Michael Johnson is creating Success!: the world's first comic opera
2

patrons

$18
per month
Who am I?

Hello, everyone! If you're here, you probably already know who I am and what I do. My name is Michael Johnson. I'm a singer/songwriter/composer who has dedicated much of my life to a musical act called Reclinerland. You may or may not know that since I started Reclinerland in 1997, I have released seven albums and toured in Portland, Oregon, England, and all over the U.S., sharing bills with many talented people. I've performed at notable venues such as Berbatti's Pan and the Roseland Theater in Portland, OR, the Moore Theater, the Crocodile, and the Sunset Tavern in Seattle, CBGB's and the Living Room in New York City, The Whisky A Go-Go in LA, the Garage and the 12-Bar Club in London, the Grog Shop in Cleveland, and The Make Out Room in San Francisco, among others. I've also recorded two albums as the singer/songwriter and orchestral arranger for the band Parks & Recreation. If you want more detailed information on what I've been doing with Reclinerland, you can click here: www.reclinerlandhq.com. For Parks & Recreation, click here: www.parksandrecreationhq.com

For those of you who don't know me at all, I'm so glad you're here. I hope that if you decide to become a patron, we can get better acquainted.

Why am I here?

Let me get straight to the point. I created Success! for two reasons. First, I strongly believe that comics and graphic novels are among the most powerful storytelling art forms. Not only that, but I believe that musical theater (including Opera, Operetta, etc.) is the highest form of artistic expression a songwriter can attempt. As far as I know, Success! is not only my first attempt to fuse printed music with sequential art, but it's the first ever. Many artists have used printed music in their art, many musicians are also visual artists, and many visual artists have created printed music, but--and please correct me if I'm wrong--I haven't seen anyone bring the two together in quite this way.

Second, I believe that music is for everyone. Music, as a language, can be spoken by anyone, not just a talented few individuals. Anyone can learn music. Written notes need not be frightening, or daunting. Musical notation can be as wonderful to look at and to comprehend for the musically uninitiated as it can be for the musical expert. I believe that every human being can and ought to speak music as their second language. I hope that in some small way, Success! will contribute to making music more accessible to the world. I hope it increases my readers' appreciation of the beauty not only of musical sounds, but also of musical notation. I'm so glad you are considering joining me on this journey.

The story so far...

My journey toward Success! began in 2008, when I took a hiatus from writing 3-minute songs to write my first musical play. Success! emerged as a modern-day revenge comedy about the stormy relationship between two mismatched adoptive brothers--Nicholas, a gorgeous, vain, effeminate social climber and his brother Gregory, a slovenly, self-conscious, suicidal, struggling painter. The play chronicles their exchange of status as one slips away from, and the other towards, success. The story is loosely based on the novel by the same name by Martin Amis, an author I very much admire.

In addition to being a musician, since I was 10-years-old I've acted in plays and films. Throughout my childhood and into my twenties, I acted in plays with companies in the San Francisco Bay Area; Orange County, CA; Eugene, Oregon; and New York City. I played roles such as Fortinbras in Fortinbras, Horace in The Little Foxes, Orsinio in Twelfth Night, Rosencrantz in Hamlet, George in The Actor's Nightmare, Charlie in What I Did Last Summer, and George in Our Town. In 2004, a short film I did with Grammar School Pictures called This Song, in which I played a hipster version of myself, won a prize at the 48-Hour Film Festival.

In addition to acting and music, I've always loved drawing cartoons. I've drawn illustrated cards for my family members, been paid to illustrate theater posters, and I've even designed a set for a local theater company. Cartooning has always been a huge part of my life. Bill Waterson, Berkeley Breathed, Sergio Aragones, and Phil Foglio remain some of my biggest inspirations in the art of cartooning.

I got the idea to make a comic musical about six years ago, after looking at a copy of the Sports & Divertissiments by Erik Satie, in which Satie's hand-written music accompanies fancy illustrations that dramatize each miniature piano piece. But the idea of exactly how to fuse printed music and sequential comic art came to me while visiting a comic shop in Cadiz, Spain. That's when I rushed home to make my first sketch of the comic book version of Success! 

With your help, Success! will be the world's first comic opera!

