Help Peter Bagge’s Apocalypse Nerd Get Filmed

Tupaq Felber writes for Bleeding Cool:

“Gordon and Perry are a couple of chronically adolescent friends, about to turn 40. A week alone in the wilds of Scotland has them dealing with their assorted personal issues, as well as an inconveniently timed cataclysm”.

photo 1Apocalypse Nerd is a dark sci-fi comedy [“The Road meets Withnail and I” or “Old Joy meets Time of the Wolf“], based on the Dark Horse graphic-novel by Peter Bagge. For the 3.6 of you that don’t know, Peter Bagge is the underground-comics legend who changed the game with his Fantagraphics book HATE in the 1980’s, and more recently made us guffaw with his MEGALOMANIACAL SPIDER MAN for Marvel Comics, and cartooning for Reason.

photo 2The full-length feature film is planned for January 2014 shoot, in and around Jake Williams’s cabin in the woods. For the majority of us that didn’t know, Jake is a Scottish hermit who’s lived in the same forest since 1982, and is the subject of Ben Rivers’s stunning 2011 documentary 2 Years at Sea. He’s a wonderful man, and just one of the many who have put a huge amount of love, time and energy into getting this movie ready to shoot [he made the whole crew delicious “tatties” when we were staying with him, scouting locations]. All that’s needed now is a little sprinkling of finance. Kickstarter seems to be what all the kids are doing these days, so we thought we’d give that a go too.

photo 3After a few years of developing this movie, the Apocalype Nerd Movie Kickstarter campaign launched this week. Whilst this isn’t the first comic-book movie to be crowd-funded, the project does represent a bit of a shift. Dark Horse Comics has already had David Fincher independently try and raise money for a big animated feature of one of their titles, The Goon. However this is the first time that an underground comic-book creator has tried to use new technologies and techniques to make a film in same independent spirit in which the comic book was made. I think it’s the first time in history this has been viable. Of course it’s possible Kickstarter is just the domain of huge mainstream names like Veronica Mars and Zach Braff, but maybe there’s a corner for the respected, more underground artists there too.

photo 4Fantagraphics [coincidentally] launched their campaign this week too. The amazing response that has got only gives me faith that there is a hunger for the less-mainstream. And that it’s audience is online and savvy about these crowd-funding platforms. Peter Bagge will be giving away all his original comic-book art as well as creating stuff exclusively for the movie, but you can also just buy a download of the finished film, so hopefully there’s something there for everyone [and if we break the £1000 mark this weekend, we’ll have Gordon or Perry reading a copy of Bleeding Cool magazine during the film itself. Your support will be immortalised in the annals of film history forever!]

The money we’re asking for is tiny for feature film of this scope, but quite a lot in terms of successful Kickstarter campaigns. I guess this project is trying to test a theory as much as anything. Apocalypse Nerd has been designed to be shot digitally at a hugely deflated price [a lot of people just working for the love of it] and marketed to a niche. Sales company projections show that this will be worth releasing, even if we never cross-over from it’s target audience. The model makes sense. What makes less sense is established producers offering to back it only if we re-inflated the budget to over $2million. In an era of austerity and technological change, this makes no sense to us. Which is another reason we’ve decided to test the Kickstarter model. A model where the film-makers and IP originator end up owning all of something small and profitable and personal instead of part of something huge and risky and made by committee.

As professional film-makers [BAFTA nominated DOP, Harmony Korine’s editor, etc], but also avid comic-book lovers our aim is just to make the comic-book movie we’ve all been waiting to see. You know how people get excited when comic-book movies come out, that “this is going to be the dark one?”. Well this is going to be the dark, sick, fucked up one. And it’s going to be beautiful. And it’s going to be British. And by checking in on our Kickstarter, Facebook and Twitter pages you’ll soon find out about the huge British band who’s on board to do the score, and some of the cool actors who are going to be making an appearance.

This is going to be fun. All we’re asking for is peace, new-world orders and the total annihilation of everything we know. The question now is whether a few of your hard earned shekels is worth that.

About Dan Wickline

Has quietly been working at Bleeding Cool for over three years. He has written comics for Image, Top Cow, Shadowline, Avatar, IDW, Dynamite, Moonstone, Humanoids and Zenescope. He is the author of the Lucius Fogg series of novels and a published photographer.

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