The goal of the project, which is planned to last one year but may continue beyond its initial 6 bi-monthly issues if successful, is to give newer creators the ability to have a venue to tell their 1, 3, or 6 part stories. From the Kickstarter information page:
Maple Key Comics is a comics anthology magazine, released bi-monthly. It is dedicated to featuring the work of talented emerging cartoonists. Focusing on serialized stories, Maple Key Comics brings you the joy of new installments of your favorite stories with the convenience of having them all in one book. Maple keys are the winged fruit that fall from maple trees like little helicopters. If comics are the fruit, Maple Key Comics hopes to be the wings.
|A page of McDiarmid's from the project.|
Well, going to The Center for Cartoon Studies and comics conventions, I saw this sort of empty space in the comics market. You had the people who were making…these fantastic little minicomics that you’d only come across sort of by accident. I started to notice the enormity of the gap between self-publishing and finding a publisher–a publisher who would treat your comics the way you’d want them to.McDiarmid hopes to be that publisher and is using this funding drive to get the money to put out the first two print issues so that the sales can drive printing the other four issues. The goal is to debut the first issue at MoCCA, which is a very smart idea. At least in my experience going in 2012, there were not nearly as many debuts as at SPX, so there should be some extra appeal for a new work at the show which features many of the same creators as the Bethesda institution.
|Art from Will Payne|
Similarly, the campaign is set at only $7,000, a very achievable number, and pledges start as low as $5 to get that first digital copy to see if you want to buy more later. Little things like that can be the difference between success and failure when it comes to a new project.
In terms of the art, while I am only casually familiar with the names contributing to the project, the art style itself is very much in my wheelhouse. As a CCS alumni herself, McDiarmid definitely skews towards selecting creators who work in what I have come to call the CCS house style, and for my money there's nothing wrong with that. I put up a few samples with this post, and you can find more at the Maple Key Tumblr page. Even within that general style there are differences, such as McDiarmid's own intricate detailing or the ink washes of Laurel Holden that remind me of Colleen Coover.
|Art from Laurel Lynne Leake|
Just about everything relating to this project is a positive for me, which is why I'm strongly recommending you get in on this one from the ground up by backing it. It's a chance to discover new creators, receive new comics on a regular basis, either via mail or digitally, and shows that the anthology method of providing content is alive and well. As of right now, this one looks on pace to fund, but let's get it past the goal safely so that McDiarmid and her team of creators can concentrate on making the comics, not just funding them.