The life of a freelance comic artist is a unique one. Webcomic creators especially. Their livelihood is so tied into their fans that they have to walk a fine line of pleasing their fans (their income) and staying true to artistic roots (their passion). One that caught my eye when it first started was a webcomic called Goblins that follows a group of goblins who decide to take on player character classes in an attempt to save their village and be more than the cannon fodder they usually are for adventuring heroes. The artist and writer of the comic, Tarol Hunt, was recently able to quit his job and work at the webcomic full time. Personally, I really like this comic and have been a fan since its inception. Some of the plot devices have been played elsewhere - characters that know about leveling up, min-maxing, player classes, etc - but the art is unique and refreshing and the storytelling has come a long way since his first comic back in 2005.
One of the ways that Tarol (Thunt as he is known to his fans) has earned a living with his comic is through an extra part of the comic called Tempts Fate. Tempts Fate is a character in the series of Goblins and as part of the donation drive, Tarol puts this goblin hero into all kinds of difficult adventuring situations. Usually it is a dungeon trap or puzzle door of some kind. The artist has a donation bar at the bottom and the fans have to meet the goals of the donation for the month along with correct ways to solve the puzzle. If the monetary goal or the puzzle is not solved by the fans, Tempts Fate dies a horrible death, never to be seen again. So far after ten tries, Tempts still lives.
That all might change though as Tarol is in an impossible situation. He needs a large amount of money to save the home he has been living in. The owners have let the house fall into foreclosure and Tarol has no choice but to raise tens of thousands of dollars or be evicted from his home. In reading his blog, he at first decided not to burden his fans with this endeavor, but to keep a roof over his families head and to have a real solid future for his family, he has decided to roll the dice as it were and see if he can meet his goal.
This is not a small feat as the goal for this Tempts Fate is more than he has ever asked before - $30,000. To meet the demands of the regular comic and Tempts Fate at the same time, Tarol is doing a drawing marathon where he must draw all day every day until completion. He is recording the whole experience live on his Ustream.tv account and users can watch him draw, encourage with the chat feature, and enjoy the process.
To give a carrot to those that donate, people who give $8 or more will get a Bloodbranch character sheet (part of the latest Tempts Fate storyline), $100 will get you a panel from the comic, and $200 will get you a full horizontal strip. Donations can be made to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The amazing thing is that the first goal is coming up on July 21st with a monetary goal of $7500. According to his Ustream.tv stream, he has received over $26,000 as of writing this. Pretty amazing if you ask me. Why would his fans give so much? I would encourage you to check out Goblins and see for yourself and the evidence will make itself pretty clear.
Image Copyright Tarol Hunt