Recently we got in touch with Damian Wampler, a graphic novelist who has successfully funded his comic Sevara through Kickstarter. Keen to learn more about the process, and to find out more about his comic, we asked for an interview, and he was happy to share his thoughts.
Here’s what he had to say:
Thanks for taking the time to answer some questions. First off, for the benefit of anyone who hasn’t taken a look at the Kickstarter yet, can you tell us a little about Sevara and where the idea for the story came from?
Sure. Sevara is a sci-fi adventure comic book. Its about a goddess who awakens from a long sleep, and when she wakes up she looks around and finds out that parts of her memory, fragments of her mortal life have seeped into the world and evil people have taken these thoughts and these words and twisted them and used it to corrupt humanity and enslave the weak and the poor. This is a metaphor for what’s going on with religion around the world today, so I hope this is going to resonate somehow.
Why did you decide to tell this story through the medium of comics?
Because comics have an unlimited special effects budget, that’s what’s so cool about com, you can do whatever you want, you can have as many rocket ships and robots and dinosaurs and it doesn’t cost you any extra money, so I can make this story span millions of years and have as many costumes and sets as I want and I have complete creative control, its fantastic.
How have you found the process of working with artists to bring your story to life?
It’s truly fascinating, I’m blessed to be working with such talents as Andre and Anang, What happens is I sit on the computer and I type up the script and I describe each panel, and then I email it off to Andre, and I wait a couple days, and he emails me back the sketches and the final pages, and I’m just blown away. I’m like wow, I can’t believe what vision he saw from my words. I give him a lot of leeway to be creative, I don’t micromanage and tell him exactly what to do, and he comes back at me with just beautiful beautiful art, he’s got an extraordinary vision.
This is your first Kickstarter project. Why did you decide to use Kickstarter, and how has that decision affected your writing process?
Well Kickstarter is phenomenal, before the internet I would have had to have paid for the production of Sevara out of my own pocket, so Kickstarter is a great opportunity. People don’t realize, but comic books are really really expensive (to produce). One page of art is like $150, so if you’re holding a 72 or 100 page graphic novel in your hands, that’s 7 or 10 thousand dollars to produce this book. I’m a small time writer, I’m a new writer, I’m not going to make a lot of money off this comic book, so without Kickstarter I wouldn’t have been able to make this dream come true.
Just a few days into your campaign, your $3000 goal for the first issue has been reached. Did you expect this level of interest so early on?
Not at all, I’m totally blown away. People came out of the woodwork right on day one and day two. Fell, comic book creators, friends and family, my colleagues, friends from high school and Peace Corps, and I’m shocked to have reached my initial goal for issue 0 so quickly, and now we just have to get to 7 thousand dollars.
You list your stretch goal as publishing 3 issues. Do you think you will close the door on the world of Sevara after three issues, or is it a world you plan to revisit with another series along the road?
I’m absolutely not going to close the door. When you finish reading the first three issues of Sevara, that’s just an introduction to a really rich and detailed world. I’ve written 10 other issues and I know this series can continue, so if the readers want it and the fans want it, I’ll keep writing more, so hopefully I can keep writing this for years and years to come if you guys like it.
Lastly, do you have any advice for others who are considering using Kickstarter to fund their comic projects?
Sure, I researched Kickstarter for a year, and I bookmarked all sorts of links, so I’ll put those bookmarks on my blog so you guys can check it out. A couple things, you’ve gotta keep the video short, and you’ve got to realize that some of your friends and family have never pledged to Kickstarter before, so your video is going to actually have to walk through the process and let them know that your card is not going to be charged right away, and stuff like that. And last, just remember that the Kickstarter campaign is the money collection part of a much longer campaign that’s gonna last 6 months to a year of hyping your project and getting the word out, so its not like you can just wake up one day, write your project, launch it, and start making money.
The writer of this piece was:
Lauren F. Roberts
You can find Lauren on Facebook