Creator Greg Pak is a busy man these days. Besides finishing up his run on X-Treme X-Men for Marvel and preparing for his start on DC’s new book Batman/Superman, Pak is also teaming up with internet superstar musician Jonathan Coulton and artist Takeshi Miyazawa to launch a Kickstarter campaign for a graphic novel titled Code Monkey Save World.
In it’s first seven days, Code Monkey Save World raised over three times its original goal. I had the opportunity to interview Greg Pak to get his thoughts on the early success and feedback from within the comic book industry.
Timdogg: There has been a lot of positive feedback for the announcement of Code Monkey Save World. Has any of the feedback surprised you?
Greg Pak: Mostly, Jonathan and I have been pretty much flabbergasted by how many people ponied up the dollars to support the project so quickly. We thought we had a great chance of meeting our initial goal — and even of making enough over the goal to expand the book to 80 pages. We didn’t expect in our wildest dreams to hit that mark in less than a day. And as the support has continued, we’ve been able to add all kinds of extras, like posters and a Fred Van Lente/Ryan Dunlavey two page story and now, possibly, a brand new acoustic album from Jonathan. So, thank you to everyone who’s supported the project and helped spread the word!
Timdogg: What has the reception been like from your peers in the comic book industry?
Pak: I’ve gotten a slew of very nice tweets from fellow comic book makers and people have been very generous with helping spread the word. I think all of us have had our eyes on Kickstarter for a while, and I hope Code Monkey Save World helps by bringing new audiences to comics and even to other comics Kickstarters. I’m hugely grateful to folks like Gail Simone and Jamal Igle, whose comics Kickstarter projects paved the way and who gave me tons of advice as I was setting up the Code Monkey Save World Kickstarter.
Timdogg: How did you and Jonathan Coulton come up with the idea to go the Kickstarter route?
Pak: It was part of our plan for the project from the very beginning. It was very important to us to be able to pay everyone who works on the book. As a comic book writer, particularly of a creator-owned project, I can afford to not get paid up front for a project or two. Writers can work on multiple books at once, so when it comes to personal finances, a few work for hire gigs can subsidize a creator-owned project or two. But a comic book artist generally can only work on one book at a time. So there’s no way I can ask an artist to work for free. A successful Kickstarter would allow us to pay everyone. And it would provide the means to actually getting books into the hands of people who want them. And with Jonathan’s fanbase, it made even more sense.
Timdogg: With digital comics incorporating audio (Marvel’s Project Gamma for example), do you think Code Monkey Save World could benefit from the technology? Especially with music being an influence in it’s creation?
Pak: Great question. Last year I worked with the great folks at Coco Studios to make an iPad app version of my graphic novel “Vision Machine” that incorporated a full music and voice soundtrack. (You can download it for FREE right here: www.visionmachine.net .) And I loved that whole process and product. But Jonathan and I haven’t talked about going that route with Code Monkey Save World. The technology is there to do it and it’s creatively a blast, but to be perfectly honest, there’s not yet a very big audience for it just yet. We have a bunch of crazy stretch goals, though — including Jonathan recording a brand new acoustic album if and when the Kickstarter reaches $200,000. Stay tuned!
Timdogg: Can you sum up Code Monkey Save World in three words?
Pak: EVERYTHING YOU WANT.
Go on, check it out! www.codemonkeycomix.com