A Kickstarter Tragedy: ‘sad pictures for children’ goes up in flames

sad pictures for children

It started innocently enough. In May, 2012 Comic artist John Campbell took to the crowdsourcing platform Kickstarter to fund a book based on his internet comic. It was to be called sad pictures of children.

His goal: $8000

Amount he raised: $51,615

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Campbell published 2000 copies of the book and all seemed well. Another Kickstarter victory for the book set.

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Then on Feburary 27th, 2014 in an update to backers titled “It’s Over” Campbell goes on an epic rant that culminates in the burning of multiple copies of the book. Campbell even shares a video of the destruction.

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Campbell says:

I shipped about 75% of kickstarter rewards to backers. I will not be shipping any more. I will not be issuing any refunds. For every message I receive about this book through e-mail, social media or any other means, I will burn another book.

If you would like a refund, please contact a fan of my work directly for your money. This is where the money would come from anyway. I am cutting out the middle man.

You could try to obtain refunds through kickstarter or paypal, through your bank or credit card company. You could try to harass me or inconvenience me or tell other people negative things about me or this kickstarter in the hope that this will affect me negatively. Be aware that each attempt to contact me about this book will individually result in the burning of a book until the books are gone.


Campbell adds that he “will not be responsible for the manufacture of any more unnecessary physical objects. The natural world is being destroyed by unnecessary production.”


Story at DNAinfo Chicago: Kickstarter Fail: Artist Raises $51K to Publish Books, Burns Them in Alley. All photos via DNAinfo/Alisa Hauser