Tag Archives: hope nicholson

Around the Tubes

So, how about those elections!? While we recover from all of that… it’s new comic book day! What are folks excited for? What do you plan on getting? Sound off in the comments below!

Kotaku – Telltale Games is laying off 90 people, or about 25% of its staff, the company said today. – This could impact some of your comic based video games.

CBR – Mark Millar’s First Netflix Comic Is a Fantasy Crime Series With Olivier Coipel – Sounds interesting.

The Beat – Nicholson’s Bedside Press to be distributed via Renegade Arts Entertainment – Some solid news.

 

Review

Comic Attack – Black Lightning: Cold Dead Hands #1

Newsarama – Coyotes #1

CBR – The Jetsons #1

Flickering Myth – Penny Dreadful: The Awakening

Quickstarter Roundup: Three Comics Campaigns to Back This Week

Welcome to the inaugural Quickstarter Roundup, a shortlist of currently-running comics crowdfunding campaigns that are worth your time and money. If you have tips about current or upcoming comics crowdfunding projects, you can reach out at quickstarter at ckstewart dot com.

On to this week’s round-up.

MINE! A Comics Collection to Benefit Planned Parenthood

Top literary and artistic talents are coming together to support the constantly besieged Planned Parenthood with a brand new reproductive rights anthology. Mine! features stories from writers like Tee Franklin (Bingo Love), Rachel Pollack (Doom Patrol), and Sarah Kuhn (Heroine Complex), with art by illustrators Fabian Lelay (Jade Street Protection Services) and Devaki Neogi (The Skeptics). Already more than 50% backed with two weeks to go, and promoted by some of the biggest names in comics right now, Mine! is a safe bet for full funding. The project is up front about its communication with Planned Parenthood and what’s most likely to cause delays, meaning it’s easy to understand where your money is going, how the project works, and reasons for potential delivery date changes. Reward tiers start at $5, with a digital copy of the book available for $10 and a digital/softcover bundle available for $25. This campaign ends on September 15.

The Sun and the Wayward Wind

Managed by the Dandelion Wine Collective, The Sun and the Wayward Wind is a full-color anthology focused on reimagining North American legends and lore. This anthology includes some incredibly talented illustrators, including Ashanti Fortson (Galanthus) and e. jackson (Baby, Summer Fright Nights). Donation tiers start at $15 for a DRM-free PDF, which includes a digital wallpaper. This is the Collective’s first project, and they’re only at $8k of $32k with two weeks left to go, but the campaign states they have all materials and vendors lined up to start production as soon as the project wraps, and the sample art is so beautiful it’s worth at least chipping in a dollar or two for the lower-level reward tiers for a shot at purchasing the full anthology at a later date. For those looking for innovative and original indie comics to add to your shelves, this Kickstarter is worth chipping in for and signal boosting. This campaign ends September 14.

Gothic Tales of Haunted Love: A Comics Anthology

This is one of the safest bests in this round-up. Gothic Tales of Haunted Love is already fully funded and managed by Bedside Press founder Hope L. Nicholson, who has a number of high profile, successful campaigns under her belt. Gothic Tales brings together powerhouse creators like Sarah W. Searle (Ruined), Mel Gillman (As the Crow Flies), and Hien Pham (It Will Be Hard, an 18+ “choose your own gentle smut” graphic novel also currently funding on Kickstarter) for tales of heroes and villains, romance and tragedy, across worlds and decades. If you backed The Other Side anthology last year, this is a great (though unrelated) companion to that, with genre-hopping tales for romantics of all stripes. The PDF is available for $15CA, and the digital/physical bundle is a little pricier at $30CA but includes a 4×6 print and exclusive bookplate. This campaign ends on September 12.

Hope Nicholson and Bedside Press: A Dream Realized

Bedside Beginnings

Last Saturday, July 15, marked the beginning of another Hope Nicholson Kickstarter, Gothic Tales of Haunted Love–a Kickstarter discussed more throughly here Nicholson has been publishing comics under the Bedside Press imprint and running successful Kickstarter campaigns for years.   
bedside press logo

At first, Nicholson didn’t expect Bedside Press to become as big of a part of her life as it is now.  

