CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Comic book creators Blake Wheeler and Jason Pell aren't looking to get rich -- well, maybe not right away. They're just trying to get people to look at their work.
The pair recently launched a hardback graphic novel called "Season's End," a dark, gothic tale set in a fantasy world of magic, not unlike J.R.R. Tolkein's "Lord of the Rings" trilogy or George R.R. Martin's "Game of Thrones" saga.
"Only it's not a fantasy world you'd actually want to live in," Pell said. "It's a world that's kind of on its last legs."
The book is finished. Now they're working through Kickstarter to unite comic book and fantasy fans to get "Season's End" mass printed and distributed.
Kickstarter is a crowd-sourcing fundraising website for writers, artists, musicians and inventors. Ideas or projects are posted, along with descriptions and explanations of why people should want this project to happen. These usually include special premiums to encourage pledges.
These often are signed copies of DVDs, CDs or books. For "Season's End," Pell and Wheeler also are offering the actual paintings used to make the comic book (in pledge packages of $85 and up).
"I don't know who else is doing that," Wheeler said.
A financial goal is set, as well as a time limit. Potential backers pledge online using their credit cards. If the project meets its goal, the cards are charged and the project creators get paid. If the goal is not met, the project fails and the creators get nothing.
Pell and Wheeler set their project time limit at 30 days, which ends Monday. So far, 80 backers have pledged just under $8,500, which is a little more than a two-thirds of their $11,600 goal. That goal is mostly to cover out-of-pocket costs, printing and distribution.
"We'd like to get a couple of cool T-shirts, too, " Pell added.
"Season's End" isn't Pell's first comic book. A lifelong comic book fan, he started trying to break into the comic book market a little more than 10 years ago.
"I had zero luck," he said.
So Pell stopped sending his story ideas directly to comic book publishers. Instead, he found artists to illustrate his books, took the finished pages to Kinkos, made copies and sent them to comic book reviewers.
"That got me a lot more attention."