Kickstarter Reward: Animated Graphic Novel

Creating rewards for Kickstarter backers is notoriously difficult. Not only do you have to come up with something cost effective and easily scalable in quantity, but it also has to tie nicely into your main product’s theme, and tide people over until that product is finally ready to ship. This graphic novel fills in the backstory for the computer game “Genesis Noir” through the use of the same trippy art used in the game, cleverly brought to life by a single polyester sheet and a lot of planning.

Inspired by the abstract storytelling of novelist Italo Calvino (particularly his “Cosmiccomics”), “Genesis Noir” fuses visual and storytelling elements of the classic film noir with astrophysics to create an adventure/exploration game. The new creation myth that follows – in which the earth is actually a bullet fired at a lounge singer by a spurned ex-lover (hence “the Big Bang”) – lends itself to a startling mix of 2D and 3D artwork.

Kickstarter backers at the $100 level received a good taste of the computer game with “Moiré Noir,” a 36-page, saddle stitched graphic novel digitally printed by our good friends at DataGraphic [projects / website] on uncoated 80 lb. Domtar Lynx Digital White Cover and Text. It was created by Evan Anthony and Jay Quercia of the Brooklyn artist collective Feral Cat Den, which also developed the computer game.

True to its name, the CMYK-printed cover for the “Moiré Noir” graphic novel presents the title in huge White letters against a backdrop of Black and Gold moiré patterns – the three main colors used in the game itself. Inside, the action is a head-spinning mix of White 2D and 3D art rendered against a Black background, all very mysterious.

But wait, what’s this? From between 2 pages a 3 mm polyester sheet slides out. When you position it over a page and slowly move it up and down, the illustrations move: gears turn, rain hits puddles, and this whole imaginary world springs to life. The magic behind this intriguing animation is both more – and less – complex than you’d imagine.

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The insert consists of a pattern of stripes digitally printed Black with a White ink underlay, where 4/5 of each stripe is opaque and 1/5 transparent. Each of the 5 frames of animation on the page is cut into stripes of the same size and offset, so that when the insert is placed on top, you only see one frame at a time. Moving the insert reveals the different frames, creating the illusion of animation. The result is a print piece that feels like it could actually be a mini-game you might find in the game itself – no small accomplishment, that.

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Other Kickstarter rewards were offered, too, including a pair of mind-bending 11-x-17 inch posters using this same Black & Gold color scheme, screen printed on 65 lb. Finch Fine Bright White Ultra Smooth Cover paper [Get Swatchbook!].

While it’s difficult to recreate the kinetic, off-the-wall flavor of the computer game, these pieces give you a good taste of what to expect, and were sure to keep eager fans happy until the digital version shipped. It doesn’t get much better than that.

If you’re a PaperSpecs PRO member, don’t forget to check out our complete guide to another intriguing blend of print and digital: Augmented Reality 

Project Details

Title Animated ‘Genesis Noir’ Kickstarter Reward Client Feral Cat Den Design Feral Cat Den
(Graphic novel: Evan Anthony, Jay Quercia;
Posters: Evan Anthony)
Print DataGraphic Paper Graphic novel: Domtar Lynx Digital White 80 lb. Cover & Text;
Insert: 3 mm clear polyester;
Posters: Finch Fine Bright White Ultra Smooth 65 lb. Cover

Production Details

Print Quantity Graphic novel & inserts: 250; Posters: 200
(100 each of “Earth Spill” and “Miss Master”)
Production Cost $ 1,600 Printing Method Graphic novel & insert: Digital (HP Indigo);
Posters: Screen printing
Number of Colors Graphic novel: Cover CMYK, Text 1;
Insert: 2; Posters: 2
Finishing and Binding Graphic novel: Fold, collate, saddle stitch
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