Decisions: A Minor Variation On Kickstarter

Martin T Pierro writes for Bleeding Cool about his latest crowdfunding adventure. He writes; As I launch my latest Kickstarter for Decisions: A Minor Variation out into the universe, I find myself reflecting on the path I have taken to get here. When I created Cosmic Times in 2008, it was a way to bring the stories from my head to the world. One of the goals in those early days was to get into the Diamond Previews catalog to share my comics with the widest audience possible. However, soon after submitting that first book, I received my FIRST rejection letter … it would not be the last.

Decisions: A Minor Variation On Kickstarter
The Cosmic Times booth crew in 2014

By 2014 I had worked my way up the ladder and found myself distributed by Diamond; the dream became a reality. The process of working with Diamond isn't as daunting as others would have you believe; everyone I worked with was very nice and helpful. There were a few glitches, like one time they shipped an issue three a week before issue two, but I didn't mind; I was in the big league. However, as time went on, sales began to dip, the industry was changing, and I didn't notice. By the end of 2017, Cosmic Times came to a grinding halt.

Fast forward to the end of 2019, after a few false starts and stops, my creative director Zach Bassett and I decided to give comics one more try. We dusted off an old black & white mini-series from 2012 titled From Blood. Zach and I had written a good chunk of the story for that series and, after much deliberation, decided to color it and launch it on Kickstarter. The first issue was a mild success; in 2020, the second was equally successful, and the third issue of From Blood was a bonafide hit. Suddenly I was passionate about making comics again.

Decisions: A Minor Variation On Kickstarter
From Blood on Kickstarter

I found myself writing, and when I finished, I had written two short stories, enough to fill a comic. What was even more surprising to me was that I had been so busy publishing the work of others and co-writing with my friends, I hadn't solo written anything in a long time. In fact, outside of two projects for Bluewater/TidalWave, this was the first thing I had solo written in nearly a decade.

The project is a one-shot entitled Decisions: A Minor Variation and is currently funding on Kickstarter.  I think I was so focused on a goal from 2008 that I missed the changing trends of the industry and the movement towards direct to consumer sales. That's not to say that I am turning my back to Diamond, but if 2020 has taught me anything, it's that this industry is in a state of flux. But what Kickstarter offers that DIamond doesn't is a place to tell smaller stories like the ones in this Decisions one-shot. It's a supernatural slice-of-life book with an edge and something that would be difficult to sell to some comic shops. However, with crowdfunding, I can find those readers who are looking for this type of book.

Decisions: A Minor Variation On Kickstarter
Decisions cover by Oscar Pinto – now funding.

The two stories are very personal to me; the first one deals with a man about to give up on his dreams, something that I'm sure I am not the only one who relates to. The second is based on the experiences I had as a child and then had again while raising my son. Though the story is loosely tied to current events, it's really about the influence we have on others with the examples we set. I was lucky to find two artists who understood the emotional depths I was reaching for. Fredson Oliveira and Michael Dorman did an outstanding job, as did cover artist Oscar Pinto; if we hit a particular stretch goal, our backers will be in for a treat from Zach Bassett as well.

Decisions: A Minor Variation On Kickstarter
Decisions page art by Michael Dorman – Now Funding.

Ultimately, I started this journey in 2008 to tell stories and to do so through the medium of comic books. Though the path I expected to take has greatly changed, I have recently begun to embrace that change, and through platforms like Kickstarter, I am once again able to share my stories with the world.

About Rich Johnston

Founder of Bleeding Cool. The longest-serving digital news reporter in the world, since 1992. Author of The Flying Friar, Holed Up, The Avengefuls, Doctor Who: Room With A Deja Vu, The Many Murders Of Miss Cranbourne, Chase Variant. Lives in South-West London, works from Blacks on Dean Street, shops at Piranha Comics. Father of two. Political cartoonist.

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