White Cat Entertainment, with support from Starburns Industries Press—the publishing arm of the studio behind Rick and Morty—is releasing Rise of the Kung Fu Dragon Master, a 100-page graphic novel! Funded through a May-launching Kickstarter campaign, this inaugural project from White Cat Entertainment is the follow up to writer Chris Mancini and artist Fernando Pinto’s first graphic novel together, Long Ago and Far Away, which was released digitally in 2019 from Starburns Industries Press.
While the original goal for the whole book was not quite achieved at the end of 2019, the relaunched campaign has been retooled and broken up into two volumes. The new campaign adds a physical book and pinup artists at launch, and features a lower goal, lower reward tiers, and streamlined campaign.
Rise of the Kung Fu Dragon Master is a comedy/action/fantasy graphic novel about Rick, a small-time crook in Los Angeles who becomes an unlikely hero in a mystical battle between good and evil that has been fought since the days of Ancient China. Fans of Big Trouble in Little China, Rumble in the Bronx, Shang-Chi, Bruce Campbell in Army of Darkness, and even ’80s buddy comedies will find something to like here. Along with the action/comedy, the story explores the self-destruction a life of anger and violence can bring, and how to follow a new path that can lead to peace and balance. But, even so, the book features epic martial arts fights, fantastic creatures, and surly baristas.
“I love mixing genres, and I thought about how cool it would be to mix martial arts, fantasy, and comedy in a modern way that also explores contemporary attitudes towards masculinity, violence, and our personal relationships,” creator/writer Chris Mancini said. “I wanted to tell a big, fun story, where you’re laughing one minute, thrilled by the action the next, and then surprised by a thoughtful character moment.”
In addition to being a stand-up comic and podcaster, Chris Mancini has also written, directed, and produced on everything from soap operas to parenting books to horror films, which are all more closely related than you think. His feature films include Asylum from Lionsgate Films and Ear Buds: The Podcasting Documentary from Comedy Dynamics. His published works include Pacify Me: A Handbook for the Freaked Out New Dad from Simon and Schuster, The Comedy Film Nerds Guide to Movies from Morgan James, and Long Ago and Far Away, a graphic novel from Starburns Press and Studio, who are also developing it into a TV series.
Fernando Pinto is from Chile. He graduated from the Kubert School in ’04 and has worked as a sequential artist ever since. Some of the other comics he’s worked on include Tales of the TMNT, Moon Lake vol. 2, Hack Slash, Monarchs, Eat Fighter, and his own books Warped! and GunPunch, among others.
The Rise of the Kung Fu Dragon Master Kickstarter launches May 1 and continues through May 31. Backers can score all sorts of cool digital and physical rewards, including the entire Starburns Industries Press digital library. Other rewards include getting drawn into the book, and custom art commissions. Since safety is also a concern, this is a NO-CONTACT project. From start to finish, the artists will all be working remotely, and all rewards will be no-contact. There are no tours, personal lunches, or shows as rewards. $8,000 goal. There is one stretch goal, and that’s . . . VOL. 2! So if the stretch goal of $15,000 is hit, everyone will get a graphic novel with both volumes included for the price of one.