To celebrate 25 years of his satirical political cartoon "This Modern World," artist Tom Tomorrow created a Kickstarter campaign to publish an omnibus edition of his work in two volumes. Thirty days later, the campaign concluded with donations of $310,357 -- exceeding its goal of $87,000 by more than $220,000.
"I am astonished," Tomorrow wrote in the campaign's last update. "I could not have imagined a better outcome to this campaign, and I thank all of you sincerely for this extraordinary show of support."
2,499 donors will get a copy of the print edition of "25 Years of Tomorrow," which will be about 1,000 pages long and weigh 15 pounds. 468 donors opted to get the DRM-free e-book instead. Contributors to the campaign gave anywhere from $1 to $10,000.
As in most successful Kickstarters, donors were given incentives for larger contributions. In this case, Tomorrow's friends sweetened the pot for him. Several of the highest-ticket incentives were associated with the band Pearl Jam, including the top reward, a signed Eddie Vedder guitar. Tomorrow designed the cover of Pearl Jam's 2009 record "Backspacer."
Tomorrow writes, "Right before we launched, I said to a friend — okay fine, I said to Eddie Vedder —'I feel like I'm about to take a stage dive, and I don't know if the audience is there to catch me or not.' Well, you were."
Tomorrow's "This Modern World" cartoon, known for political and cultural satire, is published in about 80 newspapers across the U.S., and every week at Daily Kos. Tomorrow was a finalist for the 2015 Pulitzer Prize in editorial cartooning.
Tomorrow's success on Kickstarter proves once again that literary projects can use the crowdfunding tool to reach a devoted audience. In 2014, one of the site's best-funded projects was LeVar Burton's Reading Rainbow, the television-show-turned-app, which received more than $5 million from more than 105,000 contributors.
When Tomorrow's Kickstarter campaign started bringing in more money than originally hoped for, Tomorrow added a number of stretch goals. The first were enhancements to the book itself: 3-D lenticular covers, printed endpapers, and expanding the page count to include his children's book. After that, Tomorrow added a serious commitment: If they reached $250,000, he'd get a tattoo of his visor-wearing character Sparky the Penguin. He's now researching tattoo artists.
In the final hours, a matching pledge from filmmaker Michael Moore helped push Tomorrow's Kickstarter campaign above $300,000. Achieving that goal means the cartoonist will be able to throw a book release party at the historic Mark Twain House in Hartford, Conn.
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