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Emerald City Comic Con is coming up fast. Our booth is in the usual area just across the sky bridge, but we’ve moved over slightly to be up against the wall. As you can see from the map, this should make for easy viewing coming in from across the sky bridge.
We’re still working away at all our new projects, so we won’t have any new published work, but we’ll have some preview artwork available to flip through from the upcoming Loved & Lost anthology as well as the Safe comic/movie project.
Safe is a project written by Justin Zimmerman as both a film script and a comic script. The film and comic will be released in tandem later this year. The comic features art by Russell Brown, Matt Grigsby and Tadd Galusha. Matt will be at his own table in artist alley, and Tadd will be at our booth on Saturday. Check out Tadd’s amazing cover to Safe:
We’ll also have some signed and sketched copies of Julia Krase’s minicomic, In the Reedy River. Julia provided painted artwork for one of the Loved & Lost stories. We’ll have some of that artwork to show as well.
See you there.
For the sake of this blog post and for everyone’s sanity, I’m going to refrain from making any more jokes about how our guest on the latest episode of The Hyphen-Tanner Comics Podcast also has “Tanner” for a last name. Instead, I’ll stay focused on the reason we invited Jamie onto the show, which is that he’s a Project Specialist for Kickstarter and Ryan and I really wanted to get an inside perspective on how things work and the best way to launch a campaign.
The interview was a lot of fun and most importantly, very insightful. I want to thank Jamie for taking the time out of his busy day to be a guest on our podcast. Everyone should go listen to the episode, but I’ve also written this blog post for the sake of having some of the more useful information in print.
One of the reasons Jamie Tanner was an excellent candidate to become a project specialist at Kickstarter was that he ran one of the very first successful campaigns on it for a graphic novel. In fact, it was through Jamie’s campaign that I first heard about Kickstarter way back in 2009.
Jamie had already published a graphic novel, The Aviary (Eisner nominated), in 2008. He was looking to use this new crowd-funding platform to support the creation of his next project. His campaign was successful and was able to create the graphic novel, The Black Well. And it was through this experience that Jamie began speaking about Kickstarter on panels at conventions and this would lead to his job as project coordinator at the company.
So what advice does Jamie have for creators hoping to run their own successful campaign? He said the most important thing for them to remember is to be as clear as possible. Make sure potential backers understand what it is you want to create, where exactly the money will go, and to be as specific as possible about what backers will get in return for their pledge.
Also, the more a creator can show of the project, the better. And if there isn’t much to show yet, compensate for that by showing past work of the creators involved, such as samples of their artwork or works that’ve already been published.
It was at this point that Ryan asked Jamie if he thought it hindered the chance of success if a creator was asking for money to support their living expenses while finishing the project rather than for specific costs such as paying for a print run. Jamie felt that it could work either way as long as the creator made this clear and based the rewards around it.
As an example, Jamie’s own campaign was for a future graphic novel, which didn’t even have a name for yet. But the rewards centered around getting a copy of The Aviary as well as offering art commissions and prints. This allowed him to deliver many of the rewards before having to finish the project.
One final issue I brought up was my displeasure in going to a project page where I would normally support the project, but just couldn’t find a reward that offered me any value. I don’t mind putting some money down in advance to help a creator, but I don’t see any reason to pay a premium. What I’m talking about here is when a pdf is $20 and the printed (regular sized) book is $50, and so on. By contrast, my favorite projects are those that initially hook me in with great value and each subsequent reward seems to be an even greater bargain. Before I know it, I’ve pledged for the book, the t-shirt, the print and my name in that back of the book, all for one great price.
Jamie concluded the interview by saying that he thought the future of Kickstarter would be determined by how creators continued to use it. There’s still so much potential for different types of projects and unique forms of rewards. Kickstarter has already had such a monumental impact on the comic & graphic novel industry, there’s no reason for us to slow down now.
Jamie’s also provided us with some additional resources:
Here’s a link to some recommended Comics Projects.
Here’s Jamie’s profile on Kickstarter so you can see what projects he’s backed.
And lastly, a link to Kickstarter School, which has some very useful tips.
I really hadn’t been planning on going to Wizard World Portland at all this year. I didn’t go last year (the first year it was held here in Portland) mostly because it was so close to Emerald City Comic Con. And even though Wizard World was a little earlier this year and ECCC is a little later, there still wasn’t much compelling me to go.
Most of the artists there (if not all) were given free tables and I probably could have finagled my way into one, but the price of a convention is more than just table cost. Maybe I’m just getting old (alright, that’s not a “maybe”) but what I find most costly about a show these days is the amount of hours I have to spend under florescent lights being a salesman rather than at home with my family or working in my studio.
