Ever wanted to host a podcast?
Well, here’s a offshoot Spy6teen contest that’ll be right up your alley!
As many of you know, our letterer, Brant Fowler also does a podcast called Zone 4 over at Comic Releated– it’s a really fun pop culture/comic centric weekly podcast, that they were kind enough to invite me onto to celebrate their 90th episode!
Now, Brant and Zone 4′s other host: Ron Fortier are looking for YOU to join their show!
Over the past few weeks it was reported that Zone 4 podcast hosts, Cary Kelley and Chuck Kennedy were leaving the program after two years. In the discussing how to fill the now empty third and fourth seat in this fan favorite weekly show, the two remaining Zoners, Brant “Gonzogoose” Fowler and “Captain” Ron Fortier have come up with a unique contest format that should prove to be lots of fun for all involved. At the same time, it allows our loyal listeners a voice in choosing who will be the next Zone 4 Host.
This is a great opportunity to join an established podcast with a listenership– Plus, both Brant and Ron are really lively conversationalits and awesome folks– Trust me, this’ll be a blast.
Get all the details at Zone 4 on Comic Related!
Good luck, gang! Can’t wait to hear from you!
Welcome to a new Blog@16 series, “Make Comics”– There’s a few reasons I’m moving into the “series” format, the biggest of which is that I think it’ll make the information I’ve posted a little easier to find and presented in a clearer format.
The goal of the series is to get you guys who are waffling on making a comic to go out and MAKE a comic. Everything that you need to know about creating one will be covered in this series. I’m also hoping that a few of the other creators who frequent us will weigh in with their thoughts on the nuts and bolts of the process.
A friend of mine recently asked me for a tutorial on building a webcomic site, and I’ve also had more than a few screenwriter friends asking how you go about making a comic. In the interest of laziness, I can now point them to this series of articles. We’ll be covering everything here– from writing your story to finding collaborators, all the way to pitching to publishers.
Should be fun!
Now, the disclaimer: I’m not Alan Moore. I’m not Scott McCloud. And I’m not Warren Ellis (my liver couldn’t handle being Warren Ellis!)– I’m just a guy who is 3 issues into a comic. But I’ve kicked around the business enough to have gained a halfway decent perspective– so, I figure I’m in an ok place to pass that along.
So with that, let’s get started, shall we?
MAKE COMICS #1: Quit.
Level of Commitment: High.
Seriously. If you’re thinking about making a comic, quit while you’re ahead. It’ll save you a lot of time, money, and frustration.
I get it. You’ve always wanted to make your own comic, put it out there for the world to see– maybe if you’re lucky, you’ll get to make a living at it. Quit the horrible cubical job you have. Live the life of an awesome creator. Make billions off of the cartoon rights.
Except that’s not going to happen. If you want to be a Todd McFarlane-esque Comic Book/Video Game/Toy mogul– you’d really be better served buying 8 lottery tickets a day. Trust me, your odds are better there.
Maybe you aren’t in it for the money.
You should still quit.
You might not realize the amount of time it’s going to take you to really do this thing. If you’re working a day job, it means that you’ll come home after a tough day and have to face a blank page. Why? Because your second shift just started. Would you really work an extra job for no money? Wouldn’t it be better for your bank account in the long run if you just picked up a night time job? I mean, they’ll pay you!
There’s also that video game coming out next week. You won’t have time to play that, despite the fact that everyone on Twitter is talking about how awesome it is.
You won’t have time to hang out with your friends and family. I mean, you’ll be able to squeeze in time here and there– but your mind is going to be elsewhere. That phrase, “Quality Time”? Yeah, that’s gone.
Maybe you don’t have a family– maybe you’re single: Well, you’ll probably stay that way. Because you don’t get to meet people while you’re sitting at home alone and working all night long.
So trust me. Quit while you’re ahead. The road of NOT making stuff is infinitely easier. I haven’t even gotten into the part where you slave for months on a project and everyone you show it to hates it.
…oh, they won’t tell you they hate it. They’ll just whisper behind your back. But you’ll know when they politely smile and say “oh, that’s nice…”
It’ll be easier. Your life will be more fulfilling. Don’t even start…you’ll have more time to take care of yourself. You’ll be in better shape, you’ll have a more active social life, and if you want to pursue this as a full-time thing, you’ll make more money doing something else.
Ok. You can stop reading now. You quit, right?
Or maybe you never left. But I kinda hope you did. Because if you did leave…if you DID go off and quit, you might have learned something about yourself:
You can’t quit.
It sucks. Some people are just wired with a inherent need to create. You tried to leave, but it sucked you back in.
Quitting, and I mean REALLY quitting teaches you something: You can’t do it. Your brain won’t let you.
