Today the Kickstarter for Grave Days, a Dystopia Rising based graphic novel went live. It’s been less than an hour and we already have raised just about $1,000.00 dollars. With the doors to the promotion just starting, without a doubt this project is going to not only hit its goal but open the door for other opportunities.
I wanted to talk about some of the decisions made with this graphic novel, what it means for us as a production company, and what it means for a culture.
This graphic novel has been roughly two years of work. It started slowly because the project needed the right writer and artist team to ensure the spirit of the story was driven home. Eventually the team of Lou and Ian made for an amazing combination. After a few sit-down meetings with each of them they knew what it was that I was looking for in a story (and also as a template for the future graphic novel works).
First of all, the story was required to have a full female protagonist team that didn’t flinch from making them into hardcore survivors in the wasteland. With the number of comics and graphic novels that are male focused, our first step into the field of graphic novels needed to represent something very important to Imagine Nation and Eschaton Media. Gender equality.
The second aspect of the story that was a requirement may have actually been the first thing I talked about. At this point I don’t remember which of these two focuses came first since it has been years since the initial conversations (and there are a lot of projects I am currently working on). The second point that was a requirement for the comic was that LGTBQ characters not only needed to be present, but needed to be written without any heteronormative nonsense. The world will not assume “one man, one woman” as the default and instead choose “whatever makes you happy” as the default.
Then we got onto the story. I wanted a story arc based in Old York that did not require readers to know the body of Dystopia Rising works to be able to follow and enjoy the graphic novel. I wanted a story that showed that the undead were like the weather instead of a primary threat, focused on religious extremism between cult-like sects of faith in the world narrative, and embraced the nature of the Strains of the world without having to explain every step of the way.
What came next was a lot of blood, sweat, tears, and labor from the writer and artist team to produce the pre-layout work. Concept sketches, revisions, reiterations, trimming, color pallet changes, and all sorts of revisions to the work. What was originally projected as a 100-page graphic novel ended up being closer to a 300-page epic and needed to reworked for realistic release goals.
So here we are at the actual release and I am looking at a digital form comic book that I am very proud of. Lou worked their ass off making the story come to life and Ian spent a lot of time and effort making this creation real. As this project makes more in the way of funding both the writer and the artist make more. Stretch goals open up a potential continuation in the way of a web comic or further future publications.
All of it takes the dreams that so many nerds have, to make comics, and makes those dream a reality.