In fact, when she started the imprint in 2014, she “just wanted to do this one reprint book because [she] didn’t see it in the market! But what [she] learned about the process is not only did [she] really, really enjoy it but [she] had the seeds to be good at it too. Ever since Nelvana of the Northern Lights [she has] been trying to nurture these seeds and grow as a publisher.”

nelvana of northern lights

Her “first project was a reprint, but after [she] caught the publishing bug from Nelvana [she] knew that [she] wanted to do new content too. Getting the pinups for Nelvana and Brok was [her] first experience with working with artists and it was a rush.”

Working on Brok didn’t only just become a fun experience because of working with the artists. In fact, “Brok Windsor is [her] pride and joy”, the comic she’s proudest of so far.

Nicholson holds this comic in a special place in her heart, because it’s “a beautiful comic, so iconic of Canadian history, and of [her] own city Winnipeg in particular, and completely forgotten.”

brok windsor

As mentioned before, “that project really was [her[ first solo outing, and it was a joy to be able to reach out and see what [she] was capable of in all avenues. Discovering the real Brok Windsor, finding ALL of these lost 1940s comics to reprint, hiring a new artist to reinvision a comic only available as a text script and reaching out to over 30 artists to draw pinups of Brok made [her] really proud of my abilities.”

And it seems like she was onto something–since starting Bedside Press, Nicholson has published 11 books, sometimes graphic novels and sometimes a mix of traditional text and comics. As the Kickstarter shows too, she’s only getting started.

Refreshingly, Nicholson seems to enjoy “the feeling of satisfaction in producing books and working with really talented creators”, and focus on that feeling more than trying to be a publisher only focused on the bottom line.

“Plus,” Nicholson adds “all the readers seem really happy!”

A Diverse Touch

Maybe the reason the readers seem happy stems from that personal touch and from a focus on producing a wide range of texts from a wide range of creators.

Early on, she knew “that [she] wanted to focus on diverse content” although that focus is still on hiring “people who tell good stories”.

However, Nicholson noted that when a publisher focuses on good stories, they’ll find that “people who tell good stories come from everywhere. It’s important to tell their stories”.

And one of those stories is making it’s way into Gothic Tales of Haunted Love:

One [story] really caught [her] eye, so much so that [she] had to hire a restorationist so [she] could reprint it in this collection…[that story] was Sanho Kim’s ‘The Promise’. It’s an exceptional gothic romance, set in Korea, created by a Korean artist, and lettered in both Korean and English. It’s proof that there are always resistance and exceptions to dominant genres and [she’s] really excited to showcase it.”

sanho kims the promise

This is just one of many diverse stories, however, both in Gothic Tales of Haunted Love and in the rest of Bedside’s publishing catalog.

Nicholson attributes her success at attracting diverse voices to a few things:

At first when [she] did open calls, [she] didn’t have as far of a reach, so a lot of creators outside of [her] immediate circle never even heard of [her] projects, let alone could apply for them. But over the years [she has] had more and more standing in the industry and since [she] promote[s] a lot of different creators…people who aren’t white, who aren’t straight, who aren’t binary gender.. [diverse creators] are now within [her] social sphere.”

secret love of geek girls

But she knew she had to do more than just rely on her social sphere:

“[She had] to put the work into research and asking for specific recommendations in order to compensate for [a social sphere’s] limitation. For example when [she] did The Secret Loves of Geeks, it was a bit of an attempt to fix an issue that feminism has with binary gender. [She] didn’t want just stories from men, just stories from women–[she] wanted stories from people where the gender binary just wasn’t accurate for them. So [she] asked specifically for stories from nonbinary creators, and received several!”

 

Bedside Bumps

 

Although Nicholson has been successful in her publishing experience so far, she does admit that there have been a few bumps in the road, mainly stemming from her steadfast commitment to publish stories she loves instead of only pursuing commercially successful stories.

Distribution and finances are the biggest bumps she’s experienced so far:

“In Canada because of our sparse population base most publishers exist on grants, and grant eligibility is restricted to very strict criteria. [Because of this limited funding, she] fund[s] most of [her] projects through Kickstarters, but this only reaches an audience of usually 400-3,000 funders, and is usually only done two-three times a year.“

She adds that “distributors don’t want niche projects for the most part, so it limits [her] reach to what [she] can hand-sell. That’s tough”.

