Bells’ Art Collection, Part 2

Hey y’all. For those who were here last week, welcome back. For those who weren’t, you’ve stumbled on the second in a series of posts showing off all the comic art I’ve collected over the past few years. Eight pieces a week for seven weeks.

Last week’s pieces can be seen here.

And those with no patience can see the whole collection on the Bells’ Kitchen Tumblr.

Featured this week:

  • Dark Phoenix by Roger Andrews
  • Delirium (from Sandman) by Becky Cloonan
  • Doctor Doom by Paul Ryan
  • Dodge (from Locke and Key) by Janet K. Lee
  • Dodola (from Habibi) by Craig Thompson
  • Echo by David Mack
  • Emma Frost by Becky Cloonan
  • The Flash by Andrew Charipar

Clicking any of the images will open a gallery, which also links to full-size images.

That’s all for now. See you next Tuesday.

– Bells

Bells’ Art Collection, Part 1

If you haven’t been following Bells’ Kitchen on Tumblr, you’ve been missing out on some really great comic art, my collection. Once a day for first 50 or so days of 2015, I posted one piece from my sketchbooks. And now I bring all that here. As on Tumblr, I’ll go in alphabetical order, all the way from Banshee to Wonder Girl. If my math is right, I should have eight pieces for you each week for the next seven weeks.

For those with no patience, you can check it all out here.

Featured this week:

  • Banshee (Siryn) by Valentine De Landro
  • Batman by Rags Morales
  • Blue Beetle (Jaime Reyes) by Franco Aureliani
  • Captain America by Sean Forney
  • Captain Cold by Scott Kolins
  • Daredevil by Cliff Chiang
  • Daredevil by David Mack
  • Daredevil by Tim Sale

You can click any of the images to open a gallery which also links to full-size images.

What do you think of this WordPress image gallery? Does that work or would you rather just see thumbnails that lead to larger sized photos?

Let me know.

Edit: So WordPress photo galleries do not cooperate well with CSS feeds. So now we have thumbnails. Enjoy!

– Bells

That’s What I’m Talking About – BKV on Collaboration and Saga

Writing is often discussed as a solitary act. Yes, it’s often just you and the keyboard in the room when the words first pour out of you, but you’re far from the last person to read, interpret, and possibly alter the work. Novelists have editors. Playwrights and screenwriters have directors, actors, and countless technical professionals. People working together to create something; it’s the nature of collaboration. And in comics, one person has more effect on the written words than anyone else – the artist. (In this case, by artist I’m mostly referring to the penciler, but inkers, colorists, etc. have their roles as well and the boundaries between each can be difficult, if not impossible, to determine).

People who write about comics often compare artists to a screen director. But that’s reductive. The artist is the director, sure. But their other jobs include acting, photography, set and prop design, lighting, wardrobe, special effects, and casting. Next time you see a film’s credits, really think about how many of those listed people affected the visual aspect of the film. A comics artist is all those people. A writer who respects that fact and encourages collaboration on their work will always get the best results.

The past twenty years have seen some truly great writer and artist collaborations. Azzarello and Risso. Loeb and Sale. Gillen and McKelvie. But you can’t tie BKV to any one artist. Almost every one of his books has had a singular artist connected to it. Y: The Last Man had Pia Guerra. Runaways had Adrian Alphona. Ex Machina had Tony Harris. The Private Eye has Marcos Martin. Though there were fill-ins and one shots drawn by others, those artists defined the look of those series from beginning to end. Which brings us to Vaughan’s current book, Saga, and that book’s artist, Fiona Staples.

For those of you unfamiliar, Saga tells the story of Alana and Marko, new parents from warring societies. Her people have wings. His people have horns. Drama ensues.

Alana from Saga, by Fiona StaplesFair enough.

Staples has previously worked with Steve Niles on the IDW-published Mystery Society as well as an Authority miniseries focused on Jack Hawksmoor. As she did on those books, she pencils, inks, and colors the book herself. She even does part of the lettering. And so, the multiple Eisner-winning Saga looks like nothing else on the stands. The book is hers. Should she break her right hand tomorrow, I have no doubt the series would go on hiatus until she was drawing again.

Marko from Saga, by Fiona StaplesDuring a Brian K. Vaughan spotlight panel at this year’s San Diego Comic Con, he said some great things about Saga, Staples and their process.

“Yeah, we do have a weird working relationship. We talk before each arc very generally where we sit down and I’ll ask what she hated drawing and what she’d like to draw more of, and what kind of themes she thinks we should explore.”