I had initially envisioned a web comic in which users could read the comic, while clicking on an mp3 and following along with the music. After I finished drawing the opening number, Success! went live in 2014. At first, I drew the comic with a BAMBOO tablet, but drawing it that way quickly became tedious. So, when Apple came out with the iPad Pro and the Apple Pencil, they liberated me from the tablet. Now I can draw anywhere just like I'm drawing on paper and I can easily create polished looking comic pages. As a result, I upload pages practically bi-monthly.

Success! has been performed once, as an informal table reading in Portland, Oregon in July, 2016. A talented cast of professional actors, plus me reading the part of Nicholas, performed a table reading of the play for a small audience at my wife's house in Beaverton. 

But why Patreon?

After much consideration I have decided to become a member of the Patreon community. Success! is, and always will be, free to consume, which has the natural benefit of keeping it accessible, but unfortunately it's rather unsustainable from an economic point of view. Patreon offers an opportunity for kind, generous individuals who enjoy creative content to support creators in a purely voluntary format. There is absolutely no obligation for anybody to take part, and any monetary transfers on Patreon are far more organic than the terribly impersonal forms of, say, Google AdSense. If you wish to help me improve Success!, and if you wish to see it through to completion, you can become a patron and directly influence its creation.

Where your money goes

Even though drawing Success! has been a blast, it hasn't been easy. Creating a web comic on my own is expensive. The yearly subscription cost for hosting the comic alone takes its toll, but then there are the costs to upgrade the software, the hardware, the equipment costs, the costs of possibly hiring an editor for a final print version, not to mention the sheer investment of time. At the moment, I'm the definition of a weekend warrior, working on the comic as often as I can in between my teaching job. By choosing to become a patron, you will not only help ease the burden of these costs, but you will allow me to spend less time on the busywork associated with teaching and more time on my true passion. Most importantly, you will directly assist me in my goal of making Success! a finished, fully realized work.

My ultimate goal, after completing the web comic version of Success!, is to either solicit publishers to create a printed version, or to self-publish a printed version. Rest assured, no matter what your monthly contribution, I will reward your generosity with a free annotated copy of said printed version, should your generosity help make it a reality.

The nice thing about supporting a one-off project such as Success! is that once the comic is finished, you're generous contribution will no longer be required. I can't say how long that will be, though. At the moment I'm working at a pace of about a scene every two months. This varies depending on how long a scene is, but that's the pace at which I'd like to continue. At that rate, granted, Success! could take a while, but I promise it won't take forever. When it's finished, so will be your generous contributions.

It's worth briefly noting that I'm asking for a monthly contribution. Be assured, though, that even if it takes me a few months to crank out a new scene, even at the $1 level, you will receive monthly content from me. For example, at the $1 level, I will send you some preview pages in advance of the scene's release. Whatever pages I have finished that month, I will send to you, so you can enjoy watching Success! take shape, without having to wait for the monthly upload. 

How to pledge

Well, if you're enjoying Success! and you'd like to become a patron, first and foremost, thank you so very much! People like you are the reason I am able to continue doing what I love. I am immensely appreciative of your support. I promise I will do my part to make Success! the best it can possibly be. In order to pledge, you will first need to create an account. If you haven't done so already, you will be prompted to do so during the following steps:

  1. Click 'Become a patron".
  2. Choose the amount you wish to pledge.
  3. At this point you will be prompted to sign up if you are not already logged in. You can do so via Facebook or by entering your email address.
  4. You will land on the confirmation page, where you can set monthly limits to your contribution and review your pledge. (If you wish to use PayPal instead of a credit card, here is where you can connect your account.)
  5. Click 'Confirm and Pledge' - on the screen will appear a box where you can enter your card information (if you have not connected a PayPal account). Click 'Pledge' and you are now officially a patron of Success!
Note:
  • When you pledge, you will receive the rewards from every tier up to and including the one you have selected. (e.g. if you pledge $10, you will receive the $1, $5, and $10 rewards.) 
  • If you pledge $10 or higher, (my gosh, thank you!) you will be asked to provide a delivery address. This is purely for the purpose of mailing rewards.