It’s so tough that Nicholson has had to adjust her life a little. “Because [she uses] almost all of [her] freelance income to put into new projects, it also means [she has] had to cut personal costs as much as [she] can” so she lives with her parents.
spectacular sisterhood of superwomen

On the bright side, though, she’s “had better luck licensing the projects to publishers later (like with The Secret Loves of Geek Girls through Dark Horse), and using all [her] freelance payments from other projects (like writing The Spectacular Sisterhood of Superwomen for Quirk Books) to fund additional books.”

For example, “The Spectacular Sisterhood paid for all the production and printing fees for Love Beyond Body, Space, and Time!”
lovebeyond

Kickstarter Boost

Part of her success as a publisher comes from running successful Kickstarters; Nicholson has run six successful Kickstarter campaigns and is looking to add a seventh.  In fact, she’s been so successful in this area that Kickstarter has made her one of their Thought Leaders, an honor only bestowed on seven creators so far.

kickstarter thought leaders hope nicholson

When describing this experience and honor, Nicholson says that “ it’s been nice!”

But she adds that, “not too much has changed for [her], since unofficially [she] was already giving a lot of advice and panels and seminars on how to use Kickstarter and tips on how to succeed. It’s basically just given [her] a degree of legitimacy when [she says she’s] an expert!”

Nicholson was more than happy to share some of those Kickstarter tips in this interview.

One of her biggest pieces of advice is to “keep a lot of spreadsheets of lists! It’s tough to re-do all your research from scratch for each campaign.”

While Nicholson has raised enough funds with all of her Kickstarters, she does offer some light for those who don’t have her track record.  She reminds them that “failure is OK.”

Not only is it OK, it’s so much a part of life that she prepares “as much for the failure of a campaign as [she does] for its success.”

woody allen failure quote

Sometimes this means asking the right questions, such as “at what point would [she] be comfortable making a personal investment in the project if funding doesn’t push [her] over the edge”?

Does she think that she would “try the project again at a later date or through a different method”?

“Would [she] approach a publisher with the project instead, or would [she] let the project die and encourage the creators to apply with their story for other projects?”

Even though she prepares for failure, she hasn’t had to answer those questions outside of the abstract yet.

And she attributes that success to many things:

“[A big part of success is] putting the work in. And that goes from every aspect. It includes having and maintaining a newsletter, having an active social media life (yes, life not just promotion! People want to know who you are before they feel connected), chatting to press and journalists like they are human beings (so many creators treat press like a necessary evil which is ridiculous. We’re all in this equally together!), identifying your weak spots ([hers] is design) and hiring appropriately (S.M. Beiko did all the amazing design for the kickstarter!)”

Despite this success, she made a point to say that she is ”always learning, and anything outside of comics kickstart-ing is still a bit foreign to” her”.

*Note* All quoted material is from Hope Nicholson.

 

Hope Nicholson Talks Gothic Tales of Haunted Love

The summer might be almost half over, but Hope Nicholson and her imprint Bedside Press are just getting started on a Kickstarter for their new anthology Gothic Tales of Haunted Love, stories that will chill the blood even on the warmest night.  

Image Credits: “Gothic Tales of Haunted Love”

cover art by Leslie Doyle, logo by Dylan Todd

(click on link to see anthology credits and details)

Or in Nicholson’s words herself:  “If you like horror, you’ll like this book. If you like suspense you’ll like this book. But if you need happy endings, well….you might NOT like this book!”

Blog544_Dark+Mansion+Forbidden+Love+Cover_1 1970s gothic romance

Image: Cover of a 1970s gothic romance comic; typical of the comics that inspired the anthology (not part of Gothic Tales of Haunted Love anthology)

The campaign itself started July 15 and ends on September 15.  After that point, the creators involved in the anthology have two months to finalize their stories before the anthology goes to print with January 2018 as the targeted delivery date.

