I never know quite what to make of Kickstarter, especially when it comes to artistic projects such as comic books. I always worry that it enables those creative types who want the reward before the effort and those are the ones that seem to fall through. On the other hand, it’s also an amazing way for people to support projects that might otherwise never see the light of day. I think the latter is true of RUIN.
RUIN is described by the creators as, “…a Sci-Fi post-apocalyptic graphic novel (think Mad Max meets Alien) in which a nomadic survivalist attempts to make ends meet in a future dystopia.” It’s a description so painfully generic that it almost had me ignoring it before moving on to something else, but then I saw a page from the comic where a character is talking to his three legged dog. A dog who communicates through puzzles. I’m not entirely sure how a pictographic representation of a tire is verbalised in this world, but it was a nice touch that captured my interest. The thirsty companion had me at HIJKLMNO.
So there is one unique element but it’s not enough to save the book from genre mediocrity… but it was enough to keep me reading the kickstarter page and there is a lot here to like. The artwork on display is richly detailed and sells the setting of a grimy post-apocalyptic world incredibly well. The character designs are interesting and it’s nice that females don’t fall back on certain disproportionate physical attributes like so many other indie comics. Unless, of course, the thought of a character that’s “…is controlled by the sinister mutant fetus that resides in her makeshift plexiglas womb” turns you on and if that’s the case then this may just be the comic for you!
The behind the scenes story of this book is almost as interesting as the one found on the pages; creators Ricky Lanier (Writer and Letterer) and Ruben Rojas (artist/colourist) are separated by language and an ocean since one is in America and the other in Spain. Apparently the two haven’t even spoken on the phone, let alone face-to-face.
So the comic is generic but shows a lot of promise, the creators are talented and amiable, what about the kick-starter campaign?
Well they’ve set a nicely realistic goal of $5,000 and as of writing this they’re half way to meeting that goal with 37 days to go. The rewards for backing are a little on the pricey side but it’s good that they've erred on the side of realistic deliverables. This is very much one of those projects where you have to factor in the pleasure you get from backing something you feel enthusiastic about and in this case, I think that carries a nice dollar value all of its own. The only thing I didn't like, though is the fact that postage outside the US asks for $15-25 extra… in one case this is actually more than the reward. Again this is them being safe and not over-stretching their funds, but it does make the non US backer a little more hesitant to commit. Digital-only rewards at the higher tiers might have helped a lot with this.
In case you hadn’t noticed, I’m really interested in this projected and would love for it to get funded. I fully encourage people to go out and help make this a reality so head to the link below and take a look. At the very least we can get them a pair of Skype headsets!
The kickstarter has now been updated to include digital only rewards to address the concerns of us international backers. It's a $30 level which may seem a little steep until you see what's included:
"You'll receive, a new avatar of yourself by Ruben, sketch of Sasha with personal greeting. Exclusive advance reading of chapter one from the fiction novel adaptation of RUIN. 4602 map of the Outer-Terra wallpaper (only available here). We will scan and personalize a Sketch Card for you! PDF of character Bios and script issue #1. Sketches, weapons, vehicles NEVER POSTED before. Our new logo, wallpapers, and cell phone wallpapers! You'll also receive issues of RUIN and Wicker #1, PDF and DRM free AND the mini-comic, if we can scan it... you get it! Conveniently sent to your inbox."
That's simply fantastic value especially if you want to back the project without most of your money going towards postage.