LGBTQIA+ Kickstarters to Watch Out For
By Laura Ingate, Frankie Harnett and Emma Regan
Kickstarter is an American crowdfunding platform focused on creativity; their mission statement is to “help bring creative projects to life.” The site is a home for film, music, art, theatre, literature, games, comics and much more. It is a place where creators are able to showcase new visions for creative work with the communities that will come together to fund and support them. Some creators on the platform have huge fan bases already, but many projects have evolved from Kickstarter including early versions of Issa Rae’s Insecure and Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s Fleabag. Throughout June 2023, Kickstarter is spotlighting LGBTQIA+ creators by promoting their work and sharing interviews so readers can discover how these inspiring creators bring their visions to life.
Kickstarter has always paved the way for publishing comics. Whether it’s a graphic novel, webcomic or traditional comic, the crowdfunding website has helped thousands of artists and authors publish their work through non-traditional methods. This is especially true for LGBTQIA+ comics, with works such as Heartstopper, The Pride and Check, Please! reeling in the most pledges and backers in its category, and all have gone on to being traditionally published. With that in mind, here are some LGBTQIA+ comics to pledge for, or some you may not have realised were funded through Kickstarter.
As mentioned, The Pride series originated on Kickstarter with its creator Joe Glass pledging the idea back in 2016. It follows FabMan and his decision to form a team of all LGBTQIA+ superheroes to stand up against the “misrepresentations and ignorance of the world.” 622 backers pledged over £20,000 and now Joe Glass is once again asking for pledges for The Pride Summer Special 2024. If it reaches its £6,000 goal, the special sixty-paged one-shot will feature a collection of brand-new stories and adventures as fans await the series’ next instalment. Prints are also available for those making higher tier pledges.
Another title to look out for is Ruination. It’s a fantasy comic series created by Ryan Bis that follows a group of young soldiers as they forge their own path in a world hellbent on destroying itself. Ryan has already received backing for the first story arc of the series, Issues 1-6, and will soon be asking for pledges for the publication of its first volume, the collected version of the issues.
While Kickstarter is renowned for games, gadgets and films, its literary projects often receive little attention. Last year, the literary world was amazed by the success of Brandon Sanderson’s Surprise! Four Secret Novels, which raised over $20 million in only seventy-two hours. Book campaigns such as The Way of Kings, Archeron/Styxx and Peculiar Taste have also enjoyed success and established wide fan bases on Kickstarter. The removal of conventional publishing's gatekeepers and barriers to funding also makes Kickstarter an ideal platform to launch traditionally marginalised publications, such as LGBTQIA+ fiction.
One of Kickstarter’s most anticipated book campaigns is the LGBTQIA+ series Iron on Iron. The project’s author, Gregory Ashe, comprised the crossover novels around four couples from his bestselling mystery series: the Hazard and Somerset Mysteries, the Borealis Investigations, the Lamb and the Lion and the First Quarto. In Iron on Iron, these couples work together for four books to catch a murderer. Ashe’s project received its funding only six minutes from its launch and has attracted 204 backers, with $15,729 in pledges. The books are highly anticipated, particularly by Ashe’s fanbase from previous novels.
Alternatively, Kickstarter works as a successful platform for other forms of literary publications, such as The Fable of Wren Audiobook: An Own Voices Nonbinary Mystery. Rue Sparks describes their story as “a quiet queer mystery and magical realism audiobook on travelling through grief, and learning how to re-connect with the world.” The book was the winner of the 2022 Queer Indie Award and the proposed audiobook has received thirty-three backers with $1,105 in pledges. The audiobook will be narrated by Sam Spark, a non-binary audiobook narrator. In the wake of a new wave of social and political challenges to the rights of trans people, Sparks emphasises the importance of campaigns like this that project trans voices into the mainstream.
Kickstarter is a fascinating platform that you can visit to explore the arts and show support for the LGBTQIA+ community by helping to bring their creative visions to life. There are many projects to explore and support on Kickstarter from LGBTQIA+ creators including Ruination and Iron on Iron. To find out more, visit their spotlight page where Kickstarter is honouring creators’ remarkable contributions to our culture.