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Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Afterlife creator after crowdfunding new collection

Jon Lock, writer and creator of a great-looking comic called Afterlife Inc. is among the first British comic creators using the UK arm of crowdfunding site Kickstarter to try to raise the finance to publish a third collection of the strip.

The story so far goes like this:

When corporate con-artist Jack Fortune's life comes to an abrupt and brutal end, he discovers a business opportunity on a scale he could never have imagined. A mysterious Calamity has cast the afterlife into chaos. The time is ripe for modernisation. With the vision, the business-smarts and a ragtag collection of allies behind him, Jack strives to reinvent the city of the dead as a modern day corporation: AFTERLIFE INC.

Establishing a new business is always challenging, but now Jack must balance the demands of a free market with rampaging archangels, a misplaced God and the dark secrets at the heart of their world.

This may be the job he was born to die for, but has Jack's reach finally exceeded his grasp?

AFTERLIFE INC. is the tale of Jack's vast Promethean dream for humanity: equal parts self-empowerment, opportunity and stealing fire from the gods to sell back at a profit.

In an age where we are all too familiar with the failings of big business, we need a hero to restore our faith in the corporate ideal. Someone who can wrestle noble intentions from the trappings of consumerism. We need a company we can believe in.

If you'd like to see some of Afterlife Inc. in action, you can read the entire back catalogue, featuring art by the likes of Ash Jackson and Nich Angell, for free on Jon's website (www.jonlock.com/afterlifeinc). Volume 1 of Afterlife Inc. - Dying to Tell, which featured artificial intelligences, deceased serial killers, invasions from beyond time and space, and surprise cameos from both Sherlock Holmes and Arthur Conan Doyle - saw print earlier this year. He'll be debuting Volume 2 at Thought Bubble in Leeds this weekend.

By day, Jon works as a school Biology Technician, but in the evenings he can be found at the writing desk, engaging his true love of comics. In addition to Afterlife Inc., he's also written for the Harvey Award-nominated Uniques Tales, and some of his work will be appearing in the forthcoming Disconnected anthology.

jon and his team are clearly committed to this project. "Since launching online two years ago, a new Afterlife Inc. story has been released every month without fail," he says, and the quality of the strip has earned him high praise, including kudos from veteran creator and self publisher Bryan Talbot.

"With the recent launch of Kickstarter in the UK, I'm running a project to fund production of Volume 3," he told downthetubes.

He's set himself a target of £7000 to fund the creation and printing of Lifeblood, and has already raised over £4000.

"While Afterlife Inc. has been self-funded up until now, the biggest limit on productivity has been my budget. As Afterlife Inc. grows in scale, the time has come to tell the larger, more ambitious stories I’ve had planned since day one.

"In Lifeblood, Jack and Co. must contend with the rise of a fanatical and extremist movement called the Undead. Guided by an ancient text that harks back to the afterlife’s mysterious past, the Undead seek to awaken the Harvest – an entity whose existence spells doom for the entire Empyrean. Worse still, the Undead have chosen to model themselves on the vampires from a popular series of teenage romance novels – something that Jack, having died prior to the success of a certain franchise, remains in a perpetual state of confusion over."

Lifeblood is an original 96-page Afterlife Inc. series featuring faces both familiar and new, intrigue, action, citywide devastation and (of course) stupid, sexy vampires," says Jon. If all goes to plan, the trade paperback will go to print in June 2013, pre-orders for which are available as rewards.

"If Lifeblood reaches its target, Kickstarter profits will fund 96 pages of full colour artwork from Ash Jackson and Nadine Ashworth, with masterful lettering from Michael Stock, plus the first print run of 150 copies," Jon explains. "I’ve had the honour of working with these folks for some time now, and their art continues to blow me away.

"Ash was the first artist to ever draw Afterlife Inc. and has been instrumental in defining the look and feel of the world. In Lifeblood, his pencils will be paired with Nadine’s inks and colours. The two have collaborated before on the Dead Days series from earlier this year. I can’t wait to see what these two can come up with again."

Kickstarter's arrival in the UK is a game-changing development for creators. It's helped see numerous amazing projects come to fruition in the US and we're sure plenty of British creators will be keen to see how things work out for impressive pitches like Jon's. Check it out on Kickstarter UK.

• You can see full details of the project and the incentives being offered to backers on Jon'sofficial Kickstarter page (www.kickstarter.com/projects/jonlock/afterlife-inc-volume-3-lifeblood). If you are attending Thought Bubble, Jon is exhibiting in the Royal Armouries Hall



"Afterlife Inc." and all related images, text and characters Copyright 2007-2012 Jonathan Lock. All Rights Reserved.

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