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The Young Protectors: Engaging The Enemy Chapter Three—Page 29

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Preach.

My second-ever radio interview has just been posted online. Interviewer Rodger Nichols, in addition to having an awesome radio voice, really did his homework and asked questions no one else ever has. Great experience all around! It’s only about 20 minutes long so if you got a moment, check it out and let me know what you think!

Also, we have new Fan Art from Jeremy Thew, a spicy little riff on the Prologue and what the others might think if they knew. Do check that out too!

Now for a big announcement:

As you know, through the generous support of literally thousands of Kickstarter backers, I’ve been able to raise enough money to afford a print run of the first volume of The Young Protectors (which will include the Prologue, Chapter One and the Interlude.) As you might or might not know, one of the “stretch goals” that backers earned during the Kickstarter was the inclusion of a 27-page Bonus Comic in the printed book, focusing on the characters of Spooky and Commander. So, the book can’t be printed without it.

When we launched the Kickstarter project, Adam, Vero and I fully expected to be able to complete all the Kickstarter rewards while at the same time keeping up with the currently updating pages here on the site. And while Adam has been working very, very hard on the Bonus Comic during any free moment he has over the last months, it’s become clear that penciling a second comic while trying to maintain a consistent pace with our current webcomic updates is very difficult. With consistent bonus pages on the site (we’ve had over thirty in a row with this latest run), both he and Vero are having to deliver two new high-quality, fully-rendered comic pages every week. And while both were very enthusiastic about being able to work on all the Kickstarter rewards on top of their webcomic commitment when I launched the project—and both are still willing to work very long hours to try to do both things at once—creating two fully-rendered pages a week is pushing them to close to their limits.

I’ve done the math on this and if we continue at the pace we’re going at, the Bonus Comic won’t be completed until the end of the year. And then, it’ll take another three months on top of that for the books to get printed and shipped back to me once I send the files off. At that rate, the book won’t be printed any sooner than 2015, which is too long to expect the Kickstarter backers who pledged in 2013 to wait and, frankly, anyone else to wait. So, it’s time for a new strategy.

I’ve considered different options:

  • I could choose to not include the bonus comic in the printed book. This is the least acceptable option to me. Including the comic in the printed book is a stretch goal the Kickstarter backers earned and, frankly, it makes for a much better book. Not really an option as far as I’m concerned.
  • I could pause the webcomic completely for some months while Adam and Vero worked on the bonus comic exclusively. This also isn’t really a great option. Not only would this be frustrating for current readers, but many of those current readers are also Kickstarter backers. I’d be “robbing Peter to pay Paul.”
  • I could stop allowing bonus pages for the webcomic until the bonus comic is finished. Still not a great option. Not only has the money from bonus pages become fairly essential to my ability to produce and pay for the comic (I’ve had to take more and more time off from my day job to work on The Young Protectors), at best it only gets us a page ahead with the bonus comic each week. With a 27-page comic, that’s still a lot of weeks before it’s finished.

So, after considering all those different possibilities, none of which are awesome, I’ve come up with a fourth option: Once the currently running scene in the webcomic is finished, I’ll pause the current webcomic chapter. But, in its place, I’ll start posting up the Spooky/Commander Bonus Comic on the site.

Here’s how that would work: No matter what, once the current scene is finished, I’ll post up a new page of the Bonus Comic every Saturday, just like with the regular updates. And if y’all want to continue to support our work by donating for bonus pages, I’ll also post up a second page of the Bonus Comic on Wednesday. (But no matter what, Adam and Vero will continue to produce two pages a week of the Bonus Comic behind the scenes.) These Bonus Comic pages will be available to read for free on the site until all 27 pages have been posted and then they’ll be removed and the regular Chapter 3 webcomic pages will resume. (And if Adam and Vero are able to actually get ahead of the pages we post on the site, then that just means I’ll be able to send the files off to the printer that much sooner.)

