Crowdfunding Review: “Replicator Remastered” (Independent comics)
My next installment of crowdfunding review is for Replicator Remastered by Rob Arnold. For those of you not familiar with this review format, I grade a crowdfunding campaign based on four distinct categories:
- Book Content and Quality
- Communication and Fulfillment
- Packaging and Shipping
- Stretch Goals and Bonuses
With Replicator Remastered, I backed the tier that included both issues #1 & 2 only – no variants, no signatures. This campaign was exclusive to Indiegogo. The following is based on my experiences alone, and others certainly may have had different experiences with this campaign. I do want to specifically point out two unique things with this campaign review: (1) I backed this campaign when it was In-Demand, not during the initial 60-day campaign, and (2) I have called in to the How to Draw Comics.NET YouTube channel (in which Rob Arnold is a frequent collaborator) and have spoken with “Replicator Rob” a few times.
Book Content and Quality
Both books were written by Rob Arnold, lettered by Marshall Dillon, and Edited by Nick Glenister. The artists and colorists did change between the books. Book one was illustrated by Armin Ozdic, with colors by Ross Campbell, and cover by Clayton Barton. Book two was illustrated by Aaron Alfeche, with colors by DC Alonso, and a cover by Alfeche as well.
The books had a nice weight and feel to them. They were staple-bound, with fine page quality. There was nothing significant to the cover, no foil embossing, spot varnish, or raised lettering. Just a nice and simple presentation.
The story focusing on a global pandemic was instantly compelling, and unintentionally mimicked our current reality a bit too closely. The setting was nontraditional England. Too many stories take place in New York or Los Angeles, and seeing a different location was quite refreshing.
It didn’t take long for the action to start in issue #1. You felt as though you knew the main characters very quickly and were definitely wanting more by the end of the second issue.
Although the art in issue #1 was competent, it was kicked up a notch in issue #2. Aaron Alfeche’s action sequences really showcase his talents. The colors were dynamic and both covers drew the readers into the story. This is definitely a well-paced, well-thought-out, and well-executed comic book.
Communication and Fulfillment
I pledged to this campaign in May 2020 and had it delivered in August 2020, but I do want to point out that the campaign ended its live funding in March 2020. Basing the time-frame on the end of the live campaign, a five month turn-around time is slightly above average in normal circumstances. I’ve seen some come as quick as two months and others take years. Factoring in the campaign took place during a pandemic, and it was shipped internationally, this turnaround time was very impressive.
The creator posted numerous updates on his campaign page and did answer questions in the comments section. He also offered the “Ask a question” option through the campaign to send him a direct message. I was quite pleased with the communication and fulfillment in this campaign.
Packaging and Shipping
I actually received an email with tracking information when my order was shipped. I knew when the Australia Post received my item. I knew when my item touched down in the USA, and I knew when it was delivered. I was very impressed.
The items came packaged in a type of mailer I’ve never seen before. It was a cardboard fold-out box that carefully protected the contents. The books were each in their own bag and board, but the stretch goal prints were shipped loose within the same box, with neither a plastic bag or cardboard for protection.
The shipping box fit the stretch goal prints perfectly, which means the box was slightly larger than the comic books. The books weren’t fastened or secured in any way in the interior, nor was any bubble wrap used to cushion the shipment. That means the books were sliding around for thousands of miles, susceptible to corner damage.
Simple things like putting a plastic sleeve over the prints, or safe-release tape over the comics and attaching them to the interior box to prevent them from sliding would have helped protect the items. That being said, I was fortunate enough to receive my copies in near mint condition. I imagine there may have been some backers that weren’t as fortunate.
The highlight of packaging and shipping however was the oft advertised “wax seal”. I heard a lot about these wax seals during the campaign, and even saw video clips about how they were prepped and executed. I didn’t understand the attention they were given until I received my package. I kid you not when I say my wife retrieved this package from the mail box and said to me “You got something very official looking in the mail, like something a King would get”. As soon as she said that I knew what it was. The seal was incredible. I was lucky enough to be able to peel it off the package and save it.
Stretch Goals and Bonuses
I have never received so many appealing stretch goal bonuses in one comic book campaign as I did with Replicator Remastered. I received all of the following:
- Black and White A4 print of the upcoming Replicator 3 by Rob Willis
- Black and White A4 character design detail print of Goliath by Clayton Barton
- Full Color A4 character design print of Goliath by Clayton Barton
- Full Color A4 character design print of Ghost by Clayton Barton
- Full Color A5 mini-print of Replicator 1 cover
- Full Color A5 mini-print of Replicator 2 cover
If you can’t tell, I love prints. It’s actually my favorite stretch goal. I do like trading cards, post cards and book marks, but prints to me are the best (well, prints and poker chips). The only extra touch that would have been nice would have been to have a print signed by one of the artists, but really that’s just wishful thinking (especially during a time of quarantine).
Overall, this has been my favorite Indiegogo campaign to date. I can only think of one crowdfunding campaign I was more pleased with, the 2018 Simon Bisley Art Book on Kickstarter. My only regret was not pledging to a tier that included signatures from the creator. Fortunately, I will not have to wait long to remedy that, as Replicator 3 will be launching shortly on Indiegogo. If you were on the fence about backing this campaign before, I can tell you from my experience alone, that it was worth every cent of my pledge.
Overall Grade: A-