Summary

An avid singer/songwriter, I've also loved acting in theater and drawing comics for as long as I can remember. I believe in the power of musical theater and graphic novels to communicate powerful and important themes through the medium of story. I also believe that music can be accessible to everyone. I know it sounds cliche, but music, theater, and the arts are my passions, and with your generous help, Success! can enable me to have my hand in all three. Join me, become a patron, and together, you and I will bring into the universe something entirely new: the first "comic opera".

Again, as long as it's online, Success! will be free. If you'd like to support its creation, I would be endlessly grateful. I am of course greatly thankful for any donation you may be willing to make, no matter how small, but if you do not wish to pledge, I hope you will enjoy Success! and even share it and talk about it with your friends, loved ones, colleagues, and all the people in your life. If you can't contribute in dollars you can certainly contribute by word of mouth. I would greatly appreciate either.

However you choose to contribute to the, well...success of Success! I am pleased to have you on my team. Creating in a vacuum is not only not possible, it isn't very much fun. So thank you! Thank you for reading this, thank you in advance for your generosity.

Have a great day, and I hope all of your endeavors, creative or otherwise, are a success!

With love,

m
Tiers
$1 or more: a success!
$1 or more per month 0 patrons
Wow. Thank you so much for becoming a patron of Success!. At the $1 level you will not only receive an appreciative virtual hug, but I will also send you a few preview pages in the months ahead of each scene's final release. You will also get a big shout out on the blog and in the credits when Success! is finished.
  • access to my patron-only feed
  • early preview content
  • a shoutout on the site blog and in the completed version's credits

$5 or more: a sensation!
$5 or more per month 0 patrons
Well, I'm flattered. Thank you for your generosity! For pledging $5 you will receive automatic entry into a monthly drawing where I will choose a "patron of the month" at random. Each month, I will send this lucky patron a copy of whatever graphic novel or comic I happen to be reading at the time, with a personal message written on the front page. 
  • access to my patron-only-feed
  • early preview content
  • a shoutout on the blog and in the final credits
  • automatic entry into a monthly drawing
$10 or more: a smash-hit!
$10 or more per month 5 patrons
I would like to personally thank you if you decide to pledge at this level. For a $10 pledge, I'll give you:

  • access to my patron-only-feed
  • early preview content
  • a shoutout on the blog and in the final credits
  • automatic entry into a monthly drawing
  • a link to where you can download an exclusive behind-the-scenes digital package: a folder which contains digital files, including a video that shows you how I make a page from Success!, from start to finish.
$25 or more: a triumph!
$25 or more per month 0 patrons
I'm amazed you would want to support my work at all, let alone at this level! Thank you! For a $25 pledge, I will celebrate the release of each new chapter with you by sending you an official Success! T-shirt or mug that has one of my very own drawings on it. (I may have to contact you to personally request your shirt size.)
  • access to my patron-only-feed
  • early preview content
  • a shoutout on the blog and in the final credits 
  • monthly drawing
  • behind-the-scenes video
  • an item of Success! merchandise
$50 or more: a showstopper!
$50 or more per month 0 patrons
Wow. I'm truly lost for words if you decide to pledge at this level. I'd love to meet you personally! Maybe you'd like a drawing lesson? At $50 you will receive:
  • access to my patron-only-feed
  • early preview content
  • a shoutout on the blog and in the final credits 
  • monthly drawing
  • behind-the-scenes video
  • an item of Success! merchandise
  • A one-hour drawing lesson via Skype, occurring monthly for as long as you support the comic.
$150 or more: a feather in your cap!
$150 or more per month 0 patrons
Well, damn. You might as well call yourself an executive producer! At this level, I'd like to see you as a cast member in the comic! At the $200 or more level you'll receive:
  • all previous rewards
  • I will draw you into the comic! Just send me a pic, and you will appear as a character with a small speaking part! 
$250 or more: a classic!
$250 or more per month 0 patrons
My gosh. I am in awe of your jaw-dropping generosity! I can't thank you enough. In fact, I think we should hang out. If you pledge at this level, and you happen to be in the vicinity of Paris, France, I will take you to one of my favorite museums: the Centre George Pompidou. I'll even get you lunch! At $500, you'll get:
  • all previous rewards
  • A day at the Centre George Pompidou with tickets and lunch on me.
Goals
$18 of $150 per month
At this level of support I'll be able to just about afford the monthly fee for hosting Success! on Squarespace, not to mention purchase equipment. It will also finance my beer consumption when drawing in Paris cafes.

