Rich Douek‘s Wailing Blade debuted last October at New York Comic-Con, igniting excitement for its merging of science fiction and fantasy into one bombastic, bloody adventure. And with creative partners like Joe Mulvey on art, Chris Sotomayor on coloring, and Taylor Esposito on letters, fans certainly had plenty to celebrate when issue 1 dropped.
That enthusiasm continued to burn after the launch of the recent Kickstarter campaign. They not only met their initial goal of $5,000 on the day of release, they exceeded it… and now with only a few days left, they’ve more than doubled their original ask.
So yeah. We definitely needed to talk to Rich about his success!
Comics Experience: Your Kickstarter surpassed its goal by over $6,000 in its first day! What strategies did you use to bring in the necessary number of contributors?
Rich Douek: We started with a pretty solid core of people – ones who backed the Gutter Magic Kickstarter I did last year, and those who have backed previous projects from Comixtribe, our publisher. Those were the initial people we reached out to via email before the campaign started, to let them know what was coming, and get them excited to pledge early. We also made sure to spread the word as much as possible on social media, and in our own circle of friends, to get as many people talking about it as we could.
CE: What have you learned from such unprecedented – but clearly earned – success in your campaign? What advice would you pass on to other creators who want to fund their projects via Kickstarter?
RD: I learned that preparation makes a huge, huge difference when it comes to a successful campaign. We did a lot of prep work on this, much more than I did on Gutter Magic, which was my first Kickstarter project, and I really saw a difference. I think my advice would be to learn everything you can as far as preparing for your launch goes – what you need ready, how to prime your audience, things like that. I know that CE is planning a Kickstarter course soon with Heather Antos, and I think that’s a great opportunity to get a lot of that information in one place. I know I spent a lot of time reading, listening to podcasts, etc., which was really informative, but it would have been nice to get a lot of that information in a more digestible format.
CE: Wailing Blade has been praised for its strong worldbuilding. What lessons did you learn from Gutter Magic in how to create a compelling and lived-in world?
RD: A lot of what I talk about when I give worldbuilding advice, is to do everything you can to make it feel like a living place, that exists independently of the story. One big piece of that is taking some time to think about things that don’t revolve around your characters, or only touch them tangentially. You don’t need to explain every last detail in the story, but having a wealth of information you can reference in the text is invaluable. A great example is the famous “Kessel Run” from Star Wars – it was a throwaway line from Han Solo in the first movie, yet the question of what exactly he was talking about led to a whole bunch of information in the expanded universe stories, and then, 41 years later, seeing the actual story on film in the Solo movie. It’s little bits like that, that intrigue people, and can be explored later if need be, that make the place you’re creating feel alive.
CE: What are some of the challenges (and rewards) when building multi-genre worlds such as the one in Wailing Blade?
RD: A big challenge is finding the balance between creating a huge, complex and expansive world, and telling a compact, understandable story. For example, with Wailing Blade, I’ve created an entire empire, where not just one, but seven weapons like the Wailing Blade exist, each with their own wielder. Add to that all the cities, geographic locations, and peripheral characters, and there’s enough there to explore for years – which I definitely want to do! But for this specific part of it, I had to keep it to a cohesive, tight, 4-issue story. And that means a lot of the stuff I wrote in preparation won’t see the light of day here – and depending on the overall success going forward, might never come out. But I don’t see it as wasted work, because it helps create that sense of place that allows me to write in that world so fluidly – and it gives me a map of where I want to take things if we are lucky enough to have the support we need to create future stories in this world.
You can support the Wailing Blade Kickstarter and receive the campaign exclusives! Click here.