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TOP 5 CROWDFUNDING CAMPAIGNS OF JANUARY 2023

Indie and self-published comics are in a bit of a renaissance right now as the major comics powerhouses are on the decline and tools for independent creators are becoming much more plentiful and accessible. As a result, comic readers can find whatever niche comic they want to read just by going to Kickstarter or Zoop and pitching in a few bucks to whatever suits their fancy.


But, with thousands* of projects across multiple platforms, how does the average reader decide where to put their hard-earned money? Hopefully, this article will help narrow things down, starting with...


#5 EVIE AND THE HELSINGS #1 (KICKSTARTER)


Writer: Steve Bryant

Artist: Don Cardenas

Campaign Ends: February 9th

Status: 97% funded


PITCH:

For centuries, the Van Helsing family has protected humanity from things that go bump in the night. The last protector has fallen, and the mantle goes to her one surviving heir. The problem is, Evie Van Helsing just wants to rock.


Written by Steve Bryant (Athena Voltaire, The Catch, Ghoul Scouts) and drawn by Don Cardenas (Spend the Night, Off into the Sunset, Packs of the Low Country), with colors by Jason Millet (Athena Voltaire, Archie Versus Predator), Evie and the Helsings is the first issue of a 4-issue miniseries that follows Evie's adventures as she navigates life between two worlds. It's like Buffy the Vampire Slayer meets This is Spinal Tap by way of Ash Versus Evil Dead.


WHY SHOULD I BACK IT?

Do you think all of our collective obsession with goth rocker chicks in horror dates back to that one Scooby-Doo movie? Or is that just me? Either way, this is exactly the kind of hard rocking, old school, kitschy horror that I'm into! It's got a distinct retro art style, Halloween monsters, wicked guitar solos, and a good sense of Punk Rock fun. Maybe that's not your jam, but it's certainly mine!


#4 SPACE PILOTS (KICKSTARTER)

Writer: Eddie Klinker

Artist: Briane Andan

Campaign Ends: February 4th

Status: 70% funded


PITCH:

Join best friends Mooney and Ship as they blast off into space! The two friendly miscreants signed up for the Earth Space Mining Corps and quickly learned that the slacker ethos wouldn't fly thanks to an a-hole Captain and a whole lot of grunt work. Still, their mutual desire to explore the far reaches of space takes them on a fast-paced, fun-filled speeder heist as they attempt to elude their apoplectic leader and find the freedom they've both yearned for their entire lives.


WHY SHOULD I BACK IT?

Long time readers will know that if you're evoking Cowboy Bebop, you've already won me over. This buddy-action, sci-fi, comedy, various other adjectives comic leans hard into its stylized aesthetic to create a sense of texture to the central relationship dynamic and out there (pun intended) setting. It's a project with a lot of life, and you should definitely give it a shot.


ISAI: A DAUNTLESS STORY (KICKSTARTER)

Writer: Marcus Jimenez

Artist: Heitor Amatsu

Campaign Ends: February 10th

Status: 20% funded


PITCH:

ISAI: Book One is a sci-fi American shōnen manga from the creator of The Whole World Blind and Deadly Living. Written by Marcus Jimenez with art and letters by Heitor Amatsu, edited by Mark O. Stack, character designs by Mike Becker and logo design by JJ Lopez. This 40-page one shot tells the story of three young scientists who are trying to change the world for the better, but when their experiment turns into a catastrophe, they are left with unimaginable grief and unnatural abilities.


Think the dark twists and turns of Chronicle meets the emotional and scientific aspects of The Fantastic Four inside a futuristic shōnen world. We aim to combine the kinetic, emotional storytelling of manga with our western influences.


WHY SHOULD I BACK IT?

Dauntless has been swinging for the fences with their release schedule and, artistically, it's definitely paying off for them! Isai has a gorgeous manga aesthetic that tons of people are clamoring for nowadays. The covers and visuals are beautiful, the writing is sharp, and the rewards are impressive. I can't wait to see this one in print!


#2 ENNEAD: THE RULE OF NINE COLLECTOR'S BOX (KICKSTARTER)

Writer: J. L. Johnson, Jr.

Artist: Luke Horseman & Edward Lilley

Campaign Ends: February 1st

Status: 50% funded


PITCH:

ENNEAD: THE RULE OF NINE is an epic fantasy set to span multiple mediums; everything from comics and graphic novels to fictional history and traditional novels. Inside this Special Edition you'll find everything you'd expect to see in epic or high fantasy, while looking through the eyes of a burgeoning medieval bounty hunter.


For the first time you'll get to travel through The Republic Kingdom of Athea alongside Inahtuu Kinisc and experience the events of The Rule of Nine through Inahtuu's eyes, and his eyes only, as he runs from his past and his present pursuers.


As a new republic kingdom fights to break free of the yoke of empire and ethereal beings position themselves for the next phase in their civil war, Inahtuu seeks a fresh start. After years of military service Inahtuu's looking for something he's never had: a life of peace.


Will he find rest? Or will his sense of duty and justice find him bound to a new cause?


WHY SHOULD I BACK IT?

I've talked before about Ennead on these lists, and I doubt I'll be stopping anytime soon. It's a wonderfully entertaining series with a trailblazing creative team a story that deserves to be told and retold to as many people as possible. This collectors box is definitely primarily for long time fans, but if you've never heard of Ennead, this would be a great time to hop on board!


ILLÜMON: SEVEN RAYS OF THE SUN - BOOK ONE

Cartoonist: Shawn Daley

Campaign Ends: February 5th

Status: Fully Funded


PITCH:

ILLÜMON: Seven Rays of the Sun is a grounded, emotional love-letter to all of the great monster-catching games we've grown up with. This first book is an 80-page graphic novel painted in watercolour and ink, and it kicks off the series with a question: how do you say goodbye to your best friend?


In a bright, curious world brimming with light-born monsters called Illümon, Kanno Vaash is hailed as Hyllorah's finest monster-catcher. Or, she would be, if the world hadn’t began to wither when the Seven Fabled Illümon – legendary creatures preserving all life in Hyllorah – were awoken and captured by Kanno's misguided sister, Annova Vaash.


Now, three years later, Kanno and her impressionable Illümon companion Shyll find themselves lighting their way through a dying world. Reviving the forbidden art of Lightbonding – the combat synergy between human and Illümon – the two journey towards confrontation with Annova to free The Fabled.


WHY SHOULD I BACK IT?

There are so many reasons I could give for backing this project, but the simplest explanation is just this: Shawn Daley is a beast of a creator. If you've ever read his work before, you know what I mean, but the fact of the matter is that this man does not miss. His art is flawless and full of character, his chops as a storyteller are beyond rebuke, and the worlds he builds are tactile and fascinating in ways that keep you coming back for more. This isn't the first and I imagine won't be the last of his projects to end up in the number 1 spot! Until then, do yourself a favor and get your copy today.



*DISCLAIMER: Comics are selected from a very large pool of projects, some sent to us for review, some come across on the websites themselves. We tend to favor first issue comics by indie creators that haven't already hit their campaign goals 5 times over, so keep that in mind. While we feel this list is representative of projects most worth the time and money of a comic reader, it is by no means exhaustive and there are many, MANY more projects that you can and should explore on Crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter and Zoop.


-Wells Thompson, Resident Kickstarter Expert

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