That relationship shouldn’t be weird. It should be commonplace. Empowering an artist that way is only going to create a better book. Being a stakeholder and a driver of the story, not just a pencil monkey, results in true investment. If they don’t like to draw cars, maybe don’t have a chase seen in the next issue. Vaughan knew that Staples didn’t like drawing machinery, so the family’s home/spaceship is made of wood. Likewise, when my best bud told me to write something for him to draw, my first question was what he wanted to draw. His quick response was “Monsters.” So I found my way into a werewolf story. One day, maybe we’ll see those pages.

But in addition to what she wants to draw, Vaughan also asks what themes Staples would like to explore. Her ideas, leading back into his writing, a cycle of creation. Saga may have started as Vaughan reflecting on parenthood, but their collaboration is making it much more.

“I write the book for one person — for Fiona … I spend a lot of time just thinking how she’ll react to things and manipulating her into drawing perverse, horrific things. It’s a really weird job but I enjoy it.”

While I don’t believe that he writes only for Staples, it’s clear she weighs on his mind. Staples gives feedback to Vaughan. He writes the story. She draws the story. A big cycle of collaboration, a collaboration has already resulted in an obese creature with a prodigious scrotum and a blue space-cat with a smaller vocabulary than Groot.

But let’s not forget ourselves, the readers. If we didn’t buy the book, they wouldn’t publish it. BKV and Staples may be the first steps, but as Vaughan himself said through D. Oswald Heist:

Oswald Heist from Saga, by Fiona Staples. Cheers!We read. We interpret. We write letters and our feedback is inserted into the loop. The cycle of collaboration begins again.

___

Saga is published by Image Comics. The most recent issue, #23, was released to physical and digital retailers on September 25. All art in the post is by Fiona Staples with letters in the first and third by Fonografiks.

The Uncanny XX-Men

A while ago, my friends and I went to trivia at Pint, a bar in Jersey City, NJ. Their trivia night is hosted by Geeks Who Drink, which means each week one category or other is right up my alley. It may be naming which superhero movie a clip comes from or a set of questions where each answer is also the name of a comic book publisher. One week, the visual round was The Uncanny XX-Men, drawn by Jeremy Owen.

The Uncanny XX-MenYes, I got them all.

The discussion about treatment of women, both real and fictional, in geek circles has never been louder. It’s nice to see the imbalance being recognized, even out at the bar.

And let’s be honest, Crossplay Storm is awesome.

Song of the Year: There, There by The Wonder Years

Before I heard their music, Pennsylvania-based pop-punk band The Wonder Years had a few things going against them. A pop culture referencing name, a singer that often calls himself “Soupy,” an album cover that features Cap’n Crunch making out with the Kool-Aid Woman. But 2013 was a year of change for me and a band with songs about people “born to run away from anything good” and the ever-shifting idea of home was exactly what I needed. Their newest album, The Greatest Generation, has a number of good songs, but the opener “There, There,” grabbed me more than any other.

The Wonder Years - The Greatest GenerationIt’s a simple story: a man recognizes his faults and apologizes. We may think it, but how often do we actually say, as Gareth Campesino did, “I know. I am wrong. I am sorry.”

These days, we’re either too eager or too hesitant to display our emotions. For every time someone tells their 500-person Facebook community how no one is ever there for them, there’s another who would never ask someone to be. We keep emotions in, knowing the Venn diagram of those who understand, those who care, and those we want to talk to has no overlap. No one wants to hear a whiner. We fear our Facebook friends will click “hide from news feed.” We fear our friends will stop calling. We know our therapist is only listening because she is being paid. Maybe you paint or write songs with titles like “The Devil in My Bloodstream” and “I Just Want To Sell Out My Funeral” or self-indulgent blog posts that start as song reviews and transform into an outpouring of confusion.

Or we digitally flagellate ourselves. We display our hearts like bloodied bedsheets to prove our purity. To show that we too can feel pain, either to the coddling or eye-rolling (Either is fine. A reaction is a reaction.) of our amorphous “followers.” Often this is the publishing of those private songs or blog posts. Whispers projected through megaphones.

And so the message is never sent to the right person. We live our lives like a college playwright’s first scenes – filled with dialogue about our conflict, but never addressing the person with whom we have conflict.

Because conflict makes us “awkward and nervous.” I have an ex who I laughed at the first time she told me she loved me. She had said it with a question mark at the end. And she meant what she said, but the subtext was “I love you. Is that OK?” I’m not sure that ever changes. That’s why the only proper response is “I love you, too.” No kiss is passionate enough, no “thank you” is earnest enough to come close to a sufficient answer. Try Han Solo’s “I know,” and let me know how hard she slaps you.

