After directing a reprint program at Dover Publications focused on classic graphic novels and prose works, Drew Ford is now about to launch It’s Alive!, a new graphic novel reprint line at IDW Publishing designed to be funded by Kickstarter campaigns.
Ford’s It’s Alive! imprint at IDW will launch with two titles with plans to publish 5-6 titles in 2017. Every title published by It’s Alive! will go through a Kickstarter campaign to raise the money for its publication, which include advances for the artists as well as restoration costs for the work on the books, many of which have been out of print for years.
The Kickstarter funded edition will be released first in a limited edition to the projects bakers (Ford estimates they’ll be about 300-400 copies) before IDW publishes the trade book edition in a larger quantity roughly two months later. The trade book edition will be branded It’s Alive/IDW.
The first two titles to be published by the new imprint will be Red Range: A Wild Western Adventure by celebrated genre novelist and comics writer Joe Lansdale and artist Sam Glanzman, an legendary 93 year old comics artist. Originally published in 1999 and out of print since, the acclaimed Red Range is the fictional story of a mysterious masked 19th century African American cowboy sharpshooter who takes on the brutal Ku Klux Klan of the period.
The book’s Kickstarter edition raised $19,785 (the goal was $15,000). It will be released to Kickstarter backers in November and IDW’s bookstore trade edition will be released in January 2017. (First published in black and white, the new edition of Red Range will be published in full color with a new cover.)
The second book by It’s Alive! will be by pioneering comics artist Trina Robbins. It is an early 1980s graphic novel adaptation of Dope, Sax Rohmer’s 1919 novel about a marijuana scandal. The book’s Kickstarter campaign, Ford said, will launch in the next few days. “Trina will be helping to promote the campaign,” Ford said.
At Dover, Ford published 31 comics and prose reprint collections before leaving the house earlier this year. “Nothing bad about Dover, I just wanted a little more freedom about what I could publish,” he said.
Among the titles Ford published at Dover are, A Sailor’s Story by Sam Glanzman, a long-out-of-print collection of graphic nonfiction stories by the legendary cartoonist set during his time serving on a destroyer during WWII. He also published The Eisner nominated Puma Blues by Steven Murphy and Michael Zulli, a 500-page hardcover science fiction/ecological broadside.
Ford said using Kickstarter “let’s me pay people and the books sell well.” IDW, he said, has been supportive and It's Alive! will be announced at the IDW panel at the San Diego Comic-Con, which opens this week.
“I spend a lot of time talking to retailers and comics fans and I found that people love reprints,” Ford said. “So many people, including me, want to buy this stuff, I knew there was a market.”