Putting yourself out there. . . .
One of my Navy buddies came back to Texas to visit recently and he asked me some great questions. The ones that stuck out most were what’s it like being the writer of a comic book? Were you scared to put your story out there?
To answer the first question. . .it’s fun, but it’s tough. First off, I never really considered myself a writer but I had a story that I really wanted to share. Growing up reading comic books and using them as an escape, you tend to relate everything that happens to you to something that happened in an issue you read somewhere (ex. in college, I was in a weird situation with a girl that I liked. . .I was also reading an issue of X-Force at the time where Warpath and Siryn were going through some stuff of the same nature). I had several characters in the Marvel/Wildstorm universe that I was very fond of, but the said universes decided to put those characters in limbo. When I started writing, I wanted those characters to influence characters in my universe. Writing my friends and acquaintances into the story made it that much more enjoyable to write. The tough part is re-writing and ensuring that everything is coherent. . .oh, and having a good idea cutoff point. I had my script scrubbed by at least 10 people prior to creating the first issue. The other dynamic is working with artist. . .they have their own style and view of the story. Many times they’ve surprised me with a cool artistic perspective, which means I have have to modify the dialog a bit to fit the said perspective. I’ve been blessed with being able to work with some really cool artists. The worst part of it is that I didn’t have an artist to start so I had to hire them. It took me 25K to get this thing off the ground. While we were getting the first issues off the ground I had to learn to draw. . .still learning. . .to defray the cost of creating comics. My buddy Chris told me that everything comes down to time and money. Now that I’m trying to draw everything, I’m realizing how much time it takes when you’re trying to be a one-man show. I won’t lie. . .it gets to me when I can’t get things done and out there for everyone to read. I’m not a patient person. I still have that military mindset. Things need to be done now. . .lol, but that doesn’t quite go over well in the civilian world.
As far as putting my story out there. . .I think it’s a great story so I really don’t care if someone thinks it sucks. There’s a crapload of comics out there that I think suck, but they’re doing awesome. . .more power to those guys and I wish them continued success. Rejection is the one thing I think people fear when taking on these types of endeavors. . .I’ve seen my fair share of it and some of my mentors have seen it as well. I believe I’ve been given an advantage in life by being shot at and IED’ed on multiple occasions (I don’t recommend it). . .it makes everything else seem so “whatever”. I think the key is believing in your product. . .I definitely do. . .which is why I was willing to dump another 25K+ into the Eidolons short film. Hell, we completed filming over a year ago and I’m still waiting for post production to be complete–I think a normal person would flip. That’s a total investment of over 50k. . .do you know how much Dragon’s Milk or Convict Hill Oatmeal Stout I could buy with that?! Ultimately, it just comes down to perseverance and patience. I have faith that everything will come together when the time is right. I kind of like when people badger me on when the next comic is coming out because it means it’s being read and people are enjoying it. Believe it or not, there are some cats trying to emulate us by writing e-books about “The Enhanced”. David and I had the “The Enhanced” trademarked years ago. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. David can worry about that mess. . .I’m focused on generating product at this point.
All this being said, my advice to any comic book writers out there. . .1) protect your intellectual property before putting it out there (copyrights/trademarks/etc.) 2) find a reliable artist that wants to draw WITH you. . .split the comic sales 3) have professionals or experienced individuals look at your work before you start producing comics 4) Don’t put the cart before the horse. . .ie don’t worry about swag and stuff until you’re actually generating product 5) don’t expect your story to take off right away. . .this is a tough industry. . .people don’t read comics like we did when we were kids 6) Target the right market. . .if your comic is about zombies for example, push you story to people who like zomie stuff. . .I heard the walking dead fan club is really huge (hint hint). I could go on forever with things that I’ve learned since writing my first script in 2005, but I need to go take a shower and get some sleep. . .I’ll continue this some other time.