If there’s one thing we still don’t see enough of in comic books, it’s a better representation of the wider gender spectrum. Although social media proves that gender is as diverse as can be, it’s still difficult for those who identify as non-binary (neither male or female) to find characters they can relate to in the media they consume. Heartwood: Non-binary Tales of Sylvan Fantasy, a comic book anthology, looks to change that.
Currently on Kickstarter aiming to reach a goal of just over $48,000, Heartwood: Non-binary Tales of Sylvan Fantasy has already been selected by the site as one of its promoted ‘Projects We Love’. Sat at around 73% of its final funding goal with 22 days to go, it looks like the beautifully drawn anthology will have no trouble aiming for its proposed January release.
The book takes inspiration from the tales of forests passed down through generations and cultures, entangling itself in the common theme of “facing the unknown” and “emerging transformed”. Each of the 21 stories told across 250+ pages of this lofty comic book is drawn by non-binary cartoonists and features characters who identify as such, with the aim being to appeal to anyone who’s “longed for an adventure of their own to unfold.”
Produced by P&M Press, who’ve put out similar comics like POWER & MAGIC: The Queer Witch Comics Anthology and POWER & MAGIC: IMMORTAL SOULS, the group ensures that more than 50% of the funds raised through early purchases on Kickstarter will go towards paying the artists a fair rate. A digital copy of the finished anthology is available for a respectable $15, with a physical softcover copy costing $30. Most of the more expensive Kickstarter tiers come with the rewards from previous tiers as you might expect, so while putting down $30 will get you a copy you can hold, throwing down more will get you even more stuff.
If you’re hoping for a hardcover version to keep the pages safe (and offer that satisfying sound as you grab it), it’s the focus of the Kickstarter’s first stretch goal! The project will need to hit at least $51,500 in funding, but doing so will upgrade all softcover copies to hardcover and add gold foil accents to the lettering. Others goals include additional pay to the creators of each page and a new comic from Melanie Gillman.