So what changed? Well, exhibiting was still out of the question, but I decided I could at least swing by on Friday, the first day of the show. A few of my creator friends were tempting me with the new comics they were putting together for the show. That, and I found out that kids under 10 were free with an adult, so I could take my daughter, Maddy. What a unique idea, attending a comic convention for the sake of fostering a new generation of comic fans!
Maddy was quite excited and even laid out her outfit the night before; a Batman shirt (not-Batgirl, mind you) and a ninja mask. She wore the Batman shirt to school on Friday but I wouldn’t let her wear the ninja mask until after I picked her up.
We managed to get into the show without much incident. It was pretty well organized with plenty of staff working the lines and the show floor. The first major “site” we came across with a Darth Vader in a kilt playing the bagpipes on a unicycle. That’s a Wizard World show for you.
After absorbing much the cacophony of sounds and cosplay that first hits you upon entering the show floor, we opened up our guide to look at the show floor map and track down the books we were after.
Our first stop was to get the new Bandette hardcover. I had been reading this series to Maddy on the iPad. It was put out digitally by Monkey Brain Comics on the ComiXology app, and now published in print by Dark Horse. The hardcover looks really nice and definitely worth buying even if you’ve downloaded the digital issues. Plus Maddy got to meet the creators, Paul Tobin and Colleen Coover.
Next, we went to visit Jonathan Hill. Jonathan was the artist on the amazing graphic novel, Americus (collaborating with writer M.K. Reed). He’s a new project in the works, The Littlest Littles. Maddy and I were excited to get our hands on the mini-comic previewing the story. It’s going to be a good one.
Then we swung by Shawn Aldridge and Christopher Peterson’s table to get the ashcan of there new series, Go Getters. Actually, this one was just for me, but I’ve been waiting quite a while for this. Both Shawn and Chris have been teasing artwork for this series online and it was about time I got to read some of it. It’ll be published by the aforementioned Monkey Brain Comics in February, but this Ashcan provided a perfect taste of what to expect. The story starts off with a bang and the sharp dialog and crisp linework leads you straight through to the cliffhanger ending. Dang it, now I have to wait until the next installment.
With our major tasks accomplished, we had some time to walk around, talk to a few more artist friends, see some of the sites. Maddy got a picture with R2-D2 and another droid. Then she found a toy that she really loved. It was a purple skeleton with painted designs on it, hand-painted by Ma’at Crook.
And that was it. We were done by 6:30 on Friday. On the way out, Maddy made the workers at Starbucks a little nervous when she ordered a hot chocolate with her ninja mask on, but I’m sure that’s not the craziest thing they saw this past weekend.
The best part of it was I got to spend the rest of the weekend as I had intended, spending time with the family and getting some work done. My plan is to have a mini-comic previewing my new project done in time for Wendy’s book launch at IPRC on March 14th. Then we have Emerald City coming up on March 28, and hopefully I’ll have a table at the new small press show in Portland, Linework NW, coming up in April.
Hope to see you guys there.
Our first major even of the new year is going to be a good one. A Wave Blue World co-founder, Wendy Chin-Tanner is having a book launch party for her poetry collection, TURN. The book isn’t actually being published by AWBW (we’ll stick to comics/graphic novels). Instead, it’ll be published by the very reputable Sibling Rivalry Press, who’ve put out some terrific works of both poetry and prose over the past few years.
We will however be hosting the release party at the Independent Publishing Resource Center (IPRC) in Portland, OR. It’ll be on March 14, 2012 starting at 7PM. Wendy will be reading a selection of poems from her book and there will be additional reading by other authors, including me (Tyler). I’ll actually be reading and presenting the artwork for a short story from a graphic collection that will be published later this year from AWBW.
And if that already wasn’t enough, we’re going to have food catered by Jennifer Bryman who has a cookbook coming out this year, wine from the local vineyard, Chateau Bogrumpus & music from the fantastic ragtime/swing band, Jacob Miller & the Bridge City Crooners.
Please join us, it’s going to be a blast!
On the latest episode of the Hyphen-Tanner Comics Podcast, Ryan and I were lucky enough to talk with Joe Keatinge, professional comics writer extaodinaire. Joe started in the business by working his way up through the Image offices, eventually co-editing the Popgun anthology before making the leap to freelance writing where he published his creator-owned project, Hell Yeah! with artist Andre Szymanowicz through Image. That lead to a writing gig on the relaunch of the Extreme titles where Joe penned the new Glory. It was his work on Glory that would open the doors from him to write for Marvel and DC.
Of course, I recommend listening to the podcast first and foremost, but because Joe had so much valuable information to share, I thought it would be a good idea to include a blog post as well. First, to recap Joe’s path as he “broke into the industry,” and then to let Joe, himself, go over one of his scripts for you and breakdown his process.
