How to Sell a Comic When Nobody Wants You To: Jawbreakers Crowdfunds Whopping $200K!

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Jawbreakers

Crowdfunding is the new method of gaining investors for a pet project. It's easy, it's popular -- and it works. When fans clamored for a VERONICA MARS movie, Director Rob Thomas took the project to Kickstarter to prove to Hollywood executives there was a demand. He raised funds in excess of the target in record time, hitting their $2 million goal in less than a single day.

A similar success story is playing out in the comic book industry these days. Comic book critic and perennial thorn-in-the-side of the industry experts, Richard C. Meyer, has taken on the challenge of "those who can't, critique" and set out to publish his own graphic novel, JAWBREAKERS: LOST SOULS.

Using IndieGoGo as a platform, the project set an initial stretch goal of $10,000, which would see the book published in square-bound format with a cardstock cover.

When the funding schedule had run its course, Meyer's book had amassed a total of $207, 578 -- nearly 3900% of it's original goal! Perhaps there's a Tony Stark out there who has invested deeply to see this project through to fruition. Perhaps there is a rich grandmother who wants to see her grandson do well.

Or perhaps -- just perhaps, mind you -- Meyer has been correct all this time in his assertions that there's a large portion of the comics buying market that is being underserved by the mainstream publishers. If so, JAWBREAKERS: LOST SOULS should serve as a wake-up call to an industry that seems to have lost its bearings, relying on reboots, restarts, and rebirths on a cyclical basis in attempts to re-engage fans.

JAWBREAKERS: LOST SOULS is written by Richard C. Meyer, with art from Jon Malin (THUNDERBOLTS) and colored by Brett Smith (HARLEY QUINN). It is expected to be in stores in August of 2018 -- maybe.

I say "maybe" because, even though the IndieGoGo campaign clearly states that the estimated delivery is August, it might not be on your local comics shop shelves. And that's because some retailers have decided not only to refuse to carry it -- which, as store owners, is perfectly within their rights -- but also to deny access to it for their customers who request it. To ensure solidarity, some retailers have colluded on Facebook to make sure they present a united front.

We spoke with Arkansas retailer Michael Tierney, owner of The Comic Book Store in Little Rock and Collector's Edition in North Little Rock, for his insight. While he has not participated in any online retailer forums, he stated, "If retailers are colluding to block the guy from market, that is very concerning."  Tierney noted that, while it wasn't quite at the level of price fixing, a violation of the Sherman anti-trust laws, "to actively bar someone from having their product sold" was certainly a cause for alarm.