  • cover monthly fee for web hosting
  • purchase equipment
1 of 6
Who am I?

Hello, everyone! If you're here, you probably already know who I am and what I do. My name is Michael Johnson. I'm a singer/songwriter/composer who has dedicated much of my life to a musical act called Reclinerland. You may or may not know that since I started Reclinerland in 1997, I have released seven albums and toured in Portland, Oregon, England, and all over the U.S., sharing bills with many talented people. I've performed at notable venues such as Berbatti's Pan and the Roseland Theater in Portland, OR, the Moore Theater, the Crocodile, and the Sunset Tavern in Seattle, CBGB's and the Living Room in New York City, The Whisky A Go-Go in LA, the Garage and the 12-Bar Club in London, the Grog Shop in Cleveland, and The Make Out Room in San Francisco, among others. I've also recorded two albums as the singer/songwriter and orchestral arranger for the band Parks & Recreation. If you want more detailed information on what I've been doing with Reclinerland, you can click here: www.reclinerlandhq.com. For Parks & Recreation, click here: www.parksandrecreationhq.com

For those of you who don't know me at all, I'm so glad you're here. I hope that if you decide to become a patron, we can get better acquainted.

Why am I here?

Let me get straight to the point. I created Success! for two reasons. First, I strongly believe that comics and graphic novels are among the most powerful storytelling art forms. Not only that, but I believe that musical theater (including Opera, Operetta, etc.) is the highest form of artistic expression a songwriter can attempt. As far as I know, Success! is not only my first attempt to fuse printed music with sequential art, but it's the first ever. Many artists have used printed music in their art, many musicians are also visual artists, and many visual artists have created printed music, but--and please correct me if I'm wrong--I haven't seen anyone bring the two together in quite this way.

Second, I believe that music is for everyone. Music, as a language, can be spoken by anyone, not just a talented few individuals. Anyone can learn music. Written notes need not be frightening, or daunting. Musical notation can be as wonderful to look at and to comprehend for the musically uninitiated as it can be for the musical expert. I believe that every human being can and ought to speak music as their second language. I hope that in some small way, Success! will contribute to making music more accessible to the world. I hope it increases my readers' appreciation of the beauty not only of musical sounds, but also of musical notation. I'm so glad you are considering joining me on this journey.

The story so far...

My journey toward Success! began in 2008, when I took a hiatus from writing 3-minute songs to write my first musical play. Success! emerged as a modern-day revenge comedy about the stormy relationship between two mismatched adoptive brothers--Nicholas, a gorgeous, vain, effeminate social climber and his brother Gregory, a slovenly, self-conscious, suicidal, struggling painter. The play chronicles their exchange of status as one slips away from, and the other towards, success. The story is loosely based on the novel by the same name by Martin Amis, an author I very much admire.

In addition to being a musician, since I was 10-years-old I've acted in plays and films. Throughout my childhood and into my twenties, I acted in plays with companies in the San Francisco Bay Area; Orange County, CA; Eugene, Oregon; and New York City. I played roles such as Fortinbras in Fortinbras, Horace in The Little Foxes, Orsinio in Twelfth Night, Rosencrantz in Hamlet, George in The Actor's Nightmare, Charlie in What I Did Last Summer, and George in Our Town. In 2004, a short film I did with Grammar School Pictures called This Song, in which I played a hipster version of myself, won a prize at the 48-Hour Film Festival.

In addition to acting and music, I've always loved drawing cartoons. I've drawn illustrated cards for my family members, been paid to illustrate theater posters, and I've even designed a set for a local theater company. Cartooning has always been a huge part of my life. Bill Waterson, Berkeley Breathed, Sergio Aragones, and Phil Foglio remain some of my biggest inspirations in the art of cartooning.

I got the idea to make a comic musical about six years ago, after looking at a copy of the Sports & Divertissiments by Erik Satie, in which Satie's hand-written music accompanies fancy illustrations that dramatize each miniature piano piece. But the idea of exactly how to fuse printed music and sequential comic art came to me while visiting a comic shop in Cadiz, Spain. That's when I rushed home to make my first sketch of the comic book version of Success! 

