Camp Bitter Lake: The Case of the Stolen Stuff is a heartfelt, mystery-solving, summer camp comic for kids from co-creators Jim Gibbons (Eisner and Harvey Award-winning editor for his work on Dark Horse Presents) and Julie Oliveira, an up-and-coming artist and storyteller. The campaign to create a 20-page digital standalone comic — the first in a series of standalone stories — is now live on Kickstarter.
The goal of the project goes beyond funding a comic full of thrills and age-appropriate chills for young audiences. The campaign is a first step toward building a relationship with a readership of digital-savvy kids and adults that want fresh independent comics delivered directly to their digital reading devices.
“Julie and I have been creating this story packed full of our love of creepy campfire stories and nostalgia for childhood summers for over a year,” Gibbons says. “Pitching a comic when both creators have full-time jobs is tough. After spending so much time building and falling in love with these characters and this world, we just really want to get this comic out to a modest group of excited readers!”
Camp Bitter Lake is about four kids — Earvin, Larry, Hazel, and Hadiya — who bond over their fascination with unsolved mysteries and decide to investigate the weird goings-on in the wilderness around Area 51. What are those lights in the sky? What’s that rustling in the bushes? And who the heck is stealing everybody’s stuff?!
“Jim and I had a chance encounter online and found we had so much in common it would be a shame not to collaborate on a comic together,” Oliveira explains. “It’s been such a fun and rewarding process from the early scribbles of character designs, to drafts of stories and character personalities, to the exciting place we are today with this Kickstarter. The story, themes and characters all come from a very close place in our hearts and we hope you’ll love them just as much!”
The campaign feature reward tiers that offer digital comics for kids and grown-ups, as well as original digital avatars drawn by Oliveira, and comic book pitch consults by Gibbons. Camp Bitter Lake is looking for readers that love stories about what goes bump in the night outside your cabin door.
“Camp Bitter Lake takes my favorite elements of ’80s youth media and reimagines them for a modern audience,” Eisner Award-winner Jen Bartel (Blackbird, Black Panther) says. “It promises a unique world with an authentic cast, evoking the creative sensibility of contemporary heavyweights like Hilda and Gravity Falls.”
“Go get those monsters!” exclaims Jim’s 7-year-old nephew. (“He really liked it,” add his parents.)
“Like Gravity Falls or Steven Universe, [Camp Bitter Lake] is full of a pure sense of adventure,” Eisner and Harvey Award-nominee Victor Santos (Polar) says.
“Come and look at dis. I wanna watch dis,” says Jim’s 2.5-year-old son (who can’t read yet, but is thrilled about the inevitable animated series).
“Camp Bitter Lake is a spooky, fun-filled book that’s jam-packed with jokes, snacks, and monsters — aka my favorite things in the world,” Dave Scheidt (Mayor Good Boy, Wrapped Up, Dreamworks’ Trolls) says.
Perfect for fans of Stranger Things, Heavyweights, Scooby Doo, and Craig of the Creek, check out Camp Bitter Lake on Kickstarter!