We strive for honesty, but it’s not always appreciated. Even when you try to do the right thing, you’re going to piss someone off. Avoiding one fight starts a new one. Being there for a friend means abandoning another. Looking out for yourself upsets the entire world.

For me, “There, There” comes down to being relatable. The aforementioned Gareth Campesino also said “Four sweaty boys with guitars tell me nothing about my life.” Based on experience, I’m the opposite. Most of the bands that have meant something to me, The Smashing Pumpkins, Saves the Day, and now The Wonder Years, were just that – sweaty guys with guitars. I understand someone who feels sad, who doesn’t understand why the world works the way it does. What I don’t understand are self-empowerment anthems. I have no use for someone who “woke up this way … flawless.” Good for you. I woke up with a lazy eye, feet that turn out too much, thinning hair, and a weird birthmark in my ear. I know I am not flawless. And I don’t believe you look at yourself and see perfection. I don’t hear confidence, I hear self-delusion. People have flaws. They have mood swings. You may have four invitations on a Saturday night, but sometimes you’d rather lay in bed and look at the walls, lost in your head again. Someone who always has a smile on their face is a liar. At best.

Someone saying “Here are my problems. I am trying” has my attention. That second part, being accountable for our faults, makes all the difference. The closest thing I know to self-empowerment is Pantera’s ‘Becoming,” which is not about being perfect, but making yourself better. I know I struggle with empathy. That’s why I make jokes at bad times. That’s why I never know what to say when someone says they miss me. That’s why I need songs like “There, There.”

Thanks for reading.

And I’m sorry I don’t laugh at the right times.

The Wonder Years – There, There
You’re just trying to read but I’m always standing in your light.
You’re just trying to sleep but I always wake you up to apologize.
I’m sorry I don’t laugh at the right times.
I know how it seems when I always sing to myself in public. I babble on like a mad man.
I know how it seems when I’m always staring off into nothing. I’m lost in my head again.
I’m sorry I don’t laugh at the right times.
Is this what it feels like?
I’ve got my heart strung up on clothing line through tenement windows in mid-July.
I’m sorry I don’t laugh at the right times.
Is this what it feels like with my wings clipped?
I’m awkward and nervous.

The New Ms. Marvel

Carol Danvers may have changed superhero identities, but the world still needs a Ms. Marvel.

On Tuesday, Marvel Comics announced a new Ms. Marvel title, launching in 2014, starring a new character, New Jersey resident Kamala Khan.

The New Ms. MarvelAny comics fan with a Tumblr account knows that Captain Marvel (Danvers) has a huge internet following known as the Carol Corps, due to her current book written by Kelly Sue DeConnick. The new book however, will feature the creative team of G. Willow Wilson (Cairo, Air) and Adrian Alphona (Runaways, Uncanny X-Force). Khan will be part of the Corps, with Cap being her role model, her “ideal,” according to Wilson. Eagle-eyed fans have even spotted Kamala in awe of Carol in July’s Captain Marvel #14.

In an interview with Newsarama, Willow stated that the book will be “about the universal experience of all American teenagers, feeling kind of isolated and finding what they are.” That certainly is a universal experience, for some more than others. And as a Muslim living in America, especially the New York City area, Khan will have plenty of that to deal with. Her namesake may have the standard super powers of speed, strength, and flight, but as Stephen Colbert joked, “[Muslims] are on the no-fly list.” Instead, the new Ms. Marvel is a shapeshifter. Time and again through the series, I’m sure she’ll be faced with the question: If you could change the way you look to avoid persecution, would you?

Speaking of appearances, Ms. Marvel’s costume was designed by Jamie McKelvie, who recently created new looks for Captain Marvel and Loki.Ms. Marvel's Costume Designed by Jamie McKelvie Those little scarfy/capelets in the back will be a problem in a fight, but overall a nice, clean costume. Reverent to the old lightning bolt bathing suit, but modern and, presumably, a reflection of Kamala herself.

Ms. Marvel joins the already announced Black Widow, She-Hulk and Elektra as Marvel attempts to add more female-driven titles in the new year. Ms. Marvel will, however, be one of only two books at Marvel starring a person of color, the other being Ultimate Spider-Man. (No, She-Hulk does not count.)

