Serious but silly


Saturday April 14, 2018

The majority of funding for any Kickstarter rolls in during the first and final week. You start with the excitement of a new launch and finish with the urgency of a ticking clock. With just a few days left on our current Black Suit of Death Kickstarter I feel like I should have something profound to say, some clarion call to inspire a few more shares, comments, likes and if we’re lucky a few more backers. After all, the success of a Kickstarter depends on the enthusiasm and charisma of the creators. Being a good cheerleader is very helpful for an indie creator.

The thing is, I’m not a good cheerleader. It’s not in my nature. I was the rare straight adolescent male who found high school cheerleaders repulsive rather than attractive. School spirit? Get out of my face. What I’m trying to say is that contagious enthusiasm is not something I can deliver, no matter my level of passion.

One of the more valuable lessons I’ve learned over the years is that it is better to focus on your abilities than to lament your limitations. So while I’m no good with pom poms I can tell you what this project means to me and maybe that will resonate with you in some way comparable to contagious enthusiasm.

In many ways, I’m a walking contradiction. I’m so often sarcastic that people have trouble telling when I’m joking. Sometimes I even have trouble figuring out how to say something in a way that people won’t take as sarcasm. Yet I’m also a serious person. That is to say, I take things seriously even though joke about them. I can’t speak for Ben but I believe he is very much the same way in this regard.

As art tends to reflect the artist, so it is with Black Suit of Death. It’s serious and it’s silly, just like we are. So yes, we might have a character battling suicidal depression followed by an insane action sequence, complete with goofy one-liners. Or we might have a page like this:

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I love this page because it is very much my experience in life. Edd is clearly depressed. It’s serious. Yet there are still jokes. The world remains silly, indifferent to the struggle of the character.

No matter how depressed I’ve been in my own life, the world has always remained absurd. The ease with which I can find humor in the chaos is a good gage for my current level of depression. I can always see the absurd, but only on the worst days do I not find it funny.

In comic books, or stories in any medium really, the easier it is to convey the overall concept the easier it is to sell. This is why there are so many sequels, reboots and adaptations. Audiences already have an understanding of what they’re buying. Many marketing gurus would likely tell you if you can’t convey your idea in a single sentence, scrap it and move on to something else.

This has been an ongoing struggle for Ben and I when it comes to Black Suit of Death. Yes, we’ve got a few versions of an elevator pitch.

It’s the story of a depressed college student who discovers an alien suit of armor responsible for the myth of the grim reaper.
It’s a satirical, sci-fi, horror comic about an alien suit of armor.

We’ve tried several variations of these but they always feel a bit too wordy, or they don’t quite capture the essence of the story.

Marketing guru's be damned. If we give up now, what will become of the universe we’ve created? You can’t just go around creating universes and then abandoning them. What would the inhabitants think? Instead we’ll just keep refining our elevator pitch. Here’s one we might try:

Black Suit of Death: serious, silly and sci-fi, not always in that order.

So if you enjoy serious, silly sci-fi, you should check out Black Suit of Death on Kickstarter. Do it. Do it now.

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