Cyber Force Kickstarter Closes With $117K

By Todd Allen

cyberforce 198x300 Cyber Force Kickstarter Closes With $117KKickstarter is a topic that tends to get people worked up, both on the pro and con sides.  Call it what you want, Top Cow just pulled in six figures to relaunch Cyber Force in what’s the biggest crowdfunding effort to date from a U.S. comics publisher (and #6 largest comics project to close on Kickstarter).

I occasionally compare crowdfunding to the days when artists had patrons who paid the bills and let the artists create.  That metaphor seems particularly apt here.  1,419 people pooled their resources to raise $117,135 which will fund 5 issues of Cyber Force with free distribution online and in print.  That averages out to roughly $82.50/person.  A very high average.

Kickstarter tells you the most popular pledge is in the $20-$25 range.  The most popular Cyber Force pledge level was the $50 level, which was also the hard cover graphic novel level.  622 people pledged there/ordered the hard cover and when you add in the higher premiums, it looks like somewhere in 800-850 range for various HC copies.  So while this wasn’t _solely_ funded on the strength of the collected edition, around half of it probably was.

The gamble here is that by making the material freely available, Cyber Force will garner a big audience for issue #6, which would theoretically be a paid purchase.  Or perhaps they can do another Kickstarter for the next arc.  Either way, Top Cow rolled the dice on this one and came out of it getting what they wanted and a little bit more.

There’s a lot left to play out with this new variation on Kickstarting a comics project.  The material has to be produced.  Reactions gauged.  The plans for issue 6 and beyond formalized and executed.  The journey has just begun, but this is going to be fascinating to watch.  New rules apply and we’re not sure what those rules are yet.

Comments

  1. Torsten Adair says:

    It means that publishers can use Kickstarter to gauge the popularity of a project.

    Affenschwanz Comics promotes a project on KS. People vote with their wallets.
    * Result A: The project is fully funded.

    * Result A-1: The project exceeds funding, generates buzz, and allows future similar projects to be promoted, either via KS or the actual retail market.

    * Result B: The project fails to get funded. The publisher notes the theoretical sales, runs a profit-and-loss spreadsheet, and decides to publish the book as a retail edition. KS supporters are then notified to pre-order the comic, to take a look at an exclusive preview, and to tell their friends to buy the book!

    Result C: The publisher discovers there is a small, but ineffectual fan following. Perhaps the character will appear as a cameo somewhere else. Or rethink the project in a few years.

  2. I dunno…it feels kind of creepy to have a semi-established publisher use a platform designed for people just starting up. They should be using the tools available to real companies that aren’t available to the intended users of this service…i.e. marketing, surveys, etc.

    I guess, though, that this means the market has spoken so what do I know! :P

  3. Jesse says:

    It just makes me think it’s a pretty cool place to live that we have fans with pockets deep enough to hit those averages.

  4. It’s the age of the creator. Why should anyone work on a company book when they’re not even going to take the risk & bank roll a project… the creator can do *exactly* the same thing themselves now. So long as they have a decent printing contact. I like the cottage industry type model rising up. Creators need not be beholden to publishers and corporate work for income, provided they’re good enough to appeal to the people who obviously use kickstarter!

  5. James says:

    So what were the top 5?

  6. Saber Tooth Tiger Mike says:

    “I dunno…it feels kind of creepy to have a semi-established publisher use a platform designed for people just starting up. They should be using the tools available to real companies that aren’t available to the intended users of this service…i.e. marketing, surveys, etc.”How does a “semi-established” publisher have any more of an unfair advantage than the many “semi-established ” professionals who use Kickstartert? Last time I checked, Mike L, Kickstarter was not meant to be used by anyone in particular. No one should be surprised that established companies are now looking at Kickstarter.

    “we have fans with pockets deep enough to hit those averages” The average comic book reader make at least $50,000 a year, don’t they? They have some disposable income and professional occupations. There isn’t a more stable and attractive demographic for most businesses.

  7. Dennis V. says:

    These are not free to retailers… they have to pay 25 cents per copy.

  8. Jesse says:

    @Sabertooth we enjoy a pretty great lifestyle. The average was like $82 or something? They said the most common was in the $20 range those are deep pockets for funny books. I don’t know what all this recession talk is about, we must be the 1%.

  9. Saber Tooth Tiger Mike says:

    “@Sabertooth .The average was like $82 or something? They said the most common was in the $20 range those are deep pockets for funny BOOKS.”

    I don’t think this piece of news does anything to alleviate the reality that funny BOOKS, otherwise known as floppies, are a niche product in the U.S. if one of its largest crowd-sourcing efforts done by a U.S. funny BOOK publisher on Kickstarter was done with only 1,419 people.

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