While it’s not a perfect solution, I think it’s the best one. For one thing, I know no matter what that Adam and Vero can produce two high-quality pages per week without working themselves sick, so I can be sure the Bonus Comic will be finished as fast as possible while maintaining excellent quality. (It’ll be completed in a few months instead of a whole year.) And not only will it mean I wouldn’t have to pause page updates on the site, it’ll also mean my Kickstarter backers, who collectively pledged over $100,000 to this project, will get to enjoy a reward immediately—they’ll get to read the Bonus Comic pages as they are finished, no waiting. And, finally, it’s at least somewhat timely to share the bonus comic at this point in the overall current webcomic story, since questions are just now being raised about Spooky’s past and the Bonus Comic directly deals with some of those questions.

This wasn’t how I originally wanted to do things, but this Kickstarter project got pretty huge—much bigger than I expected—so I suppose it’s not surprising I’m going to have to re-think things now and again. Ultimately, I am responsible for making sure my Kickstarter backers receive every single one of the rewards I promised and that those rewards are awesome and delivered in a timely manner. I also feel responsible to the loyal readers who show up twice a week here not to put the whole Web site into mothballs for months while I work on the Kickstarter rewards. I take both responsibilities very seriously. And, in this case, being responsible requires me to realize when something isn’t working and to take action to get things back on track. Hopefully, the solution I’ve come up with seems reasonable and maybe even a little fun for y’all. You can let me know what you think in the comments. 🙂

We had our thirty-third bonus page in a row on Wednesday. And in between updates y’all triggered another bonus page! That means that in addition to our regular Saturday updates, a bonus page (page 30!) on Wednesday, March 5th, and bonus pages on Wednesday, March 12th, Wednesday, March 19th, Wednesday, March 26th, and Wednesday, April 2nd, there will now be a bonus page for Wednesday, April 9th! February still isn’t finished, and you’ve now triggered bonus pages through the second week of April! You are AMAZING!

Special thanks go out to long-time supporter Saxon B. (who makes their sixty-seventh generous donation to The Young Protectors!) and a warm welcome and grateful bow go out to new supporter Kenneth M. for their generous donations over the last few days!

Big hugs go out to long-time friend of The Young Protectors Robert B. for their super-generous $25 donation, their fifty-sixth super-generous donation to this comic!

Superhero-strength hugs go out to long-time super-friend Christopher D. for their amazingly generous $50 donation, their forty-eighth amazingly generous donation to this comic!

And finally, ZOMG!, deeply, deeply grateful hugs and deeply humbled bows go out to long-time mega-friend Antonio C. for their stunningly generous $100 donation and also to long-time mega-friend Jeff S. for their jaw-droppingly generous $200 donation! And this makes Antonio’s second and Jeff’s fifth mind-blowingly generous donations to this comic! Thank you so, so much Antonio and Jeff! You both are total, galaxy-class ROCK STARS! 😀

Thank you all so much for your generous support!

So! Now we know what it is that Spooky wanted to tell Kyle. Will our red-headed hero be able to take that lesson-learned in? Or will he continue to view himself as twice-damned, and thus condemned to walk this Earth as a simple monk?

Tune in this Wednesday to find out! Hope to see you there! 😀

DING! DING! DING! DING! DING! DING! DING! Edit 3/3/14 12:48 PM: FASTER THAN A LOCOMOTIVE! You’ve done it AGAIN! You’ve yet again tipped over the donation bar! That means that in addition to our regular Saturday updates, a bonus page (page 30!) on Wednesday, March 5th, a bonus page on Wednesday, March 12th (which will be the first page of the Spooky/Commander BONUS COMIC!), Wednesday, March 19th (page 3 of the Bonus Comic!), Wednesday, March 26th (page 5!), Wednesday, April 2nd (page 7!), and Wednesday, April 9th (page 9!), you’ve now triggered a new bonus page for Wednesday, April 16th (page 11!)! We haven’t even started it yet and you’ve triggered bonus pages that’ll last us nearly halfway through the Bonus Comic! You all are such ROCK STARS! Thank you so, so much for your AMAZING SUPPORT! 😀