Rich Tommaso is the latest comics creator to turn to Kickstarter to fund one an ambitious graphic novel. Tommaso, who won an Eisner and two Glyph awards for Satchel Paige: Striking Out Jim Crow, has been publishing his indy graphic novels at his own website Rich Tommaso's Web of Comics, and he is also busy re-coloring the Carl Barks comics that Fantagraphics is publishing in glorious archive editions.
Tommaso's Kickstarter project The Cavalier Mr. Thompson is something that has been, well, kicking around in his head for about 10 years. Here's the gist of it:
The Cavalier… is a story loosely based on the life and works of hard-boiled crime writer Jim Thompson, who was raised in West Texas during the 20's and 30's. At the same time, Cavalier's story is very much my own; the cast of characters, their family backgrounds, their motivations, likenesses, personalities--were all my creation. The breakthrough on this project came about when I was reading a biography of Jim Thompson and I discovered how his relationship with his father uncannily mirrored mine with my father. It was this personal connection that spurred me on and got things rolling on Cavalier. The story is set in Big Spring, Texas during a time in America when things were slowly sliding toward what would come to be known as The Great Depression. So, The Cavalier Mr. Thompson is one part American History, one part American Crime Novel.
If that piques your interest, check out the 75-page excerpt he has up on his site. The Kickstarter is to pay the printing costs of the book, which will be distributed by Fantagraphics; interestingly, it looks like the book is being published in the usual way in France and Spain. And check out the goodies for donors, which include everything from a watercolor print to a scene from the graphic novel rendered in Sculpey clay.