The Birth of Brethren Born: Two Men, A Baby And Kickstarter

movieimage2Brethren Born #1 by Jon Laight (Creator/Writer), Philip Knibbs (Artist) Close Date: Sunday June 21st (11:58 am to be exact!!). Publishing Date: Early-Mid September 2015

Brethren Born #1 is the first in a brand new on-going comic book series following the saga of a young boy subjected to a life of experiments, tragic events and the path it takes him over several timelines. A story of vengeance and violence involving powers on a universal scale that will grip comic book fans and story lovers alike.

Jon Laight writes,

Never start with an apology, rule 2 in the book of writing. Never start a sentence with a but, rule 3. But I'm sorry. This last week has been an amazing experience and the latest in a journey that started two years ago following a tweet I received from Mark Millar (that fella who has written a couple of comics) and I've just got to tell someone why. Hopefully I can inspire 1 or 2 of you to follow a dream and make it a reality.

My name is Jon Laight and I'm not a professional writer. I have worked in the Fire Service for over 17 years and all that time I have been a comic book fan with a desire, like most of us I expect, to write my own comic and get it published. My mind continually pitches to itself new ideas, characters and stories but I never take the time to write them down and seriously consider turning them into something tangible. Until I took the plunge two years ago when all this began.

Tweeting celebrities is a mostly useless activity, especially the ones with hundreds of thousands or even millions of followers so 24 months ago when I tweeted (hate that word) Mark Millar asking for advice about writing a comic, I didn't expect a reply. When he did I almost had an involuntary bowel movement. I have been a big fan of his work for such a long time but the words he had typed gave me the final push I needed. He had simply written "If you're gonna write a comic, write a comic fella".

Copy of banner layoutSo I started writing. I had an idea and from that, the title "Brethren Born" came into being which itself generated more ideas, themes and characters to help write a full synopsis and the first issue of the comic. As a total newbie to writing, I had written this first issue in a story format and it wasn't until I had finished, that I picked up a couple articles on how comics should be written if you are going to submit them. As a result, a full re-write had to take place which generated even more late nights and evil looks from beautiful and supportive wife (just in case she reads this at some point). By October last year I had a fully written first issue ready to rock but a minor problem for a comic…no artist. Plus no money to pay them. Thankfully, social media and websites just like Bleeding Cool have thousands of people who are like minded (insert appropriate noun e.g individuals, geeks, geniuses) who may know or actually "be" artists willing to work with someone who is a total beginner but willing to learn and share a passion for making a comic.

Philip Knibbs answered the call following a Facebook conversation with his brother. Phil is a full time graphic designer and compositor who has done a few illustrations for friends and family but as soon as I saw what he could do I knew I had found the perfect artist for the comic. I sent Phil the script for the first three pages to see what he could do with it and when he emailed them back, my eyes almost had to be surgically replaced due to them almost popping from my head. He had translated exactly what I had written into pictures in a classical comic format and it looked amazing even in a sketch/storyboard format. Brethren Born was on its way and now we had to figure out how to fund it.

There has been several previous articles on Bleeding Cool on how to produce a successful Kickstarter project so I won't go into too much detail on the process. The campaign page was developed over several months (the link can be found here) and I promoted it mostly through Facebook and Twitter trying to keep people interested versus not annoying the "you know what out" of them. It was our first crowd-funding attempt so we had no idea if we had got it right.

Fast forward to last week, or should that be rewind…you get the gist!

The launch of the Kickstarter campaign was to coincide with the first day of us being an exhibitor at MCM London Comic Con so we could promote Brethren Born at the UK's biggest comic convention. This would give us a lot of exposure and with hindsight, a lot more nerves and terror as the onslaught of the thousands of people surged towards us in various guises and costumes. The terror evolved into fear, then into pure excitement as we talked to hundreds of people about our passion and drive to make the comic a success. We launched the Kickstarter project at 12pm on the Friday with a target of £2200 to be reached within 30 days and waited to see what would happen. Would we get some backers on the first day? By the end of the first weekend? It was a nerve wracking moment. We had worried for nothing. Within minutes the first backers started pledging. By 1pm we were at over £600. By 3pm over £1000 and by the end of day 1 we were at £1900 and looking like we would get to the target by the first weekend. The whole of Comic Con was a mind blowing experience and I met so many fantastic people and fellow artists, writers and comic fans that I will make sure I will keep in contact with them for a long time. If you have never been to a Comic Con, I highly recommend you go to one…it's mental.

So where are we now? This last week has been an amazing experience. The funding is currently at £4200 and all the late nights and hard work to make this dream come true has paid off. The campaign still has 23 days to go and who knows where the total funding will end and our comic is going to be published. If you want to know more please follow the links to the website and Kickstarter campaign page and if you like what you see please consider joining us and back one of the reward tiers. There will be a special tier for Bleeding Cool readers going live this weekend focusing on comic book fans that will give plenty of value for money. If you get anything from reading this though, I hope it is the message that dreams can be achieved through a little hard work, desire and a love for comics.


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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