The death of Fantagraphics Books co-publisher Kim Thompson earlier this year was a big loss on a lot of levels, especially for the company the loved: Not only did it lose a family member and guiding hand, but it lost the work he was going to do—namely, editing Fantagraphics’ European graphic-novel line. That led to the cancellation or postponement of 13 books scheduled for the spring and summer, which means the company lost a bunch of revenue that has resulted in a “severe shortfall that will impede our ability to produce next season’s books,” it said in a statement.
This isn’t the first time Fantagraphics has faced financial trouble—it nearly went out of business in 2003, for instance, when a distributor filed for bankruptcy—but it is the first time since the rise of Kickstarter. Today Fantagraphics announced a Kickstarter project to raise $150,000 to cover its 2014 season of 39 books, which includes a two-volume hardcover box set of Daniel Clowes’ complete Eightball, the complete Witzend collection, new Peanuts collections, Love And Rockets, and much more.
As of Monday afternoon, the project had 450 backers and had raised more than $32,000, thanks to a bevy of surprisingly cheap rewards: For a mere $30, Fantagraphics Associate Publisher Eric Reynolds will spend 30 minutes on Skype reviewing your portfolio; $100 gets a tour of Fantagraphics cool offices—not unlike the one The A.V. Club took in 2011—or add $400 for the “grand tour” and dinner with Reynolds and founder Gary Groth; $150 gets a movie night with the Fantagraphics crew at Groth’s house. (For a buck, he’ll include you in his prayers.) Super-fans can plop down $1,000 for a shopping spree at the Fantagraphics warehouse.
The company’s offering a bunch of other rewards as well. And because Fantagraphics are good people who do work we love, The A.V. Club is offering a sort of in-kind reward of an Onion Inc. office tour in Chicago. Witness the headphones-wearing A.V. Club staff staring silently at our computer screens! See the giant stacks of papers on Onion writers’ desks! Behold our sweet new roof deck! It’ll be added to the rewards soon.
The funding period runs until December 5.