Bleeding Cool's Kickstarter Correspondent, Shawn Demumbrum has lead three Kickstarter campaigns to launch comic books, two successfully funded and one that wasn't. Each week he will point out some of the unique Kickstarter projects that wouldn't normally be published by the big comic book companies, but deserve your attention. Shawn's current project Break the Walls: Stories Inspired by the Songs of the Pixies is also being funded through Kickstarter.
Brett Thompson has launched a Kickstarter campaign to print and distribute 20,000 copies of his new comic Kid Nash to residents of metro Nashville, Tennessee. The book focuses on the character whose powers only work in Nashville and therefore uses local landmarks and locations that readers will identify with. We spoke with Brett about his Kickstarter campaign as it approaches it final days several thousands of dollars off of its goal.
How did the idea of Kid Nash come about?
I've always thought about the idea of a localized comic. I just wasn't sure how to make it successful. After college, I began work at a magazine in Nashville that uses the Free Publication business model… where local advertisers, and some national, pay for the production of the magazine. That's when I realized how it could be successful. The concept that his powers would only work in Nashville was just kind of a given for me… it reinforced his need to stay local.
Why did you choose to go the superhero route when there are very few examples of successful independent superhero comics?
I think most independent superhero comics don't succeed because they are reaching beyond their grasp. They are trying to find readers on a national or global level. They are competing with established superheroes who have loyal readers… what's more is those readers are financially loyal to those respective publishers. This comic takes both competitive elements out of the equation… 1) Kid Nash as a printed comic has a maximum reach to the Nashville Metro Area. As a digital comic, anyone who can read and click a mouse can enjoy the comic also. 2) The comic book will be a free publication. So readers don't have to decide if they can afford to spend an extra $3 to try a new title.
Do you see any creative limitations by setting Kid Nash in Nashville and having his powers only work in Nashville?
Absolutely not. What drives these stories like all successful comics is the connection of the characters to each other and the connection the readers have to the characters.
I doubt writers of Spider-Man feel creatively limited because Spider-Man can't fly.
Is Kid Nash your first published comic?
It is not… a few years ago I published a mini-series called Project EON. It was later collected into a trade paperback. I co-write it with Freddie Williams II (DC Comics artist Robin, Flash, Captain Atom, and upcoming Green Arrow). After Freddie did his art duties on the first 48 page issue he got hired by DC. I finished the mini series with artist Shawn McGuan. I spent close to $17,000 dollars producing that comic with an independent comics publisher… Want to guess how much I was paid in return?
I've seen a number of projects lately that describe locally distributing comics (mostly educational comics) for free. How did you come to the decision to distribute your comic for free? Will you retain free distribution for future issues? If not, how will you intend to convert free readers to paying users?
The business model just made sense to me. The comic book is free the month it's newly released… There is a plan to build in "pay-to-read" back issues. Also, we'll collect issues and story arcs into Volumes to sell. There are plenty of other merchandising opportunities.
Your distribution plans talk about handing the comics out in non-traditional places. How do you intend to continue that distribution beyond that pilot issue? Have you partnered with the local comic book shops to support the book and act as a common point to pick up the comics?
There are several options to continue distribution… I'm dealing with businesses mostly where I can drop of a stack of books for their customers to read while they are waiting, or that that can grab on their way out of a business. There are also distribution companies that will handle that for us and distribute in grocery stories and such. Our comic shops here in Nashville are an obvious choice to distribute the comic.
What is the publishing schedule for Kid Nash?
We are looking at a monthly to 6 week schedule. Our goal is to offer readers a regular monthly, dependable schedule.
What are you plans for Kid Nash if you don't hit your Kickstarter goal? Is it still a feasible project at a lower print run?
Well honestly, with 4 days left and not even 33% funded, meeting the kickstarter goal is probably a pipe dream. However, as a graphic designer I have been fortunate enough to land a pretty significant freelance project that will fund the production of the pilot issue and get it in the hands of our future advertisers. So if you pledged and thought the project was dead because the Kickstarter campaign didn't fully fund… don't worry… we're not going to let a little thing like that keep us down.
Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions. How can people find out more about Kid Nash?
My pleasure… thank you for the interview. You can find out more about Kid Nash from www.kidnash.com, Facebook.com/KidNashComic, or sign up to receive our newsletters for updates, contests, and promotions (sign up on our website or facebook page).