Monkeys, robots and zombies? That's the hat trick that musician Jonathan Coulton and writer Greg Pak are featuring their original graphic novel, "Code Monkey Save the World."
The escapade centering on the eponymous coding monkey that Coulton wrote and sang about to online acclaim is the first pairing between the two. Pak's other writing credits include "Batman/Superman," ''Planet Hulk" and "X-Treme X-Men."
Coulton and Pak went to college together, Pak said, adding that he's listened to Coulton's music for years.
"I've always loved his songs — he's like Bill Withers and Willie Nelson and Warren Zevon in that every song he writes tells a great little story, with these strange, compelling, sad, funny characters," Pak said.
"But just a few months ago it suddenly occurred to me that Jonathan's written a ton of songs starring these dangerous but sensitive super-villains and monsters — and that if you put them together, you could have a heck of a super-villain team up comic. And I got on Twitter and said as much. And he tweeted back, 'DO IT.'"
Artist Takeshi Miyazawa, who drew Marvel's "Runaways," is illustrating the books with Jessica Kholinne coloring the pencils and inks and Simon Bowland lettering the titles.
To fund the work and to publish it independently, Coulton and Pak turned to the fundraising site Kickstarter on Monday to help pay for the 60-page, four-part graphic novel that will be released digitally through Monkeybrain Comics and Comixology, followed by a paperback edition.
Many comics creators are turning to online sites for funding to promote their own work and to retain control of their creations. But it's also a way to experiment with titles that many not otherwise get off the ground.
"I'm planning a few different creator-owned projects right now that follow different models. But for certain kinds of projects, self-publishing makes perfect sense," Pak said. "Given the size and enthusiasm of Jonathan's fan base and the fact that Kickstarter lets us put books directly into backers' hands, this felt like the absolute right way to get 'Code Monkey Save World' out into the world."
Coulton and Pak also partnered with Monkeybrain Comics and Comixology to publish the individual chapters digitally ahead of the paperback edition, too.
"That also made perfect sense to us given how great the Comixology platform is for reading comics and how amazing the Monkeybrain people are for distributing genuinely independent comics. Also, Monkeybrain has 'monkey' in their name," Pak said. "Destiny called."
Moore reported from Philadelphia. Follow him at http://www.twitter.com/mattmooreap
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