And in what I must assume is a special twist just for me, the new character makes her home in Jersey City, New Jersey. That’s right. The first Ms. Marvel is from Boston, where I grew up. Last year DeConnick and Terry Dodson even set a Captain Marvel/Spider-Man team-up there, which I’ve written about. And the new one is from Jersey City, where I live now. Kamala lives in Bells’ Kitchen! I think I may decide to become her #1 fan.

Kamala Khan - Fighting a Hulked PorcupineWilson also spoke of “[The] particular culture in New Jersey. It’s defiant against being seen as where you live when it gets too expensive to live in New York City. I really tried to do homage to New Jersey through references to Kevin Smith films I grew up with, as well as all sorts of cultural references of Jersey worked in. Ms. Marvel is a love letter to an overlooked state.” As someone who moved here because New York City is too expensive (and because NJ has grocery stores, and a Target, and less noise, and fewer urine puddles), I can’t wait.

Ms. Marvel #1 will be released in February.

Chuck Palahniuk’s Doomed

Two years ago, Chuck Palahniuk released Damned. In its pages, the recently deceased 13-year-old Madison Spencer navigated her way through Hell, battling its most famous citizens and collecting candy bars. When discussing the book, Chuck has referred to teen classics like The Breakfast Club (like Satre said, what is being stuck in a room with strangers if not hell?) and the books of Judy Blume. Along that theme, each chapter opened with a Margaret-esque missive, “Are you there, Satan? It’s me Madison.” In that book’s final pages, young Maddy found her ghostly self on Earth minutes after midnight on Halloween night, and so stuck here for a full year until the gates of Hell open again.

Doomed, Palahniuk’s 13th novel and first sequel, continues Maddy’s adventures as she wanders the Earth as a ghost.

Chuck Palahniuk's DoomedNo longer buddy-buddy with Satan, our little Madison Desert Flower Rosa Parks Coyote Trickster Spencer has started a blog addressed to us, the “Gentle Tweeter.” Madison’s year stranded on Earth as a post-living sounded interesting. What would she do for a year? Visit her A-list celebrity parents? Torment those who teased her at boarding school? Confront those present at her demise?

Not really. The exact timeline is hard to follow, but each of Madison’s posts went live over a six-hour span on December 21. It’s important to judge art on what it is and not what you want it to be, but the bait of an earthbound year was switched for a six-hour adventure with extensive flashbacks. And they are extensive. A flashback to Madison’s last summer as part of pre-dead society is almost half the length of some other Palahniuk books. In later flashbacks, Maddy adopts a cat and attempts to get a rise out of her parents, starting a romantic relationship with Jesus and keeping a diary of her journeys into bestiality. The relationship and the bestiality are both, mercifully, fictional. It’s worthwhile information, and interesting, at least until Madison’s attempts to annoy her parents annoy the reader as well. All this leaves the book with a lack of momentum, and attention is drawn away from the story at hand – that of Madison wandering the Earth.

That story too is lacking. Damned was Palahniuk’s most enjoyable read since Snuff, possibly even Choke. Tell-All was boring and unrelatable. Pygmy‘s broken English narrative made it a chore to read, even for fans of Palahniuk. Damned was something new. A 13-year-old dead girl isn’t a common narrator for “transgressive” fiction. And Maddy’s persona brings a lot of questions that wouldn’t apply to characters like Victor Mancini and Agent 67. How does a child react to her murderer? How do her parents react upon seeing their specter of a child? How did a 13-year-old end up in Hell, really? Only some of these questions are answered. And some only in the last pages. Recurring characters from Damned, like punk rocker Archer, are never seen, or disappear at random. It feels too disjointed from the first book.

So the book is about a ghost stranded on Earth. But what’s it really about? Chuck has always used his past novels to explore something in his life. For example, when his father was murdered and the killer was sentenced to death, Chuck’s contemplation of the death penalty took form as Lullaby. The biggest takeaway from Doomed is the idea of fate. How much of our lives has been planned out for us? If the Heaven/Hell question is already answered, do our actions matter? Of course, those actions may have been predetermined too, so even that question isn’t fair. We can live moral lives and still be sent to hell by a clerical error. Life sucks and then you die.

Excepting some theories put forth in Rant, Damned also marked Chuck’s first foray in the metaphysical. Metaphysics turn to full-on religion here, which, sadly is another misstep. While working as a telemarketer in Hell (where did you think they were calling from?), Madison told her parents that all those bad things in life – swearing, littering – were actually the best way to get into Heaven. Her plan was that they would be sent to Hell, where they could at least be together. But Maddy’s parents shared this with their fans and thus the religion of Boorism was born. In her wake, Madison has left an Earth full of people sneezing without covering their mouths and cheerily telling each other to fuck off. It’s not meant to be shocking. Chuck can write genuinely shocking events, as that final summer flashback shows us. After only a few pages, the Boorists actions don’t induce disgust, only eye rolling.

