The Last Man – Chapter III

THE LAST MAN

CHAPTER III.

HAPPY were the months, weeks, and hours of Adrian’s year long exile. Friendship, hand in hand with admiration, tenderness and respect, built a grove of delight in my heart. Insatiable thirst for knowledge, and boundless affection for Adrian, combined to keep both my heart and mind occupied and content. No happiness is so true and unclouded as the overflowing delight of youth. In our boat, upon my native lake, beside the streams and the pale bordering poplars I tossed my crook aside and found a nobler flock to tend than silly sheep – a flock of newborn ideas. I studied and listened to Adrian; his discourse, whether it concerned his love or his theories for the improvement of man, entranced me. Sometimes my lawless mood would return, my love of peril, my resistance to authority, but only in his absence. Under the mild sway of his dear eyes, I was as obedient as a boy of five years old doing his mother’s bidding.

After his year with us, Adrian visited London, and came back full of plans for our future. You must begin life, he said: you are seventeen, and longer delay would render the necessary learning more and more difficult. He foresaw that his own life would be one of struggle, and that I would share his labours. To prepare me for this task, I would go abroad. He had procured for me the duty of private secretary to the Ambassador at Vienna, where I would begin my career under the best auspices. In two years, I would return to my country, with a name well known and a reputation already founded.

And Perdita? Perdita was to become the pupil, friend and surrogate younger sister of Evadne, while still maintaining her independence. How could we refuse the offers of our generous friend? In my heart of hearts, I made a vow to devote all the life, knowledge, and power which he had bestowed on me to him and his cause.

Thus I promised myself, as I journied towards my destination with roused expectation of the fulfilment of boyhood dreams of power and triumph. I knew the time had now arrived when childish occupations would be laid aside, and I would truly enter into life. Even in the Elysian fields, Virgil describes the souls of the happy as eager to drink of the wave which was to restore them to this mortal coil. The young are seldom in Elysium, for their desires outstrip all possibility, leaving them as poor as a beggar. We are told by the wisest philosophers of the dangers of the world, the deceits of men, and the treason of our own hearts, but nonetheless, we each cast off from our ports fearlessly and spread sail to attain the multitudinous streams of the sea of life. Few in youth’s prime dock their vessels on the golden sands to collect shells; instead they seek new adventures. But in the end, with shoddy rafts they make for shore, where they are wrecked as they reach it, or find some wave-beaten asylum, some desert strand, there they cast themselves and die unmourned.

A truce to philosophy! Life is before me, and I rush to possess it. Hope, glory, love, and blameless ambition are my guides, and my soul knows no dread. What has been, though sweet, is gone. The present is good only because it is about to change, and what comes is all my own. My eyes seem to penetrate the cloudy midnight of time, and to discern within the depths of its darkness, the fruition of all my soul’s desires.

During my journey I might dream, and with buoyant wings reach the summit of life’s high edifice. Now that I have arrived at its base, my pinions are furled, the mighty stairs are before me, and step by step I must ascend the wondrous temple. What door has opened before me?

Behold me in a new capacity – a diplomat. One among the pleasure-seeking society of a cheery city and a favourite of the Ambassador. With breathless amazement I entered all that was strange and admirable to a poor shepherd of Cumberland.

Soon, too soon, I entered the giddy whirl; forgetting my studious hours, and the companionship of Adrian. Passionate desire of sympathy, and ardent pursuit for a wished-for object still characterized me. The sight of beauty entranced me, and attractive manners in man or woman won my entire confidence. I called it rapture, when a smile made my heart beat and I felt lifeblood tingle in my frame, as I approached the idol which I worshipped. The mere flow of animal spirits was Paradise, and at night’s close I only desired a renewal of the intoxicating delusion. The dazzling light of ornamented rooms, and lovely forms arrayed in splendid dresses. The motions of a dance and the voluptuous tones of exquisite music cradled my senses in one delightful dream.

