Fans unite, bring online comic to print
By Cheryl Minns, Arts Editor
Kathleen Jacques, a Vancouver graphic designer and artist, is currently campaigning for funding on Kickstarter to publish a book of her popular online comic series, Band vs. Band. At first, she wasn’t sure if she would reach her goal of $3,000, approximately half of the production costs to publish the book; but in less than two weeks, she has raised more than her goal, and is considering adding stretch goals to the campaign, additional incentives to offer supporters for the extra funding.
BvB began as a fun comic project on Jacques’ blog three years ago about two bands, the cheerful Candy Hearts and the angry Sourballs, in an Archie-style universe facing off in music battles to see which band is the best. After moving to a new website dedicated to the series, www.bvbcomix.com, the series has now become an online sensation and a soon-to-be published book.
“If I’d known I was getting into something I would be doing for three years, it would have been smarter to have a plan for it,” Jacques said, admitting she hadn’t thought of a story arc for the characters when she created the comic series. “When I started out, I thought it was just going to be one. And then one turned into five, and then into 150.”
The weekly comics have ranged from standalone stories to magazine profiles about the bands to ongoing arcs that span multiple weeks. Jacques said her work has evolved over the years, particularly the art and the stories, as she has gotten more familiar with the BvB comics.
“I think it’s gotten deeper into the world and the characters have become more developed,” she said. “It started out with a basic, simple premise of two bands versus each other and it’s just expanded on that in various directions.”
One of her favourite comics in the series was a story about Honey Hart and Turpentine, the lead singers from the two bands, drawing comics about each other.
“This was my favourite because I had to think about, in this comic universe, what do these comics look like done by these characters who aren’t really artists, and how do they draw, and how do they write that’s different from how I do it? Those were a lot of fun,” she said.
For the Kickstarter campaign, Jacques has put together a variety of rewards and collectible BvB merchandise such as stickers, paper dolls, and miniature soft dolls of Honey Hart and Turpentine—all made by the artist herself. She is considering the possibility of an online store in the future where some of the merchandise may be available. But the most popular Kickstarter reward that went right away was the most limited and least likely to be repeated, according to Jacques.
“The most popular thing that is sold out that I don’t think I’m going to do again after Kickstarter was the reward tier where you get yourself drawn into either a comic on the site or a photo illustration with the characters that’s going to be in the book,” she said. “That went really fast, like on the first day.”
She chose Kickstarter as a way to raise funds because she had seen—and taken part in—other comic book projects on the crowd-funding website.
“It’s where I’ve backed and bought other comic projects that fund the print version of something that was already online or digital. So it seems to be the place of choice for comics looking to do something like this.”
Jacques’s goal is to have the BvB book published and ready to sell at the Vancouver Comic Arts Festival (VanCAF) held in May.
If you would like to support this project, check out Band vs. Band Comix Volume 1 at www.kickstarter.com