Now’s your chance to explore the cutting edge storytelling techniques my generation has only begun to understand. To find something new to say, and say it with a clear, strong voice. To create characters with inner lives so deep and outer appearances so varied and compelling, they take on lives of their own. Now’s your chance to tap into the emotional power of facial expressions, and the signs and symbols of the human body. Bring words and pictures together to create ideas and sensations none of us even dreamed comics could produce, and transport us to places we never dreamed comics could go. Whatever tools you use, whatever passions drive you to create — now is your chance to make comics that will leave my generation’s best work in the dust. If you think you have what it takes.— Scott McCloud, UNDERSTANDING COMICS
I interviewed Jeff McComsey. His marketing skills are almost as impressive as his cartooning ones.
A terrible experience for a comic book writer is for a collaborator abandon your project. It’s happened to me several times and it really sucks. I’ve seen a number of posts suggesting that paying an artist is the best way to keep him or her onboard. I vehemently disagree, for two reasons.
- The artist will follow the green: If someone comes along with a better offer, don’t expect your illustrator to stick around if money was the main motivator.
- Freelancers in all fields are notoriously unreliable. If you’re hiring a stranger on the internet, you have no guarantees of professionalism. I’ve had to wait months for pages I paid serious money for and was lucky if I got a lame excuse instead of a string of unanswered emails.
One time, after multiple attempts to contact an artist, I emailed that I needed to find someone else to draw the five pages I hired him for. Two days later I received four pages in my inbox. Three and a half were clearly rushed, lacking the detail he delivered previously. The colorist was able to save the pages, but I still feel cheated by the experience. I paid good money for those pages, but money wasn’t enough to overcome unprofessionalism.
The best thing for a writer to do is get to know artists. Scour the internet for creators who impress you but aren’t known to the masses yet. Just sending one of them a tweet could lead to a friendship and, maybe, eventually, a collaboration. A friend has a much bigger incentive to follow through on a project you are doing together than a freelancer.
Another recommendation: even if you’re friends with the artist, pay him something. He’s putting a lot of work into your story, so reward him. A real win-win is to buy original pages from the comic that you wrote.
There’s a whole lot more that goes into making an artist want to tell your story. For example, when I released a book through a notable publisher doors started to open. I’ll go into more detail on that in another post.
I’m setting up more interviews now. I’ve got a good gig.
My interview with Greg Rucka went up on The Beat today. It was amazing having a half-hour talk with someone who I used to be ecstatic to chat with for two minutes at a convention. It was a really meaningful conversation for me, and it was awesome that he shared his (tentative) plans to create a Lazarus short story collection!
Inspired by the morning sketches from artists like Skottie Young and Chris Samnee, I’m going to try to write regular blog posts to help clear the fogs out of my head and hopefully make the rest of the workday more productive. Here’s my idea for a series about something a story (usually a comic) did to impress me.
It was a light comics week for me, but I was really excited to try out Umbral. I haven’t read a lot from Antony Johnston, but I like what I have, and I agreed with the sensibilities he expressed on Kieron Gillen’s Decompressed podcast. Plus, I’m always in the mood for world building fantasy, so Umbral seemed right up my alley. Warning: some spoilers follow for the first issue.
Action- and fantasy-driven stories are almost always driven by a male protagonist, and Johnston and Mitten deceive us into thinking that principle will hold true here. After a teaser we are introduced Arthrir, a young prince and Rascal, a girl we know little of beyond that she possesses a source of power called Mist stored on her necklace. They discuss how Arthrir uses the Mist to perform magic, essentially demonstrating Rascal as simply a conduit for the male character to take action. Arthrir gave Rascal (and in turn, us) background about the world made him the keeper of knowledge, and knowledge is power/dominance. But then, when a ghoul finds them in a hidden part of the castle…
Arthrir is neatly disposed of. He served his purpose: exposition, paving the way for Rascal to do her thing. I’m excited for the issues to come where I expect her to take center stage like she does in the last 14 pages of #1.
Rating: None, because grading a story is kinda lame
In a few short hours, my first nationally-distributed comic will be released. The contents of Deadless #0 on ComiXology have been in my head for a long time, and I wasn’t sure if I’d ever get to share it with a wide audience. I am so grateful for this opportunity to do so.
If this comic sounds like something you’d like, consider spending two bucks on a digital copy. If you still like it after you read it, maybe tell a friend. Word of mouth is the best way to sell copies, and selling enough copies will ensure more chapters.