And is this not happiness? I appeal to preachers and sages: in the calm of their measured reveries, in the deep meditations which fill their hours, do they feel the ecstasy of a youthful novice? Can the calm beams of their heaven-seeking eyes equal the flashes of mingling passion which blind the neophyte? Can the influence of cold philosophy steep their soul in a joy equal to that of the apprentice?

But in truth, neither the lonely meditations of the hermit, nor the tumultuous raptures of the reveller, are capable of satisfying a man’s heart. From one we gather unquiet speculation, from the other satiety. The mind flags beneath the weight of thought, and sags in the heartless communion of those whose sole aim is amusement. There is no fruition in their vacant kindness, and sharp rocks lurk beneath the smiling ripples of these shallow waters.

Thus when disappointment, weariness, and solitude drove me back, I drew upon my heart to gather the joy of which it had become barren. My flagging spirits asked for something to speak to the affections; and not finding it, I sank. Thus, notwithstanding the thoughtless delight at its onset, the impression I have of my life at Vienna is melancholy. Goethe has said, that in youth we cannot be happy unless we love. I did not love, but I was devoured by a restless wish to be something to others. I became the victim of ingratitude and cold dallying – then I surrendered, and imagined that my discontent gave me a right to hate the world. I receded to solitude. I found refuge in my books, and my desire to once again enjoy Adrian’s company became a burning thirst.

At this period the exploits of one of my countrymen filled the world with admiration. Stories of his achievements, and speculation concerning his future actions, were the never-failing topics of the hour. I felt as if the praises which this darling of fame – this favourite of the masses – received were leaves torn from laurels destined for Adrian.

Lord Raymond was the sole remnant of a noble but impoverished family. From early youth he had considered his pedigree with complacency, and bitterly lamented his want of wealth. His first wish was glorification; and the means to the end were secondary considerations. He was arrogant, yet trembling to every demonstration of respect; ambitious, but too proud to show his aspirations; willing to achieve honour, yet an addict of pleasure. Life responded with an insult, real or imaginary, some disappointment to hard for his pride to bear. He writhed beneath an injury he was unable to satisfy; and he left England with a vow not to return, until his power could be felt.

He became an adventurer in the Greek wars. His reckless courage and sweeping genius brought him into notice. He became the darling hero of a rising people. Only his foreign birth, and the refusal to throw off his allegiance to England, prevented him from filling key offices in the state. While others ranked higher in title and ceremony, Lord Raymond held a station above and beyond all others. He led the Greek armies to victory; their triumphs were all his own. When he appeared, entire towns poured forth to meet him. New songs were created to celebrate his glory, valour, and benevolence.

A truce was struck between the Greeks and Turks. At the same time, Lord Raymond became the possessor of an immense fortune in England, allowing him to return, crowned with glory, to receive the honour and distinction previously denied him. His proud heart rebelled against this change. What was more valuable – power from wealth, or power earned on the battlefield? Regardless power was the aim of all his endeavours. On the battlefield or behind closed doors, his goal was the same – to attain the highest station in his own country.

This account filled me with curiosity. The events that followed his return to England, gave me anxious feelings. Among his other virtues, Lord Raymond was supremely handsome and admired by all. He was courteous and honey tongued – an adept in fascinating arts. Nothing would be beyond his reach in the busy English world. Only parts of Raymond’s story reached me for Adrian had ceased to write, and Perdita was a lazy correspondent. Rumours stated that Adrian had gone mad: that Lord Raymond was the favourite of the ex-queen, and her daughter’s destined husband. That he revived the claim of the house of Windsor to the crown, and that, in the event of Adrian’s incurable disorder and marriage with his sister, the brow of the ambitious Raymond might soon be encircled with the magic ring of regality.

