‘Ashes’ Update: Alex de Campi’s Kickstarter Graphic Novel Finds New Artists
One of 2011’s most successful comic book Kickstarters — creative projects produced independently with funds pledged by patrons, rather than publishers — Ashes suffered a tremendous setback when writer Alex de Campi and artist Jimmy Broxton (aka James Hodgkins) fell out over creative differences after the project had already been fully funded. The situation illuminated an increasingly worrisome component of Kickstarter, that no mechanism beyond “social pressure” exists to ensure delivery of the funded work, but De Campi began refunding backers who requested their money back. Additionally, she announced that if a replacement artist couldn’t be found before a self-imposed deadline, the entire $32,455 would be refunded.
Fortunately for de Campi and those eager to see the realized graphic novel, the writer has confirmed a host of auspicious talents will be working with her to complete the book: Colleen Doran, Igor Kordey, Dan McDaid, Bill Sienkiewicz, Milton and Felipe Sobreiro, Richard Pace, Mack Chater, Greg Smallwood and R.M. Guera. A sequel to de Campi’s Eisner-nominated Smoke, Ashes is a slightly dystopian, deeply cynical and darkly comical poli-spy saga starring a Cain, a soldier-turned-assassin, and Katie, a plucky journalist with a penchant for getting herself into trouble, as they navigated danger, conspiracy and political intrigue in a dystopian world with super spies, oil billionaires and terrorists obsessed with their own good looks.
Unable to find a publisher for the book, de Campi turned to the Kickstarter fundraising platform to raise the money necessary to produce the hardcover graphic novel, which will, it seem, also be released serially. Ashes was promoted with endorsements from Mark Waid, Dave Gibbons, Colleen Doran, Kieron Gillen, John Cassaday and Howard Chaykin, and boasted more than 20 pages of artwork by Jimmy Broxton to help sell potential backers on the validity of the project.
The collaboration collapsed in highly publicized fashion, and a disheartened de Campi indicated she may scuttle the entire Ashes endeavor. But in recent updates to backers, the writer is decidedly enthused at present. “The project has come back together strongly enough that I feel confident in moving forwards with it,” said de Campi. She added, “I also want to say here how much it’s meant to hear from you and have you say that you want this project to move forwards. Your support and messages have been a big part of what enabled me to pick myself up and get Ashes back on track. Thank you.”
De Campi also reminded backers that refunds are still available should they desire them, and that those who didn’t back the project but wish to purchases Ashes are invited to pre-order it from a list of participating retailers.