Writer/publisher Vera Greentea is shooting for her fifth successful Kickstarter comic book campaign. Since 2010 she has raised $22,601 and this time she’s trying to hit her $10,000 goal to fund her latest anthology, PAPA.
The expected release for this book is (American) Fathers Day. The money raised will go to the printing. PAPA is expected to be full color, 50 pages in standard comic book format. Vera’s previous projects have been accessible to all ages but PAPA is intended for a mature audience. I suspect this might affect her and dissuade previous supporters, and grow a whole new audience.
Greentea has recruited some stellar talent this time around. I have participated in a successful Kickstarter anthologies where it’s very apparent that it’s the artist’s first printed work but we all have to start somewhere. The only artist I’m familiar with in this book is Lizzy John—I really enjoyed her run on Fraggle Rock, and it’s good to see her still behind the drawing board. It’s nice to see Vera taking a chance on working with other artist that could use the spotlight.
The stories will be illustrated by three insanely gifted artists that I discovered in some prodigy-ridden pocket universe. They are Ben Jelter (Sidius Nova, The Tumor); Lizzy John (Fraggle Rock) and Joseph Lacroix (Diablo).
Vera was kind enough to give me time from her busy publishing schedule to give us some insight on the success of her previous projects and what goes in to creating a successful Kickstarter project. Don’t forget to visit the project page and kick-in a few shekels and help this book see the light of day.
Henry Barajas: You and the artist, Laura Müller, really worked well together on NENETL— how did you two find each other and make this book come alive?
Vera Greentea: For every book I do, I look for a particular “feel” that might give the story a certain kind of atmosphere or flow. For Nenetl, I was looking for an artist that could draw movement. It took some time, but I was excited to find Laura’s art blog, her work is so incredibly dynamic and has a fantastic organic appeal to it. I contacted her and she replied almost immediately. It was clear we were enthusiastic about each other’s work, and I think that shows in the book and gives it so much life. She’s my Nenetl soulmate.
Barajas: NENETL revolved around Hispanic culture. What got you interested and what kind of research did you do?
Greentea: I feel like I’m surrounded by a lot of Hispanic aspects of culture, especially food – there’s a grocery store by me full of interesting ingredients targeted at the local Latino population, I guess, but I love exploring when it comes to cooking. I constantly look up the provenance of traditional recipes. So I was looking up a recipe, when I came upon information about the Mexican celebration Day of the Dead. I’ve heard of the festival before, but the article just took hold of me. Suddenly it was many hours later and I found myself deep into researching this particular tradition and many peripheral aspects of the culture as well. Something about a culture that isn’t mournful about death, but treasures and invites their passed ones really touched me on a personal level – that is what made me want to delve into its world. I didn’t mean to write a story about it, that just happened I think because part of me wanted to share the gorgeously unique and non-melancholy idea behind the Day of the Dead festival. Even though I finished writing NENTEL l, I still continuously research this tradition, online and off.
Barajas :What helped you the most in achieving the last goal?
Greentea: Laura’s gorgeous art really made a difference from the beginning – it’s just so striking. I tend to be very vocal on the Kickstarter blog for my projects, and this time I had so much art to show in the process updates. With every art-brimming update, people fell in love with Nenetl more and more.
Barajas: You have came up with some interesting pledge rewards and set yourself apart from the rest of the project out there. How do you come up with new rewards for your projects?
Greentea: To tell you a secret, I actually find coming up with incentives really really hard. I have no idea how to create a gorgeous hoodie with Recipes art, or how to find someone to make a life-size plushie of a Nightbird! How do people do that? So I try to come up with bizarre things that no one else will think to have, and things that I feel they can have with them – like a guitar pick on a keychain. Plus, I discovered a lot of fathers these days play guitar. Maybe it’s a rebel baby boomer thing?
Barajas: What can you tell us about PAPA that isn’t already on the page?
Greentea: PAPA is a collection of dark creepy stories about men put in difficult situations, men who also happen to be fathers. Children can be tragically influenced by their parents, and when their fathers are forced to react to their bizarre situations… well, none of the kids can take it lightly. What you can expect are twists and twisted endings, characters with emotional agendas, some humor, but most basically of all, stories about pride and fear and love.
Barajas: Was the making of this book a way to work out some underlining “daddy issues?”
Greentea: Ha! Well, I wouldn’t say I have daddy issues per se, not more than anyone else at least – I do have an interesting father who I love. I find myself interested in relationships, especially the ones between parents and their children. Fathers and mothers are everything to a child, they’re practically their gods. But they’re also just people with human agendas, and silly goals, and just a bundle of ideas that can be absolutely wrong. All the fathers in PAPA are fallible and imperfect.
In the story of NENETL, the main theme is also about a child looking for her family, so I guess I don’t really veer that far from the particular concept of what is the importance of family.
Barajas: It feels like you have a lot of stories that you’re dying to share, why is this story important to tell?
Greentea: I actually wrote the stories of PAPA before I wrote Nenetl of the Forgotten Spirits. To Stop Dreaming of Goddesses, the first comic I wrote, is also rather dark – it’s about fighting your personal demons, even if you think they make you a better person. I think I became a little lighter lately, even as I write stories about long dead kids searching for someone to love them.
Henry Barajas is the co-creator, writer and letterer for El Loco and Captain Unikorn. He has also written and lettered short stories for two successful Kickstarter SpazDog Press projects: Unite and Take Over: Stories inspired by The Smiths and Break The Walls: Comic Stories inspired by The Pixies. He is the Newsroom Research Assistant for The Arizona Daily Star and was nominated for the Shel Dorf Blogger of the Year award for his work at The Beat. You can follow him on Twitter @HenryBarajas.