Episode 25: Save the Kickstarter, Save the World! Greg Pak and Jonathan Coulton


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It started as Twitter banter and turned into a blockbuster Kickstarter. The Internet’s Jonathan Coulton and the comic world’s Greg Pak have known each other since college. And when Greg put the bug in Jonathan’s ear about creating a series of comic books based on heroes and villains in Jonathan’s songs, they began a-plotting.

A few months later, Code Monkey Saves World launched as a crowdfunding campaign, blew through its goal, and kept stretching and stretching in a way that might strain even Mr Fantastic or Plasticman — or even an everyday code monkey. Jonathan and Greg join me to talk about how they planned, executed, and extended their project.

On Twitter: Jonathan Coulton, Grek Pak, Code Monkey project

Show notes

Jamal Igle had a successful Kickstarter campaign in August 2012 for his comic Molly Danger. I talked to Greg and Jonathan at the launch of their Code Monkey Saves World project for BoingBoing.

I’m not joking about Burl Ives. You may remember him as a buffoonish singer of treacly Christmas songs. But he had a wonderful career singing funny and heartbreaking songs before that. Listen to “The Golden Vanity,” and you’ll forget all about “Silver and Gold.”

Jonathan’s life is very straightforward. He records music, he performs concerts, he launches Kickstarters, he has a 700-person annual cruise, he is the musical host on an NPR show

Greg made a movie called Robot Stories before becoming one of the best known independent comic-book writers. A couple of years ago, he created Vision Machine, a near-future look at the consequence of ubiquitous glasses-based computing — and nearly all of it has already manifested itself in some ways. Lajos Egri wrote the Art of Dramatic Writing, a standard screenwriting text.

I managed to conflate the parable of the blind men and the elephant and the old story of the “bony-plated rhinoceros,” in which early explorers returned an inaccurate description of the rhino that was perpetuated for centuries before first-hand observation outweighed conventional wisdom. Apologies.

The song “Skullcrusher Mountain” is part of the basis for the Code Monkey comic books. Craig Newmark is the lead customer service manager for Craigslist. Seriously.

Comixology dominates mobile comics reading and rightly so due to the quality of their apps and ecosystem. Monkey Brain Comics helps artists manage getting their stuff into Comixology and other distribution systems.