Monday, November 1, 2010

Throwaway Horse & "Ulysses Seen"

Throwaway Horse LLC is an intriguing group dedicated to "fostering understanding of public domain literary masterworks by joining the visual aid of the graphic novel with the explicatory aid of the internet." Their inaugural project is a comic adaptation of James Joyce's novel Ulysses and the work is already well underway at their web site Ulysses Seen. Rob Berry is creating the art while scholar Mike Barsanti develops the Reader's Guides and Annotations using all of the resources he can scrounge on the internet. All in all, it's an extremely well-done adaptation of this deeply challenging - sometimes maddeningly so - novel by some very intelligent and talented people.

It is no secret that today's art market is a tough one, and it's difficult to make any kind of living creating art. Rob, the artist, is apparently waiting tables and working on the Ulysses adaptation at night, after work. I can definitely empathize with how exhausting that is. In order to help things along, Rob, Mike and the people at Throwaway Horse have decided to try and raise some funds through something called KickStarter. You can see their page here.

KickStarter is an interesting way to get things funded. The creators set up a page asking for pledges toward a certain monetary goal. There is a specific timetable, and in some cases there are rewards given for certain amounts pledged. No money changes hands until the goal has been met, within the allotted time. This nicely sidesteps the potential complications of creators having to refund money to lots of different people for projects which have only been partially funded, but more importantly it protects donors from slick types who might just take the money and run. It's all pretty new to me so it took me some time to marinate on this and figure it all out.

Friend Daryl Learn Houston of the Infinite Zombies blog made me aware of this, and I honestly believe in the Ulysses Seen project enough that I wanted to mention their funding drive and pass along the link to their KickStarter page. The artist Rob has written a short but great piece at that link explaining a bit about his own history as an artist and how he came to settle on KickStarter as a way to fund this project.

Pledges can be as low as $1, so if you are fond of James Joyce, the novel Ulysses or even just want to learn a bit more about the project, you can do so at their web site here and their KickStarter page here.

Good luck Rob & Mike!


  1. Thanks for posting, Matt. Over the weekend, they jumped by something like 20% closer to their goal. No doubt a bump from a fellow lit artist will help out too.

  2. Thank you so much for the shoutout, Matt. We truly appreciate your kind words and your help as we enter the home stretch of this campaign.

    I should also mention that this past Saturday we began offering some of Rob's original character sketches of random Dubliners as exclusive rewards for $35 contributions. Check them out on the ULYSSES "SEEN" Facebook page. They're a lot of fun.

  3. It's wonderful to see how close they are to their goal already, Daryl. I have no doubt they will achieve it, and eclipse it, well before the deadline.

  4. Josh, you are very welcome, it is indeed a worthy and fascinating project.


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