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Arts

New comic stars pitiful Toronto superhero

Posted by Aubrey Jax / March 2, 2014

Toronto superhero comicA new comic book takes the typical superhero tropes and smacks them right down in the middle of Toronto. Cartoonist Jason Loo has set up a Kickstarter page for issue 1 of his new graphic novel, which follows The Pitiful Human-Lizard from the Financial District and Y&D Square to Parkdale as he works some awful day corporate job by day and fights crime by night. Yeah, all the cliches abound - but with streetcars! And Dufferin Street! And failure. I'm sold, though I'm not sure how much of an audience the book will find outside TO.

The first tale of Lucas Barrett, the "struggling superhero making the best out of his shortcomings," will be printed in an edition of 1,000 copies if the Kickstarter meets its goal of $4,500, to which it's well on its way. A $5 pledge gets you the PDF, while for a mere $15 you can get the book delivered to your door, shipping included. Not a bad deal at all. Head over to Loo's Kickstarter page here, or watch his video about the book below.

More info at Kickstarter

Discussion

30 Comments

godge / March 2, 2014 at 08:34 am
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So this guy is begging for money on the internet and you promote and endorse it on BlogTO??
Amazing / March 2, 2014 at 09:33 am
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This is great,a comic with our own city in it. Surprise no one has though of this before. Could really be of interest to many. I'll certainly be getting a copy!
Jon / March 2, 2014 at 11:17 am
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Scott Pilgrim was also set in Toronto. Seeing actual locations in comic-form is lots of fun. Why should New York get all the attention?
Simon Tarses / March 2, 2014 at 12:39 pm
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I intend to support this book ASAP; it's high time we get a superhero of our own.
rocky the raccoon / March 2, 2014 at 01:39 pm
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Since when is a lizard representative of Toronto? The only half-lizards here are the politicians.
Justin replying to a comment from godge / March 2, 2014 at 02:51 pm
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This guy is an artist in Toronto, trying to create something that a lot of Torontonians would be interested in. And this Toronto-centric blog is bringing it to the Torontonians' attention.
godge replying to a comment from Justin / March 2, 2014 at 04:58 pm
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Sounds like he's created the comic- that doesn't cost anything. Now he's begging for money which he claims is to get copies printed up. Here's the thing about that though- if you really believe in something you have created why wouldn't you just pay for that yourself? I mean, it's what plenty of people do almost every week when they make zines or small press books or comics here in Toronto. SO my question still stands, why is BlogTO endorsing and publicising this guys lame begging?
Matthew I replying to a comment from godge / March 2, 2014 at 05:47 pm
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Let me translate that for you:

"I don't like Kickstarter as a publishing platform."
-godge

Have you considered that most people wouldn't want to significantly lower their quality of life to be able to afford to self publish something?

I don't believe that the starving artist is a noble ideal, maybe you do.
godge replying to a comment from Matthew I / March 2, 2014 at 08:47 pm
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That's terribly reductionist of you "Matthew", I certainly hope you don't act like that to whatever friends or family you have.

But, to answer your accusation I don't love kickstarter as a "publishing platform". Heck, it isn't even a "publishing platform".

Kickstarter, and other crowdfunding platforms, are great at connecting creators or organisations who are in need of a small fund to kickstart a project with the people who want to contribute to that and may benefot from the project being implemented. So, things that crowdfunding is good for: connecting a band with their fans to help fund a recording and self-release of a new record; helping connect a filmaker with potential fans of a film to help cover some start-up costs to get to a stage where the production can seek funding elsewhere; connecting a local charity with people sympathetic people who want to help on a project to move said charity closer to self-sustainability. Do you notice the common theme? With these initiatives that little bit of extra funding, that "kickstart if you will, helps create something that would not have existed before: some recorded music, a film, a self-sustainable local charity.

This comic guy begging for money here on the other hand appears to have already created this comic. It didn't cost him anything other than his time. The money he is begging for will not go towards actually creating anything new. Instead he just wants the money because he doesn't believe in his project enough to get some copies printed to sell to his friends and family, promote on BlogTO and whatever else he wants to do. Do not fool yourself into thinking this is a kickstarter for a creative endevour- the creative phase has already passed and now it is pure business. This guy begging for money basically wants other people to front his business, buy into something like an investor but only get a return as a customer. Like I said at the very start- something doesn't sound right at all with this.
David replying to a comment from godge / March 2, 2014 at 09:18 pm
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Creating a comic does cost money. Art supplies aren't free. Time isn't free. Computer art programs aren't free. Do you think Stephen King shouldn't be paid for his work? Putting words on paper "doesn't cost anything".

