Barbra Dillon, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief: Congratulations on the recent launch of Iron Circus’ crowdfunding campaign for The Poorcraft Cookbook! Iron Circus has long had success in crowdfunding, and this marks your first venture into an independently run campaign. What can you share with us about the impetus behind this endeavor, and why do you feel that it was important to forge this new path?
Spike Trotman: Thank you! We're thrilled with how things are going! And yeah, sure thing.
Not all that long ago, last December, Kickstarter announced they were investigating integrating a blockchain initiative into the the site. After repeated attempts to get more information about why this was being done, and what it could mean to the site's users, I still didn't have anything concrete to explain the motivation behind that choice. It made me uncomfortable, particularly when one considered how the implementation of a blockchain would introduce no clear advantages, but, potentially, plenty of vulnerabilities.
The analogy I like to use is, I was a passenger in the car labeled “Kickstarter” for years, over a decade, and I liked where we were going; cruising down the highway, picking up speed, agreed-upon destination. Then, in December of 2021, we VEERED OFF the road onto an unpaved, dirt path, leading deep into a dark forest. Off the map, no signposts, no clear endpoint. And when I ask, what are we doing, where are we going? The only answer I've been getting is, “It's fine.” Without elaboration.
I dunno about you, but I feel, under those circumstances? It's time to get out of the car.
BD: The Poorcraft Cookbook marks the third installment in Iron Circus’ Poorcraft releases, appealing to readers who may be living within restricted financial means, yet interested in expanding their culinary abilities. How would you describe the process of bringing this project to life with creator Nero Villagallos O'Reilly?
ST: This is a book that readers have been explicitly requesting ever since the release of the original, first Poorcraft! The original Poorcraft has a chapter on food and cooking, but everyone who read it and offered me feedback wanted that chapter expanded upon. More recipes, more details, more tips. And the original Poorcraft was released in 2012! So, The Poorcraft Cookbook was something we'd been planning for awhile. It was just a matter of finding the right person to write and draw it.
Nero was a perfect fit for the job! It was a topic he was interested and experienced in, had a lot to say about. All he needed was time and support to make it happen.
BD: What are some of the incredible backer rewards that are available to those who contribute to your campaign?
ST: The crowdfunded book is going to differ from the version available in bookstores: it's gonna have what's called a “concealed wire-O binding.” That means it'll lay flat and stay open on a counter, so you can keep the book open to the page with the recipe on it while you cook. But when you're done, you can close the book and put it on your bookshelf, and it'll still have a nice, aesthetically-pleasing spine! The versions in distro will have standard square binding.
BD: In seeing the success that crowdfunding has brought to the independent comic book community and the industry at large, how do you feel that an intentional move away from large crowdfunding platforms will improve or benefit creators, publishers, and readers?
ST: I think, initially, it's gonna be TERRIFYING. People like the familiarity of known quantities. But at the end of the day, monopolies and monoliths, functional or literal, are never a good idea. A variety of platforms makes for a healthier ecosystem. There's gonna be a hump that may be tough for some people to get over, because it's always hard to migrate an audience from one platform to another, no matter what the reason may be. But I hope (and suspect!) the small press comics audience is flexible. It's used to change, it's used to grimy DIY and experimentation. 2022 is gonna be the “proving ground” year, but I really do think it's gonna be okay.
BD: Are there any other projects on which you are working that you are able to share with our readers?
ST: New smut. New stories. New media. That's all. Sorry, can't get into it.
BD: Lastly, what is the best way for our readers to find out more about the The Poorcraft Cookbook and to support its crowdfunding campaign?
ST: Check out the official page here!