He’s been roasting the comic book industry from his Diversity & Comics YouTube channel for a little over a year and now he’s completed a successful crowd-funding campaign for his Jawbreakers: Lost Souls graphic novel. Richard Meyer along with artist John Malin (Cable) and colorist Brett Smith (Justice League) raised $200,000 in a month from over 5,000 backers and have announced a publisher to boot.
The official tally on the Jawbreakers: Lost Souls Indiegogo crowd-funding campaign is $200,022 raised from an initial goal of only $5,000. A total of 5,287 individuals elected to back the campaign, which would put it at No. 6 on Comichron‘s monthly sales chart of graphic novels sold to comic shops for the month of April and places it at No. 11 for 2018 so far.
Backers of the campaign are expecting to receive the 112-page graphic novel in August, along with posters for those who purchased at the higher $50 tier. Crowdfunding campaigns are notoriously hit or miss when it comes to delivering the promised goods on time. However, Meyer also announced a partnership with Antarctic Press to publish the Jawbreakers: Lost Souls to sell at comic shops around September.
The Jawbreakers concept is a team of ex-superheroes turned mercenaries in Sylvester Stallone’s Expendables style. The main 50-page Lost Souls story is the team getting hired to save a giant monster being exploited by an African warlord. The graphic novel will also contain Meyer’s original 32-page Jawbreakers Book One remastered by artist Simon Bennet, plus a new 25-page Jawbreakers Book Two drawn by Kelsey Shannon (Batman Adventures, G.I. Joe).
Perhaps the most interesting aspect of Jawbreakers success is it was done with no mention of the graphic novel from major comic book outlets such as Comic Book and Bleeding Cool or major sites who cover comic books in general. The decision to not cover the crowd-funding campaign would not have been notable if this had been Meyer by himself. However, he brought on top-tier industry talent in the form of Malin and Smith to make a mainstream 90s style comic book.
The reason for the comic industry silence around the Jawbreakers: Lost Souls crowd-funding campaign is Meyer’s biting style when it comes to critiquing comics from Marvel, DC Comics, Image, and others. The Army and Marine veteran has an “everyday Joe” vibe, but holds no quarter when it comes to blasting comics over bad writing, poor art, or pushing identity politics. He’s also called out individual creators and editors over their behavior on Twitter that he sees as potentially driving fans away from a struggling and shrinking industry.
Meyer’s detractors in and out of the comic industry have called him misogynistic, homophobic, transphobic, racist, bigoted, and other names due to his harsh criticism. There have also been instances of attempted doxing and one artist falsely claimed Meyer was dishonorably discharged from the military among other things before he showed evidence otherwise.
This has all been part of the “Comicsgate” saga over the past year that has seen industry personalities, insiders, and fans fight over the direction of the industry. This all came to a head Wednesday when someone shared screenshots with Meyer of a private Facebook group chat between comic store owners. Some spoke of not taking orders of the Jawbreakers: Lost Souls graphic novel while others spoke of not buying anything from Antarctic Press altogether for working with Meyer. This led to a sudden surge of over $40,000 in the Indiegogo campaign that drove it to the final $200,00 in funding.
Update: Meyer left the Indiegogo “InDemand” online store open following the conclusion of the crowdfunding campaign until total funding reached $200,000. This allowed Jawbreakers: Lost Souls to reach the final number shortly after this article was posted and Meyer announced he will keep the campaign open for “a few more hours.”