Gothic Tales of Haunted Love, like Nicholson herself, has many inspirations.  It all started when she “was doing research for The Spectacular Sisterhood of Superwomen [published by Quirk Books].”  She discovered the 1970s comic genre of gothic romance, and had one reaction: “They were thrilling! After spending days reading romance comics, which were entertaining but usually pretty formulaic, it was so great to read stories just as emotional but with a lot more unpredictability.”

Hope elaborates on her love for the genre, saying it’s “interesting because though it still had many stories of pale beauties on the moors and dastardly lords, it was also very campy and supernatural. Lots of demons, witchery and ghosts!”

Despite her interest in this genre, though, she did admit that it had one drawback: “[These stories] were still mostly focused on North American creators, white girls, and straight romances.”

For anyone familiar with Bedside Press and Hope Nicholson, it’s no surprise that this lack of diversity troubled her–in her own words, that lack of diversity is “boring for an anthology”–and it’s something she’s looking to fix with Gothic Tales of Haunted Love.

sample5_hienpham

Image Credits: from “Minefield” by Hien Pham (told entirely in Vietnamese)

Specifically, to create an anthology that reflects true diversity and brings this genre into the 21st Century, they “did a half-curated, half-open call for new content and the stories…in this project have a focus on global gothic romance.”

And this is reflected in the stories themselves; one story has “two young men falling in love in Vietnam”, another has “pain and loss in Jamaica,” a third has “fashion intrigue in Taiwan, and [overall there are] lots of beautiful ghosts of all genders falling in love with mortals.”

The anthology itself is the reward Nicholson hopes most people enjoy.  

However, there are some other killer rewards: “Something really fun [Bedside Press] did was reach out to the estates of classic 1970s gothic romance cover artists and license artwork for special print reprints. So while [there is] a lot of new content, [Bedside Press] still [offers a] nod to the aesthetics of the old.”  Finally, as part of the rewards they “also have brand new prints from our creators as well!”

Next week, we’ll continue Nicholson’s interview, focusing on her journey as a self-publisher and Kickstarter Thought Leader.  But until then, make sure you check out the Kickstarter for Gothic Tales of Love!

 

*Note* All quoted language in this article was from Hope Nicholson.

sample1_janet

Image Credits: from “Crush” by Janet Hetherington, Ronn Sutton, Becka Kinzie, and Zakk Saam

 

sample_7

Image Credits: from “Fazenda do Sangue Azul” by Dante L. & H. Pueyo

Around the Tubes

It’s new comic book day! What are you excited for? What do you plan on getting? Sound off in the comments below! While you wait for shops to open, here’s some comic news and reviews from around the web in our morning roundup.

Around the Tubes

CBC – How Hope Nicholson traced the history of female comic book characters – This book sounds cool.

ICv2 – Superheroes are the Only Box Office Franchise Worth Anything in 2017 – Very interesting analysis.

The Beat – A Year of Free Comics: Big Busty Psychic Celeb Votes Satan by Beatrix Urkowitz, more fame, more ambivalence – Free comics folks!

Cryptozoic – DC’s The Joker Calling Card Statue – “Bloody Noir” Edition (Comic-Con Exclusive) – This looks cool.

The Beat – Graphic novelist quits making graphic novels after trying to live on $10k/year for three years – Interesting…

 

 

Around the Tubes Reviews

Talking Comics – Paklis #1

Dark Horse to Publish The Secret Loves of Geek Girls

Dark Horse Comics has announced plans to publish the highly anticipated anthology The Secret Loves of Geek Girls. Editor Hope Nicholson has assembled a dazzling mix of prose, comics, and illustrated stories about love, dating, and sex featuring more than fifty creators, including Booker Award–winning novelist Margaret Atwood, Mariko Tamaki, Trina Robbins, Gisèle Lagacé, Marguerite Bennett, Marjorie Liu, and Carla Speed McNeil. It also features a foreword by Kelly Sue DeConnick and a new cover by Noelle Stevenson.

The anthology was originally funded through Kickstarter and will be published through Dark Horse in October 2016.

