The Austin Chronicle

Transgender Comics Anthology “We’re Still Here” Nails Kickstarter to the Crowdfunding Wall

By Wayne Alan Brenner, July 31, 2017, 9:00am, All Over Creation

Holy Winsor McCay, there’s a daunting multitude of comics anthologies in this world! So many, many, many anthologies of copiously illustrated stories, of sequential-art narratives, already in existence. And sometimes it seems that there’s another one being published, like, every single goddamn day. Y'know?


Still, that’s a good thing. Because many of the anthologies are pretty decent, and some are better than just that, and a few are downright brilliant, as showcases (themed or otherwise) of narrative pictures and words and what the combination of those gambits can create toward deeper communication.

“Themed or otherwise,” did we say?

Yes, and the new We’re Still Here may well be the first of its kind: An anthology of original comics created by transgender artists.

Which is one of those crowdsourced projects: via Kickstarter, in this case.

And which we at the Chronicle, tending to be comics aficionados and also tending to champion the transgender community in general, figured it’d be a good project to throw a little support behind. So we were going to do a blogpost, was the idea. A couple of weeks after the fundraiser for We’re Still Here began, we figured, we’d do up a little article to help spread the word and increase awareness and thus assist in moving the thing toward fruition.

Come to find out – last time we checked the Kickstarter campaign a few days ago – that the project helmed by Tara Avery and Jeanne Thornton, the original comics-anthology project which had a goal of $17,000? And still has a couple of weeks left to go?

Has already raised more than $45,000.

So now this post has an angle to it that’s a bit refracted from the angle previously planned. Now it’s more about telling you that there’s a terrific anthology of transgender comics called We’re Still Here coming soon. And it’s also about asking, “Whoa, forty-five thousand!? Wha-what the fuck are you gonna do with all that?!”

Or, more sedately, having recovered from our involuntary Kermit Arm Flail:

Austin Chronicle: Okay, Jeanne, y’all still have about 20 days to go ... but you've already reached more than double your goal. As they say on the talkshow circuit, "What does that feel like?"

Jeanne Thornton: It feels overwhelming. As far as Tara and I knew, this was the first anthology of its kind, and we knew there'd be some interest in it due to that. The degree of interest, though, is something we absolutely didn't anticipate. It feels unreal sometimes, thinking that that many people care about what trans comics artists have to show them.

Chronicle: I see that the project’s “stretch goals," if they were met, would be greater payment for the artists. Which – hurrah for that – but now that those stretches have already been exceeded … in addition to greater artist-pay, might some of the funding be used for other things, besides? Fancier paper stock? Seeding a future anthology? Something along those lines?

Thornton: We definitely wanted most of the money we took in to flow to the artists, and all of our stretch goals are geared with that in mind. But we've certainly added some additional rewards – a Transgender Heroes coloring book that the contributors are pulling together, in addition to their own pieces, for one thing. Other things also. And certainly I would love for a second volume of this to exist! We have, I believe, 55 creative teams in the anthology, and we got around 200 total applications of work. One book can't possibly represent everything out there, nor should it pretend to: This is a slice of the potential of trans comics; it isn't the whole cake. So, yes, I'd love for some of the money we're raising to go toward helping lay groundwork for Stacked Deck Press to do more good work in this vein and I’m definitely crossing fingers for a We're Still Here, volume two.

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