Jonathan Coulton’s Code Monkey Saves The World

Comic Writer Greg Pak and Internet Superstar Jonathan Coulton have teamed up to take over the world! I for one welcome our new Indie overlords protectors.

In all seriousness though Greg and Jonathan have teamed up to create a new graphic novel based off of Jonathan’s music. Appropriately titled “Code Monkey Save World” illustrated by Takeshi Miyazawa, and colored by Jessica Kholinne.

They are using Kickstarter to fund the project and in less then 24 hours after it launched they were already fully funded. They have 9 days to go and they have as of this moment $214,398 raised out of their $39,000 goal.

I reached out to Greg Pak to do an interview:

1. What got you started writing comics/graphic novels?

I went to NYU Grad Film and shot my feature film “Robot Stories” a few years after I graduated. While I was on the festival circuit with “Robot Stories,” my agent told me Marvel was looking for new writers and wanted to know if I might be interested. I sure as heck was, and after about a year of working on various books that didn’t quite make it out the gate, the first issue of my “Warlock” series hit comic book stores. From there I did “X-Men: Phoenix – Endsong” and a bunch of other miniseries. And then I got tapped for “Planet Hulk” and things kind of took off. It’s been a heck of a ride.

2. How did you find Jonathan Coulton’s music?

Jonathan and I actually went to college together, so I knew him before all y’all! But we’d lost touch for a while. And then I started hearing about his crazy “Thing a Week” project, wherein he recorded a song a week for a year, releasing them on the internet as he finished them. At some point, I bought all his music and have listened to it pretty obsessively since then.

In a funny kind of way, Jonathan does in much of his music what I’ve tried to do in much of my comics work, which is take crazy big sci fi and genre ideas and pair them with deeply personal, emotional storytelling. I immediately fell in love with his songs and basically haven’t been able to get them out of my head.

3. What was your inspiration to do this Graphic Novel?
4. How did you get Jonathan involved?

One day back in November I suddenly found myself thinking about Jonathan’s songs and realized that a pretty big number of them feature monsters and supervillains. And as someone working in comics, I thought, wow, these characters would make a really fun supervillain team. And I tweeted as much to Jonathan.

5. When you first mentioned it to him, what was his response?

He tweeted back “DO IT.” So we did!

That’s one of the glorious things about this project. Jonathan owns all his songs. And I own the fruits of my independent labor. So all it took was for both of us to say yes, and we could start making this thing happen.

6. Tell us what it’s like to work with all these talented people.

It’s the best. I’ve worked with Tak and Simon on tons of projects over the years and just love what they do. And Jessica and I just worked together on “X-Treme X-Men,” and I loved her bold, fearless use of colors. It’s been a thrill to be able to pull them all together on this project. And of course Jonathan is a fantastic partner, on both the creative and business end of it. We’re both pretty big worries and planners, which is great for an undertaking with as many complicated working parts as a Kickstarter campaign. But we’re also both very ready just to go for it when it feels right. It’s been a total blast so far.

7. How has this project played out for you? Is it within your expectations, over them or under them?

It’s blown all of our expectations out of the water. I’d have been thrilled if in 30 days, we’d gotten our first stretch goal to expand the book to 80 pages. We ended up blowing through that stretch goal before we even had time to announce it — within the first twelve hours of launch, as I recall. It was totally insane, and we’re hugely grateful to everyone who’s jumped on board. The beautiful thing is that when more and more people become backers, we’re able to make the project better and better. Now the book’s a full 96 pages, with 80 story pages and a bunch of cool extras. And Jonathan’s going into the recording studio to cut a brand new acoustic album featuring the songs that inspired the book. And we’re about to announce some even crazier stretch goals. Stay tuned!

8. What is your favorite Coulton song? Why?

It changes from day to day. But right now I’m going to say “Better.” Huge sci fi crazy stuff, but totally heartbreaking. Just love it.

9. What is your favorite character that you’ve created? Why?

Oh, the toughest question for last!

Probably Korg, the rocky-skinned alien from “Planet Hulk,” and Amadeus Cho. Those characters were just a blast to write.

But stay tuned this year — in addition to “Code Monkey Save World,” I’ve got some more creator-owned projects on tap. My favorite self-created character might well change once those hit…

The book was originally going to be 60 pages but before they could even announce the first stretch goal to make the book 96 pages, the backers surpassed it, so as of this moment the book is 96 pages, including the covers. This is very possibly one of the fastest funded comic projects on Kickstarter ever, though we can’t be sure of that.

The stretch goals for the project are below and we will keep updating them as they are announced or completed:
$130,000 – 96 Page Book UNLOCKED
$200,000 – New Acoustic Versions of The Songs That Inspired The Graphic Novel UNLOCKED
$250,000 – The Princess Who Saved Herself Children’s Book Digital Download UNLOCKED
$270,000 – Princess Who Saved Herself Mini Posters UNLOCKED
$280,000 – BIGGER BOOK(100 total pages) AND MORE VAN LENTE/DUNLAVEY UNLOCKED
$300,000 – EVEN BIGGER BOOK(104 total pages) AND “JOCO FUNNIES” WITH RUBEN BOLLING AND ADAM KOFORD! UNLOCKED
$325,000 – MR. FANCY PANTS, Y’ALL. MR. FANCY PANTS(Mr. Fancy Pants Short Comic Story) UNLOCKED

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