The book’s storylines come together in an abattoir of a third act, which seems to just lead to another sequel. With Palahniuk having tentative plans for his next two novels Beautiful You and Make Something Up, not to mention the comic book sequel to Fight Club, who knows when that will come. After all, there was talk of Rant sequels too. Maybe some time away from Madison Spencer will do Chuck some good. He can put her back on the bookshelf until he has the perfect way to incorporate new and old characters and story threads to settle the war between Heaven and Hell. Until then, we’re left with the disappointing Doomed.

Doomed is available now at your local bookstore. If you do not have a local bookstore, you should move house.

___

Editor’s Note: Sequels are interesting things to review. You’re speaking to those who have read the first book and to those who haven’t. Does this book have enough in common with the previous one to satisfy those returning to the characters? What about those who read the book and didn’t like it? Can you convince them to come back for part two? For those new to the series, how good does a book need to be to justify buying and reading another before you even get to this one? You have to speak to a lot of audiences.

Links with the Quickness

Just a few notes before these stories become completely irrelevant. I hate when people just present a list of links as an article, so I’ll be sure to give you my thought, brief they may be.

Ellen Page in talks to play Tara Chace in a Queen and Country film.

Love Queen and Country. Love Ellen Page. But I’ll believe it when I see a trailer. And for all of our sakes, I hope it turns out better than Whiteout did.

All-New Marvel Now Titles

Marvel is prepping their second wave of Marvel Now! titles. That’s fine. Hopefully, there are some new fun titles I can start reading. But here’s the line that really got me: “Select .NOW! titles will also come with a digital code for the entire first collection of that series absolutely free!” Now that I dig. A free digital trade for buying a $3-4 issue? That’s smart. I’d pick up almost anything for that.

Grant Morrison thinks Batman killed the Joker at the end of The Killing Joke

Here’s the thing. Maybe Grant Morrison is right. And maybe that’s what Alan Moore wanted to depict. But let’s be honest. All that stuff really did happen to Barbara Gordon, so the story happened. And the Joker is still alive, so he couldn’t have been killed. Unless that was the real Joker and everything we’ve read since then has been an actor portraying the Joker!

Yes, I’m kidding.

I hope.

Comics Should Be Good’s The Line it is Drawn #152 – Muppet Superhero Mash-Ups!

Each week, I read this art collection on CSBG. And each week there’s something great. But last month, their Muppet/hero mashups were all great. From Alan Moore and a collection of his characters by Axel Medellin

Alan Moore and his characters

to Bill Walko‘s art of Bert and Ernie cosplaying as Blue Beetle and Booster Gold …

Bert, Ernie, Blue Beetle, Booster Gold

to Kermit and friends lamenting being green by Steve Howard.

Kermit, She-Hulk, Hulk, Beast Boy

Poor stupid red Beast Boy.

___

That’s all I’ve got for now, but come back soon. I have some ideas bubbling.

Mark Waid Talks Digital Comics at Tools of Change for Publishing

An experiment here. First I want to talk about Mark Waid and his thoughts/advancements in digital comics. After that I have some thoughts on our digital lifestyles. And to finish off, we’ll see if I can tie them together nicely. Here we go.

Some months back, (seriously, it’s been in my Google Reader [now Feedly] for 143 days upon writing this), Mark Waid presented his thoughts on comics in the digital age at the O’Reilly Tools of Change Publishing Conference. Waid’s resume includes well-remembered runs on The Flash, Captain America, 52, his current work on Daredevil, and plenty more. But recently, he’s placed a special focus on the new capabilities of digital comics, I.E. comics viewed on our modern electronics, including desktop computers, a tablet, or a smartphone. One of Waid’s allies is Yves Bigerel, who created the best example of what comics can do now. Though Bigerel does not come up in the video, I know how integral he has been in much of Waid and Marvel Comics’ attempts at digital comics. If you have any interest in the evolution of an artform, it’s worth a watch.


For more examples, you can read my post from last April. Then, as now, I loved this stuff.

And here is where we switch tracks. I swear, it ties together. I think.

So why did the video sit in my Reader for so long? It’s 22 minutes! It’s not tl;dr, it’s too long, didn’t watch.

