Saturday, November 15, 2008

JUST DO IT pt. 2

Here's the second part of the proposed article I wrote about Dan and I finally creating and publishing our own comic. The first part is here, or just as likely just below this entry. If you haven't read it yet, go check it out, it'll make understanding simpler once you start in on this segment.


Dan and I assumed there would be more people with similar interests to us in Chicago. The few times we had attended we always trawled Artists Alley searching for those quirky individual mini-comics that we appreciate so much. But these people didn't materialize, at least not for WARRIOR27.

It's black and white? Yeah.

There aren't any superheroes? No.

Where are the pictures? That's a profile of Scott Morse. Who?

What's it about? It's an anthology. Huh?

On the long drive home we realized a decision had to be made – admit we weren't made for this and leave it at that, or re-commit and start looking toward the next issue. There wasn't much deliberation. We would take a couple months off and mull over the experience – because we knew there needed to be some serious changes for the second issue – and then come back in January to start all over again.

So, what was needed to improve the book? First we had to find our audience, or at least be more accessible to the audience our book would appeal to. Chicago was just too big and spandex-oriented for our needle in the haystack to be found, if the audience was even there. SPX, the Small Press Expo that just wrapped up, would be our destination for the Summer '06 issue of
WARRIOR27. If our book had an audience it would be there.

Second, we had to be able to answer the question "What is it about?" as that was the most asked question we got, and the one that caused glazed looks when we answered, "It's an anthology." A theme was needed, and as we discussed story ideas, now joined by Matthew Constantine a third aspiring writer, one began to form around our tales, that of odd or broken relationships. This was something people could relate to and it would keep us from stumbling over this again in Maryland.

Third, we wanted more comic stories and we wanted the art to be stronger. Dan and I certainly appreciated the contributions of the artists in the first issue, all done for free I should add, but if we are asking people to pay for our book we really need to give them a good product, and that includes fantastic art. So we put ads on digital webbing [] offering a page rate, and had our inboxes filled with a great number of quality artists from across the globe. Making a decision on artists was not easy, but thanks to the wonder of the internet we got work from artists located in Argentina, Tanzania, the Philippines, and northern Canada in a variety of styles that were of an extremely high quality.

And finally, we scrapped the serial format adopted with the initial issue and only included self-contained comic tales. After our lackluster debut, and the financial reality that we could only produce one book a year at this point, attempting to serialize a long-form story in WARRIOR27 just isn't feasible, nor is it fair to anybody that might buy the book.

With our plan in place we set about working on the production of the book. The artists all hit their deadlines, and added so much to our various stories, and we easily managed to fill 48 pages this time out. There are four comic tales crossing a variety of genres – western, horror, science fiction, and superhero, but with a twist – as well as a short prose story in the vein of Edgar Rice Burroughs with spot illustrations on the facing pages, another "I Hate Brian Michael Bendis" rant and an interview with Top Shelf publisher Chris Staros. We worked on it up until the last minute and then sent it off to the printers.

The books arrived two days before we were to leave for Maryland. They looked great.

But would they sell?

To Be Concluded . . .

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