He’s a Tiger. He’s a Lawyer. He’s a ‘Tiger Lawyer’ [Indiegogo]
Book titles are a tricky business. Trying to sum up the essence of your work in a few simple words that intrigue and encapsulate can often be the hardest part of creating something original. Writer Ryan Ferrier (Terminals, The Brothers James) overcame this hurdle pretty easily with his latest comic about a tiger who is a lawyer — he just went ahead and called it Tiger Lawyer. Drawn by Matt McCray and Vic Malhotra, issue #1 was self-published and quickly sold out last month. Ferrier is aiming to raise $3,000 on the Indiegogo crowdfunding platform over the next month to finance Tiger Lawyer #2. We spoke with Ferrier and took a look at the project, which has already earned praise from Image Comics publisher Eric Stephenson and Glory and Hell Yeah writer Joe Keatinge.
Born from a random idea he posted on Twitter, Ferrier quickly turned Tiger Lawyer into an eight-page script he posted online, garnering a bigger response than he ever anticipated. From that came another story, artists McCray and Malhotra jumping on-board and Tiger Lawyer’s transformation from a funny tweet into an actual thing.
Tiger Lawyer is one of those “so weird it’s weird no one came up with it before” ideas that manages to squeeze comedy, noir, face slashings and cereal jokes all into one tight little package. With praise from Image Comics publisher Eric Stephenson as well as a series of upcoming backups in Joe Keatinge and Andre Szymanowicz’s creator-owned book Hell Yeah this summer, Tiger Lawyer is primed to be the WTF sleeper hit of the summer.
Designed as a flip-book style comic, with a front cover on each side and two wildly different takes on the concept in-between, Ferrier assembled issue #1 and printed it, selling it online and at several comic conventions. After it sold out, he knew he had more Tiger Lawyer stories to tell. Ferrier’s setting out to tell them in issue #2, which will feature two new stories as well as an addition to the animals-doing-messed-up-stuff genre with Fabian Rangel Jr.’s Revenge Rooster.
The $3,000 goal on Indiegogo — an alternate to Kickstarter that differs by allowing project leaders to keep whatever they raise by their goal date, even if they don’t reach their magic number — is to pay his artists and colorist Adam Metcalfe a decent rate and fund a print run of issue #2. Any overages will go towards maintaining the online store and the inevitable third issue of Tiger Lawyer. The rewards run from a print/digital combo pack for to Ferrier’s lettering services all the way up to original art pages from either issue.
We spoke with Ryan Ferrier about animal-based jurisprudence and why he went with Indiegogo instead of Kickstarter.
Comics Alliance: Can you give us a timeline of Tiger Lawyer so far? When did you come up with it, how long have you been working on it? Is it what you’d call a passion project?
Ryan Ferrier: Tiger Lawyer all happened really fast actually. I came up with the idea one weekend in late December. By mid-January I was already putting together the book and finding artists to contribute. The plan was to release the first issue in late April to coincide with the Vancouver and Calgary comic conventions, which we did, and it went great. I think every project I work on is a passion project, to a degree, and Tiger is no exception, but at the same time, it’s something I didn’t really expect. It’s momentum has been really out of our control, and it’s worked out wonderfully that we all enjoy doing it so much.
CA: Why should people fund your book?
RF: Tiger Lawyer is still very young, and we’re in that fun, experimental stage, and we’re getting some really great collaborations going. I can see Tiger Lawyer continuing and becoming something even more special, even if it stays small. Everyone involved is a hungry creator that wants to make something really unique and just produce great work. I think this is just the ground floor, we can really only go up from here. And when I say “up,” I mean ridiculous and fun and creative. We’re also quite partial to trying to make people happy, and celebrate comics.
CA: What will you do if you don’t hit your goal?
RF: Complete transparency time! If we don’t hit our goal, Tiger Lawyer #2 will still happen. It will still be released and available at the end of June. That was never the question. It’s happening. And if it doesn’t make the goal amount, the incentives for those that do donate will still very much be rewarded. Tiger Lawyer is totally self-published, therefore paid completely out of my pocket. I love comics and am prepared to go broke so I can make them… but I’d rather not.
This campaign is a means for me to keep my head above water so that we can continue to do what we love and make comics we hope people will dig. We want this campaign to act like an extension of the online store. It’s another means for people to get something out of it as a consumer while also supporting it. I’m not in it to make money, I’m just in it to make.
CA: Can you explain to people who have no idea what Indiegogo is why you went with that instead of Kickstarter?
RF: The answer is very simple: Canadians can’t start a Kickstarter campaign! We’re not allowed to. Won’t let us. Indiegogo is the next best thing. It’s the northern alternative, you see. I’m not sure why that is, but alas, it is.