Faces in the crowd: WNC crowdfunding initiatives

OFF THE SHELF: Black Mountain-based comic creator Steve Mannion has been known to release his work in unconventional ways, including five crowdfunding campaigns for his comics and an eBay-facilitated release of at least one book's artwork. Image from Mannion's crowdfunding campaign

Crowdfunding platforms make it possible for individuals and organizations of any size to harness social networks and raise startup capital for projects that might otherwise fail due to lack of funding. Each week, Xpress highlights notable Western North Carolina crowdsourcing initiatives that may inspire readers to become new faces in the crowd.

Steve Mannion’s Fearless Dawn comic series continues

Fans of Steve Mannion‘s popular Fearless Dawn comic books already know villain Helga Von Krause, “but she has never been portrayed like this before,” he writes on his fifth and latest crowdfunding page. “We follow the character through her own personal darkness and struggle. This is the first time we have gone with a serious tone throughout one of our comic books. I do believe folks will enjoy the mature take depicted in Helga’s Story, and I am proud to see this project moving forward.” Mannion has already surpassed his $6,000 goal for the project, but pre-orders and other contributions toward publishing and distributing the work are open through Sunday, May 1.

Kinjac’s first vinyl pressing

On Friday, April 22, solo rock artist Kinjac (otherwise known as Michael O’Shea) is independently releasing the album Broken Mirrors — “lyrically a dark and introspective album that deals with existential reflection on tragedy and loss,” according to an online bio, which adds: “It does not focus on death itself, but instead the ways in which severe emotional traumas affect us personally and in our relationships with others.” Though this represents Kinjac’s fifth album, he’s never had the necessary finances in place to release a project on vinyl. “I would like to change this with Broken Mirrors, since I’m very excited about this album,” he says in his campaign video. O’Shea, whose artistry was recently featured at Music Video Asheville, aims to raise $4,444 by Friday, April 29, to put the new music out on vinyl through his own record label, Seven Moths.

Glitch 5854’s world championship robotics challenge

After advancing through two district-level robotics competitions and North Carolina’s state-level competition — and winning at least one rookie award at each of those contests — a group of 24 students from eight high schools is eligible to compete in this year’s global FIRST Championship. First stands for For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology. “This is a place we’ve only hoped and dreamed about, and now that dream is coming true,” reads Team Glitch 5854’s fundraising page. The youths aim to raise $20,000 to cover the costs of sending participating students, mentors and their robot (Sir GLITCH-a-lot) to the international event, which takes place in St. Louis from Wednesday-Saturday, April 27-30.

Send your crowdsourcing campaign news to kmcreynolds@mountainx.com. A limited number of campaigns will be highlighted each week, at Xpress’ discretion. Campaigns must be locally based and should represent a current project with an achievable goal. Conditions are subject to change. Read about more Western North Carolina projects here.

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About Kat McReynolds
Kat studied entrepreneurship and music business at the University of Miami and earned her MBA at Appalachian State University. Follow me @katmAVL

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