Kickstart the Week(end) with Reburn #1

Kickstart the Week Reburn #1

By: Nicole D’Andria

The all-female team of Reburn has already raised over $10,000 for their Kickstarter campaign, and with almost three weeks to go, the campaign is on its way to hitting multiple stretch goals. Learn more about the dystopian world introduced in Reburn in an in-depth interview with the creator and editor of the series.

Reburn takes place in a dystopian future with a super-powered woman by the name of May. She is fighting against The Unity, a cult-styled society run by Hope. The series is billed as a cross between The Hunger Games meets The Handmaid’s Tale. It’s received a lot of praise from multiple industry veterans, including Anjali Bhimani (the voice of Symmetra from Overwatch), who raves that “I’m already so drawn in by the world of Reburn, I can’t wait to see what happens next. Who better to create a world filled with complex, powerful women than a group of complex, powerful women?“

The series boasts a talented, all-female creative team. The creator/writer of the series is Alyson Shelton, the director/writer of the award-winning feature Eve of Understanding. Elise McCall is the series artist whose previous work includes Dark Horse’s Spy Island and Image Comics’ Man-Eaters. Jessica Petelle, a director and producer for film, TV, and digital content, serves as the producer/editor for Reburn. The letterer for the series is award-winner Joamette Gil (Archival Quality). Ruth Ilano is an additional colorist and sensitivity reader, and Moriah Atlas is the associate editor and Kickstarter support for the series.

The series has already shot past its $7,000 goal and will continue to collect pledges until February 26, 2021, at 12:00 PM EST. Several stretch goals have been unlocked, including a metallic bookmark and a digital copy of Turner Family Terrors #1. Reward tiers include a digital ($10) and physical ($15) copy of Reburn #1, which is 24-pages long, as well as a Molly Mendoza variant cover ($30). Other rewards include a process packet ($30) and cover combo ($40). Be one of over 200 backers on their official Kickstarter page.

Get an in-depth look at the series in this interview with Alyson Shelton and Jessica Petelle.

Jessica Petelle and Alyson Shelton in 2003 and 2019
Jessica Petelle and Alyson Shelton

Me: What inspired the concept behind Reburn?

Shelton: I’ve been working on this world and these characters on and off for almost two decades but the current iteration of this world started to take shape around three years ago. I wanted to explore trauma, female rage, PTSD, the idea of power, and who decides what unity or forward motion looks like. But I wanted to make it commercial, as fun as something like this can be. I wanted the main character, May, to be grappling with some serious shit but also be able to blow shit up. I wanted to craft something I wanted to watch as well as create.

Me: You compare Reburn to The Hunger Games meets The Handmaid’s Tale. What aspects of these works do you feel is reflected the most in your comic?

Shelton: The dystopian female-led (and written) nature of both of those is a major factor. Also, the idea of taking a seemingly hopeless situation and enduring and evolving it into a situation with hope, moving beyond survival to hopefully thriving.

Reburn Creative Team
Reburn Creative Team

Me: What can you reveal to us about the main characters in the book, specifically May, Hope, and Grey?

Shelton: May. She’s powerful, obviously, but also funny and charming. Even in the midst of this situation, she’s reaching for the things that help her feel whole, for example, her relationship to the natural world, her friends, and her memories. Inside, she is a powerful warrior. It’ll be fun to watch her unleash that and begin to take back what is rightfully hers.

Hope. She is May’s nemesis and the “Servant and Leader” of The Unity. She’s brilliant. She saw an opportunity to create the world she believed should exist and she seized it. Absolute power corrupts absolutely but what brought her here? She had good intentions but she lost her way in an epic fashion.

Grey. He’s the CEO of Prism Industries, the company that provides the tech and protocol that keeps The Unity humming. He’s a silver fox who doesn’t understand the word “no” because he never hears it. And he never wants to, least of all from May.

Me: How would you describe the type of role the drug protocol will play in the story and its importance overall?

Shelton: The protocol can function in different ways. May’s protocol is designed specifically for her to allow her (or force her) to function in a way that The Unity would like. Protocol will continue to show up.

Me: Why do you feel it’s important to have an all-female creative team?

Shelton: It was our goal from the start. We set out to tell a female-centered and female-driven story so we wanted it to be grounded firmly in the female gaze from top to bottom.

Me: How did you go about finding each person in your creative team? Can you tell us more about your collaboration with Elise?

Shelton: We made lists, asked for input when we needed assistance, and approached people.

Elise is perfect for so many reasons. She is obviously very talented. Right from the start, we hit it off. This was before the pandemic but we still met via phone and zoom because she’s in Portland, I’m in Los Angeles, and I think Jessica was in Canada at that time. Elise and I see things in a similar way; there’s that magic that you want to have with a collaborator. Also, I just love her as a person and friend.

Reburn Panels

Me: You also wrote and directed the award-winning feature Eve of Understanding. How would you say your feature and essay work relate to Reburn and your writing process in general?

Shelton: I think working in multiple genres gives me a certain confidence that I can do whatever it is that’s asked of me. I can solve the puzzle that is story. Also, feeling comfortable in multiple genres, I get to choose the best fit for the story I’m telling. So far all the essays I’ve written are deeply personal, something I shied away from earlier in my life. Now it feels empowering to own that part of myself publicly, through my words. Fortunately, that feeling of empowerment has definitely bled into my other writing.

