Although we're just halfway through 2021, Kickstarter is reporting that the crowdfunded comics on their platform have already amassed $16.6 million in pledges.
That's good news, as it almost beats Kickstarter comics' entire 2019 ($16.9m), and is well ahead of its revenue for the first six months of 2020. If this trend continues, it would break the $25.7m record set in 2020 - possibly even getting at or above an even $30m.(opens in new tab)
Another key indicator here is not only are Kickstarter comics as a category raising more funds, but these comics crowdfunding campaigns have had a higher success rate than ever - as in successfully meeting or exceeding their Kickstarter goal. So far in 2021, comic-centric Kickstarter projects have had a 76.3% success rate - that's more than double the rate for the average Kickstarter. But even comparing it against previous years' comics success rates, it's up - 2.4% over 2020, 6.3% over 2019, and almost a 20% higher success rate than in 2016.
So what are the key titles in comics Kickstarters in 2021? It's a diverse mix from three distinct corners of the comics industry.
Boom! Studios' crowdfunding campaign to reprint its Mighty Morphin Power Rangers (opens in new tab) comics is tops this year so far, taking in $804,018 - which breaks down to a startling-high $507.58 per crowdfunding patron.
Second is the fourth 'year' of Ngozi Ukazu's successful webcomic Check, Please! (opens in new tab) That crowdfunding effort earned $580,099 - averaging $94.28 per patron.(opens in new tab)
And the third-highest this year is the former comic shop staple, Lady Death. The thirteenth chapter in the Coffin Comics' era of Brian Pulido's creation, Cataclysmic Majesty #1 (opens in new tab), earned $426,241 from its crowdfunding campaign - $128.93 per patron.
On the back of that, Kickstarter has a dynamic range of new comics projects launching this week: Pacific Rim: Blackout (opens in new tab), Baby Barbarian (opens in new tab), Clutter: A Scatterbrained Sexual Assault Memoir (opens in new tab), Colour Theory (opens in new tab), The Darkness Complete Collection Volume 2 (opens in new tab), Diás de Consuelo (opens in new tab), House of Fear (opens in new tab), and Nectar: Trans Femme and Non Binary Erotic Comics Anthology (opens in new tab).
In a way, Kickstarter - and crowdfunding in general - is emerging as a modern-day direct market. Whereas the term 'Direct Market' was originally coined for the direct sale of comics from publishers to comic stores, crowdfunding is an even more direct market from publishers (and creators acting as publishers) to the actual readers.
Earlier this year we calculated the most successful comics Kickstarters - looks like we'll have to be adding some to the list!