Kickstarter has proven itself to be a wonderful means of getting original products and ideas in front of an audience. If marketed well, the most unlikely idea might catch fire and find its market. Comics projects are no exception.
The Monarchy Kickstarter project, created by Tyler Kirkham, is ambitious: a goal of $20,000 to create a 150-page graphic novel, the first in a trilogy. The plot revolves around a titular association of good wizards that has dwindled over the years. They are beset by the Warlocks, an evil association of wizards who command fell beasts. The hope of humanity rests in one young man, Andreas the last of the Monarchs, who must against all odds defeat the Warlocks.
I have certain misgivings about giving a blanket endorsement of the project. The key is in the art. For one, the action looks like it takes place on a stage, rather than having an actual setting. Yes, there’s a sprawling, misty city full of domed ministries and ancient churches, but it feels like it’s completely empty besides the actual cast. The feeling of a dead city isn’t what I think the writer was going for, but there it is: folks brandishing weapons and Halloween costumes in broad daylight. I guess, for me, urban magic goes hand in hand. The art contains a lot of style and color, but also some bothersome mistakes. Watch the spines and waistlines – these women are made of taffy. Likewise, men suffer from generic body structure, too-narrow shoulders, and too-soft features. There’s a shot of the white-goateed antagonist that’s especially drag-queeny, and I don’t think that’s what they’re going for.
Glowing color, pouch-laden costumes, over-the-top delivery: if Spawn and the Diablo game series hung out in the ’90s, Monarch‘s visual style might have been the result. But the Kickstarter pitch gives us no reason to like Andreas besides him being the “good guy”. His sidekick also seems like your typical lady warrior/romance interest. Without giving us a good hook to help us relate or root for these heroes, it’ll be hard for some people to get excited about it. And no, being the lone good guy against overwhelming odds isn’t enough. That’s the premise of every story ever.
And it’s too bad that I don’t like this project, because Tyler Kirkham’s pencils are incredible. I can understand that, in the interest of keeping himself fed and sheltered, he may not be able to do the writing and art for such an ambitious project. I can’t help but wonder what this would have looked like if he’d had the leisure or inclination to do it all himself.
So, do check out the Kickstarter page. I can’t really say it’s my thing, but the visual style alone will really appeal to some people. And some people like a straight-forward, good-guy-novice-with-extraordinary-potential-beats-all-the-baddies hero tale. So have at it!