Me: What is the number one reason why backers should pledge money to your Kickstarter?

Shelton: Because it’s a fantastic comic book. The story, the art, the characters, the world-building. It’s dark, of course, but also fun, in a kick-ass way.

Me: What inspirational words do you have for aspiring comic book writers?

Shelton: The same words I have for writers in any genre. Keep writing. Work begets work. Find your people, write with them and for them.

Reburn Stretch Goals

Me: You’ve managed to successfully raise over $10,000 very quickly. Can you share some tips with people interested in launching their own Kickstarter campaigns?

Shelton: We approached this Kickstarter like we did everything with Reburn, seriously, and ready to work our hardest to get the best possible result. We thought about our networks and who we could collaborate with or work with to tap into their networks. We strategized and we prepared ourselves to reach out to people. I’ve personally reached out to hundreds of people through text and DM. The conversion rate from email is small, from social media even smaller, but when I reach out and say, “Hey, I did this thing I’m proud of, check it out,” people are more likely to actually check it out. And whether they back it or not is up to them. I see it not as a sales pitch but as an opportunity to let people know what I’m up to and reconnect.

Me: Promote yourself! What other projects are you currently working on that people can check out in addition to Reburn?

Shelton: You can check out my website,, which has links to all my essays, the print versions, and I also recorded audio versions. I’m at work on Reburn Issue #2! And a screenplay entitled The Night We Met. I’m also on Instagram and Twitter, @byalysonshelton.

Reburn Page 3

Me: How would you describe your role as the producer and editor of this series?

Jessica Petelle: As the producer and editor of Reburn, my primary job has been to help build and support our incredible talent. Alyson and I originally intended to take it out as a pitch and go the traditional publishing route, but when the pandemic started taking hold the film I was working on shut down and I really wanted to immerse myself in a creative project, so I proposed we push forward to do the art for Issue #1. It was important to both of us that all the women on our team were paid a fair rate for their work and always felt respected, so we stayed in constant communication with each other on Zoom and produced an incredible product, and became friends along the way.

Me: If you had to pick your favorite character in the world of Reburn, who would you pick and why?

The world of Reburn is so rich and unique. I was one of the lucky few who read Alyson’s early iteration almost two decades ago. She has done such an incredible job writing complex characters and, in my opinion, all of them could have their own spin-off. But, I’m in it for May. I relate to her in so many ways and I want to be on her journey of self-discovery as I reflect on my own.

Reburn Panel

Me: Describe what a day in the world of Reburn is like for the average citizen.

Petelle: In a lot of ways I feel like the average citizen of The Unity in Reburn is like the average American these days—only they’ve seen the culmination of MORE damage from corporate greed, government, and environmental terrorism. May emerges after a catastrophic flood and The Unity thrives during chaos… but how do you truly call for “Unity” if you haven’t fixed the underlying issues? History begins to repeat itself.

Me: What is the number one reason why backers should pledge money to your Kickstarter?

Petelle: The number one reason is that the creative is strong and getting stronger. As fans, we take the fan experience very seriously. We’ve begun work on Issue #2 to ensure there won’t be an unreasonably long gap between the two and our long goal is to get this to a graphic novel. In order for us to stay out of the “big machine”, we have to put in a lot of extra energy and capital so having fans support is what will keep us growing.

Reburn #1 Page 4

Me: As part of an extremely successful Kickstarter, what are some tips you can share with people interesting in launching their own campaign?

Petelle: Be prepared to do the work! We began discussing our Kickstarter campaign last summer and reaching out to our friends who have done successful Kickstarter campaigns. Just like the work on the book, we had to set schedules and deadlines for ourselves so that we could be ready for our launch date. And we have been relentless at reaching out to our network for support. We think it’s paying off!

Me: Promote yourself! What other projects are you currently working on that people can check out in addition to Reburn?

My website is and I’m most active on Instagram @jessicatography.

I am a producer and director in television and film. I recently completed work as an EP and 2nd Unit Director on TRIGGER POINT, an action film starring Barry Pepper and Colm Feore. Also, I’m in pre-production on a supernatural horror thriller series, SAFEHAVEN, starring Stephen Moyer, Belle Shouse, and Antonio Cipriano. I’ll be directing two episodes and producing. As a producer, I am an EP on Laura Vandervoort’s directorial debut short film, MY SOUL TO TAKE, so look out for that too!

Me: Thank you, Alyson and Jessica, for taking the time to indulge in your world with me. Readers, if you’re looking to escape into a different type of dystopian future, check out the Reburn Kickstarter here.

REBURN variant cover by Molly Mendoza
Reburn #1 Molly Mendoza Variant Cover

Do you have a crowdfunding project? Want to be interviewed about it and have the project featured on “Kickstart/IndieGogo/GoFundMe the Week?” Let me know in the comments below or message me on my website. Also check out the official Kickstart the Week: Interviews with Comic Book Kickstarter Creators Volume 1 on Kindle, free for Kindle Unlimited users!

Listen to the brand-new “Kickstart the Week” podcast on Youtube!

Other “Kickstart the Week” text features:

Future Primitive Mag #1


The Ignis Quadrant – Space Western Comic – Chapter 0 & 1

Like Father, Like Daughter #1-7: A Superhero Drama

Celestial Falcon #1-2: Supernatural Warfare, Superhero Style

Related posts

Leave a Comment