The life of a self-publisher can be streaky. By that, I mean short bursts of lots of visible activity and then long(-ish) stretches of what looks like nothing. I’d say we’re in the latter, but that doesn’t mean nothing is happening.
So how about an update?
My flagship book, Hologram, is moving along at its own pace. Artist William Caddell and I have been in regular contact, and it looks like the targeted monthly schedule won’t be possible under current circumstances. To his credit, he’s looking at workarounds and alternate approaches. We’re throwing some wet noodles against the wall; hopefully one will stick as there’s a story to be told!
Patriot, my monster of an opening script (that led me to try “chunking” the story into smaller pieces with Hologram), is coming along quite nicely. Artist Tony Lorenz has the entire 33-page story laid out, with complete pencils through page 32 and full inks through page 17. Candidly, I think it looks GREAT. Tony occasionally posts images of pages through different fanzine/small press groups on Facebook, as well as at his personal account, and I strongly suggest you go check it out.
Past that, the book has a cover artist in the prolific and talented Larry Johnson (I literally JUST received his latest cover draft, and it looks GREAT!!)…and I’ve taken up lettering! Not just the caption boxes of Hologram — actual word balloon lettering. It’s been an education, and I’m using the gestation period on this book to build up my skill level. That, of course, means working and re-working the pages a few times to get what I am looking for…but it’s not bad for a beginner! Clean and crisp, with as much room as possible for Tony’s art – that’s the goal! Which leads me to…
Lettering my own script has given me an appreciation for the real estate of the page unlike anything I’ve ever done. Holy cow, I’ve had some dense pages! The lettering process has shown me exactly HOW dense, and also has given me the opportunity to trim dialogue to fit better without sacrificing story. I’m becoming a better comic writer by lettering, really. It’s a revelation.
Lastly on Patriot, I’m more and more thinking that this book will get crowdfunded. I’ll print a small run for United Fanzine Organization members, friends and (of course) Tony’s copies…and then put the book up on Kickstarter or one of the crowdfunding platforms for folks to support a wider printing. As I see it, the benefits of crowdfunding are 1) slightly lower cost per book as it will require a higher book count to be fully funded, 2) wider promotion for Tony’s great (and underappreciated, except by the gang at Power Comics, where Tony was just inducted into their Hall of Fame — Congrats!!) art, and 3) Add-ons via stretch goals that I wouldn’t normally do. I’m soliciting advice from successful comic book crowdfunders and am working up budgets in anticipation of an 1Q 2022 campaign.
Strange Times, the forthcoming periodic anthology where anything goes, continues its development. Artist Alan Groening has shown me some great pages on the initial story, which is exciting as the first issue is a step outside of the hero genre into more of an EC-style short story. I took a stab at a cover but have been let down by my lack of artistic skill (and Photoshop expertise), so the book will have a Tony Lorenz cover (!!!!). Release date….that same 1Q 2022 range?
Lastly on the publishing front, my hero-verse continues to fill out with a hero-specific anthology, Heroic: Heroes Now. Think short stories with my core characters. I am really excited that original Accelerator artist Scott McClung has agreed to help me relaunch the character, and I sent him a character treatment and very rough plot outline to chew on. We’re at the very front end of this, but it’s exciting nonetheless.
But the year is drawing to a close, which means it’s time to take stock of things. And I’m constantly amazed at how the world of small press comics has changed since back in the late 1980s (and, in some circumstances, how it hasn’t…). Production quality can be as good as anything put out by a major publishing house like DC or Marvel – and in the case of Marvel and their lousy tissue paper books, better!! The internet has brought creators together from all over the globe on projects. And then distribution…crowdfunding just blows my mind. And I can’t get enough of it!
I was reorganizing my little Fortress of Solitude and started pulling all of my crowdfunded comics purchases together. I’ve amassed a nifty little collection since diving in back in March. Twelve projects are here on my desk in physical form (I’m a luddite — paper uber alles!!).
So why not share the joy?
With the time that I have in these “in-between days”, I’m going to share those projects. Most likely one project per day and definitely all of them by the end of the month. I’m excited to celebrate what my quasi-hobbyist compadres in self-published comics have been up to!
So starting soon: 2021 Comics Crowdfunding in Review begins!