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Webcomic community rallies around artist Rich Burlew

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What's a more impressive statistic: that Rich Burlew's The Order of the Stick Reprint Drive became just the third Kickstarter campaign to raise over a $1 million in funding, or that 17,466 comments were been posted by backers in support of the effort?

If you ask Burlew, the Philadelphia-based webcomic who started his Kickstarter campaign in an effort to reprint and redistribute copies of his third compilation The Order of the Stick: War and XPs, the answer is undoubtedly the latter.

Addressing his 14,952 backers last week on the campaign's Updates page, Burlew wrote:

"It's all you. I make silly stick figures for a living, but you're the ones who care about them enough to make this happen. I couldn't have done it without your help—literally, of course, but also in more intangible ways. Nine years is a long time to draw stick figures, and I've had days where I just wanted to wrap the whole thing up early and move on to something else. But now that I know I have this kind of support out there, it will be that much easier to keep going during the hard times. So I'll keep working to make OOTS better and we'll keep this spirit going through the end of the pledge drive, through the rest of the year, and on into whatever the future holds. Thank you."

Burlew, who worked closely with supporters to formulate 64 different donor reward options— ranging from donations of $10 to donations of $5,000 with options for donating $24, $25, $26, $29 and $32 included in the middle—saw his campaign come to a close last week after raising nearly 20 times the project's original $57,750 goal. The whopping total of $1,254,120 is a figure that can be directly attributed to the overwhelming interest that backers have shown in turning Burlew's dream into a reality.

"Even though I only discovered the webcomic at the end of last year I have read the entire archive and I check every time I can to see if there's an update," backer carlost posted a week after the campaign had gone live. "I will happily pledge more to get more out of print books."

No commenter captured the mood of the project's support quite like backer George Laking, who wrote "OOTS = Major Cultural Phenomenon. It's great to be a part of this."

Photo via Kickstarter