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Buddy’s Notes — Changing the Game

by Buddy Lord

A true heavy hitter in the comic industry,

Sean Gordon Murphy, whose most recent success has been the ‘Batman White Knight’ series, has stated publicly on his twitter account that he is entering the crowdfunding arena sometime next year.

What this will mean for the current crowdfunding landscape is yet to be seen, but it will surely ramp up the level of competition. After all, iron sharpens iron. So let’s take a look at the current board and see what’s transpired so far.

 

This year has seen massive winners in the crowdfunded comic book arena.

Doug Tennapel’s Earthworm Jim topped 768k, Icarus and the Sun earned 596k, and Ethan Van Sciver’s Cyberfrog bested them all with over 800k across three campaigns.

 

 

There are other successes across the board, but the Godfather of modern crowdfunded comics has to be Brian Pulido.

He’s managed to successfully crowdfund multiple books a year and even purchased a building to publish and print his comics. Check out his current book on Kickstarter here.

Pulido’s basic strategy has been to come out with a book, successfully market that book, and then fulfill that book. Every time he brings out a project, his fans are already on top of it. He has a dedicated mailing list, and is very engaged and transparent with his fans. They know exactly what to expect from his comics and from him. His audience grows with every book he makes.

This is the kind of interaction that is missing with fans and the mainstream comic industry. With the advent of social media and the internet, everyone wants to know their heroes. Crowdfunded Comics gives customers a chance to not only know their heroes, but also to be a part of their budding new business. This creates a thin veil between customer and creator, and changes the relationship dynamics therein.

To most, they’re just buying a book.

However to some, they’re no longer just a customer; they’re a backer, and an investor in a creator’s future. This makes them feel a part of something, and engages the customer like never before in comics.

 

The showmanship and circus of crowdfunding comics is part of the charm, at least for now.

One has to wonder if bringing in bonafide and current superstars like Sean Gordon Murphy will change that part of the landscape.

Ethan Van Sciver has built his Frog empire on his Youtube channel. He is entertaining, interesting, and funny. Does Sean Gordon need to be this way to sell comics? Does there have to be theater in his production?

I doubt it.

Our very own Von Klaus, has no Youtube channel, and very little social media following.  He was still able to fund just short of 60k. Read his article here, and learn just how he did it.

 

What will Sean Gordon Murphy bring to the table?

His talent is undeniable, and his no nonsense moderate James Dean-esque persona will no doubt be a hit with customers. What I think Sean Gordon will bring with him, is the mainstream itself. With a current talent interested in crowfunding, this makes it viable for anyone, including companies.

Will IDW or another floundering publishing company seek refuge from the direct market? Will companies find other promotion and distribution practices outside Diamond?

It could definitely happen.

Bringing companies into Crowdfunding could open up fulfillment and distribution. The companies would be smart to do like Peter Simeti and Alterna’s printing partnership program. That is — help creators make their comics by partnering with them in infrastructure. This is both helping your neighbor, and marketing yourself, all at the same time.

In short, Sean Gordon Murphy could blur the lines between mainstream and indie comics in general.

Now that’s what I call — Changing the Game.

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