Yes, yes, ya’ll! Kickstart My Heart is finally back and you know what that means, don’tcha, peeps? That’s right! It’s means it’s time to talk about crowdfunding!
You guys know me. From time to time, I like to help focus our collective attention onto comic book and graphic novel ventures that truly need and deserve our hard-earned ducats, and with Kickstart My Heart I’m going to be doing just that. Well, that and make you think about Mötley Crüe way more than you normally would. That is, unless you’re Vince Neil or something… He, uh, doesn’t have much else going on.
So, when I spot a project on Kickstarter or Indiegogo that stands out and blows up my skirt, I’ll be telling you fine folks all about it in the hopes that you’ll make it rain for that particular campaign. In this column, you’ll be supplied with a breakdown of the project itself as well as interviews with the team running the campaign when possible.
Let’s see what we’ve got this time around.
What is THE JEWISH COMIX ANTHOLOGY?
The Jewish Comix Anthology aims to present in one collection 252 pages of Jewish folk tales, Talmud tales, and more produced by 47 of the top comic creators from all over the world. Little seen stories from all-time greats like Robert Crumb, Will Eisner, Joe Kubert, Harvey Pekar and Art Spiegelman will appear alongside new tales from creators like Clifford Meth, Joe Infunari, Trina Robbins, Adam Gorham, Haiwei Hou, Katherine Piro and Michael Netzer in this absolutely massive tome. The team of Steven M. Bergson and Andy Stanleigh have really put together something special and it definitely deserves your attention.
Now, I’m a sucker for culturally specific folklore that I have very little personal experience with so I find this combination of older works adapting classic tales side by side with interpretations from contemporary creators to be extremely intriguing, but if you’re still on the fence about the whole thing, maybe SEEING some of the art will sway you…
Yeah, that’s right.
A contribution of $10 will put a digital edition of the anthology in your possession while $40 will land you the real deal hardcover. That’s a helluva dea lfor over 250 pages of astounding sequential storytelling. So how much do these guys need to bring it to you?
50,000 samolians is what it’ll take to cover the artists, printing of the first run of hardcover books, as well as backer rewards for this giant undertaking. Every little bit helps, of course, but if you’re wondering what your contribution will get you beyond the $10 and $40 levels, I invite you to direct your gaze downward.
$2 – Special thank-you email by the Publisher and Editor of the Anthology
$5 – Email + Inclusion on Thank You page at www.jewishcomixanthology.com
$10 – The above + Digital copy of anthology + a set of 5 unique 7″ x 2″ bookmarks with various artwork from the Anthology
$18 – The above + a set of 5 beautiful postcards with art from one of the stories in the Anthology
$40 – The above + A hardcover edition of Jewish Comix Anthology: Volume 1
$72 – The above + the hardcover edition of the book SIGNED BY FIVE OF THE BOOK’S ARTISTS including Adam Gorham, Katherine Piro, Andy Stanleigh, Shane Kirshenblatt, and Liat Shalom! PLUS this copy will also be signed by Editor and expert Steven M. Bergson
$360 – The above + Signed, framed, original art created exclusively for the Anthology by artist Josh Edelglass
$1000 – The First Printing hardcover edition of the book signed by Art Spiegelman!
$4500 — Be named as a Producer in the Anthology. This would automatically make you/your organization eligible for any dedications, certificates or publishing awards that the Jewish Comix Anthology: Volume 1 may be nominated for and receive!
Still need some convincing? Well, lucky for you I was able to wrangle Andy Stanleigh and Steven M. Bergson for a few questions!
KRIS: How did the idea for this project come about?
ANDY: The Jewish Comix Anthology is actually the brain-child of Steven M. Bergson, MLIS who is a Research Administrator at UJA Federation of Greater Toronto, Past President of the Association of Jewish Libraries (Ontario Chapter), a seasoned blogger and an expert on the representation of Jews in comic books, comic strips, and graphic novels. Steven has spent the last 10 years organizing the content/stories, and using to the fullest his contacts in the comic book industry (he’s given talks and even moderated special panels at SDCC). Steven approached me/AH Comics back in October 2013 about the possibility of publishing his idea/project. As an independent publisher, an illustrator and someone of Jewish heritage myself there was no way I could pass this up! Steven is the Editor of the Anthology, and I’m working as project manager and art director with AH Comics publishing.
