Announced this past Monday, the Kickstarter sought $350,000 to fund the first six issues of three new series: relaunched takes on "Jughead" and "Betty and Veronica," and "Life with Kevin," starring Kevin Keller. All three are intended to follow in the contemporary spirit of the relaunched "Archie," which debuts in July with a new #1 from the creative team of writer Mark Waid and artist Fiona Staples.
Shortly after launching the Kickstarter, Archie found itself facing criticism from both comics fans and industry professionals. The main criticism involved Archie's status as a major, long-running publisher looking to fund upcoming releases via crowdfunding rather than more traditional means, though there was also scrutiny of the campaign's goal and backer rewards. plus questions of creator participation in the funding. At the time of its cancellation, the Kickstarter had raised nearly $35,000 in funding -- roughly 10 percent of its goal -- from more than 600 backers, with 25 days left to go.
Despite the cancellation of the Kickstarter campaign, Archie still intends to publish all three series, though not as quickly as had been planned -- "Jughead" #1, for instance, was originally scheduled for September, and has now moved back at least a month. CBR has the exclusive first word from Archie Comics Publisher and CEO Jon Goldwater on the decision.
"Very broadly, Jughead will come first, sooner than you'd think," Goldwater told CBR News. "Probably October. Then we'll take a pause, figure out the rollout of the other two and how to best position them in the market. It's going to take longer than we'd hoped, obviously, but these titles are top priority for us, and we want to make sure our fans get the best books possible."
The decision to pull the Kickstarter, Goldwater said, came after the conversation no longer became about the books themselves -- "Jughead," to be written by Chip Zdarsky and illustrated by an artist to be named; "Betty and Veronica," written and drawn by Adam Hughes; and "Life with Kevin," written and penciled by Kevin Keller creator and Archie veteran Dan Parent and inked by J. Bone -- but about the Kickstarter itself.
"The conversation, at least in some circles, was no longer about funding these great new launches," Goldwater told CBR. "Once that happened, we decided it was time to stop. While we don’t mind putting ourselves under the microscope or answering questions, the creators involved didn’t deserve that level of negative attention. Though we fully expected to get funded, we felt it was time to step back."
The canceled Kickstarter follows several recent years of bold -- and largely successful -- moves from Archie, including introducing its first openly gay character (Kevin Keller), killing off an adult version of the character at the conclusion of the "Life with Archie" series, horror series "Afterlife with Archie" and the upcoming new "Archie" #1. Goldwater has released a statement to CBR expanding on the reasons Archie has canceled its Kickstarter, stating that the fans who have donated to the campaign will receive a thank you gift. The statement follows in full.
We will be ending the Archie Kickstarter today.
We launched the “New Riverdale” Kickstarter as a unique and innovative way to celebrate the company’s upcoming 75th anniversary and to bring attention to some new titles that we are extremely excited about -- "Jughead" by Chip Zdarsky, "Betty and Veronica" by Adam Hughes and "Life with Kevin" by Dan Parent and J. Bone. We decided to dive into crowdfunding as an energetic, interactive and different method to raise money to help expedite the launch of these titles. The chance to engage with our fans directly was really appealing to us, and we’re extremely grateful and honored by the support and pledges we’ve received.
While the response to these new titles has been amazing, the reaction to an established brand like Archie crowdfunding has not been. Though we saw this as an innovative, progressive and “outside-the-box” way to fund the accelerated schedule we wanted to produce these books, it became another conversation, leading us further away from the purpose of this whole campaign: to get these amazing books in the hands of fans faster than we could on our own. While we fully expected our goal to be funded, it was no longer about the books and how amazing they will be. We don’t want that. This is why we’re shutting the Kickstarter down today.
We don’t regret trying something new. It’s what Archie’s been about for the last six years. We will continue to be a fearless, risk-taking and vibrant brand that will do its best to embrace new platforms, technology and ways to interact with fans. As a company, we have always prided ourselves on pushing boundaries and challenging expectations and perceptions.
The wonderful New Riverdale titles we wanted to launch will still come out -- albeit not as quickly as we would have hoped had we attained the funding via Kickstarter. We believe in these books and know they’ll find an audience in comic shops, fueled by great stories and amazing creators.
We’d like to thank the great team at Kickstarter for their guidance and feedback and the entire staff at Archie Comics for their endless hours of hard work and dedication to this very special initiative.
And, most importantly, to our fans that pledged money to this Kickstarter -- we thank you. Your dedication, love of Archie and his friends and endless positivity are examples to all. We will be in contact shortly via Kickstarter to get a special thank-you gift in your hands as soon as possible. Your support means the world to us.