In conclusion, you're a fucking idiot.
voodude replying to a comment from godge / March 2, 2014 at 10:02 pm
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You ignorant slug. Crowdfunding isn't begging for money. It's appealing to your target audience before you make something, to see if they're interested in buying it in advance thereby funding its creation. It's the sustainable future of commerce. God, every damn brand and product everywhere is sticking itself in your face, begging you to buy, pay, justify their existence and you sit there and criticize someone who is doing it the good way, while you stand amongst his target audience. Get a life!
Keith replying to a comment from godge / March 3, 2014 at 09:42 am
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"Creating the comic doesn't cost anything"

You ignorant piece of shit. I'd love to know what you do for a living.
Realist (mostly) / March 3, 2014 at 10:11 am
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So raising the funding for printing the book is not a legitimate use of kickstarter? You gotta be kidding me.
Really Really replying to a comment from Realist (mostly) / March 3, 2014 at 10:58 am
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Read the guys comment- the whole long long comment. It's pretty fair. It seems that all you people outraged with this are just looking for something to be outraged about.
Seriously? replying to a comment from godge / March 3, 2014 at 02:29 pm
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I've seen what begging looks like. This isn't begging. He's offering people an opportunity to be a part of something should they CHOOSE to.

How is the guy supposed to produce a tangible product without money anyways Godge? You make it sound like the creator is missing some sort of obvious channel through which he can get the comic into readers hands.

He's offering people the CHOICE to support him, just like you have the choice to be an insufferable twat.
DA Bishop / March 3, 2014 at 02:37 pm
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I'm going to create a kickstarter comic and dedicate it to godge
byron replying to a comment from godge / March 3, 2014 at 04:38 pm
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The point of this Kickstarter is to get the comic printed, much like the example you gave of a band releasing a CD. The comic exists, but printing it and distributing it costs a lot - the same way a band can record some music, but they need money if they want anyone to hear it. You can distribute digitally for free, but most people prefer to have physical comics, which is what people supporting the Kickstarter want here. The creator wants to get the word and the comic out there, and he can't afford to print copies and mail them out himself, so he's going to use the funds from the Kickstarter to do that. And most people who support it get exactly that - the comic. They're basically paying for it in advance.
godge / March 3, 2014 at 07:44 pm
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I thought people reading BlogTO were capable of rational discussion, but instead when they read opinions slightly differing than their own, even when backed up with rational reasoning, regular commenters resort to swearing and making threats.

David- drawing a comic costs costs nothing except time. Maybe I should temper that statement by saying it costs almost nothing. Obviously art supplies do cost some money but it's negligable compared with the few thousand this guy is begging for. And yes, computer programs aren't free, but if someone is seriously doing this I would assume they have access to the programs already and it would be presumptuous to amortise the costs across projects. And indeed, as I stated in the first place, time is not free. But if this is something you enjoy doing is it not petty to expect immediate financial rewards? The Stephen King comparison is frankly ridiculous. This guy is not Stephen King. And nobody says Stephen King deserves nothing.

Voodude- I agree, crowdfunding is not begging, but what this guy is doing is begging, using a crowdfunding platform as a means to his begging. If you had actually read what I had said before hammering your keys in a rage, this guy has already created the thing, the comic. The Creation is complete. Now it is just business. Now he is begging for money because he wants someone else to pay the relatively small amount of money it costs to print something up. He is trying to attract investors and will only reward them as customers. Then you go on to babble some more nonsense... brand and product... first year philosophy... my eyes glaze over.

Keith - are you saying you agree with me? You don't actually say anything apart from selectively repeating what I said- that drawing a comic costs nothing apart from your time- and then make some lame insult. Please, before calling someone ignorant take some time to read/listen to the absolute minimum of what they are saying before responding in a blind rage because they don't agree with all of your special opinions. What do I do for a living? Let's just say I actually create things, get paid and then don't go begging for money to print something up that I don't believe in enough to pay for myself.

