Friday, March 1, 2013
Justin Fox's Jet Girl
Welcome back to another Kickstarter Conversation! Today I am pleased to be joined by Justin Fox and Jacob Crippen the creative team behind Jet Girl. Thank you for joining us today.
Thanks for having us!
Would you care to tell us a bit about your project? It seems very much like a female Rocketeer full of pulp sci-fi!
Justin: No. Next question. Just kidding. When I was young I was obsessed with the Rocketeer. My grandmother and me actually went and saw it in the theater. Jet packs always seemed cool no matter what character wore one. There have been many incarnations of the shoulder strapped rocket hero, but there have been few to any female versions. Each Jet Girl issue is a singular story that later ties in with future adventures; much like how old comics used to be. Jet Girl or Audey is a teenage girl, but instead of the typical cheerleader/prep who saves the world, Jet Girl is a sporty music nerd. Shes not the outcast of her high school but she is also not the prom queen.
Jacob: Jet Girl, for me, is a genuine mix of many childhood fascinations of different heroes and their adventures. What Justin and I have put together is basically what we are fans of and what we, as fans, would want to read and draw. Jet Girl also has, along with the sci-fi/pulp aspects, a great deal of pop culture and music references while capturing the 60’s mod/spy genre which we both love.
How did you come up with the idea for Jet Girl?
Justin: For the “all ages” group I came up with the idea while sipping tea and watching Robotech. But the true story however is much more hazy. One night, after discovering I had a half bottle of Whiskey in my room, I wanted to write. What came from that was Jet Girl. I always wanted to do a Jet Pack story and I had realized I had never written a female character. So, I combined the two. The original concept was based in the 60’s during the space race. Jet Girl, was JFK’s personal army and she was sent to the moon to stop the remaining Nazi party from taking it before America staked its claim. I was very upset when the movie Iron Sky was released; which has many similar plot details as our book, but came out 3 years after we had finished the first issue of Jet Girl. I still need to look into that. The original plot had many funny parts with JFK flirting with the 17 year old hero and her blowing him off. I reworked the story later, giving it a more modern feel and timeline, but wanted to keep that cool 60’s atmosphere with a bit of the britpop revival that came decades after. Jacob and I had a book we were working on before this project, but as soon as I explained things to him he started sketching out my ideas and gave inked life to this girl I would later become obsessed with.
Jacob: yeah, his room is covered with my Jet Girl originals and he still maniacally hounds me whenever i draw something new. He even once proposed to a life-size painting i did of her at a show.
Justin: Yep, I’m a creepster.
How important to you is it that Jet Girl/Audey be a strong female character but not so strong that she can’t be the damsel in distress as well?
Jacob: I’m gonna let Justin handle this one. I just draw...like a greek sculpter!
Justin: Agreed. It seems like every writer overly tries to make their female characters invulnerable. Jet Girl/Audey is a teenage girl who has been doing this job for only so long; she can’t start off unstopable, that would be boring. Later in the story there will be an issue of her origin and why she was chosen to be the next in line to carry the pack. Yes, there was a Jet Girl before her, but that comes later True Believers™! I loved the Marion Ravenwood character from Raiders of the Lost Ark. Marion could drink you under the table, punch Indy in the face, pull a knife and still find herself in harms way. Comics and other media have a way of trying to force female strength onto their viewers. I know plenty of tough as nails girls who still get dressed up to go out on the town, and you would never want to pick a fight with them. But, this does not go without showing that other sex can be helpless. In the comic the male hero Magistrate Mod is also saved by Jet Girl on plenty of occasions. I want to show that men and women alike can help and rescue one another without any gender constartes. Heroes are heroes.
Justin: MIke Mignola said once that if you want a villain everyone can hate equally USE THE NAZIS! We just put them on the moon. Later issues will have them come to Earth and also (giving a hint) becoming a far worse organization. The stories main villains will not just be Lunar Socialists, but an array of different more colorful and sometimes darker antagonists.
I noticed there aren’t any digital backer levels, why is that?
Jacob: Justin and I discussed offering a pdf of the book or even just a chapter from it, but we eventually came to the decision that, since we are not publishing the graphic novel ourselves and only printing enough copies to cover the Kickstarter rewards, that it would be in our best interest to only offer physical copies while we search for publishers.
This Kickstarter is for a full Trade Paperback (TPB) collecting the three stories already completed? When did you first release Jet Girl and how?
Justin: The first three issues of Jet Girl have never been released and are not finished. That is why the kickstarter was created. We have a rough version of the first issue, and Jacob is finishing the art on issue 2 now.
What prior comic experience do you guys have? I notice your title includes your name Justin, I think the obvious question is, “Who are you and why should I care that it’s your comic?”
