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Author's first comic book crowdfunded by Kickstarter

Alex Kane has collaborated with artist Gale Galligan to create his first comic book thanks to a Kickstarter crowd funding campaign. | Steve Davis/The (Galesburg) Register-Mail, distributed by the Associated Press

GALESBURG — Alex Kane has published several of his short stories and essays, but only recently did he begin to look at comic books as a platform for his work.

Now, after a successful Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign, Kane will publish his first comic book, “Asphodel,” this November.

Kane, 26, who grew up in Monmouth, works full-time as a freelance copy editor.

His desire to make comic books began two years ago, when he spent six weeks studying under two of his heroes, acclaimed authors Joe Hill and Neil Gaiman.

“They are basically the best two writers of the past 20 years in comics,” Kane said.

In 2013, he was one of 18 students selected to participate in the Clarion West Writers Workshop in Seattle. During the intensive course, students write six short stories in six weeks, and each week has a different instructor.

Gaiman and Hill taught at the workshop and helped Kane realize he should give comic books a shot.

“That was the inspiration,” Kane said.

During the workshop, Kane started a story but couldn’t come up with a good ending. Still, it impressed his instructor and classmates. Since then, finished the story and adapted it to the comic book form. Kane then hired artist Gale Galligan, who studies at the Savannah College of Art and Design in Georgia.

“The collaboration’s been awesome,” Kane said. “She really gets what I’m trying to do in the script.”

“Asphodel” is a space opera that takes place near Pluto in the year 4419. The story revolves around a cyborg goddess named Sedna and a veteran of interstellar war named Vic Delany.

To pay for the art and the printing of “Asphodel,” Kane began a Kickstarter campaign July 13 with the goal of raising $6,000 in 30 days. He received a boost when Gaiman backed the campaign and tweeted about it to his over 2.2 million followers on Twitter. The campaign was picked up by several comic book blogs, and the campaign reached its goal shortly before its Aug. 12 deadline. In the end, 270 donors contributed a total of $7,142.

He received backers from around the world, with one of his most vocal supporters in Australia. He also received some support in Galesburg and Monmouth. Stone Alley Books & Collectibles owner Ben Stomberg backed the project and plans to carry some copies of the comic once it ships. Right now, the writing is complete and Galligan is currently working on the art for the 22-page comic book.

He is hoping to ship “Asphodel” to the project backers by mid-November. After that, Kane said the book could go in several directions. If it isn’t picked up by a publisher, they could publish it on their own. Kane said he’ll probably publish the first book on ComiXology, a digital comic books store.

“We’re going to try to sell it as a series and see what happens,” Kane said. “So it’s one long shot after a previous long shot.”

Distributed by the Associated Press.