Like an alcoholic, it’s good to identify. That’s why the first step I recommend is quitting. Because once you come to the realization you can’t– you’ve backed yourself into a corner. You might as well get on with creating, because… you’ve got no other choice.
A man once told me, “Get busy livin’, or get busy dying.” That man’s name was Tim Robbins. He didn’t actually say it to me, he said it to Morgan Freeman, and I am not Morgan Freeman…although I wouldn’t mind if you read my writing in his voice.
Point being, it’s time to get started.
Now, if you’re like me, you aren’t independently wealthy. You’ve got a job because you have bills. You want to quit your job to pursue your comic, but your landlord doesn’t take original art as payment.
Well, you’re actually in luck due to Parkinson’s Law– which states:
Work expands to fill the time needed for it’s completion.
I know how it goes: Wake up, go to work, commute home sucks, you’ve got “house stuff” to do as soon as you walk in the door. Suddenly it’s 11pm and you just want to zone out on some TV.
Weekends are no better– You’ve got errands to run, maybe a birthday party to hit. Plus, you’re exhausted from the week– you don’t have time to create.
But you do…You’ve just got to find it.
And the thing is: You’ll accomplish more in that time than someone who has a totally free day. Why? Because you HAVE to.
I’ve been on a lot of film/TV productions and sets, and there’s a saying there (I think it’s true of a lot of offices as well): You want something done? Ask someone who’s busy.
You’re busy. I know. But the time is there. Just an hour or two a day– scheduled. That’s the important part.
Ever wanted to write a novel, but were daunted by the thought of the massive size an undertaking like that would take? You don’t have the time to write a novel!
But you probably have the time to write one page a day. If you did that, just one page a day, for a year: You’d have a 365 page novel.
You’ve already quit and come back, so there’s no point in denying you have to create. And there’s no reason you’ll be as miserable as I outlined at the start of this piece (you know that was just to weed the weak ones out, right?)– You just have to play it smart.
I’m a tad wary of Productivity Tools– I like to muss with them from time to time, but generally I end up wasting a ton of time futzing around with them and NOT working– thus defeating the entire premise.
That said, here’s your most important productivity tool:
That’s it. Just a desk. A workspace that says: “I’m working here, please don’t bother me.” If you live with family members, you’ll be surprised how effective it is at dissuading them from interrupting you.
It’ll also slowly put you in the mindset of getting things done. This is your space. This is where you get things done.
Speaking of productivity and getting things done, have you heard of the GTD system?
That’d be Merlin Mann’s 43 Folders – Which is a great system of organization and getting things done. Give it a read over– I’m not saying it’s going to be a complete solution for you, it wasn’t for me, but I did pilfer a thing or two out of it that I was able to integrate into my own work habits.
A calendar is really important. Particularly if you’re like me and you’re juggling multiple projects. And honestly, Google’s Calendar is fantastic for scheduling tons of stuff– I actually stole a bit from Wastelands writer Antony Johnson in terms of my calendar setup– check it out:
If you don’t think you have time, start with a log of a week– don’t focus on creating, just figure out what it is you do with the hours in the day. THEN find holes.
If you can, try to schedule your projects to the hours that you work best. For me, I’m a night owl. My strongest creative impulses come to me between the hours of 10pm to 4am– so I schedule my writing session for those times. I’m not always up until 4am…but I know I can be.
(I’ll also suffer for it the next day…but hey: That’s the price of art!)
No matter how hectic your life is, you can figure out an hour or two for yourself a few times a week. Find those times and book yourself. Don’t allow interruptions. Turn off the internet if you can. Don’t check up on Facebook/Twitter– this is not the time.
Now’s the time to create. Like Tim Robbins said: Get busy living, or get busy dying.
Next week: It starts with the Story, stupid!
If this article was helpful to you, please drop us a vote at Top Web Comics!
Back in a bit with a supplimentary blog/contest!!
And next week:
BATTLE IN DUBAI!!
Well, I was planning on starting the new blog series this week– but only hours after we posted up this week’s page, DC Comics dropped a bombshell on the comic book industry– I’m sure you’ve seen the news by now, but if not: They’re rebooting their entire universe in September.
52 brand new #1s– Relaunching/Rebooting everything from Aquaman to Zantana– Here’s the press:
As a guy who has more or less waned in DC proper titles, this actually has me fairly excited for a line of books that I haven’t been keeping up with. Generally, I tend to follow creators more than characters or books (For example, I’ll pop onto Superman if Morrison is writing it, but usually leave after his run is over)– but I’ll admit, I have kind of missed following along with a universe.