Such a tale made a longer stay at Vienna, away from the friend of my youth, intolerable. Now I must fulfil my vow, to be at his side, and be his ally until death. Farewell to courtly pleasure, political intrigue and this maze of passion and folly. An irresistible voice drew me back to England. After an absence of two years I landed on its shores, fearful of what I would find. My first visit would be to my sister, who inhabited a small cottage gifted to her by Adrian, on the borders of Windsor Forest. From her I would learn the truth about our protector, why she had withdrawn from the protection of Princess Evadne, and learn as to the influence which Raymond exercised over the fortunes of my friend.

I had never before visited Windsor; the fertility and beauty of the country struck me with admiration, which increased as I approached the antique wood. The ruins of majestic oaks which had grown, flourished, and decayed over the centuries. Perdita’s humble dwelling was situated on the outskirts of the oldest portion. The cottage was shadowed by the venerable fathers of the forest, under which the deer came to graze.

The cottage, low-roofed and surrounded by flowers, had an air of elegance, and seemed to submit to the majesty of nature. As I stood at the entrance, I heard her voice, melodious as ever, which assured me of her wellbeing.

A moment more and Perdita appeared; she stood before me in the fresh bloom of youthful womanhood, different and yet the same as the mountain girl I had left. Her eyes could not be deeper than they were in childhood, nor her demeanour more expressive. When she smiled her face was embellished by sensibility, and her low, modulated voice seemed tuned by love. She was not tall, but her mountain life had given her grace as she raced across the hall to greet me. When we had parted, I held her tight with unrestrained warmth. We met again, with the same love, but now as adults on this drastically changed scene.

With calm thoughts we sat together, talking of the past and present. I alluded to the coldness of her letters, but soon she explained this. New feelings had arisen within her, which she was unable to express in writing to one whom she had only known in childhood. But in seeing each other again our bond was renewed as if we had never been apart. I detailed my sojourn abroad, and then asked her as to the changes that had taken place at home, the causes of Adrian’s absence, and her secluded life.

The tears in my sister’s eyes when I mentioned our friend seemed to vouch for the truth of the reports that had reached me. Was there indeed anarchy in the sublime universe of Adrian’s thoughts, did madness scatter the well-appointed legions, and was he no longer the lord of his own soul? Beloved friend, this sick world was no place for your gentle spirit. You delivered its governance to false humanity, which stripped it and laid bare its quivering life to the roughest winds. Have those gentle eyes,channels of the soul, lost their meaning? Does that voice no longer discourse?” Gushing tears I bear witness to my sympathy for this unimaginable ruin.

Perdita detailed the melancholy circumstances that led to this event.

The frank and unsuspicious mind of Adrian, gifted as it was by every natural grace, endowed with transcendant powers of intellect, unblemished by the shadow of defect, was devoted as ever to Evadne. He entrusted her with the treasures of his soul, his aspirations, and his plans for the betterment of mankind. As he matured, his theories acquired new resolve from the powers he felt arise within him. His love for Evadne became deep-rooted, as each day he became more certain that the path he pursued was full of difficulty, and that he must seek his reward, not for the applause or gratitude of his fellow people, but rather for his true love.

In solitude far from the haunts of men, he matured his views for the reform of the English government, and the improvement of the people. It would have been well if he had concealed his sentiments, until he had come into possession of the power which would secure their practical development. But he was impatient, frank of heart and fearless. Not only did he deny his mother’s schemes, he made public his intention of using his influence to diminish the power of the aristocracy, to effect a greater equalization of wealth and privilege, and to introduce a perfect system of nationalist government into England. At first his mother treated his theories as the wild ravings of inexperience. But they were so systematically arranged, and his arguments so well
supported, that although still incredulous, she began to fear him. She tried to reason with him, and finding him inflexible, learned to hate her own son.

Strangely, this hatred was infectious. His enthusiasm for creating equality, his contempt for the sacredness of authority and his recklessness were all at the antithesis of the usual routine of English life. The worldly feared him while the young and inexperienced did not understand his lofty moral views, and disliked him for being so radically different. Evadne thought he did well to assert his own will, but she wished that his message had been more intelligible to the multitude. She did not possess the spirit of a martyr, and did not wish to share the shame and defeat of a fallen patriot. She was aware of the purity of his motives, the generosity of his disposition, and his true and ardent attachment to her. She entertained a great affection for him. He repaid this spirit of kindness with the fondest gratitude, and made her the refuge of all his hopes.

