Crowdfunding Review: “Stump Remastered” by Nathan M. Rosario

Seeing as how Nathan M. Rosario has launched his campaign for Stump issue 2, today we’ll be reviewing the first installment, Stump Remastered, which was crowdfunded in 2020. For those not familiar with The Splintering’s “crowdfunding review” format, we grade a crowdfunding campaign on four distinct categories:

  • Book Content and Quality
  • Communication and Fulfillment
  • Packaging and Shipping
  • Stretch Goals and Bonuses

With Stump Remastered, I backed the most basic of all tiers – just the book – at $5. This campaign was exclusive to Indiegogo. Are you curious to learn whether Stump Remastered was a stout triumph or a bump on a log? Read on to find out!

Book Content and Quality

Stump Remastered is the work of one Nathan M. Rosario, who handled everything from story, illustration, and colors. This book itself was a 48-page “remaster” of the original black and white Stump comic that was printed in 2013.

Stump is a science fiction adventure somewhat akin to the Superman origin story, as the title character is a short ball of muscle who crashes down to modern-day earth. What sets Stump apart from the Man of Steel, though, is that he crashes down as a full-grown adult, without a ship, and completely naked. He’s also only about four or five feet tall, but Stump is still able to perform many feats beyond those of earthly men. Hard to kill and packing a hard punch, Stump is quickly put to work by the local authorities in taking on challenges that are too big for regular people to handle.

The story is generally light-hearted, with a few twists and turns as the plot unravels. Stump himself is a likable guy, and he seems to be doing his best to make do with the situation in which he finds himself. He certainly isn’t reticent to help out when asked, though his help typically doesn’t involves much else besides punching stuff. Actually, Stump’s power set is a bit more limited than Superman’s, and Stump seems to be more on par with Mr. Incredible from Disney’s The Incredibles films.

In addition to the evident Golden Age influence on the story, there are also throwback designs in the artwork, too. One task brings Stump face to face with a giant robot, for instance, who is visually a cross between Bozo the Robot and the Iron Giant. The action is well done, and the pacing never slumps in any noticeable way.

All the building blocks are in place for a great book, but there was still something absent from my readings of Stump which prevents me from giving it top marks. Despite the objective boxes being checked, Stump Remastered is missing that magic “je ne sais quoi” that would help the book make a lasting impression. Is this due to Stump’s “roll with the punches” personality? Or perhaps the fact that hero never seems to be in any real danger? It’s hard to say, but as an origin story, Stump Remastered is absolutely more than serviceable.

As far as the print quality of the book is concerned, it is largely well done. The pages have a lot of heft and the brightness of the art shines. There was unfortunately some artifacting around the text and word balloons that added a little bit of blurriness. It didn’t affect the readability too much, but it was noticeable.

Overall, Stump was a great read.  There are a couple of rough edges to work out when issue two heads to print, but I still expect that the next issue will be a similarly quality book.

Grade: B+

Communication and Fulfillment

I pledged to the Stump campaign in August 2020, and the book arrived at my door in January 2021. According to the projected fulfillment date on the Indiegogo campaign, that was 100%, right on time.

Rosario sent several email updates along the way, roughly three or four per month (these were also posted to the Indiegogo updates tab). I never once felt concerned about the status of the project, and I knew exactly when the fulfillment period was underway.

On time? Regular communication? Two thumbs up.

Open wide, bitch!

Grade: A+

Packaging and Shipping

While Rosario was on the ball with communication, I did not receive a tracking number or an email update that my package had been shipped. I’m not quite as picky about the tracking number thing as some other Splintering writers are, but it still would have been nice.

The book shipped bagged and boarded in a gemini comic mailer, which is the premier package in which to ship comics and graphic novels. The book itself therefore arrived safe and sound, without any kinks or damage, whatsoever.

I can’t give full marks without the tracking information, but the packaging itself was top-notch.

We love us some Gemini Mailers

Grade: A-

Stretch Goals and Bonuses

The Stump Remastered campaign did not feature any stretch goals, and at my cost-conscious buy-in at just $5, I didn’t receive any bonus items packaged with my book either (unless you count the bag and board). That said, I certainly can’t grade items I didn’t receive, and it’s hard to complain given the low price of entry. Still, it would have been nice addition to see Rosario lay out some actual stretch goals, a trading card, or maybe a signature. Something. Anything.

Just the book, kids.

Grade: C

While there are a few kinks to work out Stump Remastered still sets the stage for what I expect will be a quality series. Given the low buy-in cost, it’s honestly hard to beat from a “bang for your buck” perspective. Communication and shipping were well done, and the book itself was a fun read, despite a couple of minor issues. I’d still like to see a few stretch goals or bonuses to get excited about in future campaigns, too.

If you missed out on Stump Remastered, you can get a copy as part of the Stump Issue 2 campaign, which is currently crowdfunding on Indiegogo here. Will I back it? Yeah, almost certainly.

Overall Grade: A- (Not an average)

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