I’m sure I’m not the only one whose computer is less comfortable to sit at than his couch. And on the computer, I’m so much more likely to find another distraction. Many videos don’t need to be videos; the visuals are unnecessary. I can shift the video’s window to the side and do something else. If something catches my eye from the side of the screen, I can look over. But for the most part, it has the attention of my ears, but not my eyes.

If I’m scrolling though Facebook or Tumblr, I don’t want to stop to watch some video. I really don’t. A dog walking on two legs? Two minutes is too long. When on my computer or phone, I’m in charge. I control what’s on the screen and the pace at which I progress to the next image or story or whatever. Once I’m actually watching a video, I’m frozen. I’m not doing anything else, I’m slave to that video’s creators. At 22 minutes, you have be dedicated to watching that video. You carve out time to watch your favorite TV show. Conveniently, the 22 minutes of story are split by commercial breaks, even in our Age of DVR. We need those breaks, not only to pay for the production of the show, but to go to the bathroom or the fridge. We get released from servitude for three minutes.

And now for the dismount …

Control is also what was lacking in the early attempts at comics in the digital age. Motion comics weren’t comics. They were bad, limited animation. Most had lackluster voiceovers. Remember the one for Watchmen? One voiceactor for all the parts, including the women. And you can’t control the pacing. You hit play and 26 minutes later, it’s over. Sure, you can pause to study the background elements or rewind to hear a piece of dialogue again. But no one watches TV like that. We assume we see what we need to notice and if we don’t quite understand something, we can fill in the blanks soon. But reading, we’ll go back to savor a certain line or trace where a shadow came from. And though they’re on a brightly lit screen and not a dead tree, digital comics are all about that level of control. Each tap or swipe, a door opens, a punch is thrown. We take control.

Lady Sabre & The Kickstarter of the Ineffable Aether

Apologies for the lack of posts, but this time I have a good excuse, I swear.

I moved three weeks ago. And not down the street, but from Massachusetts to New York. I got offered a job I couldn’t turn down and here we are! The Kitchen is now located in a different … house?

ANYWAY, I came for an urgent reason. The Lady Sabre & The Pirates of the Ineffable Aether Kickstarter. Writer Greg Rucka and artist Rich Burchett are creating the first collection of their webcomic, the aforementioned Lady Sabre.

Lady Sabre Hardcover

In the creators’ own words:

Lady Sabre & The Pirates of the Ineffable Aether is a webcomic created by Eisner Award winners Rick Burchett (The Batman and Robin Adventures, The Superman Adventures, Blackhawk, She-Hulk) and Greg Rucka (Whiteout, Stumptown, The Punisher, Detective Comics, Queen & Country, Alpha). Rick handles the beautiful art and Greg provides the story and the words. The whole work is overseen by editor, designer, and web-guru Eric Newsom.

Lady Sabre’s world is one of danger, adventure, and deception, filled with clockwork monstrosities, dire magic, and noble hearts. It is a world flavored by Victorian England and late 19th century Europe and the Old West. It is a world of cannon fire and steel meeting steel, brass gears meshing seamlessly with steam-driven pistons, a world of passion and humor and a dash of romance.”

They are now in the “hours, not days” countdown of the campaign. I wanted to post earlier, but this is only the second time I’ve spent any real time on my computer since I moved. And though it was a success by the end of its first day, there’s still plenty of reasons to donate now. The primary reason is that this will be the only way to get the collection in the format it is being offered, and the only way to get it at all for at least a year.

What started as a 192-page book has now expanded into that book, two additional books (one an in-world almanac, the other a compilation of scripts and process materials, and maps of the world. And all this for as low as $20 for PDFs ($10 for just the comic), $30 for physical copies. Having already upgraded the book’s general quality as well as the materials used to create the comic, the only stretch goal that remains is to create deckplans for the HMS Pegasus, Lady Sabre’s vessel.

Higher pledges receive gifts ranging from swag (dogtags, tintype portraits), to signatures and art, to even appearing in the strip. That’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. (Or at least, that’s how I explained it to my bank account.)

Only $7,000 separates that goal and the current amount of pledges. Hell, if the campaign raises $14,000 more, it’ll have raised $100,000 more than its original goal! And with the way some Kickstarters blow up in their final days, that’s not too much to expect.

So go back to the beginning read some strips or jump in now if you like dragons. If it seems like something you’d be into, pony up some cash. It’ll be worth it. When top creators are left to their own loves and devices, it usually is.

Donate, or the Lady will make you smuggle this map in your keister.