Some people are lucky. Some work hard and persevere. Some are dreamers who fear failing so much that they don't even try. My story is a combination of all three.
Most of my time in school was spent daydreaming about wrestling, comic books, and cartoons. I was lucky enough to work at a local comic book shop that later went out of business in 2003. Every Wednesday was like a birthday party where I'd be given tons of gifts. Except, those gifts were books such as Preacher, Green Lantern, & Groo. Titles that further influenced me, making my passion to grow and grow.
Life has a way of throwing obstacles in your way without mercy. One such obstacle occurred shortly after I graduated high school in 1998 when I began having severe health issues. It wasn't long until I was diagnosed with Colon Cancer. It seemed as though I would never have a chance to live my dream of making my own books.
Fortunately for me, I survived without the need for chemotherapy. But I was left with a rough case of Ulcerative Colitis that persists to this day.
Spending time at home on the computer became like a ritual. That ritual opened the doors for a meeting that changed my life.
Though I had spoken to both men on Facebook, I had the chance to go meet and buy the products of Big Dog Ink Founder/Head-Writer Tom Hutchison and my mentor, Horror writer Extraordinaire, Dirk Manning, at a local comic shop run by a friend. Both me were so gracious and offered up a plethora of advice, much of which I still use.
That was when I created No Gravity Studios, began contacting artists, and rewrote my old scripts into a readable format. Most of my life-savings were depleted in quick order due to the sames I sought out and the prices their work commanded. Eventually, that money ran out and it was time to start printing these books. But how would I be able to fund this stuff?
That was when a friend recommended that I try using Kickstarter to acquire the funds. The first campaign was rocky, but successful. However, the end product took far too long when I couldn't find reliable talent to help finish the book. So, I refunded all of the backers and moved on to the next project.
That next project ended up being my lowest point. I had forgotten to lower the funding goal before we went live. As many of you know, once the campaign goes live, you can't adjust the goal amount. I honestly thought was the last chance I would ever get.
Once again, life had other plans.
I soon became friends with the mega-talented Jeremy Clark, who I believe is one of the best traditional inkers in the history of comic books. Jeremy opened a lot of doors for me that would not have been options, otherwise. He introduced me to incredibly talented artists who have all done several pieces for my books.
It appeared as though I wasn't finished with this particular dream, just yet.
Against the fears I had of failing, again, I pushed through and built a Kickstarter for the book I created when I was five, Light-Earth. We had a successful campaign for that #0 issue. So, it seemed natural to do another one for issue #1.
After two successful campaigns that barely made their goals, I didn't realize that I was about to release the floodgates.
Without the aid of endorsements, investors, sponsors, or advertisers, our campaign for Light-Earth #2 earned over $11,000 from 151 backers. By far, the proudest moment of my short career in the industry.
Part of me thought "There's no way I'll ever top THAT."
Boy, was I wrong.
The issue #3 campaign ended on August 19th of this year with $13,906 raised by 179 backers. That makes just under $40,000 that my projects have raised in the past 18 months.
I understand that most of you reading this have no idea who I am, or what my books are. It was that exact reason why I hired the names I did for our variant covers. Laura Braga (Marvel, DC, Image), Ace Continuado (Dark Horse, IDW), Darryl Banks (DC's Green Lantern), Ryan Kincaid (Zenescope), Chris Ehnot (Zenescope), Mike DeBalfo (Big Dog Ink, Zenescope), Ale Garza (Marvel, DC, Image, Dynamite, Zenescope), Alex Kotkin (Zenescope), Collette Turner (Rothic), Ula Mos (Marvel, Zenescope, Big Dog Ink), & Ian Snyder (Big Dog Ink, Broken Butterfly) have all been instrumental in showcasing different interpretations of my characters that draw in fans of various art styles.
Our new project has just launched. It is an ambitious new limited series from NGS that will combine all three worlds from the three separate titles under into one universe. Affinity: Arrival is the first in this maxi-series, with the second being Affinity: Beneath, the third being Affinity: Collision, and the final volume being Affinity: Zenith.
Will people care?
I hope so.
With NGS, every backer is treated with the utmost respect. There is no book without them. They are the ones who make it all possible. They are what make crowdfunding so great.
Even if I died tomorrow, I would know that I had the chance to live a dream that most people laughed at when I was in my teens. There are so many who aren't as fortunate, or lucky to make it this far.
I am truly grateful that creators like myself can now go out there and find the support they need.
I wish them all the best of luck.