As someone who has covered the comic book industry to some degree since 1999 and been reading comics since 1977, I've been audience to a plethora of appeals by creators to support their projects. But none has caught my attention quite like that of A Voice in the Dark creator Larime Taylor, who draws with his mouth.
Earlier this month, in a Tumblr post, Taylor recounted how in 2012 he embarked on a pilot project through Kickstarter for A Voice in the Dark in the hopes he could ultimately connect the project to a publisher. In 2013 he succeeded, with it landing at Top Cow's Minotaur Press imprint. But unfortunately, sales are lagging. He logically assumes part of the sales struggle is that he is an unknown name and that some potential consumers are less inclined to read a black-and-white comic.
Both factors are true. I'm ashamed to admit there are multiple independent comics that are released on a monthly basis that never catch my attention. I was surprised that this one in particular hadn't, given Taylor's unique talents -- as well as the fact he was interviewed in late August by Comic Book Resources.
In writing this post, I intentionally avoided mentioning Taylor's medical condition. There's an element of me that wants to make it clear, I'm not writing about him out of pity; far from it. Having not read his comic yet, I can't speak to its merits. I can, however, point to a four-star review of the first issue that Jennifer Cheng wrote for CBR.
What attracted me to his appeal, and has me wanting to shine some light on it, is this statement: "I was born with Arthrogryposis, a congenital defect that leaves me with little use of my arms and legs. Writing and art are all I have as far as job skills, so making comic books is about my only marketable option. I’ve been living on Social Security for 14 years, which is way below the poverty line, and this is my ticket out."
Unlike many storytellers trying to quit the day job, or creators trying to option a property for a movie or TV deal, Taylor aspires (understandably) to get above the poverty line.
He's pragmatic about the likelihood of his success, should sales continue to lag. In a more recent post at his blog, he concedes: "Things are getting to a point in sales that I need to consider what kind of future the book has. I AM finishing the first storyarc which runs through issue #7 and the trade that will collect it all. Beyond that? No idea."
To get a taste of the most recent issue peruse CBR's preview for No. 3. Check it out, and support the book if it resonates with you. I genuinely hope this is not the last I write about Taylor or his work.