Realist (mostly)- no, not a legitimate use of Kickstarter. I'm getting tired of repeating myself so just read what I typed at 8.47pm on March 2.

Really Really- One sensible person here. Yes, I agree, read what I say, don't fly into a blind rage if it isn't something you already thought. Try to consider other views in life.

Seriously?- so you've seen some guy begging in the street, and now you've seen some guy begging on the internet. There is an obvious channel to get the comic into people's hands- just put the thing up on the internet, make a website (cost- time, $30 for registration and hosting) and charge a fee for a pdf of the comic. Want to offer a physical format? Tie into a print on demand service for customers. Want a stack of comics? Save up for a few weeks, pay to get them printed up and sell them yourself. People do this all the time, it's seriously nothing new.

DA Bishop- please do make a comic, I'm sure you'll have fun making it. Because creating something is fun. And if you are inspired to make a comic just make it- it'll only cost you your time. Just don't expect people to immediately reward you and pay you for whatever special thoughts you have. Hell, put it on kickstarter if you don't believe in it enough yourself and want to beg for money to print copies up but don't get offended if someone calls you out on your begging.

byron- the example I gave of the band creating an album is that a band would usually need some funding if they are trying to record their album- so studio time, maybe an engineer, time spent to get something mixed down properly... then you have something that didn't exist before. Once you have that finished product just give me the mp3s or FLAC (who even wants a CD these days apart from landfill owners?. But sure, if part of the incentive for people is a physical copy on CD or vinyl, a favourite track on 7" or whatever then fine, go ahead. Maybe getting some copies of an album to sell at shows will help fund the next album. The point is the kickstarter is to fund creating something new that did not exist before in neither physical or virtual form. This comic guy begging for money on the other hand claims to have already made his comic, now he is begging for money because he doesn't want to offer pdf copies and doesn't want to print it up himself.
Sdm / March 3, 2014 at 09:44 pm
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i am so excited about this comic- it looks like its going to be amazing. and its high time we give our own local artists a little push. the arts industry in Toronto, from film to literature and onwards, has taken many hits over the last many years... and people tend to forget that the best parts of a city are built on its culture, and its daring to be interesting. kickstarter allows an artist to actually get a little money to help them make their work- he's asking for only a few thousand $... which is nothing when you are trying to launch a project. i can't believe someone would disparage a local artist for trying to get money for their work... we really need to start recognizing, supporting and respecting the artists in this city.

Sdm / March 3, 2014 at 09:48 pm
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p.s @godge in order to print stuff, it requires money and you usually print in bulk, which requires a lot of money. I've only worked in indie film, which usually costs a few thousand to complete the initial printing of a few hundred dvds- not including creating posters and such, which can add on hundreds more. launching a project properly costs money, even if the product is complete, there are other costs.
Eric Houstoun replying to a comment from godge / March 3, 2014 at 11:49 pm
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Perhaps you should reserve judgement until you:

a. have an idea of what it costs to publish a comic on a large scale, heck even on a small scale...

b. Know how much of the content the artist actually has finished, how long it took him to complete, how much more he has left to complete to see through the story arc.

c. Learn this person's intimate financial details to make an assessment as to just how feasible it would be for him to assume the cost of a high quality print run on his books.

You should also consider that the rest of the examples you listed could just as easily be done by the artists themselves incurring the cost and the risk, and just because you see merit in those causes doesn't make this one less noble. Also consider that kickstarter offers rewards (i.e. a copy of the comic this guy is making) which wouldn't make this begging but rather soliciting a commission so he can make a well calculated order when his comics are ready to be printed.

Your argument doesn't hold a lot of water if you think that musicians and film-makers have a right to use kickstarter but a comic artist doesn't. Any comic artist will tell you self publishing is an expensive and thankless endeavour, and if the guy can garner enough interest to be able to finance a high quality print run right out of the gate how is that any different than a band looking for funds to record an album in a studio? At the end of the day it's all art and it all costs money to produce, not everyone can foot the bill and that shouldn't stop them from creating great work.
DA Bishop replying to a comment from godge / March 4, 2014 at 09:16 am
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Why thank you! I will! As a matter of fact, I've already made LOTS of comics, some of which you can read for free online! You know who else has made comics you can read for free? Jason Loo. Because he loves comics too.

