12 Sep 2016

Kickstarted: AFTERLIFE INC. VOLUME 4: MAN MADE GOD

In our Kickstarted feature, we take a look at those comics-related projects on the crowd-funding site Kickstarter that we feel warrant extra attention...
Matt C: So, full disclosure: Jon Lock, creator of Afterlife Inc. and founding member of Big Punch Studios is a friend, and of course we like to support our friends in their creative endeavours. But you may have noticed a lack of articles under the 'Kickstarted' heading and that's probably because after a brief infatuation with Kickstarter a couple of years ago I've become an awful lot more picky when it comes to projects I'm willing to get behind. If you've been down the Kickstarter road more than a few times then chances are you've found a few gems along the way but also quite possibly projects that were far less than your expectations lead you to believe, and maybe you've also been burnt seeing money pledged disappear into the void when creators go AWOL. 

This preamble is a way of saying that the reason I'm taking time out here to put some words together for this particular Kickstarter project is because I believe it's more than worthy of investing in. Afterlife Inc. is a smart, witty and endlessly inventive concept that imagines the heavens being run as a business by a con-artist named Jack Fortune, his eyes flashing with dollar signs. There have been three volumes of Afterlife Inc. so far, all still available here, and now Mr Lock needs your assistance to make the fourth book a reality.
But why listen to me attempt to convince you? Let's go to the man himself, gentleman Jon Lock, for a quick question and answer session...

Briefly pitch Afterlife Inc. to us.

Afterlife Inc. is the tale of con-artist Jack Fortune, who, following his untimely demise, discovers an afterlife in chaos and decides to take over and run it like a business. Hence: ‘Afterlife Inc. A Company You Can Believe In!’ If you’re interested, the entire back story can be read for free online.

Why do you believe so passionately in this concept?

I wish I knew! It feels like my mission in life to make Afterlife Inc. a reality. Out of all my stories, Afterlife Inc. is the one that resonates most closely with me. I think it’s because Jack’s vast, Promethean dream for the future, his hopes and fears for his employees, are really the story of humanity: one bold, unqualified chancer making the best of it and holding on for dear life. He’s not a god, he has no divine right to do what he does… he’s just a man. Flawed, imperfect, but one of us. Human.

Why the Kickstarter route?

I strive for a very high level of quality in my books, and as the ideas and the stories get bigger, so too do the production costs. I also believe in paying the artists whose work has graced the pages - I can’t draw to save my life, so I’m entirely dependent on their talent in bringing my stories to life. I’ve already funded half the book myself; this Kickstarter is to cover the remainder of the costs (paying artists, printed etc.) and take us the rest of the way. Kickstarter provides an incredibly opportunity for creators such as myself to make their dreams a reality, especially when faced with otherwise prohibitive costs. I also hope that it’s an opportunity for fans of Afterlife Inc. to get hold of a copy of the new book while claiming some cool rewards.

Three reasons to pledge to this project.

1. You’ll be helping make this next chapter in the adventures of Jack Fortune and Co. a reality and (literally) Kickstarting the future of the series.
2. Einstein, Tesla and Newton put in an appearance (as severed heads piloting a giant mech).
3. While I can’t do custom sketches (being a mere writer) I can, however, write custom haikus as exclusive Kickstarter rewards (yes, for real).

God is...

Our own, distorted mirror image reflected back at us in the curved surface of the universe. And yes, I’ve read a lot of Grant Morrison in my life…
Click here to go directly to the project's Kickstarter page.

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