The Secret Loves of Geek Girls includes:

  • Cartoons by award-winning novelist Margaret Atwood that detail her personal experiences as a young woman
  • A comic by Fionna Adams and Jen Vaughn about what it’s like being a trans woman trying to figure out romantic and sexual inclinations while entrenched in comics
  • A story by Mariko Tamaki and Fiona Smyth in which a seventeen-year-old Tamaki dreams of being Montreal’s first chubby Asian Frank N. Furter
  • A story by Marguerite Bennett about fandom and how it allows us to say what we feel to our loved ones
  • New comics by Meaghan Carter, Megan Kearney, ALB, Meags Fitzgerald, Gillian G., Diana Nock, Roberta Gregory, Laura Neubert, Sarah Winifred Searle, Natalie Smith, Jenn Woodall, and Irene Koh
  • Illustrated stories by Janet Hetherington, Sam Maggs and Selena Goulding, Megan Lavey-Heaton and Isabelle Melançon, Cherelle Ann Sarah Higgins and Rachael Wells, Annie Mok, and Stephanie Cooke and Deena Pagliarello
  • Prose stories by Brandy Dawley, Diana McCallum, Jen Aprahamian, Katie West, Adrienne Kress, Soha Kareem, Loretta Jean, J. M. Frey, Trina Robbins, Twiggy Tallant, Hope Nicholson, Crystal Skillman, Emma Woolley, Gita Jackson, Natalie Zina Walschots, Alicia Contestabile, Tini Howard, Cara Ellison, Jessica Oliver Proulx, and Erin Cossar

SLGG CVR SOL 4x6

The Secret Loves of Geek Girls Kickstarter is a Big Success

A Kickstarter anthology book featuring prose, comics and more from Hope Nicholson and an assembled selection of female creators, called The Secret Loves of Geek Girls has been successively backed with 25 days to spare.

“It’s been very nice to see all of the support of the comics and geek communities rally behind the book, and I’ve been touched by all the positive words,” said Nicholson, a comic book editor and publisher, via email interview.

The book is a collection of mostly-original text and comic stories, along with some essays, about the romantic and sexual lives of women in the geek community. Some of these stories are from familiar names like Margaret Atwood, an award-winning Canadian writer of fiction and essays, and Marguerite Bennett, a writer on recent DC Comics and Marvel Comics releases like A-Force and Lois Lane.

Investing money nets one a tiered selection of rewards, like copies of the book at the bottom end of the selection and exclusive bits of original artwork at the top.

secretloves3

This Canada-based project had a goal of raising $37,000 in Canadian currency, which converts to $30,160 in United States currency, according to the Kickstarter page. As of the writing of this piece on the afternoon June 29th, 2015, it’s at around $50,000 Canadian, or around $43,000 American.

250 (CORRECTION: 1,500) copies are to be printed as a part of the Kickstarter campaign, but distribution to backers isn’t the end of this book’s release. “Any extra books will be available through my website, some local comic and book stores, and at conventions,” she said. Digital copies will also be sold on her website and through Comixology, she said.

The Kickstarter page can be accessed by clicking here.

The book’s premise rests on a notion that, “[t]here is a desert of [dating] information geared towards the women in fandom,” the Kickstarter page reads. Nicholson hopes this book can help fill the gap and aide troubled female geeks.

“I think that [our dating/sex life] is always something that’s kept very close to us, for the reasonable fear that if it’s public our discussions will be labelled as gossip or drama,” she said.

Particularly afflictive subject matter has been avoided in this collection, in order to maintain a more comfortable atmosphere, she explained. “[S]ome [stories] are analytical, others are very funny, others are very sensitive and touching.”

One story included is called “Firsts” and is a comic from Gillian G, a woman known for her webcomic “Jerkface A-Hole,” available here. This story is about, as the Kickstarter page details, “the legacy of a woman with absolutely no game.”

When asked how much of the story is autobiographical, she wrote, “All of it. Unfortunately.” in an email interview.

The character she created for her webcomic drew on parts of her own personality, which meant there were some similarities between this new story and that.

“The main character [of “Jerkface A-Hole”], although quite different from me, faces a lot of the challenges I face: being outside of the norm, being very small and runty for her age, and not being focused on dating,” she said.

Gillian is feeling the pressure of working within a small piece of a larger collaboration.

Image Taken from Kickstarter Page

Image Taken from Kickstarter Page

“It’s hard to pare down the stories of shame, humiliation, and ridiculousness to make just one 5 page comic. That’s my primary challenge,” she explained.

