Kickstarter: My Great Grandfather, the Alien


Shop for the limited edition book My Great-Grandfather, the Alien as featured in Who Do You Think You Are? and Family Tree magazines and winner of a prestigious 2021 Gold Indigo Design Award.

When I sat in a quiet archive, face to face with a photograph of my ancestor that hadn’t been seen for a hundred years, I knew I held a secret worth sharing.

The Kickstarter for my first graphic novel promoted the book of the true story of the mysterious life and death of an alien in Depression-era New York and the secrets he left for me, his Scottish descendant, to bring into the daylight of the 21st century.

Until 2019, I believed that my father’s grandfather had been brutally murdered on New York’s docks for his wage packet on a fleeting visit to the city. What I discovered has changed our perspectives on what may really have happened and inspired me to tell his unique story in a unique way.

My Great-Grandfather, the Alien is the true story of my ancestor Thomas Carmichael. Aimed at age 12-grown up, the scrapbook-style chronicle of this Scot in Manhattan is crafted from the archive photographs and documents that were left as a trail of breadcrumbs for me to follow back through history and use to piece together more of an identity for this black sheep in our family tree. Visually engaging and beautifully tactile, this book offers a fresh take on presenting a family history story.

Each double-page spread brings this mysterious man’s highly unusual story to life with archive photo and historical document montages inspired by Robert Rauschenberg’s philosophy that “you begin with the possibility of the material”.

The book has been endorsed by geneaologist and contributing researcher to Who Do You Think You Are?, Mary Evans, who said it is “fascinating and beautifully illustrated”.

You can purchase this unique book as a treat for yourself or a gift for a family history lover you know, and you’ll be contributing to a lasting memorial to an extraordinary by-gone human of New York when you do.

Limited to just 200 copies – act fast if you want to own a copy before they sell out.

Maple Grove’s Tribute Concert

Oban Times article

Alloa Advertiser

Glasgow Times

Thomas’s memorial fundraiser

My Kickstarter story

Praise for My Great-Grandfather, the Alien

“Fascinating and beautifully illustrated.” Mary Evans, contributing researcher for Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine

“A unique familial passion project beautifully realised.” Trusty Henchman Comics

“This adventure through time is a perfect reminder of the niche comics that come out of crowdfunding.” Comics Beat

“Beautifully illustrated and designed.” Family Tree Magazine

“A Masterpiece.”
Carl Ballenas, author and President of the Friends of Maple Grove, New York

“The book…is lovely and engaging [with] large, thick pages suffused with colour. Each two-page spread is like holding a small work of art on your lap: combinations of words, graphics, and creativity – sharing space with 100-year old photographs, documents and letters. Every time I pick up the book, I think, “I wish I had something like this for my own family.”
Leah Hargrove, Clan Carmichael USA Magazine Editor

My Great-Grandfather, the Alien earned the Kickstarter Project We Love badge.

“Fascinating and beautifully illustrated.”

Mary Evans, genealogist and contributing researcher for the BBC’s Who Do You think You Are?

Be part of this community effort to memorialise Thomas Carmichael and own your own copy of his life story. Available in my Etsy shop.

Special thanks to the Kickstarter Backers who made this project possible:

Adam Fletcher, Adam Sutton, Al Welch, Alex Barber, Alex Eeles, Andrea Motta, Anonymous, Darren & Stacey O’Neill, Chris Berger, Chris Casos, Christopher James Sheridan, Dave Cawthorn, Debbie Carter, Eamonn Byrne, Eric Stott, Gay Hogg, GeoffM, Hannah Leigh-Merrick, Heather & Alistair Merrick, Jack & Alfie Fletcher, Jelle Spelt, Jonathon Mendonca, Katy Penman, Laura Shead, Nuala Hewer, Rachel Goater, Rachelle Smith, Robyn Todd, Rory Geoghegan, Ross Arnold, Ross Carpenter, Ross Lesley-Bayne, Ross McLeod, Sandy Wilkie, Sharene HR, Simon Hogg, Steven Baker, Steven Barrett, Susanna Lee, The Friends of Maple Grove Cemetery – New York City, Tim Hewitt, Val Crumley, Veronica Sondervan and Will Lorenzo.