Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Kickstart This Art - March Edition

The Internet can be a dark cave overflowing with trolls spouting hateful bile under the mask of anonymity, but it can also be a wonderful place filled with (sometimes) hilarious cat videos, inventive remixes (and remixes of remixes), and Tumblr accounts rife with the animated gifs of yesteryear. My "Kickstart This Art" column is meant to celebrate one of the cooler things the Internet has to offer those of us who want to not only discover, but ultimately be a part of something innovative and deserving. That's right, I'm talking about Kickstarter. This feature will highlight some of the awesome, at least in my opinion, art-related Kickstarter campaigns that are currently running and competing for your money.

"A Fiend In Need" Art Print ($1,000 Goal)

The Pitch: You know that picture of all those dogs playing poker? There's actually a few of them, so don't feel too bad if you're not all thinking of the exact same one. (I'm specifically talking about C. M. Coolidge's "A Friend in Need.") Now imagine if each one of those probably racist dogs (it was painted in the early 1900s, after all) had been replaced by an ass-kicking, name-taking deity of heavy metal and you just may start to understand what artist Dave Berns is concocting here.

Why I Love The Idea: What's not to love here? Dave has taken an iconic image and turned it up to 11. And aside from the poster's sweet composition, he's also decided to employ the services of Nakatomi Inc to handle the printing, meaning everything will look top-notch in person.

Bottom Line: A fun, funny, affordable, rocking print that's sure to please the all the metal fans out there. Could you imagine the stories these guys would be trading at this game?!

God Hates Astronauts: The Complete Ed. ($15,000 Goal)

The Pitch: The God Hates Astronauts comic has been Ryan Browne's pet project for the last six years and is completely serialized at But what about those people who want to see more of the God Hates Astronauts universe than is currently available? What about the folks who want a slick looking hardcover graphic novel to show their friends and / or balance that uneven table? What about the people who want an MP3 of the original GHA theme song written and performed by the band Murder by Death? Believe it or not, there's a Kickstarter specifically designed to appease that demographic.

Why I Love The Idea: I thought God Hates Astronauts creator Ryan Browne summed it up nicely when he described his comic as, "kind of like The Venture Brothers or Aqua Teen Hunger Force, mixed with that hilarious movie The Astronaut Farmer with Billy Bob Thornton, rolled in a flour tortilla of Robocop, and sprinkled with a little bit of Die Hard." If such a burrito existed, would it even be possible to resist? I think not. Seriously though, this project is coming from someone who has already launched a successful Kickstarter campaign (his Blast Furnace: Recreational Thief Volume One!), and features some of the coolest backer rewards around (be sure to read about "The Defaced Edition" of GHA).

Bottom Line: It's a cool project by a super talented dude. Also, it features Carl Winslow with gorilla arms. 'Nuff said.

Torment: Tides of Numenera ($900,000 Goal)

The Pitch: Remember Planescape: Torment? The game was developed by Black Isle Studios and released by Interplay in 1999. If you were into RPGs around that period, then there's a very, very good chance you were as obsessed about it as I was. In Planescape, the player controlled The Nameless One as he attempted to figure who and / or what he was. In many ways, it reminds me of what I imagine a dungeons and dragons version of Memento would look like. It was a brilliantly written game, featuring amazing characters, story, and innovative gameplay. I mention all of this as an introduction to the Kickstarter-funded Torment: Tides of Numenera, a new game "crafted in the Torment tradition," according to it's Creative Lead, Colin McComb.

Why I Love The Idea: While I don't necessarily know what "crafted in the Torment tradition" means, since Tides of Numenera won't be an actual sequel to Planescape, I'm still fully on board. InXile Entertainment, the company started by Brian Fargo, the guy who also founded Interplay, has assembled many of Planescape: Torment's core development team for Tides' production. I figure I'll gladly roll the dice if I can get something even approaching the Planescape experience.

Bottom Line: If the folks at InXile Entertainment want to create a - I'm going to call it - spiritual follow-up to Planescape: Torment with many of the game's original dev team in tow, I'm in.

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