Comics fans (including me) have been abuzz due to the new BOOM! Studios Giant Days Library Edition Kickstarter. And it's off to a great start! Only 11 days in, and the page, which had an original goal of $10,000, has already raised $68,973 from 293 backers (as of writing).
This edition is notable as a library edition that is literally going to benefit libraries (BOOM! Promises to donate "hundreds of free GIANT DAYS LIBRARY EDITION VOL 1 books to actual libraries" and an extra copy for every $5 donated) and because it finally fills out the long-awaited Not on the Test edition, which fans had originally started collecting five years ago only to find out that the final four volumes would not be produced. Now, through the Kickstarter, those fans can collect the "Final Four" volumes or the entire set.
While all this success is well and good, this project does mark the third Kickstarter that Boom Studios has recently launched to sell a collection of an already popular, already finished comic, following last month's collection of Mark Waid and Peter Krause's Irredeemable (which made $345,873 with 1,864 backers) and last year's collection of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers (which made $804,018 with 1,584 backers). The vast success of these Kickstarters for books that have already been quite successful for BOOM! raises the question (beyond the obvious one of whether or not these projects or these publishers should be on Kickstarter in the first place) of whether or not Kickstarter is BOOM!'s new pre-order system for some titles?
This is complicated (at least in this specific case) with the added context that BOOM! once attempted to make hardcover editions of Giant Days but, we assume, failed to make the logistics and/or financials work. For BOOM!, this may simply be the most secure way for publishers to move forward with hard copies in an increasingly digital market. However, Kickstarter has a reputation of and focus on supporting independent creators with projects that supposedly would not find funding elsewhere. While that may include, in this specific case, hardcover Giant Days editions, it likely does not include collections of Irredeemable and Power Rangers.
Overall, the relationship between fans and the appearance of established comics publishers on Kickstarter has been varied. In 2015, there was a loudly derided campaign from Archie Comics (which was pulled from Kickstarter only to be followed much later by a successful Kevin Keller campaign last year) and mixed response (though overwhelming financial success) for BOOM!'s 2020 Kickstarter for Keanu Reeves, Matt Kindt, and Ron Garney's original comic BRZRKR and Legendary Comics' 2022 Kickstarter for Oscar Isaac, Christian Ward, and Brian Buccellato's original graphic novel Head Wounds: Sparrow.
Considering the massive success of BOOM!'s recent Kickstarter collections, it's likely that we'll see BOOM! launch even more of these projects, perhaps even in the next few months. And maybe, since so many other comics publishers have been dipping their toe into the waters, other companies may follow suit, and we may be looking at the future of hard copy comics collection pre-orders.
Kickstarter is not the only change in comics distribution. Check out this Popverse piece on What is going on with comic book distribution, and why should fans care?