As a precursor to crowdfunding the graphic novel we talked about (that post went poof, as promised), you can now find prints & cards of related art in my cafepress store. If you're interested in the concept, I discuss that in the latter half of this post because it does deal with death/grief/etc. Some of you might be having a cheery weekend, so first, the general plan for what I've got figured out for all that:
The general cost of living for the 15 weeks of working on this full time that it would take to sit down and bang it out is about $6000. Anything above that I feel is actual profit, and we're talking about donating 50% to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (though if I'm not rating the value of my time fairly, or have misestimated the costs of production, it may have to come down to 30%).
One of the ideas we had that would give some wiggle room all the way around is to make it a combination Memorial fundraiser for the graphic novel and a song, which I may have mentioned earlier, that a good musician friend of mine is writing in memorium. This would raise more money for the production of both pieces, and in turn more for donation to the AFSP.
On Perks and Deliverables, I've decided anything that's not digital - e-reader copies of the book, mp3's & mp4's and so on- through a print-on-demand service (which will probably be cafepress, but I'm open to reccomends) so that when somebody orders a physical perk, I can basically just order it through said service and have it shipped to them. Those price points are going to be a bit tricky, because I have to figure out base cost plus shipping and figure out what size donation I'm comfortable carving that out from, since I'll have to show that as income and an expense each time it happens, but all of that mumbling amounts to, "No, Prints or T-shirts will have to cost more than $20, assuming that's what we do. "
I've saved the best for last, explaining the format of the GN - The title is something like, "I Miss You : Stories for the Living." The main thread follows the boy and the girl pictured in the link- those are first sketches slightly cleaned up to have a mock available, and I'm rather pleased with them with all that considered. I'd like to redo the planar slice concept as just B/W floatable line art. Maybe take it through illustrator so we have nice clean lines. I don't do that ... to my own satisfaction ... freehand. Even when I look at where I'm going to instead of where the line is. *Shrugs* I draw loose, just like I knit loose, and I'm going to have to learn to embrace that just like I did with knitting.
Anyway, back to concept — The main thread is a boy and a girl communicating, or, at least talking at each other. Being a ghost, he can hear her, but she can't hear him. Which is why she talks more than he does. Sometimes they're on the same plane. Sometimes, as in the cover concept, they're not. He'll have an ice cream swirl for a lower body- think classic illustration of a ghost, if you didn't picture that readily - when they're on the same plane just in case the book ends up being too simply printed to show transparencies effectively. Ghostly glow and ectoplasm remain undecided.
One of my favorite conversations we've outlined, but not scripted, happens on the non-mortal plane between the boy and his Sponsor Spirit (being dead is a damn big adjustment! I like to think that if you have to stay that way, someone will be there to see you through it.) and they talk about how, invariably, the living find a way to blame themselves for what amounts to the natural order of life and how blame and fault exist by virtue of being alive, which is a bit of a riff on original sin, but less about that concept and more about why we have that concept - because living things fuck up. Can't help it. Most humans need even the most basic shit pointed out to them at some point. If no one ever does it, they never learn any better. Similar to the concept of perpetuated cycles of abuse. The thing is though, there's no point in even beginning to calculate that responsibility for a thing that just happens sometimes like death does.
We have all of eternity, and we could still never find time or hands enough to properly apportion the fault.
Interspersed with those scenes will be poems about grief and death (like the Sad Summer poem at the link. That poem originally had no title, but the graphic novel isn't that graphic novel anymore, and that was the title page.), stories about personal experience, similar to the original content when this project was called Sad Summer — I'm hoping to find enough time and funding to go and interview people who aren't me or super close to me. But, that may have to wait for the second volume. And stories about the after life from multiple traditions another place I'd like to spend some time doing interviews to expand the story's overall scope. I want shit to be inclusive, dammit. Don't they call death the great equalizer? While all deaths are unique, there is no one who gets to remain completely untouched by it.
Overall, I hope it will have a collected anthology feel so that as my experience grows and I come to meet new people and learn new things I can keep putting volumes out, letting the main thread grow secondary and tertiary characters that find their own way into the spotlight.