Eric Orchard is an outstanding cartoonist and illustrator who is self publishing a beautiful and eerie series called Marrowbones. This is fantastic stuff. I can’t rave with enough ravery. That’s not a word, but whatever. I know there are a lot of artists out there doing this sort of Tim Burtonesque creepy and yet-oh-so-cutesie stuff, but Eric’s work has a real depth of feeling and a sense of world building that many other artists just can’t touch. I like Tim Burton, but if I want Tim Burton, I’ll go to Tim Burton. Eric Orchard is original. His whimsy is not manufactured, and his stories are not preachy parables. Saying what his work is not is not enough praise, but saying what his work is is hard. He’s his own man.

Eric’s website with Paypal buttons to purchase directly RIGHT HERE.

Arlene Harris is an award-winning author whose checkered publishing history is the lot of many eccentric creators to whom traditional publishing has not been kind. A damn shame, because she is genuinely talented. She is a big supporter of my work on A Distant Soil, and though we’ve only met a few times, I’ve always appreciated her letters and insights.

Arlene has spent many years working on her very interesting, entertaining, and lovingly written sequel to Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables entitled Pont-au-Change. It is very good.

In 1855, when Victor Hugo moved to the Isle of Guernsey rather than live under Napoleon III, the trunk containing his unfinished masterwork Les Misérables was almost lost overboard when a careless sailor tossed it haphazardly into the longboat; fortunately for the world, the trunk tipped back into the boat at the last second.

The pivotal word is “almost.” What if–by caprice, by wind, by a swell of the sea–the trunk had actually gone the other way, straight to the bottom of the Channel? And what if, in coincidence of Hugoesque proportions, the person responsible for this accident–was Jean Valjean?

Here then is a six volume work that takes that idea and runs with it across 40 years and circumnavigates the globe with it. Why does Hugo write that Valjean is dead in 1833 when he is alive in 1855? And how does he publish the book when the manuscript is lost? Hugo has to recreate it, and Valjean will help him do it.

There’s only one catch. Jean Valjean is not the only one to still be alive twenty years after he shouldn’t be, according to the book. Valjean’s traveling companion is the last person on earth one would imagine.

Arlene has completed three volumes of her series, and hopes you will drop a few bucks her way to bring her self published works some love at Kickstarter. The target amount is very modest. The dedication and love she brings to her work is one thing, but the great entertainment you will get out of it is every reason to support this project. HERE IS THE KICKSTARTER PAGE.

Dave Sim brings his groundbreaking comic Cerebus back to life with a new digital series packed with amazing extras. This is a very smart and successful Kickstarter campaign, already well past its goal. It doesn’t need any more support from me, but that is not the point. Cerebus was the most important book of the self publishing movement, and Dave Sim is the single most important person in the history of the creator rights movement. Everybody else who contributed is much appreciated, but no one was a more outspoken – or original – advocate.

While Dave’s views on many important issues have changed over the years, and while Dave and I have had a parting of the ways over some of them, this in no way diminishes my great respect for his incredible accomplishments. Cerebus is an important work of outsider art.

There are longer comics, especially those from Japan. However, a self published, entirely creator-controlled work of this magnitude just doesn’t exist anywhere else. I’ve never read all of Cerebus, and would often skip about looking for the funny parts. I always meant to read it, but never did. It’s quite a commitment at 6000 pages. But, I still remember the incredible experimental layouts.

I will also never forget the fact that Dave Sim was one of only a handful of creators who stood up publicly and spoke for me when I had a creator rights dispute with an early publisher of A Distant Soil, a company which wanted to own all rights to my work. Dave wrote essays about the exploitation of creators, and gave me a very well paying job on a Cerebus short story at a time I really needed it. It was an extremely generous page rate, far more than I deserved.

Outside of Dave, the only other creators who made a public stand on my behalf were Jim Valentino, Mark Wheatley, and Mark Hempel. I wasn’t famous in the 1980′s, and without a name, you don’t have a cause most people care about. There were a handful of people who treated me kindly behind the scenes (very notable among them, Marvel Comics VP Mike Hobson, Walt and Louise Simonson, and Archie Goodwin, as well as a few others,) but most of the industry threw me under a bus. It would be almost a decade before the rest of the Big Boy’s Club decided I was worthy.

For all that, Dave, I thank you.

While many people have serious issues with Dave’s personal beliefs and choose not to support his work, that is not something I care to discuss. I’m tired of people playing let’s-you-and-him-fight. The industry is full of eccentric thinkers, and your choices in art and entertainment are entirely your own. Do as you will.

Dave Sim’s Cerebus Kickstarter is HERE.