I. What came across to Ryan and I as we talked to Joe was not only did he have to play the long-game in order to reach this point in his career, but he never stopped hustling or looking for that next opportunity. He got his foot in the door at Image and did whatever they needed, including running convention booths for the likes of Eric Larsen and Robert Kirkman. Then when he was offered a chance to color flat some comics, he took it even though he wasn’t quite sure how it was done. He said “yes” when an opportunity presented itself and figured things out along the way.
This, of course, comes with the caveat that you still have to be good at what you’re doing (or at least reach that point fairly quickly once you start). As Joe said, someone can do all of what he just described and have it still not work out. If his Hell Yeah! script hadn’t been good, he wouldn’t have gotten the Glory gig, and if that hadn’t blown the Marvel editors out of the water, they wouldn’t have given him the job on Morbius. You still have to be at the craft, and part of that is understanding the job of comic script writing.
Alright, so on that note, let’s let Joe go over one of his scripts. To see the script he’s referring to, click here.
II. JOE KEATINE:
The attached script was my contribution to Riley Rossmo’s anthology, DÍA DE LOS MUERTOS entitled ‘Day Of the Dead 3000′. Beyond the surface level goal of telling stories connected into the themes of the Mexican Day of the Dead, the idea was to have Riley experiment with a number of styles. A lot of the stories — and they’re all quite good, including contributions from Peter Panzerfaust’s Kurtis J. Wiebe, Sheltered’s Ed Brisson, Ghosted’s Joshua Williamson, among many others — were either centered on crime or horror, usually with some really touching, somber moments. So, I decided to do a entirely over-the-top, somewhat drug-fueled look at the insanity of 1970s comics, specifically Jack Kirby’s 2001: A Space Odyssey and R. Crumb’s Zap Comix, while still telling a story with a larger theme and something of an emotional core. I thought it would be a great way to push Riley into doing something stylistically he hadn’t attempted before and I couldn’t be happier with the results. He absolutely killed it, as did colorist Megan Wilson.
A couple things on a technical level — it says “Draft 1.0”, but that’s a bit of a misnomer. What that actually means is it’s the first draft I think is suitable for human consumption. The truth is this is already quite a few drafts in. I also work a bit differently than most people, in that I do a lot of the rewriting very early on — in both an outline phase and as I’m writing. And then a bit more. And then I get to the level this script was at where I feel I can send it to someone else without having them think I’m insane. Then there are usually more changes. In most cases I usually rework up through a draft ‘2.0,’ but every single project is different.
The main point to stress is this — the way I work may be entirely different than what works for you and your collaborators. Unlike screenwriting, there is no set format. What’s important more than anything else is communication and in the end, whatever works for you — that’s what works.
visit his tumblr or
follow him on twitter.
See you next time.
For anyone in the pacific NW this weekend, we’ll be exhibiting at the Jet City Comic Show at the Tacoma Convention Center this Saturday, Nov 2. It’s a really good show that just made the move from Seattle to Tacoma for this year. There haven’t been a lot of shows in the Tacoma area, so hopefully it’ll bring in a new crowd that don’t always make it up to Seattle. We’ll be in Artist Alley at table C-08. See you there.
Wow, NYCC ’13 was quite a show. Not that I was expecting anything less (I’d exhibited there before), but still, four straight days of being in an absolutely packed convention center with all that stuff going on… well, my head’s still spinning.
And this year’s show meant a little more to me because it marked my first return to New York City since Wendy and I moved our family out to Portland, Oregon in June of 2012. We planned a 2 week trip because my sister was kind enough to have her wedding the weekend before NYCC (just a coincidence). This meant that we had exactly 3 days after the wedding to visit with family and friends before setting up for the convention on Thursday. Thankfully, my good friend and AWBW editor, Justin Zimmerman made the trip out from Portland as well. He was staying with his friend, Jesse, and the two of them helped me unload all of our material (tables, chairs, banners, books) onto the show floor and set up the booth. I don’t know how I would have managed to set it all up without them.
And then the show began! Preview night on Thursday was relatively calm, but the crowds only increased from there and never let up until the end of the day on Sunday. For me, it was a mix of running into people I hadn’t seen in a while and getting to introduce myself to people I hadn’t meet yet. I swung by a few other booths to pick up some new releases as well as grabbing some of the swag from Kickstarter projects I had backed. This included Violator Union by Shawna Mills, Rocket Girl by Amy Reeder, and Molly Danger by Jamal Igle.
Oh, and for some reason, I spent some of my time on Friday taking Justin’s Youngblood hardcover across the entire convention floor, photographing evidence of it along the way before reaching the end of its journey with a signature from Rob Liefeld. Kind of random, but you can check out the photo set here.
