Imagine if you suddenly had no memory of who you were, where you came from, or where you were. The only clues you have are your name, which is etched on your chest, and a strange furry creature that’s following you around.
Oh, and you’re a robot.
That is the premise of a brand new graphic novel called GATHER. (I’m informed that this is a working title that seems to have stuck), by Illinois based artist and writer Anton Peck. It is also the topic of today’s Kickstart This! profile.
J03 is a robot. More than that, J03 is a self-aware, humanoid robot who has just been rebooted and left in a strange place with nothing but a short staff with weird markings, and a little furry creature that seems oddly devoted to him. No memories, and no indication of where he is, or even who he is. Instead of spiraling into a sea of despair like many of us probably would, J03 sets out to learn, not just what lies ahead, but what may lie in his past.
I spoke with J03’s creator, Anton Peck, about his graphic novel (which has gained quite a lot of popularity on the crowdfunding site) and where the inspiration for GATHER. came from.
“I always knew that I would do a story of some kind based on a robot, but it took a single doodle of a little furry character, who would end up becoming Gnawk, to allow it all to click together in my mind. The story was there, start to finish. All I had to do was fill in a few details.”
And fill in he did. At the end of production, Peck anticipates that the book will be roughly 100 pages in length, and available in eBook, paperback, and limited edition hardcover versions.
“Making my own book is something that I am highly passionate about, and would do” says Peck, “even just for myself, my family, and my friends.” But he doesn’t have to worry about limiting his audience anytime soon. The Kickstarter campaign he began as a means of raising the $9,000 needed for a first printing has actually raised more than $17,000, and there are still 4 days left. Says Peck, “It’s been euphoric, the level of support that I’ve seen.”
It takes a lot of work to create a successful campaign, but more than that, it takes a great product, and no small amount of inventive contribution perks, and Peck has them all. For a small $10 pledge you can get a signed print from the book, and for $15 you get the eBook as soon as it’s complete (no need to wait for printing). And the perks just get better from there. At $40 you get a signed physical copy of the book, and at $120 you get every version available, including those limited edition hardcovers. “I think the most amuisng is where someone can be permanently added to the story as a walk-on guest that will interact directly with the main characters,” adds Peck. “I’ve left specific spots in the story flexible for these options until the campaign officially closes.” As of last count, there are still 2 of these rewards available at the $500 contribution mark.
For those of you unable to contribute to the campaign before it closes on Saturday, I don’t think you need to worry about getting a copy. With the amount of buzz its gotten just on Kickstarter, I would say there is a more than great chance the book will be available for purchase online. And if you are able to get your hands on copy and just can’t get enough, not only is Peck continuing the adventures of Jo3 and Gnawk in their own webcomic, but I seriously doubt this is the last book we’ll see from him.
“Telling stories is something that I love to do. I can easily see myself doing this until I am too old to see clearly.”
For more information, or to pre-order a copy of your very own, check out the Kickstarter campaign.