The suburbs of Philadelphia are the setting for the ultimate nerd battle of supremacy as cousins Billy Bathwater and Jack Nerdstrom of the Philly burbs engage in cartoon warfare against Shadee Fella and his henchman/roommates, who are of course bent on world domination. The graphic novel Nerds in the Burbs is now an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign, seeking donors so that the book can get off the ground and into the hands of readers.
Michael Jones, creator of the graphic novel Nerds in the Burbs, has been drawing comics since he was young. In 2001, he and his sister started out to create a children’s book. Their grand opus became a comic, alerting Jones that his direction was not so much story time for the small set but comics and cartoons for a more developed sense of humor. Now his publishers at Lulu have gotten into the act. They, with their debut packaging program, are handling all the business that’s an inherent part of the deal, and helping to de-confuse the details of ISBN, Library of Congress, etc. so that Book One of what will eventually be a series is ready for publication. The debut package program, with a $2200 price tag, will take care of the publishing red tape; the remaining crowdfunding money will cover taxes and crowdfunding fees. Jones freely admits that his talents lean toward the creative angle of publishing rather than the business end, but once all the literary financial bases are covered, the final step that turns him into a published author and cartoonist will be accomplished.
In return for their financial support, Indiegogo backers will receive tee-shirts, hats, autographed copies of the book, and, on the upper end of the donation scale, will be rendered into a cartoon and appear in a future volume, along with autographed copies of the upcoming volumes to be published in the series.
It’s time to meet the comic cast of characters who are serving up laughter in Philadelphia. Good guys Billy Bathwater and his pal Jack Nerdstrom are the heroes of the novel; Billy has his wits about him, Jack is . . . well, as Jones says, he’s Samwise to Billy’s Frodo. Pal Nate revels in nerdy pop culture, and thinks he’s the gangsta element in the friendship.
Sloppy Joe, manager of Slim’s Gym, and his royal wife Grapefruit, who left the land of Vegetaria to marry outside her food group, are loyal friends to the young nerds, as is Slim Pigman, the owner of the gym. Shadee Fella is the chief antagonist, but he doesn’t always have time for the cartoon conflict against Bathwater and Nerdstrom because—this is the burbs, remember—his fulltime war is being fought against bills, dead-end jobs, and lazy roommates. Shadee Fella’s allies leave much to be desired. His roommate Dorlok’s grand scheme is to fail Chores 101 so that he’ll never be asked to repeat the tasks. That is, assuming that the chores actually get done in the first place. Another henchman, Levi the Amishman, shares Dorlok’s aversion to chores. Dooglebee, likewise clueless when it comes to doing chores, does have a convenient “mad scientist” streak that helps with inventions. Muscle for the bad guys is provided by Mad Cow—bit of a bovine anger management problem there—who, in common with his cabal, shuns chores. Investigating the nerdy and nefarious goings-on in the Philly burbs is Scotland Yard’s Van Mittens, best friend to Grapefruit and ally of Billy and Jack.
Readers and backers alike will enjoy the fun in Philadelphia, and can anticipate the success of this campaign that will bring a continuation of the series.