Now Backing: RABBIT, a graphic novel by Cory McAbee

 Cory McAbee, from his Kickstarter pitch video.

Cory McAbee, from his Kickstarter pitch video.

When I got an email from filmmaker/musician/cowboy Cory McAbee about his new Kickstarter project, there wasn't much doubt that I'd be kicking in at least a few dollars. McAbee's films American Astronaut and Stingray Sam are indie film favorites, and Cory himself is as quirky and charming as his characters. This is a man with lots of stories to tell and a small-but-dedicated fan base, so it's remarkable that he hasn't turned to crowdfunding before now. 

The project itself is RABBIT, a graphic novel about a rabbit living in the City of Animals, working as a bar bouncer. Here's the pitch video.

I like that McAbee made a very intimate, unrehearsed video that gives a sense of who he is and how much this project means to him. McAbee is of course an accomplished filmmaker so the video looks great, but notice the way he uses footage and storyboards to draw a through-line to this new project. It's not so weird that I'm doing a comic book, he's telling us – I basically draw the comic book version of my movies before I shoot them.

I backed this project because I'm love Cory's work, particularly Stingray Sam, and I definitely want to read RABBIT when it's done. The offer of an outgoing voicemail message recorded by McAbee was intriguing enough to get me to throw in a few extra bucks, but none of the other perks at the sub-$75 level were really attractive enough to convince me to go any higher. (They are super-quirky and weird, though. I know some of McAbee's fans will jump at the chance to own a toenail clipping in a brass-plated capsule.) There's some great stuff at the higher levels but those are really outside of my budget. That's especially true if I want to fund other projects, which is the point of this series of articles. (See below for more on the Now Backing series.)

I found it a little odd that there are no plans for a print version of RABBIT. McAbee addresses this in the FAQ section of his Kickstarter project but cites the expense of creating a hard copy version as the reason he won't be doing it. I'm wondering if he's really explored the print on demand options out there, but it's good that he recognizes that people might want a print edition. I'm fine with digital-only, I have enough books crowding my home as it is.

RABBIT has already exceeded its funding goal, a rather modest $6000. In a recent update McAbee admits that undershooting was something of a mistake, but the fact that his fans have doubled his original funding goal with time remaining in the project has corrected that error. As of this writing there are twelve days remaining to fund RABBIT – if you're a Cory McAbee fan who hasn't heard of this project yet, or just curious, please do take a look.

This is the inaugural installment of "Now Backing," a series of articles in which I back crowdfunding projects that interest me, then analyze what works about them and what doesn't. Most will probably be related to independent film, though some won't be, depending on what lessons they might have for my readers. If you have a crowdfunding project you'd like me to consider, email me.