Here at the CFG we have a soft spot for those intrepid souls who venture out into the turbulent waters of CROWDFUNDING. While the likes of Kickstarter and Indiegogo have enabled many cool books (and a plethora of non-comic related items) launching a campaign is not a guaranteed road to crowdfunding success.
This week we have been fortunate to have been joined by the renowned horror author Jasper Bark and we discussed the joys of crowdfunding, HP Lovecraft and a few other delights.
CFG: The campaign for Beyond Lovecraft seems to really embrace participants in the project. While crowdfunding is about marrying fans to creator projects, how difficult was it to come up with the excellent array of rewards for this project?
Jasper: Thanks John, you’re right our campaign is all about putting contributors right at the heart of this project. We wanted to provide all sorts of ways to get involved with the campaign and to give everyone who contributed a unique, one of a kind, experience. We knew this had to be a campaign that was owned by everyone who participated. You know when you read a book or a comic and you think: ‘this was made just for me!’ That’s what we want you to think when you pick up ‘Beyond Lovecraft’. So it wasn’t easy coming up with the perks. We put a lot of thought and a lot of effort into providing one of a kind experiences that will have a real lasting value for everyone who contributes.
CFG: There are a number of different options out there now for creators to reach out to the public. What drew you to indiegogo as opposed to some of the other options, like Patreon or Kickstarter?
Jasper: We did look at all the possible options, but the reason we ultimately chose Indiegogo for this project, was because it gave us the most number of options. We’re putting as much as we possibly can into this campaign, and Indiegogo simply gave us more opportunities to provide contributors with a better, more exciting experience. It allowed us to make this something really special for everyone who gets involved.
CFG: Horror is now, as ever, very popular. Aside from H.P. Lovecraft, what have been some of your inspirations from horror?
Jasper: There are almost too many to name. In comics, pre-code comics from the 50s are a big influence, especially EC. Warren comics were influential on my early concepts of horror, along with Skywald from the 60s and 70s. Marvel’s Tomb of Dracula and Man Thing had a big effect on me, comic writers like Bruce Jones and Steve Gerber and of course Alan Moore’s amazing Swamp Thing run and much of Mike Carey and Joe Hill’s comic work also contributed to my writing. There are so many I’ve left out though, so apologies to all those great creators I’ve missed. In terms of books it’s the same, almost too many to choose from. Robert Bloch was my first big influence along with Barker and King. Later followed by Ray Bradbury, Charles Beaumont, Richard Matheson, Clark Ashton Smith, Ramsey Campbell, Robert Aickman and Lisa Tuttle. More recently, Michael McDowell, Poppy Z. Brite, Jack Ketchum and Adam Nevill have also had a big impact on my work. Oh, and I’ve just discovered Laird Baron.
CFG: you are working with the award winning artist Rob Moran on Beyond Lovecraft, how exciting is it to be working with Rob?
Jasper: Rob and I have worked together for a while now, on a whole host of projects, from Automotive superhero strips for German high end car magazines, through to re-telling Japanese myths for anthology fundraisers. Rob has also illustrated a collection of my short stories and done a whole host of covers for novels and graphic novels of mine. Even still I never fail to catch my breath and jump up and down in excitement whenever I get a new page, a piece of artwork or a book cover from him. The work he’s doing on Beyond Lovecraft is some of the best of his whole career (and that really is saying something). So let’s say my excitement levels are so high I have a team of paramedics on hand to monitor my blood pressure.
CFG: indie comics seem to be in a sustained period of growth, much of this has been fueled by the new technologies. How has technology helped/hindered your career?
Jasper: Well, the main way technology has hindered not only my career, but the career of everyone in comics, is that it has become incredibly easy to read and share comics on line. This unfortunately means that there’s now a hell of a lot less reasons to buy comics, because it’s so easy to read them on any number of torrents. This has resulted in a huge decline in comics sales. A decline in sales has meant that there is less money in comics. Less money has meant a shrinking market with less people to work for and a fall in the page rates that publishers are paying. Indie comics have risen to take the place of the markets that previously employed mid-list writers (and artists) like myself. There’s less (or no) money up front, but you sometimes end up getting just as much in royalties. On-line technology has been hugely helpful in terms of finding and contacting new publishers, new markets and new collaborators. It’s also been a boon in finding new people to support your work, through buying it, or supporting it via crowd-funding. So, as many opportunities have been created as have been lost, and it’s opened the door to a lot of new talent, that might not have gotten a shot fifteen or twenty years ago.