Penny Arcade has exceeded the first $250,000 milestone in its Kickstarter experiment to go ad-free, enabling the website to remove its leaderboard advertisement. In keeping with this achievement, Mike Krahulik (Gabe) wrote a post on the Penny Arcade blog earlier today detailing some of the additional "stretchgoals" put in place two days ago. Perhaps the most interesting of these new goals is the $450,000 tier — the "Strip Search" webcomic reality show:
At some point during a PATV episode I brought up the idea of a sort of "America's next top webcomic" show. Essentially Hell's Kitchen for web cartoonists. The response to that concept was overwhelming. Well we've been working on the details and Strip Search is the result. So how does it work?
We would start off by asking for submissions. Any webcomic artist could send us a sample of their work and a quick video of themselves stating why they would like to be on the show. Then we take all these submissions and narrow it down to our cast of 10 artists. They are flown out here to Seattle and live together in a house rigged with cameras. We will then put them through a series of challenges based on the skills needed to run a successful web comic. We will test their artistic skills as well as their business smarts. Tycho and I will knock them off one by one over the course of the show until we are left with one winner.
Using Kickstarter to supplant a year's worth of ad revenue is one thing, but crowd-funding an internet reality show is uncharted territory for a webcomic.
In fact, taking on video production of any kind will be a first for Penny Arcade, making its ambitions even loftier. However, Strip Search isn't the only new stretchgoal — Krahulik's post includes details about a new Twisp and Castby children's book, a new Automata comic strip, and an RPG tabletop game, among others. Raising a quarter-million dollars in four days not be record breaking, but with 29 days and four secret tiers left to go, Penny Arcade's Kickstarter experiment is certainly providing some interesting results.
Update: We totally forgot about Penny Arcade TV...