Your Chance To Explore An Expanded Universe For Gutter Magic – Talking With Rich Douek

by Hannah Means Shannon

Gutter Magic, a miniseries that ran at IDW in 2016 has returned to fans for a new and immersive approach to the world of the comic by bringing in an anthology format and a wider team of contributors. Tales of the Gutter: A Gutter Magic Anthology is currently funding on Kickstarter as a digital comics project with only a few days remaining as they close in on their funding goal. Written by Rich Douek, and joined by Brett Barkeley and Jules Rivera from the original series, but also bringing Eryk Donovan, Renae De Liz, and Ray Dillon on board, the anthology comic collection set in the world of Gutter Magic where a modern day New York City descends from a World War II fought with magic.

It may be more common these days to hear of a comic project funding on Kickstarter, then moving on to distribution with a publisher than to hear of a miniseries at a publisher following up with a crowdfunding campaign, but in this case, there are some significant reasons, as Douek discusses with us below.
The anthology format is notoriously difficult to support in publishing, and telling stories that are thematically linked to a given property but might not have as much a driving through-line in plot are also a little harder to get publishers interested in. But if you have a fanbase like Gutter Magic does, going straight to readers with a new project like this one may well be the best way to go.
Rich Douek joins us to talk about this new Gutter Magic campaign:

Hannah Means-Shannon: Tell us a little about how you’re finding running a Kickstarter campaign and what you may have learned from it so far.

Rich Douek: Well, this is my first time doing one, but it’s been a crazy learning experience so far. I decided to do an all digital campaign, because I wanted to make sure I could deliver on what I promised without worrying about shipping, printing, etc. I know a lot of people like physical books, myself included, but I felt like for now, getting the hang of running a campaign was more important to me. I learned that probably the most effective thing in terms of getting pledges, is to let people in as much as possible–sharing art, talking about the process, being honest about where things are going, and the challenges that crop up.
HMS: What’s the process like going from a working with a publisher on a series to expanding it with a Kickstarter.
RD: Well, Gutter Magic is a little different in this way, in that we’re going from working with a publisher to running a Kickstarter. The main reason for that is, we’re publishing this as a one-shot anthology of shorts, which isn’t a format that most publishers would go for, at least not in the direct market. That’s not to say these stories will never see print, but for now, this was the way to go to get them made.

HMS: Has fan reaction helped you understand the kind of stories you want to tell?
RD: It definitely has! Before we started, we ran a poll for our fans asking who they’d like to see more stories about, and we planned a lot of the content around the answers we got.
HMS: Tell us a little about the creative team and their role in this new project
RD: Returning from the IDW series are Brett Barkley, and Jules Rivera, both of whom defined the look and feel of the entire book together. But we’re also working with brand new artists like Eryk Donovan, and Renae De Liz, who are each illustrating a story–Renae’s is also inked by her husband, Ray Dillon. We’re also really excited to be bringing in two backup stories that will be written and illustrated by emerging creators at the Comics Experience Creative Workshop. We’re currently selecting the talent that will be involved, but we’ll be announcing more about that soon.
HMS: what’s coming up in this new approach to the series?
RD: We’ll be taking a little breather from Cinder’s story, and exploring some of the more interesting corners of the Gutter Magic world. We’ll be learning some more about Shiver, one of the main antagonists in the series, as well as introducing some completely new ones that may cross paths with our main cast down the road. What we’re trying to do is show what a rich setting we’ve developed, one that can hold a lot of stories from all different styles and viewpoints.

Thanks to Rich Doeuk for taking the time to answer our questions for
Tales from the Gutter: A Gutter Magic Anthology is currently funding on Kickstarter, with less than 4 days remaining, and only a short distance to go to reach their goals! Find out more right here.

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