Around this time, Lord Raymond returned from Greece. Raymond was emphatically a man of the world. His passions were violent and often controlled him; he could not always square his conduct to his self-interest, but self-gratification was paramount to him. He looked on the structure of society as part of the machinery which supported the web on which his life was traced. The earth was spread out as highway for him, with the heavens as his canopy.

Adrian felt that he was part of a greater whole. He had an affinity not only to mankind, but all of nature. He felt his life mingle with the universe of existence. His soul was sympathy, and dedicated to the worship of beauty and excellence. As Adrian and Raymond came into contact, a spirit of loathing rose between them. Adrian despised the narrow views of the politician, and Raymond held in supreme contempt the benevolent visions of the philanthropist. The two could not be further opposed to each other.

The arrival of Raymond formed a storm that laid waste to the gardens of delight and sheltered paths which Adrian had built as a refuge from defeat and abuse. Raymond, a graceful soldier and the deliverer of Greece, was loved by Evadne. Overpowered by these feelings, she let herself be governed by this love which suddenly usurped the empire of her heart. She yielded to its influence, and Adrian’s love became distasteful to her. Evadne grew volatile and responded to his gentle conduct with repulsive coldness. At times his pathetic appeals made her relent, and for a while she was able to resume some kindness toward him. But these fluctuations shook Adrian to his core; he felt in every fibre of his being the dire storms of the universe attacking his fragile being.

Perdita, who lived with Evadne, saw the torture that Adrian endured. She loved Adrian as a kind older brother; someone to guide, protect, and instruct her, without the tyranny of parental authority. She adored his virtues, and with contempt and indignation she saw Evadne pile sorrow on him, although he had hardly wronged her. In his solitary despair Adrian would often seek my sister to express his misery, while fortitude and agony divided his mind. There was no place in him for Anger. With whom should he be angry? Not with Raymond, who did not even know of the misery he caused; not with Evadne – the poor, mistaken girl – Adrian grieved for her future destiny. A tear-blotted writing of his fell into Perdita’s hands:

“Life” – it began – “is not something romance writers describe; going through the measures of a dance, and after various evolutions arriving at a conclusion, when the dancers may sit down and repose. While there is life there is action and change. We go on, each thought linked to the one which was its parent, each act to a previous act. No joy or sorrow dies barren of progeny, which for ever generated and generating, weaves the chain that make our life:

Un dia llama a otro dia
y asi llama, y encadena
llanto a llanto, y pena a pena.

Disappointment is the guardian deity of human life; she sits at the threshold of unborn time, and marshals the events as they come forth. Once my heart sat lightly in my bosom; all the beauty of the world was doubly beautiful, irradiated by the sun-light shed from my own soul. Why are love and ruin for ever joined in this, our mortal dream? So that when we make our hearts a lair for that gently seeming beast, its companion enters with it, and pitilessly lays waste to what might have been a home, a shelter.”

Gradually his health was shaken by misery, and then his mind yielded to the same despair. He grew wild, ferocious, at times absorbed in speechless melancholy.

Suddenly Evadne left London for Paris; he followed, and met her as the vessel was about to sail. No one knows what happened that day, but Perdita had not seen Adrian since. He lived in seclusion, in parts unknown, attended only by persons selected by his mother.

What would become of my dear friend?

Update

I am writing this post to address the events that began to unfold a couple of days ago on twitter. What started as an expression of freedom of speech quickly became ugly, as one of our creators chose to cross a line. Let me be clear: I do not share their point of view.

For those that have been waiting for a more detailed statement, I can tell you that I cannot advocate for violence, and that my views are not always in line with those of our creators. They are all independent, and so I am not in a position to censor or control anyone. We are not Marvel or DC – we are a small outfit with 0 employees, that was really started because of my love of Comic Books.

