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Kickstarter Spotlight: Killeroo / The 4Horsemen crossover

Every month we are on the look out for the best Australian crowdfunding books to support, this month is from Darren Close & Stuart Black To celebrate their latest Kickstarter for the Killeroo / The 4Horsemen crossover comic.

If readers are new to the world of Killeroo / The 4 Horseman what's it all about?

STUART: The 4Horsemen, or Plan B as the previous issues have been titled, are a superhero team of douchebags and idiots. A lot of inspiration has been taken from the 90s era of cartoons and comics. Fun, colourful, arsekickery.

DARREN : Killeroo is really a bit like the aussie version of Bigfoot, an urban legend in an otherwise pretty similar world to our own. A warrior created to fight in a war that never came, neither human nor kangaroo, and steeped in Aboriginal mythology. Government conspiracy, outback biker wars; at the end of the day, he’d really prefer to be left alone.

And occasionally, he has to work alongside a bunch of idiots like the 4Horsemen...

What can you tell us about the Killeroo / The 4 Horseman crossover ?

STUART: Basically, a sacred aboriginal artifact has been stolen and a dark force has been awoken. It's up to a combined force of Rufus and The 4Horsemen to return the artifact and defeat the bad guys, without tearing each other apart in the process.

DARREN : That pretty much sums it up pretty well!

How did you end up working on the project together?

STUART: Most of my good ideas come from stupid jokes, and I had a couple involving Rufus and the Horsemen. Then more and more and before long I had a basic story idea that I couldn't shake it. So I politely asked Darren he'd be happy to loan Rufus for a book. He told me to piss off. Politely.

DARREN : I think the idea started over a couple of beers at the monthly Melbourne comic creator meetups. And that’s probably as far as it should have gone… but like many of Stuart’s maladies, his enthusiasm is infectious.

During the strange times we live in did you think it might be an odd time to launch a new book?

STUART: This book has been a year in the making, so the world being shutdown by a batsoup born virus really wasn't factored in for. But, we can ship these out physically and digitally, and with the world in chaos, a bit of stupid fun is just what everyone needs.

DARREN : It did concern me at first, but I actually think it works in our favour to some degree, as so many people suddenly have a lot more time on their hands (sadly to some degree), and are hungry for new content. And as Stuart said, we had no idea what was going to happen 12 months ago.

What made you want to choose kickstarter to launch your book?

STUART: Well, I have a small growing fanbase, and Darren has a large established fanbase, so the print job would've been massive, and quite pricey for a 80 page book. Plus I was the one who pushed the whole endeavour, so I didn't want to nudge Daz for cash when it came time to print. Given neither of us had given Kickstarter a crack before, it seemed like the perfect time to try.

DARREN : I had been researching kickstarter for quite some time, and how best to run a campaign - but hadn’t pulled the trigger on doing so myself. I’ve seen how successful it has been for many local creators like Stephen Kok and Shaun Keenan, in building a new customer base and covering their production costs. So it’s something I’ve been considering for a while, and when I got the print quote back for printing and perfect binding this book - now seemed as good a time as any to take the plunge.

You were fully funded in the first hour, how did that feel?

STUART: Ridiculous. Magnificent and ridiculous.

DARREN : It was pretty mind-blowing. While I had been doing my best to build up anticipation for the week leading up to the launch of the campaign on social media, there was just no way to predict just how it was going to go. I spent a lot of time putting it all together, and was feeling very anxious about just how it was going to go as a first-time kickstarter. So it was extremely gratifying and a bit dizzying at seeing the numbers clocking up in real-time. It became difficult to keep up with it, as I had prepared many update graphics that I had to keep replacing as the rewards started selling out and stretch goals got knocked off. Thankfully it has slowed to a far more manageable level now, and it’s a great load off my mind to not have to worry about covering our costs for the book and corresponding merchandise anymore.

What other perks can we look forward to if people jump on board?

STUART: Original artwork, bits and bobs of merch, date nights.

DARREN : The next stretch goal close to unlocking is we’ll be adding some extra pages to the story. Then we’ve got some bonus prints and some other big extras if we start getting quite a bit higher (but that’s classified for now).

Will we see you both working together again on another project?

STUART: Hopefully. I'd love to tackle something new and fresh. Spitball some ideas and come up with something from both our brainstems.

DARREN : I’d certainly be up for it, I really enjoy inking Stuart’s pencils - we had worked together before on a future issue of TORN for Reverie Publications .

Darren : Killeroo Is your baby, how hard is it to hand the reins over to another writer?

DARREN: I generally set a few ground rules and establish how Killeroo’s broken english works, but Stuart also gave me every bit of Rufus’ dialogue in advance to review, but there wasn’t much I needed to change. Stuart showed respect to what has already been established about the character, and he’s also gotten much better at drawing him too.

What's the future for Killeroo & The 4Horsemen?

STUART: The 4Horsefemmes take priority for the next few books, but I do have a Killeroo return planned for the future. As long as Darren doesn't object. If he does, slappy slappy.

DARREN : I’d be fine with that… but I think it might need to be with the 4Horsefemmes as well. This crossover is too much of a sausage party.

I’m still working on GANGWARS #6, the final issue of that series. I’ve made some progress but not as much as I’d like to. After that I’ll probably run another kickstarter for some trade paperbacks to collect the series so far, and after that comes a Killeroo ongoing series - the first 5-6 issues have already been written by my collaborator RW Adams.

What other projects have you both got in the works?

STUART: The 4Horsefemmes will have a couple of new adventures coming up soon, and we'll probably collaborate again on another issue of Torn

DARREN : I’m continuing to do quite some lettering work for other local publishers, and inking over Peter Lawson pencils for the next few issues of TORN (for Reverie Publications).

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