The Weekly Kickstarter: The Comic Book and Daniel Johnston

By Reid McCarter Comment

Kickstarter deserves love and attention because it is, if nothing else, devoted to doing something good for a lot of ambitious people. Social Times wants to call attention to Kickstarter’s efforts by shining a light on one project each week that stands out from the pack. To get the whole thing rolling, we’re looking at one of the site’s current projects: Daniel Johnston’s Infinite Comic Book of Musical Greatness.

Daniel Johnston is an acclaimed musician that has always paired a highly unique cartoon aesthetic with his songs. From the famous frog-monster of his Hi, How Are You casette cover (made iconic as an image adorning one of Kurt Cobain’s favourite t-shirts) to international art shows celebrating his myriad drawings, Johnston’s visual output commands the same fan reverence as his music. Before he was discovered by MTV’s cameras in Austin, Texas, Johnston was primarily concerned with creating his own comic books — a passion that was sidelined by a bipolar disorder diagnosis and a reputation built on music — and now this chapter of his career can continue with a little support from interested parties.

After his recent 50th birthday (January 22nd) Daniel Johnston debuted on Kickstarter, announcing an opportunity for fans to help in the production, manufacture and promotion of a comic book and new collection of songs. Investments in Daniel Johnston’s Infinite Comic Book of Musical Greatness go toward funding the artist’s first full-length comic book and ensuring that the project lives on well after its publication date.

Funds received for Daniel Johnston’s work will lead to, not only the release of the comic, but also to fulfilling its stated goal of growing into an “interactive comic book” through fan input. A special access code will accompany printed copies of Infinite Comic Book, allowing buyers to download accompanying music (by Johnston) and additional, unused storylines and concept outlines.

The end goal is to promote the “infinite” aspect of Johnston’s Infinite Comic Book of Musical Greatness by offering fans a starting point from which to build new music and other forms of art upon. Project funding will get the concept started but will also be used to extend Infinite Comic‘s life to a digital one that, given Johnston’s rabid fanbase, should provide the first example of the medium of comics being used to provide a limitless artistic experiment that extends to the indefinite future.

A Kickstarter project aimed at helping Daniel Johnston to release his first full-length comic would surely have been a success by itself. The ambitious nature of the entire effort — and the creation of a never-ending comic — is something else entirely. Johnston has always been successful in marching to his own beat while influencing others to do the same. Contributing to his Infinite Comic Book of Musical Greatness is an excellent way to continue this type of inspiration by providing support for his work and helping to recognize the career of an important artist.

To contribute to Daniel Johnston’s Infinite Comic Book of Musical Greatness at Kickstarter (or to learn more) click here. The project will be funded on March 6 at 11.33 PM EST.