Comic book heroes aren't always the characters in the books. For creators, fans' superhero strength—and purchasing power—makes some projects possible.
At New York Comic Con this weekend, fans can meet the artists and writers behind works such as "Code Monkey Save World" and "Hollaback: Red, Yellow, Blue"—two of a number of new comic and graphic novel ventures that had successful crowdfunding.
Make no mistake: There's big money in comics. In September, the top 300 comics alone brought in $30.05 million, according to Diamond Comic Distributors. But would-be authors have found that it's not easy to catch a publishing house's ear or to fund the costs out of pocket.
Enter crowdfunding sites such as Kickstarter, Indiegogo and GoFundMe, which let people create campaigns for a variety of businesses, projects and other goals. Last year, such efforts raised $2.7 billion, up 81 percent from 2011, according to research firm Massolution. Estimates for 2013 are nearly twice that.
(Read more: Comic Con draws heroes, villains, comic book fans)
Several panels at this year's Comic Con aim to show fans how to use such sites to their advantage. Not every project is successful—or profitable, experts said.
"When you look at the numbers on these projects and what they've pulled in, it's mind-blowing," said writer Greg Pak, whose "Code Monkey Save World," inspired by the songs of Jonathan Coulton, will be the focus of a panel Sunday, Oct. 13. The project raised nearly $350,000 (see details below). But, Pak said, aspiring writers and artists need to research and calculate all the costs involved in producing and delivering the work.
Artist Jake Parker, now preparing his third crowdfunding campaign, agrees. "I was surprised at the cost of shipping a book to France," he said, adding it's a mistake he won't make again.
(Read more: 7 crazy crowdfunding projects that succeeded)
What crowdfunded works might fans see at their local comic book store? GoFundMe, Indiegogo and Kickstarter reported that these five successful comic and graphic novel projects are among the more interesting they've come across.
—By CNBC's Kelli B. Grant. Follow her on Twitter