Tuesday, July 10, 2012

You know who you are? You're the two idiots what want your comics on the Internet...

When I'm not teaching kids the English, reading comic books, writing about comic books, solving crimes for Scotland Yard and hunting the wily and elusive wookalar, I'm thinking of comic book stories.  Comic book stories I half-assedly try to get into print by sending them to a single company, taking two years of silence as the rejection it is, then abandoning the idea entirely until it starts welling up inside me again, which I, in my advanced case of idiocy, assume means it's a story I simply must tell, somehow, someplace, to someone.

How wrong I am.  And yet I must.  Unless I prove too lazy, which is possible.  Drawing a comic is hard work.  It's easy for fools like myself to complain about them or mock them online.  But when you're making a comic you have to think about characterization, pacing, page design, story flow, anatomy, perspective, black spotting, mood.  All kinds of things that have to work in harmony so you don't end up with something embarrassing that people can hold against you while saying, "And you have the nerve to make fun publicly of Superblubber #987?  You ass!"

So here I am, once again threatening the world like some kind of pathetic super-villain.  I may or may not put my skills where my mouth is (or something like that) and show you what I can do.  I have the scripts, and I think they're neat.  They need an editor's tender touch.  That editor will have to be me.  They need an artist.  I'm okay with drawing single figures, or groups of figures doing absurd things as a single image, but I'm not so sure I can sustain storytelling panel after panel, page after page, with perspective and angles and all that good stuff.  I know what that takes and I'm not convinced I have it.  Sure, I could enlist an artist but that would entail nasty contractual matters and legal briefs and boxers and cheekys and thongs and possibly some sort of support girdle and who has the time?

As an artist myself, one who's been burned financially by people well-intentioned and otherwise, I'm not sure I want to involve someone else. I'm also not sure I can afford to commission someone or pay someone up front, which is how I'd prefer to handle it and there are too many horror stories of would-be comic book entrepreneurs ripping off naive young artists.  I've been the latter, not interested in becoming the former.  And should this story become popular enough to involve other media, how then to slice the pie?  How large a slice is equitable?  How can I not become Marvel to someone else's Jack Kirby?  We're talking a very large pie here.  Perhaps as large as the moon, metaphorically speaking.

So the artist will also be me.  While I'm no doubt incapable of doing the work, at least when it comes time to rip me off I'll have my laziness as a way to rationalize it.  "I'd deserve more of the money I earned for myself if only I'd worked harder."  Or something.  I'll be the penciller and the inker.  As well as the letterer, the colorist, the graphic designer and the publisher.

Publisher.  Which means finding a host service.  Is it best to reserve your own domain, or to sign on with one of those web comic hosts?  Those seem to go out of business too often for comfort.  The market for substandard web comics seems pretty well glutted at the moment, too.  Maybe online distribution isn't the way to go.  Would on-demand publishing or something Kindle-related be a better choice?  What I'm looking for is the way to reach the largest number of potential people to ignore my work.

But I advise you not to hold your breath waiting for this miracle of a comic book, this industry-changing phenomenon that will inspire a generation and lead to a new Siglo de Oro for pictorial literature.  I'm always brainstorming these ideas then running out of energy to make them so.

Also, I've just heard of the murder of the Lord and Lady Morley and must put aside dreams of glory to rush off with my intrepid partner Inspector Winship for the Morley mansion deep in the wilds of unexplored England...

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