With your help, Success! will be the world's first comic opera!

I had initially envisioned a web comic in which users could read the comic, while clicking on an mp3 and following along with the music. After I finished drawing the opening number, Success! went live in 2014. At first, I drew the comic with a BAMBOO tablet, but drawing it that way quickly became tedious. So, when Apple came out with the iPad Pro and the Apple Pencil, they liberated me from the tablet. Now I can draw anywhere just like I'm drawing on paper and I can easily create polished looking comic pages. As a result, I upload pages practically bi-monthly.

Success! has been performed once, as an informal table reading in Portland, Oregon in July, 2016. A talented cast of professional actors, plus me reading the part of Nicholas, performed a table reading of the play for a small audience at my wife's house in Beaverton. 

But why Patreon?

After much consideration I have decided to become a member of the Patreon community. Success! is, and always will be, free to consume, which has the natural benefit of keeping it accessible, but unfortunately it's rather unsustainable from an economic point of view. Patreon offers an opportunity for kind, generous individuals who enjoy creative content to support creators in a purely voluntary format. There is absolutely no obligation for anybody to take part, and any monetary transfers on Patreon are far more organic than the terribly impersonal forms of, say, Google AdSense. If you wish to help me improve Success!, and if you wish to see it through to completion, you can become a patron and directly influence its creation.

Where your money goes

Even though drawing Success! has been a blast, it hasn't been easy. Creating a web comic on my own is expensive. The yearly subscription cost for hosting the comic alone takes its toll, but then there are the costs to upgrade the software, the hardware, the equipment costs, the costs of possibly hiring an editor for a final print version, not to mention the sheer investment of time. At the moment, I'm the definition of a weekend warrior, working on the comic as often as I can in between my teaching job. By choosing to become a patron, you will not only help ease the burden of these costs, but you will allow me to spend less time on the busywork associated with teaching and more time on my true passion. Most importantly, you will directly assist me in my goal of making Success! a finished, fully realized work.

My ultimate goal, after completing the web comic version of Success!, is to either solicit publishers to create a printed version, or to self-publish a printed version. Rest assured, no matter what your monthly contribution, I will reward your generosity with a free annotated copy of said printed version, should your generosity help make it a reality.

The nice thing about supporting a one-off project such as Success! is that once the comic is finished, you're generous contribution will no longer be required. I can't say how long that will be, though. At the moment I'm working at a pace of about a scene every two months. This varies depending on how long a scene is, but that's the pace at which I'd like to continue. At that rate, granted, Success! could take a while, but I promise it won't take forever. When it's finished, so will be your generous contributions.

It's worth briefly noting that I'm asking for a monthly contribution. Be assured, though, that even if it takes me a few months to crank out a new scene, even at the $1 level, you will receive monthly content from me. For example, at the $1 level, I will send you some preview pages in advance of the scene's release. Whatever pages I have finished that month, I will send to you, so you can enjoy watching Success! take shape, without having to wait for the monthly upload. 

How to pledge

Well, if you're enjoying Success! and you'd like to become a patron, first and foremost, thank you so very much! People like you are the reason I am able to continue doing what I love. I am immensely appreciative of your support. I promise I will do my part to make Success! the best it can possibly be. In order to pledge, you will first need to create an account. If you haven't done so already, you will be prompted to do so during the following steps:

  1. Click 'Become a patron".
  2. Choose the amount you wish to pledge.
  3. At this point you will be prompted to sign up if you are not already logged in. You can do so via Facebook or by entering your email address.
  4. You will land on the confirmation page, where you can set monthly limits to your contribution and review your pledge. (If you wish to use PayPal instead of a credit card, here is where you can connect your account.)
  5. Click 'Confirm and Pledge' - on the screen will appear a box where you can enter your card information (if you have not connected a PayPal account). Click 'Pledge' and you are now officially a patron of Success!
Note:
  • When you pledge, you will receive the rewards from every tier up to and including the one you have selected. (e.g. if you pledge $10, you will receive the $1, $5, and $10 rewards.) 
  • If you pledge $10 or higher, (my gosh, thank you!) you will be asked to provide a delivery address. This is purely for the purpose of mailing rewards.

