Often times the comic book world forgets there is a vast collection of stories available outside of the major publishers. Not only does the comic book medium allow for super-hero stories and trend bending sci-fi, but it allows for every kind of genre to have a voice. One such voice that’s under-represented is the fun and spooky variety of the horror genre. That’s where independent publishing comes in and that’s where Kickstarter is a wonderful advertiser for talented creators to meet up with fans who are hungry for a great story.

I happened to get the opportunity to speak to the creators of a currently running Kickstarter Campaign called Spooky-Silly Comics! for a collection of light hearted horror tales called “Spooky Sleepover”. The book is an all-ages good time with the feeling of a Halloween night adventure. The talents behind the book are writer Dave Scheidt and artist Jess Smart Smiley. Dave writes for Comic Book Resources and the Huffington Post but is also a wonderfully talented comic book writer. After reading this, go check out his “Minimum Wage Mummy” comic book right here for free! Jess Smart Smiley is an illustrator and comic book artist and writer. You may recognize his work published by Top Shelf Productions “Upside Down: A Vampire Tale”.

 It's funny, scary, weird and sweet. 

The two of them have bright personalities and are happy to share some wit and jokes with anyone and everyone. That worked OK for me because I’ve got just the right amount of funny disguised as wit. Graciously, Dave and Jess exchanged some emails with me where we talked about “Spooky Sleepover”, comic books and Kickstarter. 

Big Shiny Robot!: The Kickstarter has a wonderful video with some great concept art and layouts but I want more. What else can you both tell me about your stories in “Spooky Sleepover”? 

Dave Scheidt: Spooky Sleepover is basically this collection of three short funny horror stories within a story that takes place at a Sleepover with this group of kids trading off telling scary stories to each other.  It's in the spirit of “Tales From The Crypt” and “Tales From The Darkside” but in a way only Jess and I could do and still <be> pretty unique, I think. We wanted to make something that people of all ages could read and enjoy. It's funny, scary, weird and sweet. 

Jess Smart Smiley: Dave stole my answer! Just kidding. Fun fact: H.P. Lovecraft and Pee Wee Herman made a book together. Their book: “Spooky Sleepover--a curious collection of funny horror comics” (Okay, so maybe Pee Wee and Lovecraft didn't make the book, but it sure seems like they did!) “Spooky Sleepover” features three spooky-silly comics for the whole family. It is 72 full-color pages packed with a haunted toilet, vengeful ghosts and a hungry werewolf. 

BSR!: A haunted toilet sounds weird, gross and frightening all at the same time! I think your audience is going to have a fun experience with the book. I can predict that with confidence because you're both having a blast with your Kickstarter backers. How did the two of you decide to add crazy dares to the reward levels, how do you anticipate those will go, will we get to see them on Youtube and can I bring pop-corn?

JSS: Haha! Yeah, it's been so much fun making the book and we wanted to extend that playfulness to our backers, even beyond the book itself. We added a special "Trick-Or-Treat" level last week, where backers get to choose an embarrassing dare for me and Dave. I don't know what we were thinking. We're idiots. Dave has to prank call his parents and we'll be stuffing our mouths with candy for five full minutes. I think we have to post videos, so it sucks to be us right now. I'm pretty sure we're done taking dares, but we have some more fun lined up for the next couple of weeks. 

DS: Jess is right. We're idiots. I embarrass myself all the time so I may as well have something to show for it. We want people to have fun both with the book and this kickstarter. We're dumb. 

BSR!: Art Baltazar is writing the introduction to “Spooky Sleepover”. I’m a big fan of the incredible Mr. Baltazar. Is there any future project brewing between the three of you or is that something we need to start a Facebook page for like fan did for Betty White and SNL?

JSS: I'm a big fan of Art, too! I have been following his work for something like 6 years now, ever since I discovered his “Tiny Titans”. Dave and I worked together on a comic for “Aw Yeah Comics #8” (get it! now!), which was based on Art and Franco's characters. That comic is how Dave and I found out that we work really well together and that we both like the same dumb jokes and wacky stories. That's right: I said 'wacky'. No plans that I know of. Fire up that Facebook page!

Spooky Sleepover

Image: Courtesy of Dave Scheidt and Jess Smiley

BSR!: The time frame you're giving yourselves on this book is very small. Has your past experience with Kickstarter helped give you the confidence to run a campaign with a reward delivery period just over 2 months away from the start of your Kickstarter campaign? 

DS: I couldn't do this without Jess. He is so good with stuff like this though it is still really hard work. You can't just expect to put up a Kickstarter and people just throw money at you. It's an incredible amount of work but hopefully it pays off. We want this book to get made so bad so we are giving it our all. The support from everyone has been incredible so far.  Thank you to everyone who has helped us with any aspect of this project. 

JSS: We have only 2 weeks to fund this book! Ideally, the Kickstarter would have run for a month and ended a week ago, but Dave and I wanted to spend a little more time working things out with the printer and adding an additional story to the book. 2 weeks is not much time, but we're determined to get this book in your hands before Halloween! 

Spooky Sleepover

Image: Courtesy of Dave Scheidt and Jess Smiley

BSR!: Do you have any advice for anyone thinking of using Kickstarter to fund to their project?

JSS: A little planning goes a long way. I prefer to have the majority of my project worked out before I ever launch. That includes having a completed book, knowing how much printing and shipping will cost (as well as any other rewards I'm offering), reaching out to friends and media outlets, and having the Kickstarter staff look through my project for any problem areas. It also means setting aside the time needed to run the project, as they can be very demanding in posting updates, fielding questions and making any adjustments to things like stretch goals and rewards.


For more information on “Spooky Silly Comics”, visit the Kickstarter campaign. Also, don’t forget that if you’re interested in their future work and in the Kickstarter campgain itself, you can always donate at the dollar level to get insider information and exclusive campaign updates. To follow Jess Smiley and his future projects go to his website, Facebook page and on chat directly with him on Twitter @Jess_Smiley. For More of Dave “Squatch” Scheidt, visit his Tumblr page, his Huffington Post blog, and his 140 character works of fiction gold on Twitter @DaveScheidt. For everything else, like Dave says on his Tumblr, remember to “Stay Spooky”.

SpOokEy sLeEpOvER
Image: Courtesy of Dave Scheidt and Jess Smiley

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Tags: Kickstarter , Indie Comics