KRIS: Of all of the comic book Kickstarter and Indiegogo campaigns flooding the interwebs, what do you feel sets your project apart?
ANDY: I think what sets our project apart is the sheer number of individual creators involved. Including both the reprinted material and the newly commissioned work there are 47 individual artists working on this. Not only that, but never before (that I know of) has this many of the bigger names in comic book history been in one collection – Harvey Pekar, Joe Kubert, Will Eisner, Robert Crumb, Michael Netzer, and “the father of the graphic novel” Art Spiegelman, to name a few.
KRIS: In the past you’ve published Hobson’s Gate and Titan funded in-house through AH Comics, but I believe this is your first foray into crowd-funding. What made you decide to go this route this time around?
ANDY: AH Comics felt that crowd-funding this project just seemed to fit. The Anthology is a collection of Jewish-themed stories, and Judaism is a culture of community. We have artists from Canada, the US, Israel and the UK, so we want this to be a true community-based project, and get as many people as possible the opportunity to join in and support it.
KRIS: You’ve clearly been digging through a lot of comic history preparing this book, what rediscovered tale surprised and excited you the most?
ANDY: Since Steven has done all the digging I asked him to answer this one.
STEVEN: ‘Ben Dordia’s Confession’ surprised me in 2 ways. First of all, the story itself had never been brought up in any discussions I’d ever had about the Talmud. The nature of the story made it inappropriate for my Hebrew Academy or Associated Hebrew Day School classes and by the time I was an adult, no one I discussed Jewish stories with ever mentioned it to me.
It fascinated me that Terry LaBan was the cartoonist who decided to adapt it. I knew that Terry had done “adult” stories before ; an issue of Cud which I own has the “parental discretion advised” warning on the cover. I also knew that he had done Jewish stories before. I first learned about his work after purchasing the issue of Cud which contained the Fiddler on the Roof parody “Fiddler on My Face”. Later, I noticed his name in an article about his syndicated strip Edge City, which is about a Jewish family.
I guess I was surprised because Jewish cartoonists are stereotyped as being unaware of their heritage &/or unwilling to represent it overtly on the comic page. Terry LaBan showed that he didn’t fit that stereotype.
KRIS: What new story are you most excited about people seeing?
STEVEN: That’s a tie between The Artist’s Search (a story about beauty and inspiration that begs to be told visually by an artist) and My Zeyde (an adaptation of a song with a beautiful melody which reminds me of my own musical grandfather who met my grandmother through the Toronto Jewish Folk Choir which they both sang for).
ANDY: As for me, I’m excited to see the story “The Two Brothers”, which will be illustrated by Haiwei Hou. Haiwei is an incredible artist, but also someone who is not so familiar with Jewish culture/heritage, and I can’t wait to see how she interprets the story, both visually and thematically.
KRIS: What do you think people need to know about The Jewish Comix Anthology that hasn’t been said already?
ANDY: What people need to know about the Jewish Comix Anthology: Volume 1 is that even though the stories are Jewish-themed, they are not ‘religious’. They are comic book/graphic novel adaptations of a historic culture, stories and folk tales. Anyone and everyone can enjoy this book 🙂
KRIS: Beyond monetary contributions what can people do to help you guys reach your funding goal?
ANDY: Besides the money, the best support we could get is to have people help spread the word! We have creators from Canada, the US, Israel and the UK so we’re hoping to get people from all over to visit the Kickstarter page and see what it’s all about. Even if you don’t pledge, just getting people talking about it is a great help.
So, there you have it, folks! Thanks to Steven and Andy for taking the time to answer my questions. You guys should reward them by visiting their Kickstarter page and maybe even the Jewish Comix Anthology website.
Hey look! LINKS! Convenient.
Running a crowd funding project or know of one that could use a spotlight? Let Kris know about it via Twitter @KrisJJohnson
To See Kris’s comic work, visit www.bizarrecomicsonline.com