Heroes of the Home Front Kickstarter Week 1

Just over a week into the Heroes of the Home Front Kickstarter funding campaign and we are 40% funded at just over $10,000 with 77 funders. Extrapolating this, it looks like we will need about 200 funders pledging at the same rate of about $130 each to make it a go. I’ve been getting a lot of positive comments on the funding project and on the idea and look of book itself. It’s a gamble, and you can only hope for the best result, but things look good so far with three weeks left to go. The lulls and plateaus when the funding amount doesn’t change for a day or a day-and-a-half, are anxious times, though.

One thing that I noticed in having the Kickstarter go live is that, almost immediately, you get phishing type emails from organizations that tout access to many more supporters and online outlets for your project message. For a fee, of course. Time to puff out your superhero chest and have these all bounce off your emblem.

I actually put two WECA comic books as rewards—my under copy of Joke Comics 18 that had been extracted from a Colossal Comic, which I offered at $600 including a copy of the book and a copy of Grand Slam Comics Vol. 4 No. 4 which I offered at $300 including a copy of the book. The Grand Slam Comics copy was donated by our own Walter and had about two inches of tape on the spine down from the top. Both were snapped up rather quickly.

Joke 18 extracted from an issue of Colossal Comics

 

Grand Slam Comics Vol. 4 No. 4 with a great Red Rover cover

Also going quickly were Dave Ross’ sketch of Thunderfist and Ronn Sutton’s interpretation of The Wing. Glad these and the comics will be going to good homes along with copies of my book, but only IF the Kickstarter reaches its funding goal otherwise, they get to stay in my collection. I must say that I do hope to lose them and get that albatross of a book out in the world.

Dave Ross sketch of Thunderfist

 

Ronn Sutton’s great interpretation of The Wing

Here is a link to an interview I did over the weekend for Rik Offenberger and First Comic News concerning the Heroes of the Home Front Kickstarter project and a link to another interview I did with John M. Swiminer for his True North Country Comics site. The latter is in the form of a podcast. Finally, a link to a Sequential interview I did for Brian K. Munn. My thanks go out to all these comics news reporters who have allowed me to share information about my project with a wider audience.

I also just found out that besides having a table at Forest City Con on September 23, organizers have managed to pry open a half-hour of their panel time for me to give a quick talk on Eddy Smet and his donation of a large number of rare Canadian golden age comics to the Western University Archives, including the best copy of Better Comics Vol. 1 No. 1 I’ve seen.

In order to have something to fill in the display area I’ve been allotted, I’m making up a couple of six-foot pull up banners to put fill in the space behind my table. I got this idea from the great job that Ron Kasman did for the two pull up banners he had designed and made to help with his displays and presentations for his Tower of the Comic Book Freaks book. Here are the two designs I made up. Let’s see how they turn out.

I plan to have about 20 of the “Air Woman” prints signed by Gerald Lazare available for sale as well as pack of the LAC super heroes collectors cards for sale with proceeds going to my Kickstarter fund. Hope I get some traffic.

In building the second of the two banner graphics, I mined the old Bell books for ad images to use as background and I wanted to share some of them with you. Bell crammed its books with filler ads like these during most of 1942.

Ad from Active Comics No. 4

 

Ad from Dime Comics No. 7

 

Ad from Active Comics No. 7

 

Ad from Active Comics No. 9

 

Ad from Active Comics No. 9

In another vein, to the best of my knowledge, there is no basic survey course on the history of Canadian comics at one of our Canadian post-secondary institutions. To me this is a great oversight. I do know that the focus in comic book studies is and has always been American product and, to a lesser extent, European cartooning and comics. But, how can we offer a Canadian degree in comics studies without having the graduating candidate possess a solid grasp of the history of the medium in our own country. The easy excuse for this up till now has been the relative dearth of understanding and literature on the subject, especially on the WWII period and the ensuing gap up to the mid ‘70s and the production of Orb Magazine and the rise of Captain Canuck and Cerebus. But with the Loubert and Hirsh book in 1971 and John Bell’s subsequent books, as well as my forthcoming book and the appearance of the Library and Archives Bell Features comic book collection digitized online, there is a decent amount of material to begin offering survey courses on Canadian comics history and even to encourage more writing and publication in the area. We’ve got to start opening our eyes more to what we’ve got and done in our own country rather than just being mesmerized by what’s going on and what’s gone on below the border. The two can exist and grow together.

I just got back a couple of slabbed items from CGC.

Wow Comics No. 10

 

Jack Tremblay’s limited 2014 Esthetic Comics

These are significant because they are, to my knowledge, some of the first and only signature series WECA books around. I had the opportunity to get these done at the Montreal Con early in July where I gave a presentation with Jack Tremblay. Our own Big-B Walt also got a copy of Commando Comics No. 3 signed, sealed and delivered as well. Now waiting for my Lazare signed books from Fan Expo to come back.