For those that have been following, some very disturbing content was posted by James A. Bretney, one of our original creators. Like many of you, I did find many of these posts to be upsetting. This situation is beyond my control, and twitter has responded accordingly.

For those that can only see the negative here, consider that this same person has been a mentor to creators from diverse backgrounds, and gave many young up and coming female artists (who have gone on to do great work) some early breaks – when many others would not. This is where it can be difficult to reconcile a person that you know, from the type of person that many of you saw on twitter.

I realize that many have already passed judgement and boycotted us as a whole; that is certainly your right, and these comments are not meant to persuade you otherwise. At the same time, to simply say that I will immediately pull all of James’ work impacts more than just James. He is a writer, but also works with artists, cover artists, letterers, and more. These other creators, who have worked hard to create great stories, and who do not share his views, could be unjustly affected. Some of these people do depend on comics and their portfolios for ongoing work outside of Lucha Comics. Over the next few days and weeks, I will be consulting with my team to decide what the future of these works is.

I also believe that simply cutting someone off does not address the root problem, and effectively closes the door on any positive dialogue involving Mr. Rashim. He was gracious enough to post the following:

I communicated this personally to James, and he felt that this was a very honourable response from someone who he misjudged, and felt that he had to re-evaluate his opinions of Mr. Rashid. James also recognized the difficult situation created for our brand as a whole.

However, we do recognize the hurt that this incident has caused, and therefore, we will be putting James’ next two projects (currently co-authored with other creators, but which do not have artwork yet) on an indefinite production hold, until we can fully evaluate what has happened today. Any other projects that are not affiliated or connected to him will proceed as scheduled.

As I hope to continue dialogue with both Mr. Bretney and Mr. Rashid, my team of creators, and those closest to me, I will be posting further thoughts. Please keep in mind that I have been planning a family vacation for some time, and you will likely not hear much from me over the next couple of weeks. This does not mean that I do not care; I have tried to respond to tweets, E-mails, phone calls and text messages as much as possible. For the overwhelming majority of you that presented your concerns in a positive manner, I thank you.

I will take this time to reach out in greater detail to people involved, to get their feedback, and to work together to a solution.

Thank you.

Sincerely,
Rodolfo Martinez

1985: Chapter 2



Gregory was in the field again. Running with his sister, playing some game that he had long ago forgotten.  The world seemed to be in ruin; England was no longer how it seemed in his history books from school.  This did not seem like some majestic place fit for royalty; it had been torn apart by the munitions of war. The fighting seemed to never end, and when he and his sister were in bed, he could overhear his parents concern about the constant dwindling supply of food and other basic staples.  A few years later, his mother disappeared like so many others. He could not pinpoint the exact date (or even the exact date that he lived in now, you could never trust anything official, but he was confident that the year was now 1985). He only knew that one day he no longer had a mother.  After his father vanished in a similar manner, he stopped thinking about what happened to his parents; the disappearances became so common that it stopped being a mystery.

After the loss of his parents, Gregory thought that he had become emotionless. But when his sister was taken, he was full of rage.  He remembered fighting when they came to take her to the orphanage; why couldn’t they take him? When would he see her? When they wouldn’t tell him, he fought so hard that looking back, he couldn’t understand how they didn’t kill him. While he certainly received a good beating, the real damage was to his emotional well being.

Had he been a different type of person, he would have simply given in to the propaganda, and forgotten all about his beloved sister (some days it was hard to remember her name, let alone her face), but despite being an inner party member, buried in parades and slogans, community activities, and preparations for Hate Week, Gregory would never forget, or forgive what the party had taken from him. After his family was gone, a part of him longed to be made an unperson as well; forgotten, completely erased. But even in its early days, The Party understood the value of isolating people from each other, of breaking a man rather than simply killing him, and of course killing love for all things, except for Big Brother.