Also, could you provide an example of "Awesome begging" so we can see how that compares to "lame begging"?
Kris J Johnson replying to a comment from godge / March 4, 2014 at 11:29 am
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Dude, godge, regardless of whether we're talking pre-production or post-production, in the end, it all falls under the banner of "production" for a creative person. It's all just stuff they're gonna have to pay for at one point or another to get their specific product in the hands of fans. The point over the course of that timeline that you decide to slide your bill across the table in support makes absolutely no difference in the grand scheme of the universe. The end result is the same. Either the product makes it to market or it doesn't.

You're obviously a smart guy, but as relates to crowdfunding, it sounds like you've constructed some sort of maze of semantics in your mind to justify a long-held belief that you know deep down doesn't quite hold water. Either that or your trolling.
Sanya / March 5, 2014 at 11:56 am
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I've met Jason Loo before and his work is fantastic-- he's incredibly dedicated and a great guy-- he's definitely a creator worth helping along-- and you get a great comic in the process!
Bret / March 5, 2014 at 12:29 pm
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I fail to see what the problem is here. No one knows what Jason will be using the money for. Let's say the cost of the comic costs about $2.50. He can now take the issues to comic shops and sell them on the stands alongside Batman and Spider-Man. People get interested in it, people sign up on his Facebook page to learn more and await issue #2. The sales of the 1st issue will no doubt go to making the 2nd issue. But seriously, over 50 pages in issue #1 is UNHEARD of in the comic book world. No ads? Double awesome! In a major city within Canada? WIN WIN!

I thing Dodge is just broke, and really wants to read the comic. I have $5, I'm going to go get a PDF that I can read on my ipad while on the subway. GREAT idea.
Jon S. / March 5, 2014 at 01:15 pm
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"It didn't cost him anything other than his time."

Time is friggin' expensive!!!
James McCartney replying to a comment from godge / March 5, 2014 at 02:52 pm
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Two words for you Godge. Canadian culture. I feel like it's not celebrated enough on the world stage. I mean, next to the United States we're invisible. They're overwhelming and we takes lots of cues from their culture. We have laws in place that protect Canadian culture, for example! You can't have any less than 60% Canadian content on a radio broadcast. Why? Because it keeps out culture fresh and alive. What this is to me, much like Scott Pilgrim is to the world is a reminder that we're awesome and that we exist and that we can do amazing things. You can see a local Toronto artist (who's a great guy in person by the way) rise up and take the spotlight and celebrate Canadian culture. The Pitiful Human Lizard is a dream come true for Jason and you'd attack that? Not only is this a huge deal for him, but it's also inspiring for me. I've been following his progress for a while and I do some of the same stuff that he does and I can tell you that it's not easy. It's time consuming, it's draining and in the end, might not even be worth it. That's a huge risk to take but if it gets funded, it's worth it.

James McCartney replying to a comment from godge / March 5, 2014 at 03:12 pm
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Clearly, this is a legitimate use of Kickstarter since it's working and the people running Kickstarter haven't ended it. On top of that, the city of Toronto wants to see it.
Jason Jang / March 6, 2014 at 10:18 am
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None of this opinion matters to anyone.
Looking forward to the comic.
Sarah replying to a comment from godge / March 6, 2014 at 11:12 am
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There's definitely a valid and interesting debate to have about the merits of Kickstarter/crowdfunding, but claiming that it doesn't cost any money to make a comic book just made you look really stupid, which is why people are jumping down your throat.

Obviously, as most people know, it costs money to self-publish books. For something like this, the dollar amount of time/effort, ink, art supplies, editing, paper stock, covers, binding, printing, ISBN fees, distribution (e.g. selling in stores or online), promotion and DIY marketing would typically be somewhere in the $3,000-$5,000 range. So the actual dollar amount this artist is asking for ($4,500) isn't really in dispute. But sure, the method of obtaining that funding through Kickstarter is still interesting to question.

Hopefully that helps you understand it a bit better (note: I work in the publishing industry and have friends at independent comic publishers, but you can find lots of these financial statistics pretty easily online, too, if you need more evidence).

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