viper. Something to bear in mind is that, while a year and a half doesn't seem like that long ago, in terms of digital evolution, it feels like decades have passed. Digital simply wasn't what it has grown to be now—there wasn't day of release or Mark Waid innovations (even though these things were likely percolating in the background, in some form). So, naturally, I was intimidated by the idea of reaching a digital audience. I've never been a big webcomics reader; there are a few I enjoy, but not enough to prevent me from feeling like a foreigner in that community.
Nonetheless, I wanted to take a chance on digital. With an open mind, it doesn't take much to read the tea leaves and see important things that will shake up the comics industry are happening digitally. Does it mean the end of print and retail? Absolutely not, at least not for a long time (in my opinion). So the Reincar(Nate) creative team and I decided to jump on board and see if we could make this work. Luckily, between then and now, many of the concerns I had with digital have since been solved. Comixology has become a powerhouse, Graphic.ly has launched its own self-publishing model, and so on. That has made the idea of a digital release much more palatable, and has in fact made us excited for the advantages digital brings.
Still, I'm very much a purist at heart. I love having actual copies of comics, reading them, storing them, experiencing the sense of community that only a good LCS can provide. Print comics are what I grow up on, they're what I know. And it just so happens that, when it comes to DIY publishing, we're living in a very charmed time. The creator-owned movement is so strong right now, and many people are eager to support projects that work outside a certain rubric. A few years ago, this wasn't always the case; you couldn't get a full-color, 100+ graphic novel off the ground without taking an enormous risk. But mindsets have changes, as has technology. Kickstarter is an amazing tool that democratizes the creative process. Audiences decide whether a project makes it, not gatekeepers with a narrow view of what they deem to be publishable.
Mixing the old (print) with the new (digital, Kickstarter) is what I enjoy most about Reincar(Nate) —except for the book itself, of course. I've had success with various publishers, most recently Image and the release of my series, Hoax Hunters. And I love the traditional comics publishing model. But going down the path I have with Reincar(Nate) (which, granted, has often been chosen for me) has enabled me to take unique chances and push myself in all aspects of my role as a comics creator. While the experience is a stressful one, I recommend it for creators in any stage of their career. There's something to be said about seeing a book through from beginning to end—producing it, marketing it, and selling it. I know it has invigorated me.
To support Reincar(Nate), click here for the Kickstarter page.
Written or Contributed by: Michael Moreci