1985: Chapter 1



He could not believe how loudly the fools were chanting. Of course he was chanting too, but it was only to convince his comrades, the thought police, and anyone else that might be watching. He came to the Clover Leaf Cafe hoping to find a dissenter, but instead he found a group of broken idiots believing in a false idol. Their devotion went beyond belief; they loved Big Brother.

At this moment, Gregory was certain of two things: that at least one of these men had recently revolted, and that the Party never tolerated any dissension, no matter how small. Those that did not believe in the Party were not simply executed or erased, at least not immediately; first they had to be broken, reprogrammed to love Big Brother, and to believe that Oceania was at war with East Asia, and that it had always been at war with East Asia. It did not matter that as little as two weeks ago East Asia was Oceania’s only ally – The Party demanded complete obedience and anything it did or said must be gospel.

While the cruel officers of the aptly named Ministry of Love were experts in the torture and breaking of others, Gregory knew something that they did not: one that was freshly broken still carried hate for Big Brother in his heart. The human brain did not allow one to forget their enemies so quickly; in these circumstances love and hate are separated by very thin lines. He knew that at least one of these men could easily be swayed back to the Brotherhood, to revolution, and to hatred of Big Brother, just as easily as he had been broken. But he had to act fast.

Gregory had been observing the cafe for some time. He had to be cautious, arriving and leaving from different paths, not being too routine a visitor, and making sure that it did not interfere with his Party duties – like the endless hikes, committee meetings, and his favourite, preparations for Hate Week. He had noticed a new face in the crowd; perhaps this was his best lead. But first, he had to learn more about this man. His name, where he lived, and most importantly, what led him to believe that he could fight against the Party itself?

Gregory’s position as an Inner Party member within the Ministry of Love allowed him access to a great deal of information, but he had to be careful not to raise any suspicions. No one was above the watchful eye of the Thought Police. Even those in the Inner Party could be taken away in the middle of the night, only to be forgotten by their comrades, lest they want to share the same fate. After all, the Party built its power on fear, paranoia and misinformation. Gregory knew that he had to be vigilant. He knew all too well what happened to dissenters who were taken away. The torture, the breaking, the reprogramming. Gregory knew that above all else, he must be patient. Overthrowing Big Brother would not happen overnight – if at all.

Azteq vs. The Prowler

Azteq vs. The Prowler by Lucha Comics

This is the official adaptation of Azteq vs The Prowler – an upcoming feature length film that revives the Lucha Libre genre and combines it with a slasher! Filming is underway in Dallas, so be sure to check in soon as wrestling stars Aski The Mayan Warrior, Mike Knox, Michael Tarver and more lend their talents to this awesome project!

A very limited amount of print copies are available, signed by writer Roberto Mercado – so be sure to get yours now!

10 Things That Our Kickstarter Campaign Taught Me

Late last year, we took a big leap and launched our first crowdfunding campaign via kickstarter. It was perhaps the most stressful experience I’ve had in the 2 years that Lucha Comics has existed, but it was definitely one of the most satisfying as well. From a slow start, to getting into Bleeding Cool, and (just barely) crossing the finish line, I figured I was long overdue in reflecting on what I believe was our largest accomplishment to date. For a publisher that was strictly digital to do an initial run of 350 copies of a full length graphic novel wasn’t easy, but thanks to some great people we made it. So, I would like to share the top 10 things that our campaign taught me.

kursk-all-doomed-wp-header

1. Not all crowdfunding platforms are created equal.

One of the first things I encountered was trying to decide if I would choose Indiegogo or kickstarter. It took a lot of research, and really trying to find a platform that best matched what I wanted to accomplish. I also researched other comic book projects, read blogs from other successful crowdfunders, and looked at how many friends I had on each. In the end, kickstarter beat Rocket Hub and other sites handily, but narrowily came out on top over Indiegogo.

