Unlikely hero: The new graphic novel 'Code Monkey Save World' comes from the song 'Code Monkey' by Jonathan Coulton.

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Unlikely hero: The new graphic novel 'Code Monkey Save World' comes from the song 'Code Monkey' by Jonathan Coulton.

Pak, Coulton decide to 'Monkey' around

By Matt Moore
The Associated Press

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Monkeys, robots and zombies? That’s the hat trick that musician Jonathan Coulton and writer Greg Pak are featuring in their original graphic novel, “Code Monkey Save World.”

The escapade centers on the eponymous coding monkey that Coulton wrote and sang about to online acclaim is the first pairing between the two. Pak’s other writing credits include “Batman/Superman,” “Planet Hulk” and “X-Treme X-Men.”

Coulton and Pak went to college together, Pak said, adding that he’s listened to Coulton’s music for years.

“I’ve always loved his songs,” Pak said. “He’s like Bill Withers and Willie Nelson and Warren Zevon in that every song he writes tells a great little story, with these strange, compelling, sad, funny characters.

“But just a few months ago, it suddenly occurred to me that Jonathan’s written a ton of songs starring these dangerous but sensitive supervillains and monsters, and that if you put them together, you could have a heck of a supervillain team up comic. And I got on Twitter and said as much. And he tweeted back, ‘DO IT.’”

Artist Takeshi Miyazawa, who drew Marvel’s “Runaways,” is illustrating the books. Jessica Kholinne is coloring the pencils and inks and Simon Bowland is lettering the titles.

To fund the 60-page, four-part graphic novel and to publish it independently, Coulton and Pak turned to the fundraising site Kickstarter. They didn’t have to worry. Against a goal of $39,000, more than 4,000 backers had pledged $159,770 by early Wednesday afternoon.

Many comics creators are turning to online sites for funding to promote their own work and to retain control of their creations. But it’s also a way to experiment with titles that many not otherwise get off the ground.

“I’m planning a few different creator-owned projects right now that follow different models. But for certain kinds of projects, self-publishing makes perfect sense,” Pak said. “Given the size and enthusiasm of Jonathan’s fan base and the fact that Kickstarter lets us put books directly into backers’ hands, this felt like the absolute right way to get ‘Code Monkey Save World’ out into the world.”

The novel will be released digitally through Monkeybrain Comics and Comixology, followed by a paperback edition. Coulton and Pak also partnered with the companies to publish the individual chapters digitally ahead of the paperback edition.

“That also made perfect sense to us given how great the Comixology platform is for reading comics and how amazing the Monkeybrain people are for distributing genuinely independent comics,” Pak said.