The vast majority of time I spent behind the A Wave Blue World booth. This was actually a bit of a relief as the show floor got so packed it was unpleasant to be out there. Even from behind the booth there were times I just had to wait out the crowds of cosplayers and non-comic fans rushing through. We did manage to extract a good amount of genuine comic fans though. Sales were really good and I love the moment when a new reader discovers our work and tells me this was just the type of thing he/she had been looking for, or that they wish there was more stuff like this in comics. I’ll keep working at it, I promise.
I especially enjoy seeing the varied demographic that buys the American Terrorist graphic novel. A number of military and ex-military personnel bought it, as well as the “anti-establishment” and Occupy types. I wonder if they know they’re reading the same graphic novel?
I also got a chance to “pay it forward” when group of Kubert students (Kubies) stopped by the booth to say “hi” and get their portfolios reviewed. This included 2013 A Wave Blue World scholarship winner, Aysegül Sinav, as well as 2012 winner, Ernesto Sin. I was incredibly impressed with their work. They’ve both gotten so much better and can’t wait to see where they take things from here.
This praise goes for their classmates as well. I did my best to give critiques and offer as many pro tips as I could. The quality of artwork from these current students is really high. I’m glad to see my former school doing so well. The instructors there really know what they’re doing and these students are making the most out of their talent and learning the skills they need to make it as a professional artist in this industry.
Some of the students even mentioned that they’d prefer to work on creator-owned projects when they got out of school. I was glad to hear that. It’s a tough road, but I think things are improving and if we can continue to get more talented creators moving in that direction and pulling together, the future will be very bright indeed.
This week we celebrate the release of the Other Worlds anthology by interviewing the uniquely talented Tym Godek about his work on OW, his 35+ foot long comic, and his upcoming comic which is “not a comic.”
TYM: I live in mid Ohio with my wife and two kids. I’ve always drawn comics, but I kind of aggressively maintain an amateur status in “the field'” as it were. I’m especially drawn towards exploring formal properties rather than genre or character or even story driven work. I like to figure out what makes comics tick. I’ve also become increasingly interested in how comics can kind of cross over into other fields, literature, poetry, gallery art, etc… I like to see comics playing in fields that traditionally belong to other “high” arts. If that sounds too dry and pretentious, I also still make fart jokes from time to time.
AWBW: Well, fart jokes aside, one of the more impressive comics you’ve ever made is the 35+ foot long comic strip titles “!”. This has been called the longest commercially available comic strip in the world due to the fact that not only does it extend to longer than 35 feet, but because you design it, it can also be folded up and flipped through like a standard-sized book.
How did you come up with the idea to do a book like this and what was your process in creating it?
With less than a week to go until the digital release of the Other Worlds anthology on ComiXology (Sept 18), we sit down with artist Matt Grisby to talk about his time working on OW and the many exciting projects he has coming up.
MATT: I think from an early age I always knew I wanted to do something artistic. My Dad used to run a construction business and I would always sit in the office and draw on reams of continuous paper with crayons and pencils, so I think the art gene has always been there. As I got older I started realizing how much I wanted to be a Marine Biologist, but that changed quickly when I realized it was mostly just testing PH levels of ocean water and not doing anything super fun or glamorous. In high school, my love of superheroes came rushing back in to my life, and I knew I had to get in to comics again. As a kid you mostly just looked at the drawings, but as I grew up and started maturing the stories became a big deal too. My best friends Stephanie and Jake told me about this comic shop up by Portland Community College (Sylvania) and we used to sneak away on our lunch breaks Junior and Senior year and go buy comics off of the dollar rack. There was a sweet woman who worked there named Karen, and she eventually left to open her own shop, Karen’s Comics, where I worked for 5+ years as the Wednesday morning shipment receiver. It wasn’t necessarily artistic, but Karen gave me the opportunity to study the retail side of comics for many years while I worked on comics projects. It was awesome.
It wouldn’t be much of a stretch to describe Mike Lawrence as the most instrumental artist on the upcoming Other Worlds anthology. Not only did he provided the cover art for the collection, but he drew 3 of the interior stories. With the anthology now complete, Mike sets his sites on his latest project, Muddy Max, a “middle grade” graphic novel due out in Fall 2014 from AMP! Comics. Find out more in this week’s interview.
Mike: I always wanted to be an illustrator of some sort, I studied printmaking in college because I wanted to illustrated books. Turns out, book illustration is REALLY rare these days. So, after rediscovering comics after a Sandman binge I turned to comics to tell stories visually.
AWBW: What were the first comics you ever read and/or which ones were the most influential to you growing up and becoming a creator yourself?
Mike: I can’t remember the first comic I read, but my best guess would be Spidey or the X-Men. I got to buy comics once a year as a kid before we went on our annual camping trip, and I have fond memories of reading & rereading my Marvel comics. As for biggest influence, I’d say I look to Scottie Young, Jeff Smith, and Frank Quitley for art. Gaiman, Moore (Alan and Terry), Ellis, and Snyder for writing that I wish I could do.