1:30pm PT by Graeme McMillan
Archie Comics Cancels $350,000 Kickstarter Campaign After Criticism
Five days after its launch, Archie Comics has canceled a crowdfunding campaign intended to produce three new comic book series, citing critical response to the campaign itself as the reason why.
The Kickstarter campaign launched on Monday with the aim of raising $350,000 to "accelerate" the launch of three new comic books spinning out of this summer's relaunch of its primary Archie series. The three series — Jughead, Betty and Veronica and Life with Kevin — featured fan-favorite creators including Adam Hughes, Sex Criminals and Howard the Duck's Chip Zdarsky and Archie stalwart Dan Parent.
In a statement released Friday, Archie Comics noted that, "while the response to these new titles has been amazing, the reaction to an established brand like Archie crowdfunding has not been," adding that although the intent had originally been to start work on the series ahead of a schedule allowed by Archie's own funds, the response "became another conversation, leading us further away from the purpose of this whole campaign… 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."
Response to the Kickstarter campaign from fans and professionals was split between excitement for the new launches and suspicion that a publisher that had been around for 75 years would require financial support to publish new material; along similar lines, there was upset about some of the reward levels, which included being followed on Twitter for $15, and digital downloads of the first issues of each of the new series for $20. (Both levels also included the backers' name being published in one of the series, as well as being signed up for Archie's e-newsletter.)
The company's statement on the closure went on, "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."
Each of the three proposed titles will be published, according to the company, albeit on a delayed timeline (Jughead is likely to debut first, possibly as early as this October according to Archie CEO Jon Goldwater). Those who did donate to the Kickstarter during its short tenure — and there were 642 people who did, raising $34,000 — will receive "special thank you gifts" from the publisher for doing so.
Archie No. 1, relaunching the company's flagship character, will be released digitally and in comic stores July 8.