Summary

An avid singer/songwriter, I've also loved acting in theater and drawing comics for as long as I can remember. I believe in the power of musical theater and graphic novels to communicate powerful and important themes through the medium of story. I also believe that music can be accessible to everyone. I know it sounds cliche, but music, theater, and the arts are my passions, and with your generous help, Success! can enable me to have my hand in all three. Join me, become a patron, and together, you and I will bring into the universe something entirely new: the first "comic opera".

Again, as long as it's online, Success! will be free. If you'd like to support its creation, I would be endlessly grateful. I am of course greatly thankful for any donation you may be willing to make, no matter how small, but if you do not wish to pledge, I hope you will enjoy Success! and even share it and talk about it with your friends, loved ones, colleagues, and all the people in your life. If you can't contribute in dollars you can certainly contribute by word of mouth. I would greatly appreciate either.

However you choose to contribute to the, well...success of Success! I am pleased to have you on my team. Creating in a vacuum is not only not possible, it isn't very much fun. So thank you! Thank you for reading this, thank you in advance for your generosity.

Have a great day, and I hope all of your endeavors, creative or otherwise, are a success!

With love,

m

Recent posts by Michael Johnson

Tiers
$1 or more: a success!
$1 or more per month 0 patrons
Wow. Thank you so much for becoming a patron of Success!. At the $1 level you will not only receive an appreciative virtual hug, but I will also send you a few preview pages in the months ahead of each scene's final release. You will also get a big shout out on the blog and in the credits when Success! is finished.
  • access to my patron-only feed
  • early preview content
  • a shoutout on the site blog and in the completed version's credits

$5 or more: a sensation!
$5 or more per month 0 patrons
Well, I'm flattered. Thank you for your generosity! For pledging $5 you will receive automatic entry into a monthly drawing where I will choose a "patron of the month" at random. Each month, I will send this lucky patron a copy of whatever graphic novel or comic I happen to be reading at the time, with a personal message written on the front page. 
  • access to my patron-only-feed
  • early preview content
  • a shoutout on the blog and in the final credits
  • automatic entry into a monthly drawing
$10 or more: a smash-hit!
$10 or more per month 5 patrons
I would like to personally thank you if you decide to pledge at this level. For a $10 pledge, I'll give you:

  • access to my patron-only-feed
  • early preview content
  • a shoutout on the blog and in the final credits
  • automatic entry into a monthly drawing
  • a link to where you can download an exclusive behind-the-scenes digital package: a folder which contains digital files, including a video that shows you how I make a page from Success!, from start to finish.
$25 or more: a triumph!
$25 or more per month 0 patrons
I'm amazed you would want to support my work at all, let alone at this level! Thank you! For a $25 pledge, I will celebrate the release of each new chapter with you by sending you an official Success! T-shirt or mug that has one of my very own drawings on it. (I may have to contact you to personally request your shirt size.)
  • access to my patron-only-feed
  • early preview content
  • a shoutout on the blog and in the final credits 
  • monthly drawing
  • behind-the-scenes video
  • an item of Success! merchandise
$50 or more: a showstopper!
$50 or more per month 0 patrons
Wow. I'm truly lost for words if you decide to pledge at this level. I'd love to meet you personally! Maybe you'd like a drawing lesson? At $50 you will receive:
  • access to my patron-only-feed
  • early preview content
  • a shoutout on the blog and in the final credits 
  • monthly drawing
  • behind-the-scenes video
  • an item of Success! merchandise
  • A one-hour drawing lesson via Skype, occurring monthly for as long as you support the comic.
$150 or more: a feather in your cap!
$150 or more per month 0 patrons
Well, damn. You might as well call yourself an executive producer! At this level, I'd like to see you as a cast member in the comic! At the $200 or more level you'll receive:
  • all previous rewards
  • I will draw you into the comic! Just send me a pic, and you will appear as a character with a small speaking part! 
$250 or more: a classic!
$250 or more per month 0 patrons
My gosh. I am in awe of your jaw-dropping generosity! I can't thank you enough. In fact, I think we should hang out. If you pledge at this level, and you happen to be in the vicinity of Paris, France, I will take you to one of my favorite museums: the Centre George Pompidou. I'll even get you lunch! At $500, you'll get:
  • all previous rewards
  • A day at the Centre George Pompidou with tickets and lunch on me.