Penny Arcade's Strip Search ended on Tuesday night and the contestant I backed the whole way through, Abby Howard, took second place. Per the judging, Penny Arcade creators Mike Krahulik and Jerry Holkins feared that Abby was better working under the pressure of the elimination round than she was creating a long-form strip on her own time. I know editing doesn't 100% reflect reality, but they both seemed to laugh as much at the comic strips she brought from home (final challenge: create a six page arc plus character sheets and logos) as they laughed at the comic strips she created on the spot (final elimination: three comics in four hours using the comic you developed at home and two words from the Wastebasket of Broken Dreams). She also created the only strips on the spot that they liked as much as the strips created at home. That, to me, shows she had the best-developed idea and the most preparation to create a strip in the PA offices for a year.
But I'm not bitter. Nope. How can I be when I've become a fan of all three finalists and liked their pitches for new comic series? Camp Wheedonwantcha is going to be a hoot. All three contestants went dark and funny so, really, I had to be happy with the winner.
And why be bitter? Abby Howard funded the Kickstarter for her online graphic novel The Last Halloween in well under a day. The Kickstarter went live with a goal of $9000 yesterday and stands at $55077 today with 23 days to go.
So she funded her project already. Why write about it at all?
Simple. Talent this strong deserves support. The Kickstarter covers the production and distribution of the first of three graphic novels in The Last Halloween series. The entire series is written. She just needs the time and money to draw them out. The more she earns to live on, the faster we get the full series.
On the finale, she said she can bang out the first book this summer. From there, she would release one complete scene a week rather than a page every few days. That in itself is something that should be supported in online comics. I love a good long-form comic series, but an update schedule of one page a week or every few days means hoping your fans have the patience to come back when the story inevitably has to slow down.
Not with The Last Halloween. Abby's going to post a complete scene, about three pages, every week. She gets to break up the story and control the pace. This will go a long way to mitigate the usual critiques of slowing down the story to earn more money or stalling because the creator ran out of ideas.
So what's The Last Halloween about? Mona, a young girl, discovers that monsters plan on destroying Earth on Halloween night. This little girl starts to see little ghosts who agree to help her fight the unimaginable evil plotting against humanity. The series is illustrated in Abby Howard's beautifully expressive black and white style and has humor as dark as the ink on the page.
What? Did you think I was going to advocate for a happy comic with no horror this hard?
The Kickstarter video for this project needs to be seen to be believed.