Crowdfunding Review: “Alien Alamo” (Compass Comics)
Today we’ll be reviewing the crowdfunded comic book campaign Alien Alamo by Compass Comics. For those of you not familiar with our 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 Alien Alamo, I backed the Alien Alamo Wraparound Cover A + Sticker tier at $25. This campaign was exclusive to Indiegogo. So, did Alien Alamo supply the gun-slinging, bug-blasting action and intensity it promised? Read on and find out.
Book Content and Quality
Alien Alamo was created, written and illustrated by Graham Nolan, with colors by Gregory Wright and letters by Eric Weathers. There were multiple stretch goals that unlocked bonus content and book enhancements. Any stretch goal that unlocks 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.
Alien Alamo is the story of a father and son in 1950s Texas. Travis, the father, a World War II veteran, and his son James, a child of the 1950s and the coming space age, live on a ranch and try to make do on their own after the loss of Mrs. Houston. When hideous alien crab-like creatures’ crash land near their ranch, the two are forced into action, along with some folks from a neighboring ranch. Can this handful of Texans take on the countless alien invaders who are destroying their cattle and their land?
The main 59-page main story was pleasure to read from start to finish, and the entire story arc was able to be told in one book. You learn the backstory of the characters, and get to care for them, all the while experiencing the tension and strain they were feeling, not only from the invading horde of aliens, but in the father/son relationship, as well! The artwork was absolutely stunning, a perfect blend of cartoon and comic style. The images of characters running were reminiscent of old Scooby Doo cartoons, just a wonderfully exaggerated look. Regarding either the story, or artwork I have zero critiques. This is about as good I’ve seen a comic book story illustrated in years.
The colors of the main book suited the characters perfectly! I think Gregory Wright and Graham Nolan make a great team. Eric Weathers handled the lettering and once again delivered a professional look to the book. Graham knows how to pick a great supporting team of creators!
Thanks to backer support, there were eight pages of added story content, but the final page count I had was 59, and the book was originally announced as 48 pages, so I believe that 11 total pages were added in total. As opposed to Compass Comics’ The Chenoo, which used the added pages as a backup story, Alien Alamo wove the new pages into the main book, and they were well suited. I actually can’t pinpoint a single spot in the book where anything could have been removed, so I am grateful the extra pages were unlocked.
The quality of the book itself is where I have my only complaints about this campaign. I honestly think The Chenoo may be my favorite crowdfunded book in terms of quality – ever. I loved the way that book turned out. With Alien Alamo, something seemed off. For starters, the book doesn’t lay flat. Even before reading it, I noticed the cover was sticking up in the air. After reading it, it was almost at a 90-degree angle from the book. I believe over time, keeping the book bagged and boarded and pressed between books will help that. Also, I could see the glue from the inside to where the cover was bound to the pages. Finally, I saw streak marks on the cover where the spot-gloss was applied. I was informed that if I lightly buffed those marks with a dry lint-free cloth, that the marks would wipe away. That did indeed work. Doing so actually helped the spot-gloss really pop!
Regardless of these few nitpicky items, this was a great book. I thoroughly enjoyed the characters and the story and the artwork. Alien Alamo was a pleasure to read.
Communication and Fulfillment
I pledged to this campaign in February 2021 and it was delivered in January 2022, but I do want to point out that the campaign ended its live funding in March 2021. Basing the time-frame on the end of the live campaign, a 10-month turnaround time is about average in normal circumstances. I’ve seen some books come as quickly as two months and others take years. Factoring in the fact that the campaign took place during a pandemic, this turnaround time was quite acceptable.
The creator posted numerous updates on his campaign page and also answered questions in the comments section. He actually provided his backers weekly Monday updates, detailing the progress of the book, all the way up through the fulfillment process. I was very impressed with the communication in this campaign.
Packaging and Shipping
I saw an update that items were being shipped, and I received my tracking number in advance from the campaign via email.
The book came bagged and boarded, packaged in a Gemini mailer. A custom Compass Comics stickers adorned the packaging, making for a fine presentation. My items arrived in mint condition. Packaging and shipping were handled well, and my items were shipped via USPS First Class Mail, a much faster shipping method than the previously used Media Mail.
Stretch Goals and Bonuses
This campaign unlocked multiple physical stretch goal bonuses, including:
- Trading Cards
- Book Mark
- Mini Print
In comparison to The Chenoo campaign, Alien Alamo unlocked a nice mix of stretch goals. The bookmark was the same quality as the previous campaign, a one-sided flimsy stocked card. The stickers were nice, die-cut but on a long sheet. Still, they’d look cool when peeled and stuck.
The two best items were the trading cards and the mini print. The card in The Chenoo was oddly dimensioned, too large for a standard trading card holder or sheet. The cards in Alien Alamo corrected this issue and are now standard size, and they are really sharp! The mini print was my personal favorite stretch goal. I am not sure how CyberFrog exists in 1950s Texas, but let’s forget about continuity and just enjoy the image. I don’t necessarily need to see more stretch goals in the future but would like to see the quality of the existing items increased. Better paper stock on the bookmark, and making it a two-sided image would be a big upgrade.
Alien Alamo was the second Compass Comics campaign I pledged to, and it will not be the last. It seems like whenever there’s a concern I have, Graham goes to the trouble to make sure it’s addressed. He even adds a personal letter to each backer letting them know to send concerns his way, and includes his contact information. That is someone who cares about his backers and his reputation!
I will definitely back the next Compass Comics book!
Overall Grade: B+
Thanks for reading!
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