Chris Irving is a creative guy who’s always got something cooking. One of his early projects, Leaping Tall Buildings, is still a favorite book of mine. He’s a comics historian and an assistant professor at Virginia Commonwealth University. But with the new year here and his new Kickstarter just launched, it seems like the perfect time to regroup!
He is the latest participant (victim?) of the 5 and 1/2 question format.
Question 1: Your new project looks wild and fun! Can you explain exactly what Mike Allred’s Madmania Saturday Morning Cereal Box Fun Pack is?
Christopher Irving: Sure thing, Ed! I’ve run Fun Pack Madman campaigns where we keep adding more swag (yoyos, stickers, trading cards, you name it!) the more we fund. I was trying to come up with a campaign that would have a great gimmick, and it just felt it was a natural for a cereal box with prizes inside. I’m also a huge fan of creating cool packaging for all my campaigns, so why not START with the packaging and then fill it as we go? By the end of the campaign, we hope to have a box full of more and more goodies, all for just $35 (plus shipping).
The initial Kickstarter goal of $4K funds the cereal box, a Madman yo-yo, a Joe Lombard yo-yo, and two lobby card style 4 x 6 postcards of both Red Rocket 7 and The Oddity Odyssey (think if they came out as drive-in movies in the ’60s). Stretch goals include some mad scientist yoyos, and– A whoopie cushion with THE PUKE!
As I write this, we’re moving towards two new yo-yos: one of Dr. Flem and another of Laura Allred herself (to go with the surprise Mike Allred yo-yo last year).
This campaign met its initial goal in just six hours! That is the benefit of having a regular stable of awesome backers who keep coming back for more.
Question 2: What’s the background on this one? How do you guys ever come up with it?
CI: I’m really, really lucky working with Mike Allred: I just pitch an idea his way and he often just gives me the thumbs up, with approvals and suggestions on the way.
I was really trying to think of creative ways to package a fun pack and nothing says fun more to me than “cereal box”. A good chunk of this also comes from my four-year-old son, Grayson, who is unlucky enough to get breakfast cereals that are BOR-ING when it comes to prizes in the box. Heck, even Cracker Jacks prizes are super-lame! This is a way to go overboard and give him the best cereal box prize experience ever.
Question 3: Exactly who does it appeal to? Old fans? New fans? Cereal fans?
CI: Definitely Madman fans of any generation who love the cool swag! If you’re new to Madman, I’ve been self-publishing pamphlet style essays on each run of Madman (called Madmania!), which can be gained as add-ons and help the newbie learn about the world of Snap City. As for cereal fans, if you collect cool prizes, then this box is for you!
Question 4: I understand you’ve had success with past Kickstarters. What makes your Kickstarters successful?
CI: The backers, first and foremost! I’ve built a really loyal, reliable, and supportive backer base of Madman fans over the past few years. I also build the campaigns with a relatively low overhead for the initial goal, and simply upgrade the main attraction as we continue to fund–which gives old backers more reason to help spread the word of the campaign and gain new ones. That then helps grow the campaigns and benefits everyone who pitches in.
My goal is to give the backers more than their money’s worth by the end of the campaign. I’ve lost my shirt on one or two and broken even on another, but it’s totally worth it when I get nice emails and social media posts from folks who love what I’ve sent out to them.
One thing I’ll never forget is sending a campaign out RIGHT when the pandemic started in 2020 and got a ton of comments from folks who needed that pick-me-up.
Question 5: When does it launch and what will people like most about it?
CI: I launched right after the New Year and we’re going really strong just two days later. I think the best part about the Fun Pack is it gives backers the chance to get even more than their money’s worth through stretch goals. It’s also a chance to get a really substantial and sweet box of unique, limited Madman swag in just a couple of short months. I don’t go back and reprint or have any backstock in case someone misses it–so this is the only chance to grab the Saturday Morning Madmania Fun Pack.
Question 5½ : I know there’s no real cereal involved. But if there was, what cereal, or cereals, would it be?
Ralston made a Spider-Man cereal and Teenage Mutant Ninjas cereal in the ’90s, that were basically the same thing. I’d sit down with a box and eat it dry with Mystery Science Theater 3000 every Saturday night at 1 AM in college, and the sugar buzz kept me up all morning.
EC: Thanks so much, Chris!