There have some pretty enormous heaps of cash showered on projects recently via Kickstarter, the crowdsourced fundraising tool, including $1.25 million for collections of Rich Burlew's Order of the Stick webcomic, and Tim Schafer's Double Fine video game, which is at $2 million and rising. Kickstarter has become a common tool for cartoonists (and a wide variety of other artistic entrepreneurs) and is now on track to raise over $150 million for its users in 2012. That's a staggering number all on its own, but even more impressive when you consider it would exceed the funding provided by the National Endowment for the Arts.

As Kickstarter co-founder Yancey Strickler told Talking Points Memo, the milestone is a positive one in the sense that it will essentially double the amount of funding for art in the United States. Still, Strickler added that "we view that number and our relationship to it in both a good and bad way," suggesting that perhaps the government should also step up further "to strongly support the arts."Kickstarter raised $99 million in 2011 for projects in the fields of art, comics, dance, design, fashion, film, food, games, music, photography, publishing, technology, and theater, and has played host to some rather odd endeavors that include a children's book written by the typically ultra-violent writer Garth Ennis.

While the ability to raise enormous amount of money in such a grassroots fashion is inspiring, it hasn't come without its share of hiccups. When the kickstarter for the Womanthology comics anthology asked for $25,000 and received $109,000, organizers seemed initially unprepared for the unexpected windfall, and uncertain about what to do with the surplus funds, and and as demonstrated by the kickstarter for the Ashes comic by Alex Decampi, there's always a chance that creative projects funded by Kickstarter may fall apart before completion.

Still, it's a wonderful thing to see fans come together and make projects possible for the creators and ideas that inspire them, particularly in an industry like comics that is far from flush with money. What do you think about Kickstarter?