Kickstarting Comics: Neill Cameron’s ‘X365’ – Multiple Worlds/Multiple Storylines, Experimental Comics Done So Right
by Richard Bruton
One of the best webcomics I saw in 2020 turns into what will be one of the best graphic novels of 2023 – Neill Cameron’s X365 is funding on Kickstarter right now.
I made a comic, one panel a day, for a whole year. This is what happened.
– Neill Cameron
That’s how Neill Cameron, author of Mega Robo Bros (much enjoyed in these parts!) describes X365, his new graphic novel currently funding over on Kickstarter.
He also describes it like this…
A cyborg detective in a dark futuristic city. A stressed-out freelancer coping with COVID-19, deadlines and a new baby. A lone swordswoman in a ruined, monster-filled world. Each living parallel lives, yet mysteriously connected.
The year… is 2020.
“Cameron began 2020 365 on 1 January 2020 and is delivering it, one panel every single day of the year, all building to something rather wonderful and inventive and clever and ever so entertaining.
Multiple worlds, multiple characters… this is storytelling and clever concept coming together so very well, and it’s so very cleverly done.”
It all came about, according to Cameron, when he had “the bright idea, halfway up a motorway one New Year’s Eve, to make a new comic.” The idea was one panel a day, every day, all the way through 2020. No plan, no prep, just make the comic. Simple, eh?
Well, perhaps it wasn’t the best thing to do in the Plague Year. Especially not when you’ve got a full time job making Mega Robo Bros comics. Especially not when the simple comic project became, in Cameron’s words: “This Fun Yet Demanding Creative Project.”
Anyway, 31st December 2020 and it was done, one panel a day, 365 panels telling a fabulous story across multiple worlds, creative and inventive, eminently readable, completely involving.
And now it’s November 2022 and he’s put everything together into the X365 graphic novel and has decided to crowdfund it on Kickstarter. Not surprisingly, it’s already smashed its way through its target, and is going strong. The Kickstarter ends on 15th December, with copies expected to be shipping out in January 2023. Tiers include digital and print copies and signed and sketched-in copies.
Inside X365 you’re going to be introduced very quickly to three very different worlds, three very different characters.
First of all, you have the cyborg detective with multiple and much-needed back-up bodies who runs X-365 Investigations and has a bit of a techno-vampire problem in a 2020 full of flying cars and futuristic tech.
Next, we meet Hannah, new mom, stressed-out freelancer, and living in a 2020 that looks very much like the one outside your window, with Brexit, Donald Trump, and Coronavirus.
Finally, we discover another world, another 2020, and a lone swordswoman fighting in a ruined, monster-filled world.
Three parallel lives, three very different 2020s. And all coming together as X365 goes on – with Cameron making every single twist and turn work so wonderfully well. And the artwork is simply sublime as well, all those different styles to show you the different worlds, perfectly observed, the tonal shifts adding to the sense of the strange times these characters are living through.
All in all, a stunning piece of experimental comics that does something quite rare in experimental comics – it actually ends up being innovative and entertaining, original and fun. Definitely recommended.
X365 is funding on Kickstarter now. The campaign ends on 15th December and copies are expected to ship in January 2023.
You can catch up with Neill Cameron through his website and Twitter. You can see what X365 is all about as well because it’s still up at Webtoons (latest, from the start).
His works include the graphic novels Mo-Bot High, Tamsin & The Deep, Pirates Of Pangea, How To Make Awesome Comics, Mega Robo Bros (also appearing regularly in the Phoenix Comic,) and the middle-grade illustrated prose books The Awesome Robot Chronicles featuring Freddie from Mega Robo Bros (Freddie Vs School, Freddie & the New Kid, and Freddie the Superstar).
Now, a little preview of the greatness to expect from the first four chapters of X365…