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Girl Trouble Takes on a Whole New Meaning in EPIC

Girls and superheroes.

In high school, I spent 90% of my time thinking about one or the other. Now, some 16 years later, a little wiser and a lot less awkward around the ladies — oh, who am I kidding, the only lady I want to be cool around now is my lovely wife. And by cool I mean a goofball — I get to put all that thinking to good use.

Having just secured funding for EPIC, a superteen action comedy I’ve created with artist Matt Zolman, I’ve been mining the treasure trove of old high school stories for material.  Swirlies and keggers. Prom shenanigans and crazy teachers. And with a teenage step-daughter in the house, I have a steady stream of new material coming in as inspiration for the book.

EPIC has a hook that couldn’t be simpler: Teen superhero loses his powers around pretty girls. In other words, hot chicks literally are this kid’s kryptonite. It’s a cute idea, and pitches great at conventions.  “Wait, he gets weak around the hotties?  Sounds like a lotta guys I know!”

But a hook is not a story.  (Believe me, as publisher of ComixTribe, I get pitched a lot of hooks…but far fewer stories.)

Relying on a one-note premise or punchline won’t get EPIC very far. Tweet-simple high concept aside, the EPIC premise allows us to explore a ton of themes at the core of the teenage (and hell, the human) experience. We all have our Achilles’ heel. And for a whole bunch of us, being smitten with beautiful girls (or boys) is it. Does love make us weaker or stronger? What about lust? What causes attraction in the first place? All these themes and more will be explored in the pages of EPIC, interspersed with some of the most thrilling superhero throw-downs we can muster.

Why Kickstarter?

We took EPIC to Kickstarter in order to fund an offset print run for the first 32-page “pilot” issue. Having poured heart and soul into the book over the past few years, I wanted to not just share the book with the world, but also my passion for it. The Kickstarter platform is one of the best ways to do that.

As a concept trying to compete in a crowded, fickle comic market, I know EPIC faces an uphill battle. First, it’s a capes book…and Marvel and DC, with a few exceptions, have that genre locked up pretty tightly. And second, there is nothing pretentious or “hipstery” about this comic. While the creative team takes the quality of its production quite seriously, the book itself does not. EPIC is pure popcorn entertainment for readers who enjoy colorful characters, impossible situations, bizarre love quadrangles, tongue-in-cheek melodrama, and lots of punching in spandex. Think Glee, but replace all the musical numbers with superhero brawls, and you have the idea.

I was humbled to see us crush our initial goal in just a few hours of launching the Kickstarter campaign, and to double it on day two. EPIC is my second successful  go at Kickstarter, with the first funding the Oxymoron Volume 1 hardcover, which was covered by Bleeding Cool. (Fun fact: Bleeding Cool backers accounted for more than 5% of the $26,000 the Oxymoron campaign raised.)

Luckily, EPIC is a much smaller project, but I’d still love for it to reach as many readers as possible. I adore this book. There’s something that delights me on every page…but I don’t want you to take my word for it. Go ahead and download a ten page preview.

I’ve also been thrilled to get some incredible feedback on EPIC from a number of talented creators whose work and opinions I respect.

Too Much To Ask for A Foil-Embossed Cover?

With the book now funded and three weeks left to go, I’ve launched a set of stretch goals to improve the project and give more to the backers supporting it. Between the two of us, the one I’m really hoping we can unlock is the foil-embossed cover at $4K. Blame that one on all this thinking about high school and the ‘90’s. Back then, I loved and hated the “gimmick” cover. I loved ‘em, because hey, shiny and new and different has always been cool. I hated them because they always jacked up the prices, meaning I could buy less comics.

Having done the research, I’m gonna share a little secret the other pubs don’t want you to know…that jacking of the price on “enhanced” covers? Yeah, it WAS a cash grab. But, if we hit the $4K milestone for EPIC, everyone’s books are getting the foil-embossed treatment at no extra charge.

The Bleeding Cool Bump

No question about it…I’m hoping EPIC gets the support of Bleeding Cool readers. One of the cool things about Kickstarter is that it’ll tell you where your backers come from. So, here’s the deal…I’m heading to Granite State Comic Con this weekend (if you’re in the area, come on by the ComixTribe tables and say hello.)  There, I’ll be commissioning some of my favorite artists to do some EPIC sketches. If the EPIC campaign can get 10 Bleeding Cool Backers over the weekend, I’ll post the sketches here on Monday.

Thanks for reading, and I hope you’ll give EPIC a shot on Kickstarter.

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