Another contribution to the anthology, this one untitled, is from Roberta Gregory. The Kickstarter description reads, “Roberta Gregory illustrates the downside of five decades worth of drawing adult comics.”

“… I have been mostly out of the publishing and media loop for the last several years, due to having a very demanding day job (that I just retired from),” Gregory said via email interview. “I was beginning to feel that I was a bit of a has-been but apparently folks still remember me.”

Gregory feels she will be bringing something different to the anthology.

“I am probably one of the oldest and less ‘techie’ of the women in the book. But I am looking forward to providing a different point of view based on my own perspective,” she said.

She has a long public history with comics that began when she was inspired by California-based underground comics from the 70s, many very adult in nature, she explained.

“Especially back in the day, the response I got to my comics (particularly from some men) was often kind of disturbing, but it was certainly in tune with the era,” she said.

Her comic strips and other work can be viewed on her website.

Another story is “Both Sides of the Table and Between the Sheets,” from Janet Hetherington. It follows her young experiences at conventions, which represents her passion for fandom, she explained via email interview.

“I have never lost my passion for fandom… from a teenager reading science fiction and drawing early comics, to university journalism student helping organize early conventions like Maplecon and writing articles for Amazing Heroes magazine, to a self-published writer/artist (Eternal Romance) and comics writer (Elvira, Mistress of the Dark; Honey West/Kolchak the Night Stalker,” she said.

Most of the story will be text, with some illustrations, posing as a detour from her recent focus on screenplays, she explained.

Another contribution is an essay tentatively entitled “How Fan Fiction Made Me Gay,” from writer JM Frey.

“I’m going to try to find a more poetic title for the essay,” she said with a laugh via Skype interview.

The essay is a full-frontal defense of fan-fiction as an art form and its ability to give women and minorities stories that represent them more, as opposed to the mainstream of narratives in geek culture focused on characters that are straight, white, male, etc. Without fan-fiction, she may have never realized the complexities of her sexual identity, lost in the “homogenous,” small-town culture she grew up in, she said.

The best she has gotten with labels is identifying as a demisexual, panromantic grey ace. Demisexuality is a term used to describe people who are only sexually-attracted to someone once a strong emotional bond is formed. Being panromantic means she is romantically interested in people regardless of gender. Grey ace, she explained to me, is a more specific descriptor that falls under the spectrum between sexual and asexual. Asexuality describes someone more or less personally uninterested in sex; grey ace essentially means someone somewhere in the middle: partially asexual.

“Fan-fiction taught me to see unresolved romantic tension not just through male and female characters,” she said.

Fan-fiction has received criticism from big voices, such as George R.R. Martin, creator of Game of Thrones, who has described the practice before as lazy. Frey defended fan-fiction with an unapologetic bluntness, deeply taking issue with the notions that it wastes talent that could be put towards building original properties and that it is legally problematic.

“Fan-fiction is what gave me the tools and the understanding to realize who I was,” Frey said.

Hope Nicholson; image taken from Kickstarter page

Hope Nicholson; image taken from Kickstarter page

She feels that the notion that fan-fiction is less valuable because it isn’t based on original properties is steeped in capitalist ideas that aren’t very artful. She doesn’t like the idea that some art is lesser because it isn’t financially profitable, she explained.

“This idea that fan-fiction isn’t really art is capitalist bullshit,” she said.

Another story is a comic called “Better than Fiction,” from Sarah Winifred Searle. It is about the relationship between fiction-writing as escapism and real-life happiness.

“… it’s about my journey from relying too much on that escapism to finding fulfillment in reality,” Searle said via email interview.

This entirely autobiographical work is much more personal than her past work.

“I’m getting braver with my autobiographical work and it feels good, even cathartic,” she said.

Her website can be viewed here.

Many of these women were brought on board the project through social media or convention friendships with Nicholson, or because of kind words about their work through word of mouth, Nicholson said. Everyone I interviewed expressed excitement to be involved in this project.

“Considering how frightening, alienating, and dangerous a place the nerd sphere can be for women, this project is an oasis,” said Gillian.