I call your attention to a new episode of CerebusTV, featuring some nice reflections on the artistic genius of Wally Wood, and an explanation for one of the things I never understood in Wood's "22 frames" advice (as well as cameo appearances - scroll to the end - by Gerhard and Max).
Now, as long as I have your attention, here is what I would have advised as a successful crowd-sourcing project involving Cerebus the Aardvark (nobody asked me, mind you, and given the road they're on now, there is no way, no how, this could ever take place, even in theory).
When it comes down to it, Digital Cerebus is a reprint project aimed at $1 issues. Sure there will be audio features and other visual goodies, but I think we went down this road with the Cerebus Reprint series, years ago. A reprint project is a reprint project, and it seems to me that it ought to be less work, not more work, for the people involved in it. They put their chips on over-producing something (digital editions) that most people might well be satisfied with if it was done in the traditional way (make nice scans from the most convenient source material you have; minimize the work, maximize the profit).
What most people want, who want a digital copy, is the convenience of not schlepping books around. To this point, while the total amount of money raised by the Kickstarter campaign (or, as a dear friend calls it, the Headscratcher campaign) exceeded the original objective... the original objective was clearly too low to get the job done. And as another friend asked, immediately: "Did Dave incorporate A-V in the US so he would not get raped on the taxes?" But I digress; I've made this point already.
At the end of the day, 1140 people were willing to provide $56 each in order to see something produced that will cost everyone else $25 to buy. So here is what we learn: you might be able to count on about twice the retail amount of crowd-sourced money from those who will pre-buy an enhanced reprint project. Hold that multiplier in your head, for a moment, while I get back to the original subject.
At the end of its run, at least according to the Intertubes, Cerebus had about a 9000-copy circulation. At $2.25 a pop, that's about $20K gross per issue. And we know a goodly hunk of that did not go to A-V. Twenty-five issues grosses in at $500K (old school numbers; I'll get back to that, too).
Here is what I would have advised: new content, pre-sold in a 25-issue limited series that was topical to some era of Cerebus' life.
Vol 1: Cerebus: the teen years
Vol 2: Cerebus: the tax collector
Vol 3: Cerebus: adventures in Boreala
Vol 4: Cerebus: politics in Palnu
Vol 5: Cerebus: the conquest of Iest
You get the picture.
Package up pre-sold subscriptions through the Print-on-Demand people ($4 an issue for 20 pages of new content).
Twenty-five issues retail for $100 (throw in the postage & packaging).
Now let's back up to the crowd-sourcing, and my provocative question du jour: if 1140 will pay twice-retail to buy this $25 enhanced reprint item, do you think that 2000 people would pay twice-retail for new content that is part of the Cerebus mainstream continuity?
Sonny, that is what I call a no-brainer.
That's $200 each for pre-buying a 25-issue series. That's twice the retail, per issue, and 3-4 times the retail on the anticipated phone-book. On the other hand, you only need 2000 people to buy in (betcha a buck they're out there) and if you figure out your premiums the right way, I think you can actually expect a higher buy-in.
So, that's $400K gross for 2000 guaranteed sales without the hit taken out of the $500K on the 9000 circulation (old school). Set up the crowd-sourcing the right way so that you are not paying half to the US Treasury, and you're back in the funny book business with actual lures to the older material through this new content.
I'd buy in.
How about the numbers?
Glamourpuss is selling somewhere between 2200-4400 of each issue (the comichron.com data are weirdly inconsistent, but my point - pre-selling 2000 people on new Cerebus content - is made even at the low end of the Glamourpuss numbers). Hit 50% of the circulation from the end of the Cerebus run and each of these proposed 25-issue series is a million dollar property. Do it on a bi-monthly schedule: that's 4 years per series at $250K gross income per year. And I'll betcha that's a somewhat conservative estimate.
We all know (based on previous Q/A) that Dave has a lot of the back-story in mind already, and (frankly) I'll bet he can still write and draw satire and parody as well as ever because (frankly) it's in his bones.
And it would HAVE to be more interesting to work on this than an audiobook project, and engage the first and best skills that Dave has: writing pictures, drawing words.
As another friend said: Dave's denial of his identity being intertwined with "Cerebus the Aardvark" (I'm done, I'm moving forward) is more or less exactly what Leonard Nimoy did in his 1975 autobiography "I am not Spock." We know how this turned out.
If, that is, anyone asked me for advice, which they didn't.
The biggest down side? I mean... the really REALLY biggest downside?
No Gerhard on the pages.