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If you type in “comic book” while visiting Kickstarter you will see over one thousand results. It’s opening up a door for creator owned projects that wouldn’t be available otherwise. There’s competition to gain the attention of comic fans everywhere. The only difference is Kickstarter gives them a say in what type of books they’d like to see published. In return they get perks for donating to the book. The perks range from free copies of the comic to issues signed by Andy Hurley (Fall Out Boy drummer), which was the case with Matt Miner’s November release Toe Tag Riot. Matt Miner is one creator who uses Kickstarter to his advantage. It has helped him produce his comic Liberator, while bringing attention to his new titles Critical Hit and Toe Tag Riot. Miner was gracious enough to answer a few questions for me.
Lindsey Bass: How did you first get involved with using Kickstarter to fund your comics?
Matt Miner: For creators I think Kickstarter has two main benefits. The first is obviously financial – I went to Kickstarter for my debut comic series last year because I didn’t have the money to fund the art. The second is exposure – through Kickstarter you can build an audience for a book long before it hits the shelves. For a book like Toe Tag Riot or Liberator (or Critical Hit, the sequel) that’s very valuable.
L: What inspired you to write the stories for Liberator, Critical Hit, and Toe Tag Riot?
M: I got lightly involved in human rights activism when I was in my late teens, I worked on a couple pro-LGBT things back in the mid ’90s and about ten years ago I got involved doing work on behalf of animals. I was raised to think beyond myself, to be considerate of other people and to love animals, so I’ve always had a keen interest in social justice issues.
L: Westboro Baptist Church brought some attention to Toe Tag Riot. What effect did it have on your Kickstarter campaign for the comic?
M: Westboro Baptist gave us a knee-jerk endorsement of the book since their awful signs showed in one single image on the Kickstarter page. It wasn’t until later that they realized the book is LGBT-positive and includes a gay couple in the ensemble of heroes that they got upset. They gave us the best pull quotes we could have asked for, calling me and Sean Von Gorman (TTR co-creator) “Insincere pervs” and claiming the book would “Split Hell wide open.”
So what effect did they have? They gave us some laughs. Aside from being zombie food, they’re really only good for mockery.
L: What comic book writers inspired you to write yourself?
M: When I was young I was bigtime into Frank Miller, Alan Moore and Garth Ennis. Darker stuff. In 2003 I had a house fire that destroyed my comic and toy collection (and everything else) so I dropped out of comics until a couple years ago when I got sucked back in my Scott Snyder & co’s Gates of Gotham and TEC Black Mirror stories. Scott really made me want to start writing again.
L: Are there any causes that you’re passionate about that you plan on adding into comics in the future?
M: I don’t have any plans, no. However, Sean and I want to do a Toe Tag Riot second series and with that book I really dig being able to look at issues from a less serious standpoint. Instead of dissecting the issues and examining a cause we can just sic a punk rock zombie attack on shitty people.
L: Is there any advice you’d give people that are looking to become more active when it comes to social issues?
M: Follow independent news media. Follow twitter accounts from citizen journalists in areas like Ferguson or Palestine or wherever something’s going down. See what’s really going on and then you’ll start seeing ways you can help.
“Critical Hit #1”, the follow up to Liberator, hits shelves on October 1st, while Toe Tag Riot will be released in November. If you haven’t read Liberator, I highly recommend you check it out as well. Whether you’re into human rights or zombies, Miner’s books have a little something for everyone to enjoy. Of course, a big thank you to Matt Miner for taking the time to talk with me.