Being a retired comic book freak is turning out to be kinda fun. Maybe Ron Kasman’s next book could explore this side of the coin.

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Ivan Kocmarek
Grew up in Hamilton's North End. Comic collector for over 50 yrs. Recent interest in Canadian WECA era comics.
Articles: 169

9 Comments

  1. Love those Bell Features ads. Reminds me of similar ads Timely was running in Marvel Mystery, Captain Amerca, Sub-Mariner and other tutles. I sometimes make photo copies just to hang on my office wall. One of these days, maybe we will see a book collecting the best in-house comic book ads.

    Your Wow #10 boasts a killer cover. And liked both banners; an artist named Echo who does Art Nouveau style work uses large banners very effectively at shows.

    I want to handle the regular edition of your book here in the US, so we need to talk about making that happen. Should help your funding some more.

  2. Good to hear that the Kickstarter campaign is going well. Don’t get frustrated just because everyone doesn’t jump on the bandwagon the first week. I am a little disappointed that this cult of Bell Features keeps going strong as illustrated (no pun intended) by your banners. Except for Hope Nicholson’s excellent book on Brok Windsor, nothing seems to ever address the other publishers and their talent and characters. Fertile ground for the future. Also, I am a little confused by the copy of Esthetic Comics. Who published this and when? The CGC label seems to imply 1900 and your comments imply this was a WECA book. I doubt if either of those impressions are true. Could you provide any details???

  3. Robin, I know that Ken Boesem, out in Vancouver, has been working on a book on Maple Leaf Publications for a few years but haven’t heard much from him about it recently. Books on the other main publishers of Canadian comic Books during WWII need to be done and are going to be that much harder to research because of the dearth of available source material. For my next project, I want to do something a little easier–a book that reprints every single WECA comic book cover in the manner that Gerber did for his photo editions. We’ll see…. As for Esthetics comics, I wrote a little about it in my Christmas Eve column for 2014. The comic was self-published by Jack Tremblay in the fall of 2014 and had a limited run of only 100 copies. It sold out quickly and I don’t think Jack even has a copy any more.

  4. Robin, I agree that the over emphasis on Bell books over the overall Canadian Comics “Universe” is over emphasized and true collectors should embrace all the books from all the publishers that managed to scrape together the coin, talent and scare paper supplies and attempted to support the Canadian War effort,
    My grandfather went to war in 1942 and my father collected comics and I don’t think he bought just one publishers books.
    Your point is taken and I hope to see more info on the scarcer non-Bell books too.
    Maple Leaf is my favourite publisher and Name-it Comics 1 and Top Flight Comics 1 are my most cherished books.

    I think Hope mentioned you were at Fan Expo in Toronto two weeks ago? If so, sorry I just missed meeting you.

  5. Jim, Robin was probably standing in line next to you getting a signature from Gerry Lazare. I should have introduced you but everything was a flurry What we really need is a little mini-con or conference on old war time Canadian comics. Maybe just a half-a-day with a couple of talks or seminars and even to bring books to trade or sell. Even if it were just a dozen or two dozen individuals. Do you think we could get enough people interested?
    It is a hard slog to research and write about these comics, even the Bell issues. I wonder why not many other people have taken the time and effort to write about the undeservedly and badly neglected WECA comics?

  6. I would seriosly consider coming up your way for a show like that. I wouldnt make it for less than a full day. I do the OAF show in Oklahoma City, its two days and maybe 400 people. Primarily old timers who were buddies since the 1970s. My favorite show hands down, and that includes SD Comic Con.
    Maybe combine a WECA gathering and vintage comics show, to broaden interest a bit to pull in more folks, at least enougg for a small critical mass.
    Our N. Calif ECOF, Edgar Rice Burroughs show pulled in maybe 40 or 50 people, but it was a blast, ending with a nice informal dinner with the guests.

  7. Hey Ivan
    I would be thrilled to get together with like-minded WECA fans. Our visit with Jim Finlay and Tony Andrews (hi guys!) last year really peaked my interest in what other fans had to say about our hobby. Something along the lines of a show, sale and panels convention (no cosplay allowed!) would also probably peak interest in other collectors. Of course, my biggest beef is that, when these things happen, Toronto is usually the venue of choice since it is, after all, the centre of the universe. Harry Kremer used to get great things going down here in Kitchener, including store signings and, in one case, even held a large comic convention in our own Walper Hotel, with the likes of Charles Vess, Frank Stack, Paul Pope, His Simness and Gerhard, among many others. Sadly, Kitchener Comic Con these days is largely a cosplay event with precious few comics for sale.We also have a children’s museum downtown which might be interested in something to do with comics.You never know, but with the high profile comics enjoy these days a number of different venues could benefit from a citywide event.

    But, failing that, it’s just great to network and chat and share, which is really what fandom is all about.

    cheers, mel

  8. I look forward to seeing the final product! I also wanted to offer a suggestion on another project if you could email me as well. Thanks so much Cord

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