THANK YOU FOR HELPING OUR ARTISTS HAVE BONUSES ONTO THEIR BASE PAYS! We can’t thank you enough for all your pledges and support, and it’s great to not only have the Kickstarter funded, but now also two out of five stretch goals. How many can we break with the rest of our time on the clock?
Our next stretch goal at $41,000 will include color inserts for the book for all 22 cards!
Our Kickstarter ends on Tuesday May 2nd 12PM PDT, so remember to pledge and pre-order a book while there’s still time! For now, let’s take a look at The Tower by Steve Foxe and & Andrew Drilon.
XVI - THE TOWER
Planetary Ruler of Mars
Archaic Title - “Lord of the Hosts of the Mighty”
An age-old guard tower typically rendered being destroyed with its denizens razed to the ground below, The Tower is a signal for dramatic, sometimes violent change in our lives, to abandon the old and begin anew. Specifically, it is the process of dismantling the former, the construction site of warped earth and crashes of destruction and renovation to make way for which will be, eventually, a shining new building in its place.
Steve Foxe writes comics, comics journalism, and licensed children’s books for properties including Transformers, DC Super Friends, and Justice League. He was the winner of the second annual Top Cow Talent Hunt and his work has appeared in the DC Comics/IDW Publishing Love is Love Orlando benefit book, The Oath queer superhero anthology, and the Beyond II queer sci-fi anthology. He is the assistant editor for Paste Magazine’s comic section and lives in Queens, where he tweets about comics, horror movies, gay stuff, and cats. Andrew Drilon hails from the Philippines, where he recently won the National Book Award for his first book, Kare-Kare Komiks. His works have appeared in various publications including Dark Horse Presents, Top Shelf 2.0 and Playboy.
I’m exhausted because today was Free Comic Book Day and I spent it at Ultimate Comics of Durham NC. The event didn’t start until ten, but I arrived at 8 so that I could help set up. I have off and on worked at Ultimate Comics and I know this is the biggest day of the year, so I went out of my way to support them. I set up tables and arranged and opened boxes upon boxes of comics. We set up four six foot tables in a row, we filled them with boxes of free comics, and then we did the same thing TWO MORE TIMES. We had books from Action Lab, Marvel, Archie, DC, Boom, Image, Top Cow, Dark Horse, Fantagraphics, IDW, Top Shelf, Oni, Th3rd World Press, and many many more. Including some up and coming comics companies that i was glad to see biting the bullet and diving into Free Comic Book Day with abandon.
At ten the event started and I set up at my table. I immediately sold out of every copy of the Princeless Vol 1 trade the store had. Then I sold out of issue #1’s, then 2’s, then 3’s. Then we sold out of volume 2 trades, then we sold out of Princeless Volume 2 #1. I kept having to run into the store and raid the shelf for more. It felt incredible. Last year I had a book with my name on it in Free Comic Book Day and only a small portion of people who picked it up thought to come to my table to have it signed. I didn’t feel like I had it figured out.
But boy was I wrong.
Today was the day that comic paid dividends. I had at least a dozen little girls come to my table today and tell me Princeless was their favorite comic book. There were a few more whose parents told me as they hid behind their legs. Several kids told me it was their first comic book. At one point this wonderful mother of two came up to me and told me that Princeless had been her first comic book, but that she was reading a lot of other stuff now. Another woman told me that she hadn’t picked up a comic book in twelve years before she picked up my book at last year’s NC Comicon and that the book had made her care about comics for the first time in years. Dozens of girls came up to my table and scoured the books for the one or two issues they hadn’t been able to get their hands on,
I like praise, don’t get me wrong, but the one’s that really stick with me are the “thank you"s. A young black dad came up to the table and told me about how he had been dying to get his daughter into comic books but she just hadn’t been interested, but that now Princeless was their bedtime story. A mother thanked me for giving her a comic that her daughter could read and see herself represented and told me how she wished she had had a book like that when she was a girl. One girl called thank you to me as she took her comics and had barely turned around before she was busting them out of the plastic so that she could sit down in the grass and read them. My wife’s cousin showed up and stood behind the table with me so he could brag to his friends that he was really related to a comic book writer. He told me I was his coolest relative (I asked who I beat out and it turned out it was his dad. Oops!). Okay, maybe that last one was a bit shallow.
But, man, this is the good stuff. Comics are so much further than they were even a few years ago. It feel like we’ve made huge strides just since last year. Just since i wrote that silly letter to comics for Bleeding Cool talking about how my daughter deserved better.
At the end of the day, there were only 6 boxes on one table. I went over to look at what was left and discovered that three of those boxes were comics from last year. Around six p.m. there was nobody left but a handful of artists. We sat around and chatted about comics and things and I enjoyed myself. I didn’t have much to pack up, except for the Storm action figure that the store owner gave me after I declared that "I want it, but I’m not going to pay $25 for it to hand it over to my daughter. She’s still too rough on these things.” He handed it to me and declared that I could have it, but that it was for my daughter and not me. And as I packed up I was thinking about that statement. Then one of the guys was reading something from a note he had received with a long string of curse words in it, and I suddenly became super aware of who was around. Turns out, just a bunch of 20-50 something white men. Now that all of the comics buyers had left it was just a handful of comics writers and artists. No women. Not even any people of color. And as I threw my backpack over my shoulder, that thought reminded me that this isn’t over. There are bright shining beacons in the comics industry. Women and men of color who are doing comics for everyone to see. But not at this show. It dawned on me to wonder if all of these girls that had come to my table had noticed. It made me wonder if they would love my book and put it on the shelf or if it would inspire them to write something themselves.
You’ll have to pardon my sentimentalism guys. It’s been a long good day of comics and I can’t stop thinking about all the kids who are in bed right now reading their haul from today. I hope they turn that into creativity. I hope they know that they can make something that inspires others.