I’ve been meaning to blog about Ashes for a while. Since Alex and Jimmy Broxton started the Kickstarter, I’ve been watching it, RTing occasionally and using it as something to focus my thoughts. Now, since time is running out – both with the deadline looming and the amount pledged inching towards the total. Look – the widget doesn’t lie. Unless there’s some kind of error in the database, in which case it does.
Just in case you’re already getting bored, click through and pre-order a copy of Ashes. If you’re reading this, you almost certainly want it.
I think that Kickstarter or – if you’re not a yank – Indie Go Go is the single biggest new thing to be considered by a working creative this year. And not just comic creatives. Digital is something people have been chewing over for years now – and I suspect it’s going to be next year when we see some more movement there – but this has surprised a lot of people, and lead to a cheerily wild-west vibe to it all. People running Kickstarters are still trying to work out how to do this thing, and balance all sorts of questions of personal moral integrity. And this is important to do, just because when you don’t, things go bad quickly and you’re risking tarring the very concept of kickstarter-esque funded projects.
What struck me when seeing Alex start her Ashes campaign was that she was where others are being either half-arsed or (at worst) plain greedy, she had created something that really hung together. The only thing I’d question was an initial lack of interior art actually on the site – as opposed to a downloadable PDF – but that was soon added in one of the many updates. Other than that, she hasn’t put a foot wrong.
As such, I’d point anyone thinking about running a kickstarter project go have a look at how Alex and Jimmy have been running it. As far as I’m concerned, for comics, you should use ASHES as a case study of what to do.
When I first started thinking about Kickstarter, I basically was… well, negative. Because, like Pulp Fiction, Pride Fucks With Me. But I thought if I were to do it, I would do it solely as a device for pre-orders. You give X amount of money and you get the book when it’s done. Keep it simple, stupid, I said to myself, knowing that I’m a bit stupid.
Alex and Jimmy have done that. But they’ve also added to that – the comixology serialization along the way to make it more than just a year’s wait for the trade to arrive. They’ve been very clear about the fact that the trade collection will be at least six months before any other edition. On the higher level donations, they seem on the right level of tasteful – because as a creator, at least keeping some level of dignity is important (Though anyone who has seen con photos of me will wonder whether I’m practicing what I’m preaching here). They’ve got quotes from respectable figures (and me). They’ve had regular updates. They’ve chased press. None of this may seem complicated, but it’s stuff you can all learn from.
(Especially something that was added shortly after the start – a bundle directed at retailers. And seeing how well Sam Humphries and Steve Sanders did (initially) so well outside the direct market with OUR LOVE IS REAL makes me think that’s a strong approach for projects like this.)
Honestly. You thinking of a Kickstarter? Go look at Ashes.
Of course, if you’re not thinking of it, you should go anyway, as Ashes looks like it’s going to be great. Here’s what I said when Alex prodded me with an elegant finger…
I was lucky enough to have Alex as a peer when we were angry underground comic kids. She always set the bar. When I saw her enter mainstream comics with the brilliant, mercurial Smoke, I was painfully aware that she was setting a bar for people to try and take a run at, which is pretty much what I’ve been doing ever since. I selfishly urge people to support this, just so I can see what I’m going to have to be trying to live up to for the next decade. Help her make me feel bad and, in doing so, make you feel good.
Really, I’ve been dying to read the SMOKE sequel for six years now, and it’s gone on long enough. Just for the trade is thirty dollars. Makes an ideal Christmas present. An ideal Christmas present for next year, admittedly, but that’s still neat. Here’s Alex explaining it all anyway…
To be honest, I’d give Ashes money just because I love Jimmy’s name. I wish I was called Jimmy Broxton.