Justin: My experience in comics is not known by the masses. I have done some work for a few titles, mainly adaptation of other people’s scripts and such. The main reason I put my name in the title was so no one would get confused with the Tank Girl character by the same name. My Jet Girl is FAAAAR different than the one created by Jamie Hewlett and Alan Martin, and shares no resemblance or affiliation with said character. It’s just a cool common name. My name is not why anyone should like this book. The story and art is why you should like this book.
Jacob: My professional career began right out of high school when i landed an assistant inker position at Hack Shack Studios when i was 17 working on titles such as Ultimate Spiderman, Ultimate X-men, and Fantastic Four for Marvel, and also a brief stint on DC’s Trinity and Demon. Since then, i have pencilled, inked and produced a handful of books as a freelancer and even founded my own production studio, Jar Factory.
$30,000 seems like a lot of money for a comic release. Where is all the money going?
Jacob: $30,000 is a lot of money and that is why we decided to attempt a Kickstarter since Justin and I can’t possibly pay out of pocket to complete the project, him being a full-time caretaker of his Grandmother, while i work a full-time construction job to support my family. That being said, none of the funds will be going to Justin or myself, only to the remaining production of the book(coloring, lettering, formatting, printing, etc). This is a passion project for Justin and I, not our jobs, so as long as we can continue to support our families while working on the book in our spare time, we don’t require any compensation.
What is the long term goal for Jet Girl?
Justin: In all honesty, I would like Jet Girl to last 24 issues. I don’t have any intentions on this being a long running series. I would like to make my mark in the comic writer community and see my character last as long as she needs to. Jet Girl, has a beginning and a planned ending. I don’t want her to overstay her welcome. But, I am willing to do more if I am promised the ending I have dreamed about for so many years. She deserves it and the fans we make deserve it. Also, I don’t want my character to become deluded.
In a perfect world who would you have play Jet Girl in the movie?
Justin: That actually is one of the “long term” goals. We would love to see Jet Girl on the Big Screen. Jacob and I have discussed many nights after many beers our choice in what actress could pull off the strength and femininity of Audey/Jet Girl. My first choice was a young Winona Ryder, but since time travel doesn’t exist, Jacob and I agreed on Emma Waston. Though Ellen Paige in X-men Last Stand would have been cool too, but again...time travel. Emma Watson, has shown herself in the characters she has played to have all the qualities Jet Girl possesses, A temper, a kind soul, that “I can take on anyone and anything” attitude, while appearing the proper age and innocence that hides a girl who would “die with her boots on”. So...yeah.
How did you discover Kickstarter?
Jacob: Every starving artist knows about Kickstarter.
Justin: Kick what? I really could use a pizza right now.
A key part of successful Kickstarters is backer participation and how to convert a potential backer into a full backer. How are you engaging your backers? What kinds of things do you have planned for updates to give notice to those who just hit the “remind me” button and surf on? Interviews? Videos? Stories from the project?
Jacob: We are receiving new pinups from many talented professional and non-professional artists every week to add to the graphic novel, including entries by Keu Cha(HEX: The Lost Tribe, Witchblade) and Stefano Cardoselli(Heavy Metal Magazine, Walk).
Justin: I am also creating a Radio serial (much like the 30’s broadcasts of ole) to grab peoples attention. Full episodes with, narration, voice acting and sound effects. All this will be placed on youtube with links to it on the facebook page and jarfactorystudio.com. We want to get people into this book anyway we can. If the kickstarter is successful you can read the TPB you receive while listening to the radio cast; see and hear the adventure.
What kind of media attention have you received with your project? How are you spreading the word? Facebook? Twitter? Google+? Youtube? Advertising? Are you using Kicktraq to track your progress?
Justin: We have been hit up by a few comic blog websites and potentially a comic studio. We have been mainly spreading the word through these kind and interested people with self promoting on Facebook. We are creating a Twitter account soon and have been hitting the local papers and DIY zines.
Do you have any tips/advice would you give to anyone looking to start a Kickstarter?
Justin: Look into every media you can prompt your project through and try thinking outside the box. Don’t be afraid to whore yourself out (not literally...though that could possibly work) if we are successful, we’ll get back to ya.
Thank you for spending your time with us! Do you have any final thoughts for our readers?
Justin: Stay creative and don’t give up. There will always be people wanting to knock you down and you can only take so many punches before you fall. The trick is to get back up and show that it didn’t affect you. You are your worst critic, don’t let your doubts hurt your work. Also, eat plenty of pizza and drink your weight in booze. You wouldn’t take the hammer from the carpenter would you?
Jacob: Jet Girl will be finished and get her day in the sun with or without the success of this Kickstarter, it’s up to you guys whether you choose to be a part of it or not.
Justin: Keeping looking to the sky for those smoke trails! Who knows they might lead on to adventure.
Thanks again and I hope to hear good things from your Kickstarter!