Although Ides of March was originally published way back in 2011, in many ways 2015 feels like the real beginning for Black Suit of Death. While creators Benjamin J. Kreger and Edward Ellsworth have both been focused on other projects (and distracted by life) for the past few years, August saw a resurgence of creative energy from both creators, coming back with greater focus on the character which has haunted their imaginations since the late 1990s.
But they're not the only ones whose interest has reignited! Here's a breakdown the exciting events in 2015 surrounding the Black Suit of Death:
In late July, Black Suit of Death publisher, Warrior Innkeeper Creative, started a fan poll allowing readers to decide which of their two most popular titles would get a boost via Kickstarter, choosing between either a collected trade of the All-Ages title The Less Than Historical Adventures of Lil’ Lincoln or the (im)mature title Black Suit of Death #1. The fans elected B.S.D. and on August 15th, at Salem, Oregon's Northwest Comic Fest the Kickstarter was launched!
Raising $2,417 of a $5,639 goal with only 66 Backers the Kickstarter is easily considered a success despite having ended short of the total. The value of the experience and knowledge gained while running the campaign and since, was well worth the effort. When you add in the growth of the awareness the character and comic has achieved in the past few months you can see a better foundation from which to relaunch the Kickstarter in 2016.
Tweeting A Fanbase
With Ed’s renewed his involvement with B.S.D, he took it upon himself to step up the promotion taking to Facebook and Twitter. On August 1st he began tweeting in character @BlkSuitOfDeath. The following day the once semi-stagnant Facebook page hit 100 Likes! (As of this posting the page is nearing 500 with 461 Likes and climbing).
While Social Media sites “Likes” and “Follows” aren’t the only measure of a fan base, an approximate 400% increase* in awareness of B.S.D. using these sites as a primary means of marketing is encouraging.
*This percentage was derived using a super complicated mathematical algorithm in which the number of Twitter Followers and Facebook page Likes were inserted to measure the increase in interest for our comic. We'd share it with you but it's proprietary and our non-existent shareholders won't let us.
Black Suit of Death: Ides of March was submitted to ComiXology Submit in May 2015. The expected wait for approval (or rejection) is 4-6 months. It was a small stroke of luck “Ides” was approved right in the middle of the Kickstarter campaign and is now a 5 Star rated comic on ComiXology through ComiXology Submit.
I'll mention Ides of March is also available on DriveThruComics, and has been for sometime… ComiXology exercises some quality control during the submission process. They do reject comics, so being accepted isn't a small milestone for an indie publisher.
While DriveThru has better publisher support, ComiXology’s platform has proven far more popular, beating the sales of the past 2-years on DriveThruComics in a matter of months!
The character of B.S.D. was tasked by its maker, a Utopian scientist named Dr. Seitsan to judge people worthy or unworthy of their Utopian society. Halloween saw the launch of Black Suit of Death’s dedicated website (you know the one you're reading this blog on). It too was tasked with just that, to judge you! Readers may upload a selfie and have the B.S.D. determine whether or not they are worthy of Utopia.
Of course, since then other features have been added such as you'd expect to find on a comic book site like this, with still more improvements to come throughout the new year.
“Squishy With a Dose of Nerd”
The Reviews Are In
As a writer, or any kind of creative, it feels great to receive positive feedback about your work. Of course, it’s always nice when a friend or family member compliments your work as well, but we all know those folks are biased. So when a total stranger delivers praise towards it, there's that extra priceless feeling of validation too.
Nonetheless, it took sometime to muster the courage to have others publicly judge The Black Suit of Death: Ides of March. Thankfully the reviews have been pretty damn awesome!
The first review for Ides of March comes from Fanboy Comics and is written by Erik Cheski.
“Once the plot kicks into the main action that no one can doubt coming, things get downright Bruce Campbell-y in only the best ways.”
As huge fans of Bruce Campbell, it was a thrill to read someone had picked up the Campbell influence on the writers. It’s also exciting to see the page read counter climb above 500 (544 as of this posting), making the review of “Ides” one of the most seen reviews written by Cheski.
Before the year ended The Pulp published their review written by Jordan Cruz.
“I couldn't find anything wrong with the comic if I was the Roger Ebert of the industry.”
Some mighty high praise from Fanboy Comics and The Pulp adding a little extra pressure on the writers and artists to deliver a top notch issue #1!
All of us here at Warrior Innkeeper Creative are grateful to Fanboy Comics and The Pulp for giving us our first great reviews.
We’ve submitted the “Ides of March” to a few more comic related websites for review and will be sharing them as soon as they are up.
Next week we’ll be blogging a little about our upcoming plans for Black Suit of Death as well as continuing the story behind the story. So stay tuned!