Back in June when the Sullivan’s Sluggers Kickstarter was successfully funded, the crowd went wild. What started as a simple graphic novel about monsters and baseball suddenly evolved into an oversized slipcase hardcover with iPad covers, ribbon bookmarks, and a stellar gatefold. It’s without a doubt one of the most successful comic book Kickstarter campaigns ever to be launched.
Unfortunately though due to all the extra upgrades, printing and shipping started becoming an issue. And while us Yanks have started receiving our copies in the mail this month, the international backers still wait patiently while wondering if it’s going to be worth the 9-month wait.
Pledging at the $50 level, I received both oversize hardcover and a t-shirt in my bundle. The shirt actually arrived yesterday, making me anxiously awaiting the UPS guy all this afternoon. Ripping open the packaging with practically my teeth, and sure enough the book glowed and an angelic choir was heard from upon high, for this comic has now replaced The Umbrella Academy: Deluxe Editions as ‘Most Prized Hardcover’ in my collection. Sure I’ll eventually allow my friends to read my copy, just as long as they wear latex gloves and don’t leave the room. Body scanners may also be required.
James Stokoe’s art has finally found the right medium, and that medium is ‘oversized.’ Because of the beautiful spreads in this book, I was allowed to scan and absorb every intricate detail on every page, taking my time making sure I didn’t miss a thing. If it’s one thing that Stokoe does well, it’s insane-looking monsters, and having Sullivan and his Sluggers battle these demonic beasts throughout the book never grows tiring to the eyes. It’s genuine eye-candy, and an absolute steal for $50 (also included; baseball cards and a print).
The real unsung hero in this entire project is Sullivan’s Sluggers creator Mark Andrew Smith for the constant communication with the backers, and making sure everyone is still in the loop after all this time. Who could have possibly foreseen how massively successful this project would have been? Smith has remained professional throughout, delaying his other projects such as Gladstone’s School for World Conquerors and the eventual Sullivan’s Sluggers sequel, Pele’s Pounders. Has he learned a thing or two for the next Kickstarter project he starts? Absolutely.
I swear this article wasn’t intended to be bragging that I received my copy and you filthy foreigners haven’t yet. Don’t despair, the final product is definitely worth this wait, and think of all the bragging you’ll be soon doing to both your local comic store and friends.
It’s also pretty awesome that Todd Garner has teamed up with Adam Herz and Joshua Shader of Terra Firma Films to produce an adaptation of Sullivan’s Sluggers, so that will add even more bragging rights in your arsenal when the eventual movie comes out. “Yeah, I helped fund that Kickstarter before it became a mega-Hollywood franchise directed by Sam Raimi.”