2. Flexible funding may not be as great as it sounds.

Now that I had a platform, I really had to consider how I would fund my project: flexible funding (keep whatever you raise) or go the all or nothing route. In the end, I decided that I wanted to fund an entire project, and that I wanted my supporters to know that I was fully committed. All or nothing it was, and yes I almost regretted it – but now I don’t think I would ever do a flexible campaign.

3. Calculating your goal should be a well thought out exercise.

You really need to be careful here since you can’t adjust your campaign once it is live. I cannot stress enough how much thought and planning should go into this. Do not rush this part, because a) you don’t want to set a goal so high that you can’t possibly hit it or b) you may be stuck trying to deliver on something that you can’t afford, even if you fund to 100% or even 125%! Let’s start with point a):

Be optimistic, but realistic. It is far better to set an attainable goal and blow it out of the water then set something massive and barely make it or fall short. It looks far better to fund a $2,500 to 100% than fund a $25,000 project to 75%. Do not set yourself up for failure: if you ever want to do another kickstarter, you want your supporters to see that you are building on success and offering something that you can deliver on. Now, let’s tackle point b).

Once you know what you need to do and what you can reasonably raise, do not just ballpark your budget. Do some research, look at similar projects, and understand what you are promising to deliver. Many crowdfunding campaigns have pissed off some loyal people because they were unable to deliver. Sure, some of these might have been pure scams, but for the most part I feel that these failures to deliver were a result of poor research and planning. Here are a few tips that worked for my comic book project, The Kursk by Sasha Janowicz:

  • Have firm quotes for your book from at least reputable suppliers, and use the highest one as your goal
  • Factor in 10% for crowdfunding and payment processing fees
  • Have a contingency of at least 10%
  • Factor in the costs (if any) of not receiving your funds for 30-45 days from project close
  • And the one that almost got me: shipping

Shipping was a real killer here, because (unbeknownst to me) shipping costs are calculated towards your goal. Here is an example:

I set a goal of $3,000. My early bird reward was $10 + shipping. For this example we will assume someone ordering a reward in Canada at a rate of $5, so their total pledge would be $15. This means that their entire pledge (including the shipping fee) counts towards your goal. My project was broken down as follows:

$2,700 printing + contingency costs
$270 kickstarter fees
$250 Approximate shipping costs

Giving a total of $3,270. Since this was my first kickstarter, I wrongly assumed that shipping was extra and above and beyond the amount that I needed. Fortunately, my contingency covered my shipping costs, and in the future I will be sure to calculate this amount better.

I know this might sound confusing, or not a big deal, but for a small publisher that swore up and down to his partner that there was no way the kickstarter could possibly cost us anything out of pocket, it was a real concern. Basically, you need to guesstimate how many backers you will get, what your shipping costs will be, and add that to your goal. If this or any other point here still sounds confusing, please, please, please feel free to get in touch and I would be glad to elaborate.

4. Make the length of your campaign just right.

This was a bit tricky. Too short and you can fail; too long and people may lose interest and just not care. Personally, I like a 30 day campaign, regardless of the amount trying to be raised. If your goal seems huge, you likely don’t have a timing issue, you probably have a cost or you set a goal-so-massive-there-is-no-way-in-hell-that-you-are-going-to-hit-it-even-if-everyone-you-now-kicks-in-$10 issue.


5. You need some kind of video if this is your first campaign.

An image really isn’t enough. You need a cool video that not only describes your project, but also allows you to connect with the audience. It should be visual, but really get to the heart of why you are doing this and why you need help from backers. This also becomes something that is easy to share across social media. It doesn’t need to be Academy Award winning, but try and make something nice (even if you are terrible on camera like me as you can see below). Having a Mac (or a friend with one) certainly helps! Which leads me away from the technical points and towards the qualitative stuff that really made a difference…




6. People aren’t buying your book

Ok, so maybe a few are, but generally people weren’t buying my book, they were buying the chance to support me because they really believed in Lucha Comics. While this changed the marketing message, it really made the whole process more rewarding – someone actually cared about our brand.

