Saturday, July 27, 2013

Hell's Treasure And How This Kickstarter Started 40 Years Ago

Robert Jeschonek writes for Bleeding Cool:

What does Bobby McVicker's mom have to do with why I've launched a new graphic novel Kickstarter project?The answer lies ahead.

First, let me tell you a little about the project.Hell's Treasure is a fast-paced modern fantasy with a strong central female protagonist, a whirlwind tour of architectural marvels, and some deep questions at the heart of it all.You can find the Kickstarter project page right here:

This weekend, I'm running a Bleeding Cool exclusive reward offer for Hell's Treasure, available only until midnight Eastern Standard Time on Sunday, July 28.If you pledge at the $65 level before the deadline, you will receive a signed, black-and-white edition of the finished Hell's Treasure paperback with a special black-and-white Bleeding Cool cover featuring a Rich Johnston-inspired angel and U.K. images.This edition will not be available anywhere else in any form at any time.I'm also offering a limited-time stretch goal:If the project meets or exceeds $5,000 in total pledges by midnight EST, on July 28, every backer who pledges at least $35 will receive the set of PDF comic scripts currently available only as part of the $45 Graphic Novel Secrets Bundle.That adds up to 25 comic book scripts plus the full Hell's Treasure script, in addition to whatever rewards are listed in the level of your pledge of $35 or more.

Exciting prizes, right?Well, the story's like that, too.Hell's Treasure stars Shaw Serling, a teenage girl who can communicate with architecture-everything from buildings to bridges-and make it do miraculous things.Her power can't save her parents from dying in an accident but maybe she can bring them back.A boy named Aaron, with powers of his own, takes her on a quest to seize the keys to Heaven.

Angels fight like hell to stop them.Only John Halcyon, a boy genius exile from Heaven, knows the secret behind the struggle: that Earth is a dumping ground for Heaven's rejects, which is why there's so much suffering in the world.But Shaw, by using her power to tap into hidden Heavenly fortresses, could tear down the walls keeping the human race out of its rightful home and end all suffering for humanity forever.

Talk about high stakes, huh?But what does this have to do with Bobby McVicker's mom? Well, she bought me my first scary comic book when I was a kid, forty years ago an issue of Ghost Rider that gave me screaming nightmares till my mom and dad took it away from me.But Mrs. McVicker was really my first Hell's Treasure backer, even though Kickstarter (and the Internet) didn't exist back then.How is that possible?You'll see

First, let me tell you a bit about the team behind Hell's Treasure.Megan Levens, the book's penciler, inker, and colorist, is a real rising star, currently working on projects for Image and Oni.The letterer, Chris Crank, has worked on titles including Hack/Slash, Revival, Battle Pug, and It Girl And The Atomics.

As for me, I've written for DC Comics (most recently, "Gotham Eye View" in Legends of the Dark Knight #52).I've written over 100 books, e-books, and audiobooks, including official Star Trek and Doctor Who fiction.My rock 'n' roll fantasy My Favorite Band Does Not Exist won the Forward National Literature Award and was named a Top 10 First Novel for Youth by prestigious Booklist magazine.Also, I won the Scribe Award for Best Original Novel this year for my alternate history, Tannh user: Rising Sun, Falling Shadows.

Through all my writing, I've never given up on one goal:to publish a graphic novel.I wrote Hell's Treasure as a way to bring that dream to life, and now is the time to make it happen.Hell's Treasure has almost seen print several times in the publishing world but "almost" isn't good enough anymore.Though publishers have been reluctant to take a chance on this book, Kickstarter is giving me the opportunity to make it a reality.

Which brings me back to my first backer, Bobby McVicker's mom, and the comic that my parents took away from me.That issue of Ghost Rider became all the more vivid in my mind because they took it away.Pretty soon, I was reading Ghost Rider and every other comic I could find at my friends' houses and writing and drawing my own Fantastic Four and Justice League comics with crayons on notebook paper.

Decades later, I believe in the power of comics more than ever, and I want to make a contribution to the art form that I love so well.Coming from Steve Ditko's home town of Johnstown, Pennsylvania, I feel an even stronger connection to the spirit of innovation in comics and graphic novels and an imperative to help drive it to future heights.

Hell's Treasure is my way of doing that.So now you know how Bobby McVicker's mom became my project's first backer, all those years ago:she bought the comic that started me down the road that led to this graphic novel.You see how one person can make a lasting difference in bringing someone else's creative vision to life.And maybe, if those creative dreams involve the next Spider-Man or Sandman or X-Men or Watchmen or Fables, they can make a difference beyond the page, in the world around them.

Will Hell's Treasure make that kind of difference?We won't know unless we give it a chance.The real power of a story doesn't kick in until it ends up in the hands-and head-of a reader.That is when the magic really happens.

Which is something Mrs. McVicker understood all too well.
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