The following is an interview with Kraig Rasmussen regarding the recent launch of his comic book subscription service, The Monkeygong Comics Club. In this interview, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief Barbra Dillon chats with Rasmussen about the genesis behind the subscription service, what readers can anticipate from each month’s offerings, and more!
Barbra Dillon, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief: You recently announced the launch of The Monkeygong Comics Club. What can you share with us about the genesis behind this monthly comic book club?
Kraig Rasmussen: First, thank you so much for having me back to talk about this. I’m pretty excited to share this new way to connect with my comics!
A subscription idea has been rolling around in my head for several years. Despite LOTS of grandiose, good-hearted-but-impractical ideas, I just couldn’t find a way to make my subscription simultaneously a sustainable workload and a strong enough offer. But I knew if I could, it would be the answer to my “hustle” problem—a.k.a. the very UNsustainable and unstable freelance art hustle for dollars.
Enter the pandemic. That fraught, unfortunate pause in all our lives had the silver lining of giving me a breath—time to build up stories and crank out pages. Which is, conveniently, the one thing a comic company needs.
Fast forward to now: My three flagship titles: Sojourners, Technopolis, and The Adventures of Dr. Cotton Hickox, all finally have a first issue, with the next installments for each underway, and other new comics on deck to debut before those. It’s a point of critical mass where I can now make the universe available to readers on a monthly basis.
Suddenly, my sprawling ideas about subscription crystallized into a viable, sustainable reader experience, offering me a chance to emulate things like retro sci-fi fan clubs, Marvel’s old subscription comics community, and even the cheesy infomercials that haunted the small hours of broadcast TV in my childhood.
The Comics Club version of a subscription just makes sense for me on every level, but, most importantly, it makes sense for my audience.
If even half of my ideas for the club come to fruition, I think it’s going to end up being a really immersive, undeniably silly, fun, and surprising reader experience. And because it’s intended to have a community element, I hope people will connect with each other over the art and stories, as well.
BD: Your work has delved deep into the sci-fi genre, pushing boundaries and inviting the reader to get lost in your psychedelic stories. What do you feel defines a “Monkeygong comic,” and what will readers have in store for each monthly delivery?
KR: Monkeygong comics are a remix of the Paul Verhoeven-esque cyberpunk/ dystopian-utopia/corporate hellscape satire I grew up on, with dashes of Star Wars, Buck Rogers, and ’70s European & indie sci-fi creators like Moebius and Richard Corben— internal, dark, but with a cinematic sense of adventure and whimsy.
For the basic physical tier, each month readers will be shipped the latest comic, a character/story bible, a thematically tailored sketchbook or boutique art book — plus a mini print, sticker, and/or pin.
Which book depends on what’s in the queue, and where a member stands in the subscription timeline.
The higher tiers offer varying levels of small art delivered on a monthly basis, and larger/more complex art every other month.
There’s also a paywall on the site that members can visit for regular content drops like sketchbook art, club exclusive videos, library comics, and new chapters of stories in progress.
That’s just for starters! Way more will be added soon enough.
BD: It has been incredible to watch your trajectory in comics, having worked with crowdfunding and now tackling a monthly subscription service. What excites you about this new venture, and do you see subscription services becoming a popular option for comic book creators and publishers?
KR: Thank you for that. This year has been a wild ride, and not without significant challenges.
I learned a lot from crowdfunding with Zoop. For one thing, I shouldn’t have funded a project that wasn’t 100% complete, for the simple factor of money. It’s very easy to fund a campaign and still have it not be enough to do more than print the book. Which brings us back to the aforementioned hustle problem.
Crowdfunding is great, but it’s hard work and it’s slow. Slow to build a campaign, slow to launch, slow to fund or get paid, slow to fulfill if you’re solo like me, and slow to reset for the next one. Unless you have a machine behind you, only 2-3 campaigns per year are even humanly possible – not to mention your audience wears thin with all that promo – and those campaigns have to FUND huge to make the whole thing a livable wage.
This subscription is the answer to all of that for me. It’s like ongoing crowdfunding meets a forever presale. It’s a machine that runs perpetually, stocked with my current library, primed for my upcoming projects, and it massively spoils my members with comics, art, and access. Subscribers literally just have to wait and my newest work will show up at their house every single month.
I’ve also cut out the middle man, setting up a way to fund unfinished projects without putting financial pressure directly on them, which is a huge relief.
Learning about subscriptions has been really inspiring, in that it’s the very first time in my entire life where business and my creativity have found unity. I truly hope more creators take this or a similar path!
Being your own brand has become required to survive. So, why not take control and structure things accordingly?
Subscription is a perfect way to connect deeper with readers, and an incredibly flexible business model. Your subscription would be different from mine, which is different from… I don’t have an actual example of someone currently doing exactly this, though it has to be out there… but let’s just use the old Marvel Comics subscription in the ’80s. A perfect example that this is not new, and those readers LOVED that experience.
For creators, this is a powerful way to claw back time to just be creative and make more amazing things.
BD: Are there any other upcoming projects on which you are currently working that you would like to share with our readers?
KR: Yes! I just dropped a psychedelic non-sequitur mini-comic called Teaser that I’m extremely proud of. It’s zany! Then, I have book one of my time-travel-martial-arts epic comic, The Adventures of Dr. Cotton Hickox, right behind that. Both are December releases.
I’m also almost done with the 200 pages of art for my crowdfunded anthology, Odd & Ends Vol. 2, which is an expanded The Adventures of Dr. Cotton Hickox.
Upcoming in-progress books include my dystopian social satire, The Falling Empire, more Technopolis, and more of my ancient apocalypse mini-comic series, Epoch, and more… well, just more!
Let’s just say that because of the shared universe AND The Comics Club, I managed to stagger a bunch of projects in the pipeline and have quite a few stories coming soon.
Can’t wait for people to read everything!
BD: Lastly, what is the best way for our readers to find more information about The Monkeygong Comics Club and your other work?
KR: Readers can go to monkeygong.com/subscribe where they’ll find a snappy trailer set to music that explains the whole COMICS CLUB concept, a separate video walkthrough of the monthly delivery, info on each tier, and a robust (but still growing) FAQ. Then, they can tour the site to get a good feeling for the retro, epic sci-fi that I offer.
I’m doing my best to lay the whole thing out clearly, but I’m new to a lot of this. If anyone has more questions, I will happily answer them directly through DM on IG: @kraigcomx. I love feedback.
Also, I’ll be at L.A. Comic Con, December 1-3, at Small Press booth #SP215!
Thank you so much for giving me the time to share!