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There has been a lot of controversy regarding the recent Archie kickstarter for their new line of more comic shop friendly titles. This started with an innocuous relaunch of the main Archie title, under Mark Waid and Fiona Staples, with the kickstarter looking to involve Chip Zdarsky and Adam Hughes into the mix. The trouble is that many people looked at the words “kickstarter” and “well-known comic company” and decided that things weren’t quite gelling together.
The thing is that many still like to think of kickstarter as the place where the little guys can get their start. Where the smaller projects can get, well, the “kick start” they would have a hard time getting anywhere else. It’s a melding of people who like niche stuff and those who provide it. In an idealized form, it’s a direct pipeline of sorts. Does it always work that way? No, there are a lot of faults and flaws and loopholes, but it’s a nice dream.
So, Archie getting into the mix even though it’s a time honored tradition company is majorly fishy. Then we learned that it wasn’t even for the books themselves, but to secure rack space in larger retail chains. We weren’t funding the books, just places to put them. Comic shops were not happy, not one bit, and even started the ball rolling on an Archie boycott. Would-be supporters were equally turned off because of one crucial thing that Archie overlooked.
No one wants to be giving money to a the completion of a product just so the bottom line of their real investors can be made all squeaky-clean. It’s a cynical way to look at it, but that’s exactly how it was coming off. No one wanted to trust Archie because they were coming off as a really skeevy neighbor. The other thing was that their rewards were nothing to write home about. The main thing that stood out to me was that subscriptions began at $75, an exorbitant amount.
Controversies really stem from nothing, or close to nothing, and so was this when you really thought about it. It was Archie, only their fans would care, the hubbub was unnecessary. There wasn’t even anything truly at stake anyway, it was clear from the wording that regardless of meeting the goal we would be getting these titles one way or the other. In fact, Life with Kevin Keller is pretty much a given. They even had preview art for it, unlike the other two.
The kicker, the funny part, is that this smokescreen was all unnecessary. As revealed by Mark Waid, the true underlying reason for this crowd funding was that there was some serious mishandling of funds. That’s understandable. That’s reasonable. It’s actually very sympathetic, and that’s one thing Archie needs. I doubt anyone would have been as scathing as they did if they had led with that. It shows why they need the help, not scurrying it away.
The real tragedy, for my dollar, is that I would have paid for a Jughead series anyway. Yet there were the little things that they did that kept me from donating and that still keep me from donating. The upside is that once they do come out I still have the liberty to purchase them when they finally get around to coming out. So, it’s a win-win. Thoughts would be appreciated below.