DC’s problem has always been that it slavishly chains itself to continuity– I can’t think of the number of books I’ve read where the cliffhanger ending reflects/recalls an event that happened long before I started reading…”AHA! It’s ME! DR. PHANTOMAS!!! — wait, who?!”
I know a lot of long time fans and readers are storming the messageboards, spewing a lot of hate– and believe me, I get it– nullifying storylines that they’ve taken a personal investment in, yeah it sucks. But it’s the bandaid rip that’s needed to happen since…well, since the last time DC rebooted their universe.
I also have a sneaking suspicion this has a lot to do with DC’s move to its new offices in Burbank, and the overall rebranding of DC Comics as DC Entertainment. A new phase for the company as a whole, which is reflected in a rebirth of their titles.
It’ll be interesting to see if this “sticks” or not– kneejerk reaction from most of the fanboy community is that they’ll return to “legacy” numbering within a few years…Particularly in the case of Action Comics, which is only 99 months away from hitting 1000 issues– I mean, reboot or not, that’s a huge milestone, and I doubt that DC won’t capitalize on that.
Of course, the reboot is big news– but for me, the bigger news is hidden in the story: That DC is going Digital Day and Date with ALL their comics. Want Superman #1, but can’t get to the comic store? Download it the same day!
If you’ve been reading this blog for awhile, you know that I’ve been soapboxing day and date for awhile now. So, honestly, I have all the respect in the world for DC stepping up to the plate.
I’ll admit, I’d heard industry rumors about the rebooting of the U for the last few months– but the Day/Date thing? That caught me off guard.
Pricing is interesting–
DC Comics has announced that the oversized Justice League #1 by Geoff Johns and Jim Lee will be available as a print-and-digital edition for $4.99, as well as separately in digital and print for $3.99 respectively.
DC is promising that the print and digital comics across the line will have the same price, with the digital price dropping to $1.99 after four weeks, with oversized comics such as Justice League #1 dropping from $3.99 to $2.99.
I like the fact that they’re dropping the price point for the “digital back bin”– but I still don’t agree with a same price structure for Digital and Print. Really, the only way that you’re going to activly bring in a new audience and/or have your current readers start to make a real switch is to bring value to the digital editions. True Multimedia bonus content, social interaction (a 2.0 letter page perhaps?)– as dopey as it sounds: Building a community and looking at things like badges and ranks– basically, nicking from the Video Game industry– THAT’S the kind of incentives you’ll need to port over a print audience to digital.
Interestingly, Comic Book Resources ran a poll asking what effect day and date will have over their readers:
Interesting to note that it’s roughly 50/50 in terms of those who WILL buy digital and those who are sticking with print. Of course, the thing to keep in mind here is that CBR’s readership is probably 100% comic book readers– and doesn’t reflect the new readership that DC is likely hoping to build with their digital platform.
Speaking of which: I just don’t think $3.99 a book is going to bring in impluse non-comic readers– I do hope they’ve got something in place to whet the appetite of new consumers down the road…say, in 6 months to offer these digital #1 versions for free. I could see that piquing the interest of a bunch of commutators headed to work on the morning train– Iphone/Ipad in hand…
I do understand though- part of the pricing dance is to keep print retailers in the direct market appeased. After all, if you’re opening a new distribution system with the same product at a deeply discounted price, you’re probably going to run your original distributors out of town.
That said, I just don’t think that’s true– If you look at the pie chart above, Digital is really just going to take out 25% of the base– and, I point back to my interview with Graphic.ly‘s Micah Baldwin:
“…because I’ll say things like “I really hope that comic book stores that are not ready for digital, or not willing to work in a way that makes some sense, I do hope they die.” Because they’re not good for the industry.”
Point being, I get why they’re doing the distributor dance– but honestly, if you want to capture a new audience, you aren’t going to do it using the same bait. At some point, you’re going to have to put your chips into the new pot…
Titles and creative teams are slowly being leaked out. Beyond the Justice League (with Johns and Lee), we’ve got 10 more titles that have been announced…
Personally, I’m excited about all of this– and obviously, excited for our friends at DC– and I know I’ll be sampling a number of these #1′s– but what about you? Will you be checking any of them out?
So, yeah– this week with our own little “relaunch” plus getting caught under some work, I didn’t really get the chance to properly prep for the new Blog@16 series– So, hopefully I’ll get the chance to lay all that out this weekend and begin it NEXT week!
The month over at Top Web Comics has reset (is it June, already?!) so now is the perfect time to pass a vote or two our way and help us climb the charts!!
I know I said I was going to change out the incentive– but I’ve been having some trouble with my Flickr account (where said images are hosted)– but I’ll try to get those worked out in the next day or so!
Well, that’s it for this week– we’ll seeya on Tuesday fo…
TROUBLE IN DUBAI!!