Christopher Irving writes,
Amazing Heroes Wave 1.5 builds off the successful action figure campaign from the summer, with the added bonus of a figure of Mike Allred's Madman, Silver Streak, or original archetype hero Champion of Mars.
Maybe we're gluttons for punishment, but when Bill Murphy decided to get the most out of the trip to the factory for the successfully funded Amazing Heroes Kickstarter, and produce the two stretch figures we didn't get to last time, he got my full attention.
Ed Catto and Joe Ahearn of Captain Action Enterprises hooked me up with Bill when I saw he was starting this action figure line made up of Golden Age characters Black Terror, Daredevil, Stardust, and Captain Action, and had to become part of it. The truth is, like Bill, I've always wanted to work on and make toys and this was my chance to get in on the ground floor and help develop the story and copy end of things.
It funded, at the eleventh hour (with the inclusion of a Green Turtle action figure), but we made a bit more than our $30K goal. That was in August.
In the meantime, Bill and I were chatting about dream toy lines and future action figures. Top on that list was Mike Allred's Madman, the most classic contemporary superhero out there. I discovered Madman Adventures when I was in high school and distinctly remember the first time I cracked it open, only to be blown away by both Mike's art and Laura's colors (the first time I ever really noticed comic book coloring was in her candy-colored hues; the first time I ever really noticed 3D was in this month's Madman In Your Face 3d Special, courtesy of Christian LeBlanc). Madman redefined my expectations of what a comic book should be and I think it's safe to say Bill feels the same way.
I've been lucky to know Mike since college, and at the time was compiling my Conversations interview book on him for the University of Mississippi Press. Bill had already decided to do the Wave 1.5, where we'd produce the stretch goal figures of Silver Streak and Champion of Mars, with a plan to engage creators to not only draw front card art but also (if funded) draw an original strip on the back of the card. Mike was top on our list to draw a card and, thankfully, agreed to join in. Knowing his love of Jack Cole, I wasn't shocked when he requested the Golden Age Daredevil (a character that Cole, in same brilliant fashion he earlier took to Silver Streak, made his own). We were even more stoked when Mike was happy to have us produce the first new Madman figure in a few years!
Between Bill and I, we got even more artists on board to draw cards: Erik Larsen was the perfect choice for Stardust; Reilly Brown (an old friend and Brooklyn studio mate of mine) took Champion of Mars; Sonny Liew naturally took the honors for Green Turtle; Tom Fowler on Black Terror; Tim Seeley on Silver Streak; and Phil Hester on Captain Action. Mike Allred drew up the Madman card; Frank Einstein brandishing twin yo-yos like Dare-Devil's twin boomerangs creates a visual link between the two characters and creators.
Some of the challenges we've faced have come from having smaller pledge levels—figures can be bought for an average of $22 each, with signed card editions for $65—which means we'll have to either sell more of the larger sets (this is another chance for people who missed out on Wave 1 to still snag those figures) or have more singles picked up by a greater amount of fans.
Since we launched during the start of the holiday season, and want people to consider gifting Amazing Heroes, we're adding a Gift Card option. You can pledge for a figure or set of figures for a friend, and we'll email a certificate after the Kickstarter is fully funded (which would be a few days before Christmas) as a gift for the holiday season. We're also adding a new level: fans can buy a custom painted Madman figure (of a design of their choosing or their own making, which we need to first approve).
So far, we've been really lucky on meeting our goal: with two weeks left, we've only got about $6K to go. While we originally had Madman set as a stretch goal, Bill decided to unlock him early, and that opened him up to Madman and Allred fans. The challenge we're facing now, part of the way through, is to get the word out. We're really hoping to get this second chance to make even more figures for fans of the classic Golden Age superheroes, and have plans to do more Madman and other creator owned characters if this one is successful.