Crowd Funding Watch: ‘Elysium Online’ Explores Social Media in the Afterlife [Video]
With more and more creators turning to crowd funding options in order to release their work, ComicsAlliance is dedicating a weekly column to highlighting some of the best in the field that deserve your hard-earned money. If you're not convinced that the power of directly approaching readers in order to make a project reality, then you might want to take a look at Steve Niles and Ben Templesmith's latest endeavor -- LUST. The project recently raised over $75,000 from just over 1,000 backers.
Assuming you're convinced that this new model of publishing is viable, this week's column explains why Indiegogo project Elysium Online should receive your financial support by running down What It Is, How Much It Will Cost, What You Will Get, When You Will Get It, and Why You Should Care.
What It Is: Created by Grecian artist Ilias Kyriazis, Elysium Online is a 96-page graphic novel set in the year 2021, where people can communicate with dead loved-ones in a digital afterlife through a new type of social network. There are, of course, problems. The digital dead turn out to hate the living, and start to take over all connected machines in a twisted sort of Skynet scenario.
(The idea of a digital afterlife may sound morbid, but we're approaching something similar, with social media already integrated into our mourning process. A dear friend of mine has even proposed what that sort of process may look like in the real world, calling his project CharnelHouse.)
IRL creepiness aside, Elysium Online looks to be a great cross between Daytripper by Gabriel Bá and Fábio Moon and Nonplayer by Nate Simpson, with an extra dash of horror. The book will also be scattered with fake advertisements by Dimitrios Kasdaglis (as seen below), giving the book another level of depth.
How Much It Will Cost: $7,500. A very modest goal, in my opinion. Frankly, I'm not sure how such a small amount will even cover Kyriazis's basic costs. But, all the more reason to help him reach his goal and then some.
What You Will Get: Only $7 for a digital download of the book, $20 for a printed copy, all the way up to $1,000 should your business or brand want to be the official sponsor. Other notable tiers include being drawn into the comic for just $350, plus options for sketches, original pages, and previous collections of the artist's work.
When You Will Get It: Here in lies the snag in an otherwise stellar project: the book won't be available until summer of 2013. Still, 12 pages are already available to view and the creator is a professional, so there's nothing to suggest that he won't finish the title next year.
Why You Should Care: Kyriazis has done work for publishers like IDW and Dynamite, proving his ability to deliver material. Plus, well-known creators like Mike Allred (Madman) and Scott Lobdell (Superman) have thrown their support behind the book. Like many projects that seek crowd-sourced funding, Elysium Online is a little strange, and it's unlikely that a traditional publisher would take the risk of printing a long-form, original story by a relatively unknown artist.
The book, however, is exactly the type of story comic books should be telling today. Forward looking in terms of technology, yet grounded in human emotion and topped-off with large panel actions sequences, Elysium Online is a unique idea from the mind of a talented writer and artist.
For my money, the $25 dollar tier is a steal, as you'll be sent a PDF of the book and a print copy next year, plus a 250-page download of previous material by Kyriazis as soon as the project is funded.