“We decided to launch because we wanted the world to still go on in some capacity” Ryan K Lindsay on running a Kickstarter for new sci-fi series She Vol.1 during a global pandemic!
Even though the world is in global lockdown there are still people out there making comics and promoting them on Kickstarter. One such person is Ryan K Lindsay, creator of Eternal, Deer Editor and Beautiful Canvas. His latest offering, SHE: At the Tower Of All That Is Known is a slice of glossy all action sci-fi with artist Chris Panda, so we got in touch with Ryan to find out more about it and see if the Coronavirus shutdown was a good or bad thing for his new Kickstarter!
Tell us a bit about the world of SHE. It’s a very enigmatic title with a very stylised approach to the story. So what can we discover underneath that title?!
Ryan K Lindsay: Yes, the title is very minimalist, SHE, though the subtitle carries the weight, At The Tower Of All That Is Known. This comic is about our eponymous intergalactic bounty hunter, who we come upon after some recent tragedy and she’s being pulled back into work by The Turbine, the enigmatic agency that books her specific skillset for difficult jobs.
How did you connect with Chris? And what was it about his style of art that was right for this title? Did you develop the story with him in mind or did the pair of you develop the story together?
RKL: I met Chris Panda on twitter. I’d enjoyed seeing his art, and I scoped out his portfolio on his site which was full of beauty and vitality and instantly loved it all, so I asked if he wanted to collaborate. I did already have this world in my head and thankfully he was excited to come along and help me breathe life into it.
It has an amazing sense of style and design. Did you and artist Chris Panda develop that intentionally? Or was that all Chris coming up with his own ideas? The layouts split up with text look particularly awesome!
RKL: Chris’ work is very visually distinctive, it’s clean, and very naturally aesthetically pleasing. He’s then a mastermind at putting together designs of things – whether it’s spacesuits, villains, or aliens, and I stay out of his way for the most part. As for layouts, as with most of my collaborations, sometimes I might ask for something specific, and sometimes the artist has a unique vision of the page. After a while, I forgot who does what specifically, but I usually safely defer to the genius of the artist on these matters.
We also really enjoy the way mix up memories and redacted dialogue is really interesting as a way of telling the story, was that something which was planned all along and is key to the story? It definitely feels like it makes the most of the themes of separation in the book.
RKL: I like comics for the ways it can play with text. It can hide text in 1 point font to make the tiniest whisper even the audience can’t decipher, but we notice the absence of sound because of the empty balloon, and I dig grawlix [the punctuation as swearing we all know from our childhood] and we can space text out over a panel to drag out the voice for as long as we [and the reader] want. And we can also scribble over words, we can mute characters, we can play with what the reader knows, and that was indeed a fun thing to do.
You seem to have really pushed the boat out with production values on this one – with a gorgeous die cut cover. What has made you choose this rather than your usual digital centric rewards? Is it getting easier to do more physical rewards and ship them from Australia via Kickstarter now?
RKL: This is all down to the phenomenal passion and knowledge of Tyler James at ComixTribe. It was his idea to do this as an oversize hardcover, and he concocted the die-cut cover with the faceplate hole in the helmet, and he’s pushed for great production values. When he believes in a project and a creative team, he goes as far as he can for them – which I love and appreciate. This is why this book is so big and gorgeous and tactile – because Tyler will handle 95% of the workload on that, and clearly I’m too lazy to do any such thing, haha. There’s good scaled-down merit in the digital only campaigns, but I’ll admit it was fun doing this one, too.
Speaking of Kickstarter, you don’t seem to have been put off running a campaign during a global health crisis! Are you relying on people self-isolating to help fund the campaign? Or was it just too late to stop things when the lockdowns happened? Do you think crowd funding will need to evolve and change with the current global health crisis?
RKL: Me and Chris and Tyler had some huge chats about what to do as things globally got worse. We considered our options and in the end decided to launch because we wanted the world to still go on in some capacity. The worst that could happen was we would fail and we would try the campaign again at a later less-pandemic-y time, but we thought we might as well try. Everything was in order and we believe in this project, so it’s been nice to see it fund so quickly.
And also do you think comics might have to change too?
RKL: Yes, there could be quite a shift after everything settles down. I won’t prognosticate, there are far smarter people than me out there, but it looks like models might have to shift, if even only for half a year or more, but what might people learn in that time? Will floppies see a hit in the way they sit in the market and people will shift to OGNs? Will digital comics rule supreme as they can enter people’s home safer than any box touched by the outside world? Will everything just hit pause and then go back to the exact way it was before? I don’t know, but I hope people come out of this wanting to support locally owned businesses more.
I hope local comic shops get love during this time and after it. Instead of going to Amazon to fund a company we all rail against online but still use to get a price that’s $5 cheaper, why don’t we get into small businesses, and support independent product. That would be a nice outcome to take from a time that’s going to impact us all in such horrible ways.