Lucha Comics Logo

7. Now isn’t the time to be shy.

I hate to feel like I am bugging anyone, but with a short time frame to raise funds, you really need to promote the hell out of yourself. This is not the time to be shy; reach out to all facebook friends and followers, twitter, followers, friends, family etc. I would say that 75% of my time went to outreach, which is far different from blind promotion. Ask people to share your campaign with others without asking them to feel obligated to contribute. It’s a win-win for everyone. By the time I was done my campaign, everyone knew that I was a comic book publisher, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

8. You need to get in touch with influencers.

Fortunately Lucha has a track record in the digital space, so I was able to reach out to people at ComiXology, and my friend Ian Yarrington of ComicBooked.com to let them know what was going on. Taking my own advice from my point above, I went even further and decided to E-Mail Rich Johnston at Bleeding Cool, and guess what? They agreed to carry our story. These little bits help to give you credibility, and it is a nice confidence booster when someone agrees to help promote you when there are so many great projects out there to talk about.

9. Kickstarters can draw in new fans.

People that had never read a comic book or graphic novel before decided to put down some money for The Kursk because they saw it on kickstarter. I was really amazed at the first time readers, and the kind of attention that kickstarter can get you. Overall it was great to see readers that were not only new to Lucha, but also to the comic book industry.

10. Your fans are awesome people and they want you to succeed.

As invested as I was in my project, the fans really made it special. I was overwhelmed by the support we received, and how they wanted to get involved. Your fans are great, so make sure that you treat them well post-project. If someone puts down a pledge for your book, remember that they really want to see it happen.

This is probably one of the longest blogs I have ever written, and it could have easily been twice as long. If this came off like me bragging at all then I apologize because that was never my intent; I just wanted to reflect on a great experience that was only made possible by some great people who decided to take a gamble and show their support for us. Hopefully, this article can help someone else to experience the same.

nameless. #1

nameless. is a new fantasy series by Marcello Bondi and Chiara Carnovale. On a far-away world, a man with no name, no memory, and no mission sets out on a journey. Where will it take him, and what will it mean for this stranger, and those who cross him?

Get it now on:

The Kursk by Lucha Comics on ComiXology

Jinn Warriors Volume 1 – The Devil’s War

This gripping “Reality-Based Fantasy” is best described as Lord of the Rings meets The Devil’s Advocate. It is where history, as well as the future of humanity, are examined under Islamic and Biblical light, in an effort to comprehend the nature of the Devil, his minions, and plans for the demise of Humanity.

What can we do to ensure that Humanity not only survives, but wins and thrives?

Marwan ElNashar brings his Action/Fantasy tale to Lucha Comics. Incredible artwork and an ageless story bring together a team of interfaith heroes that must put aside their differences because they are the only ones that can save our planet.

Volume 1: The Devil’s War
A Pharonic Queen that helped Moses during the Exodus, A Rabbi that aided Jesus, and a Roman commander that saves Mohamed, find a way to unite in the spiritual dimension of Jannahim. They must set aside their differences to prevent Satan from recruiting the Third Horsemen of the Apocalypse and edging ever closer to completing his army of darkness!

“For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in a concealed realm.”

Lucha Comics is thrilled to partner with MARZ publishing to bring this story to our readers. Expect it very soon on Google Play, Amazon Kindle, Comics+, and ComiXology!

Faded Memories #2

When you’re lost with no way home, every step could be your last. This is a lesson our two mysterious protagonists learned quickly, as they make their way through unfamiliar and unforgiving territory.

Jory Abbott was inspired to tell this story through the artwork of Jeff Harvey as he felt that he was at a bit of a low point, a darker place. This led to an origin story that might be a bit darker than what most Comic Book readers are used to. Jory and Jeff have really poured themselves into this book, with characters that are a reflection of reality. There will always be things that go bump in the night. The genesis project created two people who could bump a little bit harder.

Get Faded Memories #2 on:

Lucha Comics on ComiXology

Lucha Comics on Amazon

Lucha Comics on Google Play