I’m a Backer: Blackwood
Is there anyone that reads this blog that doesn’t know that I like comic books in general, and the horror genre, specifically? I mean, it’s not like my partner and I wrote something along those lines, or that I talk about them several times a week or anything. This week, it should come as no surprise that I am backing a product that is deeply in that vein: Bleeding Ink Productions’ new project, Blackwood.
Blackwood is an homage to so many things, that it might better be described as a pastiche or a medley. Want to know what the hell I mean by that? Me too – I mean… read on.
Blackwood is, in the words of its creator:
The story of Kai Blackwood, a troubled soul that has been on anti-psychotics his entire life to battle his hallucinations of monsters. That is, until he discovers the hallucinations are real. The boundaries between heaven, hell and earth are slowly breaking apart and the creatures from these other worlds are beginning to invade earth. As of now, the breaks are small but very soon both sides will be invading to battle for the souls of earths inhabitants. Kai Blackwood is one of the few with the power to stop the invasion.
The project goes on to discuss how “there are dozens of tips of the hat to classic horror movies and comics. Any horror fan will pick up on these homages seen throughout the series.None of them are direct lifts but you see the influence.” Reading about some of these influences sounds like they have been lifted directly to me, though I don’t mean that in a bad way; it seems like this book is going after much the same effect as Cabin in the Woods, honestly, and I thought the technique worked marvelously there. The only heavy hitter they left out of the line up that follows is Pinhead, and I think I smell a little Hellblazer in there somewhere though the series is not referenced specifically.
No, the project, and its creators’ seem solid. The people behind Blackwood have created 9 projects (5 of which were successful,) and backed 26. Strangely, of the 26 backed, only 4 projects are or will be successful. Normally a trend like that would lead me to suspect that a creator was trying to pad their resume, as it were. In this case, the theme of the choice is very strong, and I think the more likely reasons for so many failures is that comic book and horror projects are not as successful as we would like them to be on average.
The strength and weakness of this project, is the same: its rewards. Just for backing the project, you are guaranteed to walk with several digital comics; if the project is successful, you could walk away with up to five digital comics for $5. For a lover of the digital format (even if it is PDF) like me, that is the bargain of the century, beating out my previous best of two comics for $6. Participating at that level is a no-brainer and if you like your rewards in physical form, than the mid-level tiers are also very reasonable.
Unfortunately, the reward tiers are as confused as they are affordable: there are 8 tiers of $10 or less, 20 tiers of $50 or less, and 29 tiers in total. Most of them are fine individually but when taken as a group, many of them are redundant, and I see several opportunities for streamlining. Choice fatigue is very real, especially on Kickstarter and simple really is better. The project creator is trying to use past successes to support the publishing this book, which is a fine choice – one I hope that I am in the position to make someday, but I think there are probably better ways to go about it, I think. These issues aren’t deal breakers though, just areas of possible improvement in the future.
The bottom line for me is that a passionate creator is offering interesting content for a great (maybe even too good) price., and I can get behind that.
I had a chance to sit down with the project behind Blackwood, and ask a few questions:
So who is Bleeding Ink Studios?
First of all, David. Thank you for taking the time to do this interview. It really means a lot to me. My name is Jesse and I started Bleeding Ink back in February as a means to publish comics. I had been writing comics a few years before then as a hobby but I wanted to take creating comics seriously. I went out and got a business licence and since then have been working with many different artists to create the comics you see.
Is Blackwood limited to a three issue story arc, or do you see it extending past this initial offering?
It’s written as an ongoing series but the first 3 issues stand well on their own. It establishes the characters well and delivers some great action while giving us an understanding of the Blackwood universe.
Blackwood lists a lot of classic titles, but what do you see as its most important influences?
As far as horror goes? Boy, that’s a tough one. Clive Barker has always had a huge influence on me. His movies, books and comics have all had a serious impact on my psyche. Now I can’t get those damn Cenobites out of my head!
I see that many of your previous comics are listed as issue #1. Are there plans for issue #2?
For a few. War Zone #2 and #3 are in the works now as well as the rest of the Patriot series. Chapel was written as an ongoing series and Sensory Distortion was a one shot. When I first started making comics I thought it would be good to make a few different genres of comics to show I had diverse writing abilities. I have more than 20 other un-produced scripts and I would make them all if I could. But before I do that I have to figure out how I can make a living doing this, or at least break even.
I see you have both started and backed a lot of projects. What do you look for in a project?
A comic with a unique voice. Something that stands out from every other comic you see in stores. There’s a lot of those on Kickstarter so it makes it tough. There are so many great creators out there and I’m glad they’re using Kickstarter to help create their vision.
The artwork on there is really nice. The artist, Kavika, is one I think I’ll be watching out for in the future.
My only question before I back them is this: He says this is a three-issue arc, but one of the rewards is a trade paperback, so is he collecting the three issues immediately? I don’t buy single issues anymore, but if there’s a collected volume coming out at the same time, yeah, I’ll back that.
I didn’t ask that question, but of you do, be sure to post the answer in the comments here for other readers. As I digital reader, it’s not something I give a lot of thought to, but I will try to focus more on it in the future.
The reply from Bleeding Ink:
“Yes, the plan is to have the first 3 issues and the graphic novel completed by March. Issue #1 will be completed in January but the graphic novel, which is the first 3 issues combined will be done in March.”
The project text says they’re “just finishing” issue #1, and it doesn’t give individual issue milestones, so this is a bit confusing. Still, I will probably find one of the 137 backer levels that offers the collected book and back it.
Kicktraq numbers don’t look good for this. I wonder if the splattering of reward levels is confusing for people. If it doesn’t fund, I hope they streamline things and try again.
137 – lol.
Those are some serious images.
Re: the digital comic, I”ve asked Jesse and he said that it’ll be offered in a few different formats, without specifying any particular ones. He did add though that cbr/cbz is not out of the question 🙂
Thank you for the pro-tip, Aura. We CBR/Z lovers need to stick together.