I have been in this industry a long time now and written for many different publishers. The first freelance assignment I ever got was writing stories for Avatar Press (the parent company of Bleeding Cool). This was at a time when they published Threshold, one of the longest running anthologies. Then things changed and some of the biggest names in comics started bringing their ideas to Avatar. Alan Moore, Warren Ellis, Garth Ennis, Max Brooks and the list goes on. Books like Crossed, God is Dead, Uber became the focus and the other characters drifted to the background.
Now, thanks to the Boundless imprint, those characters are getting new life. Hellina, Lookers, Jungle Fantasy are all reconnecting with their fans thanks to Kickstarter projects. And each time a new project is started, they exceed their goals and meet their stretch goals. Take the most recent one, Jungle Fantasy: Ivory. With barely over two days left, the book flew by its initial goal of $5,100.00 and is currently sitting at $22,001.00.
Eight stretch goals were added and all eight have been met. The first goal expanded the first issue to 48 pages. The second added a second issue and the third made that one 48 pages. This continued until the final stretch goal made a fifth added issue 48 pages as well. So a project to fund one single issue has led to a five issue series.
And the high end packages all went. The 1 each packages at $1,299.00, $799.00 and $699.00 are gone as well as the 10 packages at $399.00, the 12 at $299.00 and 12 of the 18 at $199.00. And there are still other packages left for folks to grab before the end of the Kickstarter.
This could be a sign for a changing comic market. Here, an establish publisher is using crowdfunding to rally supporters for a project and make sure there is a sustainable market for it before printing. It takes the guess work out of it. They know it will or won’t be successful and can overprint to distribute through stores as well.
Avatar has done this on multiple projects now and seem to have it down to almost a fine art. They can test the waters on a regular basis, allowing them to roll through the various characters that haven’t been seen in a decade or so. In a way, it’s making their imprint live up to the name Boundless.