We’ve seen a lot of Kickstarter projects in the last couple years for some of the geeky greats. Larry Elmore was just the most recent (and successful) in a string of classic artists and game designers who are now getting another well deserved 15 minutes of fame.
I think it’s great. In many ways crowdfunding is a way for a creator to cash in on their popularity; i’d much prefer their fans give them money directly rather than see them get 10% of the take because their manager/distributor/promoter/etc all got their cut.
What happens though, when even this laudable trend goes wrong?
Today a project was launched to put Jack Kirby in the spotlight. Comicdom owes Kirby a debt that it can never really repay. Looking at some of the iconic shots he penned decades ago shows you how and why superhero comics became what they are today. Not only did he create the Fantastic Four in 1961, but he created the cosmic weirdness that penetrates the company to this day.
He deserves more recognition, but I’m not sure that the new project launched today is the way to go about it.
Jack kirby’s grandson launched a project today to “The Life and Times of Jack Kirby. This book will feature personal photographs, artwork and a never-before-seen play written by Jack.” Now maybe this is a touching tribute to the comic genius through the eyes of his family. Maybe it’s meant to explore the side of an artist we would never otherwise see.
Maybe I’m just a jerk.
Because what I see is someone selling photocopies and scans from the family photo album to make a quick buck. Now, none of my grand parents are famous, but I very much doubt that my parents would appreciate me putting their details up on ebay. This feels forced. It feels disrespectful. After 1 day, great-grand-Kirby is already a third of the way to his $7500 goal; I fear for whatever stretch goals he comes up with.
Maybe Jeremy is just a guy that wants to share his grandfather with the world, one mark … err, fan at a time. After all, he’s only charging $50 for a book and $100 for a shirt. What’s the harm? For a moment, just a moment I thought that way, then I found the creator’s website. He already has a storefront to shill his forebearers wears – its been up a whole five months!
This is the part of these articles where I rant angrily about how this isn’t what Kickstarter should be used for. This one just makes me sad; feel free to add your own angry rants to the comments section in my stead.
Protip: Want an overpriced Kirby T-shirt, but can’t afford the $100 the project is charging you to get one? You can get the same shirt from the website/storefront for only $20+shipping. Now that’s a deal!