I am so greatly excited for Andrew Charipar’s new comic HERO Book One.
Now I’ve known Andrew for quite a number of years. Many moons ago I wrote a story for Rich Bernatovech’s Sentinels Anthology and I was paired with Andrew. Poor Drew – he had to somehow turn my god-awful words into something that would actually look and sound good. The result? He made my crappy words look amazing.
Andrew’s worked on different projects here and there until he started his labor of love: HERO. The first volume is a 150 paged graphic novel that Andrew calls “kid friendly.” This summer I had the honor of reading a proof version of the book and I was pretty floored. I call it “Conan meets Bone – but totally kid-friendly.” It’s a massive adventure about a young man and his friend going forth into the world for the first time armed with the swords and their wits. The world is new and fresh and, of course, there’s dangers they’ve never even dreamt they’d meet.
I was sucked in from the book’s first moments. The pages just blended together as I read until suddenly I was looking at pin-ups. The book was over and I was shocked 150 pages flew by. I was completely enthralled in this amazing adventure and just wanted more. RIGHT AWAY.
As Andrew tolls away on Book Two he has just launched a Kickstarter for HERO Book One and I’m quite happy to report that the book has already met its goal. Soon readers all over the world will be able to experience this delightful book. I would actually review it this very moment – but I think I’ll wait until the official version gets into my hands – along with the hands of so many others.
I was wondering how everything was going so I caught up with Andrew to see what was going on and pick his brain a bit about the project.
RM: This is a project that has come about with your two children. Who had the initial idea, how are the kids involved, and how much of all of that end up into the final product?
ANDREW CHARIPAR: The initial idea was just a single image. A small HERO holding a sword with a Giant Snake wrapping around him ready to strike. That was it. Everything else came out of hours and hours of conversations with the kids. At the beginning the kids help by shooting down my bad ideas. “Dad, that makes no sense at all”. I heard that a lot in the early days. That initial image was done back in 2011 but it wasn’t will 2014 that we got serious about it. My son Michael and I went to a convention and I had a table in Artist Alley and I was doing sketches. Afterwards, I told Mike we needed a book for the next time we went to a show… So we made HERO the priority and for 2 years, that’s all we worked on.
Michael has been a great deal of help. We throw around story ideas and plot ideas and dialogue. He has been invaluable. One of Michael’s favorite suggestions came in the fourth chapter where HERO is telling his best friend a story that his father told him and at one point I am was telling Michael the story and he threw in a joke… And I loved it. We added it to the story. It’s his favorite line in the book.
RM: The first volume is already in the can. Work on volume two has already begun. How far do you see yourself taking Hero? Is it already a story with a beginning and end told in several volumes? Or if it is successful is it a franchise that could run for a long time?
ANDREW CHARIPAR: When we first started on Book One, we knew where the book started and how it ended but we didn’t know much more other than the main characters were going on an adventure. About half way through the book we realized that there was an overall story arc and we knew exactly where we were going with it. Exactly how many book it will take we still do not know but we estimate about 10. HERO is the 11th child in his family of 13. By the end of Book Two, he sets out on a journey to find all 12 of his other siblings. Each of them has gone in totally different directions and experienced different adventures and they all intersect with HERO’s journey.
RM: The book is touted as an All Ages Adventure for kids (if I’m wrong in how I say that please tell me how you lay out this marvelous adventure) – yet there is something for everyone. Do you feel that adults will enjoy it just as much as kids like other books…like Bone or Amulet?
ANDREW CHARIPAR: I think HERO is better classified as Kid-Friendly instead of All-Ages. When I think of All Ages, I think of Tiny Titans and HERO’s adventures are slightly more than that. There is an evil out in the world of HERO and that might be scary for very, very young children. Book One contains language that doesn’t talk down to children and there are references that most adults will catch and enjoy. I imagine they will grow up with the readers, very much like the Harry Potter series of books. With each book, the kids get older and the danger gets more intense, ultimately ending up in all out war. HERO is similar in that regards. The adventures become more perilous but the victories become more meaningful.
RM: The Kickstarter reached its goal in two days and was featured as one of Kickstarter’s Projects We Love. How does it feel to have the Kickstarter be as successful as it was so quickly? Is there some stretch goals coming to get even more people involved?
ANDREW CHARIPAR: The Kickstarter has been a Great experience, so far. When I was researching starting a Kickstarter, they advise to set your goal at the minimal amount you need. I set the goal to cover printing the books, shipping and fees and that’s it. If we only made the initial goal, we wouldn’t make any additional money and that would be just fine. It’s more important to us to get the books into the hands of people who will enjoy it than making money.
We reach the funding goal in just under 50 hours and then reached the first stretch goal in 4 days. Wow. For reaching the funding goal, we added an additional 10 pages to the book and included a preview of HERO Book Two. One of the things we did was made all pledges $10 and up to include an original sketch which includes shipping costs. So for stretch goals, we can add additional items without boosting costs or shipping fees. For the first stretch goal, we are including a mini comic of the complete first chapter of HERO Book Two for all the pledges $10 or more and a pdf file of the first chapter for those who just picked the Digital copy of the book. We have plans for a $2000 and $2500 stretch goal. If we make it to $3000 we have some HUGE for everyone (think upgrades on all books…).
RM: Lastly – what would you like to say to those people who saw the Kickstarter and weren’t quite sure about jumping on just yet?
ANDREW CHARIPAR: We’ve put a lot of work into HERO and can’t wait to share it with as many people as possible. We have made every level of pledges, $10 and up, include a piece of original art. There is something for EVERYONE here. One of the risks with Kickstarter is that if the goal is not met by the end of the campaign… No one gets anything. It’s all or nothing. The people who start the campaign get nothing and the backers get nothing. Because our Kickstarter is fully funded… Everything is assured. There is plenty of time to pledge and get something incredible… Just pick the level you want and its done (right after the campaign ends on 1/16/17, of course). I have already started reaching out to those who have already pledge to get their sketch request now so that I can get as many of them done as soon as possible. I love drawing and I love sharing my art with people… This is a win for everyone.