This morning, Archie Comics, a publisher with 75 years of history, launched a Kickstarter campaign to help finance new books in their, what they are terming, “New Riverdale” lineup that is to follow up on the launch of an all-new Archie #1 this summer. The three books include a Jughead ongoing written by Chip Zdarsky with art to be determined, a new Betty and Veronica written and illustrated by Adam Hughes and Life With Kevin written and illustrated by Dan Parent. Now, I admit, I am looking forward to the relaunched/rebooted Archie (wouldn’t have put it in my Top 10 Anticipated Books of 2015 for nothing), but this Kickstarter has left a lot of people skeptical.
First of all, Kickstarter stands as a platform for more independent (also, less financially stable) creators to not only get some capital to produce but also establish a reading fanbase. I myself have considered it for some potential projects down the line. This time, though, it is a company using kickstarter to finance their line and some people question why?
According to the head of Archie Comics’ PR Department, Alex Segura, the kickstarter is being used in order to create their new, more modernized, line of books faster and to distribute the books quicker:
While I do appreciate the openness of Mr. Segura, not to mention the desire to get books on better scheduling (*cough*Afterlife With Archie*cough*) I do understand the absolute skepticism to a, while not huge publisher, at least a noticeable one with a known name turning to crowdfunding. This is especially true considering some odd kickstarter rewards. For Example, $20 (plus $5 shipping) will get you a copy of Archie #1 and Jughead #1 physical, a digital copy of Archie #1 and sign you up for Archie Comics’ e-newsletter. Sound reasonable until they say on the Kickstarter reward to “consider this your pre-order”. But…if I just pre-order the books regularly at my local comic shop or comixology, I would only have to pay roughly $8 for both issues. So…what is my reason to support?
While the ins and outs of proper Kickstarter rewards is an ever changing thing that is a discussion in and of itself, I have been seeing some mentality going around that if we don’t like it, then “don’t support it”. Frankly speaking, I think this mentality can be a bit dangerous. Why? Because you can just say this is Archie Comics still learning Kickstarter or them being insidious to line their pockets, but the fact remains that this can potentially impact Kickstarter in a negative and discourage other creators who don’t have a big company backing them to utilize it. This also begs the question: If this is successful and other companies take a look at it, will we start seeing bigger companies use kickstarter as a way to make books with less of a risk to themselves? It can be a very scary thought of a publisher like DC using kickstarter to fund a Batman book.
My point is: Kickstarter, for all the successes creators have had with it, is still young and has had some horror stories to it. We should not dismiss the concerns of people that a fearful for long-term impact.