Crowdfunding Review: THE CHENOO by Graham Nolan
Given that the Indiegogo campaign for Graham Nolan’s Alien Alamo launched earlier this week, today we’ll be reviewing his most recent crowdfunded comic book, The Chenoo. For those of you not familiar with my review format, I grade a crowdfunding campaign on four distinct categories:
- Book Content and Quality
- Communication and Fulfillment
- Packaging and Shipping
- Stretch Goals and Bonuses
With The Chenoo, I backed the “Signed Comic Book + Sticker” tier at $25. This campaign was exclusive to Indiegogo. So did The Chenoo provide the chilling horror it promised? Read on and find out!
Book Content and Quality
The Chenoo was created, written and illustrated by Graham Nolan, with letters by Carlos Mangual. The art was gray toned with spots of blood red throughout. There were numerous stretch goals that unlocked bonus content and enhancements. Any stretch goal that unlocked book enhancements gets graded in the “Book Content and Quality” category. Bonus items like cards and bookmarks will be graded in the “Stretch Goals and Bonuses” section.
The Chenoo is a giant frozen creature of Native American lore that comes off the ice to eat the hearts of its victims in search of the warmth it cannot have. The story follows a small band of survivors stuck in a home in Buffalo, NY, in the midst of a major snow storm, with the monstrous Chenoo lurking just outside. It’s less about the titular creature and more about the fear the monster instills in the victims. There are many characters in the story, but I’d say the main character is Paul Jackson, a Buffalo, NY Police Officer who finds himself in the middle of the action.
The main 48-page main story was concise, beautifully illustrated, and told a complete story from start to finish. There was abundant tension and horror, thanks to the human elements explored within the story. You definitely felt for the characters, and were concerned about their safety.
Thanks to backer support, there was an 8-page backup story unlocked titled 1977. I can say that the main story would not have suffered had this backup story not have been unlocked. That being said, it was a nice peak behind the curtain of the lore of the Chenoo.
The book was premium quality. The cover was sturdy, the spine was perfect bound, and the pages felt smooth to the touch. Unlocked stretch goals added spot varnish to the cover as well as supporter names in the back of the book. The spot varnish on the cover was beautiful. Also, the book was signed by Graham Nolan on the cover as well. I was very pleased overall with the content and quality of this book.
Communication and Fulfillment
I pledged to this campaign in June 2020 and it was delivered in January 2021, but I do want to point out that the campaign ended its live funding in July 2020. Basing the time-frame on the end of the live campaign, a six month turn-around time is slightly above average in normal circumstances. I’ve seen some books come as quickly as two months and others take years. Factoring in the campaign took place during a pandemic, this turnaround time was impressive.
Nolan posted numerous updates on his campaign page and did answer questions in the comments section. He actually provided his backers with weekly Monday updates detailing the progress of the book up through the fulfillment process. I was very impressed with the communication and fulfillment in this campaign.
Packaging and Shipping
I saw a post that items were being shipped but never received a tracking number when my item was sent. I like tracking my packages, and wish I’d have been supplied the tracking number.
The book came bagged and boarded, packaged in a Gemini mailer. Custom Chenoo and Compass Comics stickers adorned the packaging, making for a fine presentation. My items arrived in mint condition. The packaging and shipping were handled well, but without being provided a tracking number, you can’t crack the top grade.
Stretch Goals and Bonuses
The only unlocked physical bonus items were a trading card and a bookmark (the sticker was part of the initial tier I pledged). Every other unlocked stretch goal was either part of the book, or the digital download.
I have to tell you that if the quality of the bookmark and card were exceptional (which they were not), I’d still be disappointed in so few bonus items. Unfortunately, I found both bonus items lacking. The card was oddly sized (slightly larger than a standard trading card) which prevented me from adding it to a standard 9-pocket sleeve. The bookmark was flimsy, small, and only had graphics on one-side, leaving the back blank and dull. I was really disappointed in these stretch goal items.
Overall, I am glad I pledged to The Chenoo. The book was excellent. If I had any complaints, they’d be about the price of shipping ($10 for US media mail shipping is unacceptable) and the poor quality of the bonus items. Still, it’s a book I’d want in my collection. C’s may get degrees, but it takes a B or higher to crack my personal collection. This campaign made it.
Overall Grade: B
Note to Readers: You can also find my guest review on YouTube where instead of discussing all four categories of crowdfunding as we do here on The Splintering, the host Leroi and I focus solely on the book. In our reviews, we grade the Art, Story and Book Quality. You can find that YouTube video here, or simply watch it below! You can also check out Graham Nolan’s current crowdfunding campaign for Alien Alamo here.