Crowdfunding, and in particular Kickstarter, has really had a massive impact on the comics industry in the past several years.
Recently some figures came to light that showed Kickstarter hit a new fundraising record in 2018, particularly when it came to comics.
I came across a Twitter post from ICO Partners that indicated last year was something special when it came to fundraising new comics projects through Kickstarter.
It turns out that 1,456 comic book projects were successfully funded in 2018, up from 1,281 the year before. There were 21 projects in 2018 that raised more than $100,000 each, while 38 raised between $50,000 and $100,000.
The success rate for comic book projects was 69.8 percent. That’s amazing!
Check out the graphic below from ICO Partners for more information:
Another graphic indicates the number that were funded versus those that didn’t fund:
It also turns out that 939 projects from the U.S. were successful last year. The closest country to that was Great Britain, where 158 projects funded. At least 14 countries were involved in Kickstarter fundraisers.
WHAT THIS MEANS
As a podcaster, I am often approached by creators who have a Kickstarter going who want to get the word out about it. In fact, a recent episode with Frank Martin and Luke Cooper for Hollow Testament featured just such a project. They reached their goal before our interview was posted, so I can’t take any credit for that—Frank and Luke worked their backsides off getting the word out, including appearing on other podcasts and interviews. Hopefully our conversation will help them reach some of their just-announced stretch goals.
I often say this on my podcast, and it has been true for quite a while now. Kickstarter and other crowdfunding like Indiegogo help creators tell their stories. In the past, if you didn’t get picked up by Marvel or DC, then maybe Image, you couldn’t tell people the tales you wanted to share.
Now, thanks to the Internet, page layout and design software, as well as affordable printing costs (or access to PDF-creation programs), creators such as Frank, Luke and the rest of their teams can do what they enjoy so very much—tell readers like me their stories.
If you haven’t considered making comics, well, let me tell you that’s HUGE to them and people who want to read their creations!
I have read at times that Kickstarter is the second-largest producer of comics, just behind Marvel. I couldn’t find stats to back that up, but it does indicate just how important crowdfunding is, especially in the comics industry.
If you are a person in charge of the “big 3” comics companies, you should be (if you aren’t already) reading books like Hollow Testament to find new talent to carry your characters forward in the years ahead. A lot of the folks working at Marvel and DC were Indie comics creators before they were noticed by those companies. Each comic they make shows what he or she could do for them when it comes to fresh ideas in storytelling. And boy, do we need that today in the industry!
IS THIS THE FUTURE?
I always worry about what the industry will look like in five or 10 years. Will we still be travelling to local comics shops to pick up our weekly stash of books? Will we be accessing an FTP site to download the new offerings? Will we be receiving new comics in the mail from individual creators?
I have to say that I sincerely don’t know. And if anyone says they do, I wouldn’t trust them. It wasn’t that long ago some people were saying that comiXology would be wiping out local shops by the hundreds. As much as I enjoy buying digital books when I can’t find a paper copy, the number of comics I buy from comiXology each week hasn’t really increased. And, according to people I know who are “in the know,” I’m not unusual when it comes to that statistic.
The thing about change is that it often happens quickly. I remember one day when I walked into a local music store and all the plastic albums were gone, replaced by CDs. The guy who ran the store said, “they’re the future,” so he got rid of every album he had and filled his store with product he thought customers wanted.
And now, the number of CDs being sold has drastically fallen, being replaced by digital downloads, which may themselves be on the way out.
I love that creators like Luke and Frank are creating comics for me and many others to read and enjoy. The one thing I feel certain about is that this trend will continue to expand. As a reader, I crave variety, and these folks are scratching that itch for me tremendously.