Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Musings and Mayhem

So while blog-surfing today I came across Becky Cloonan's blog, where she linked to Corey Lewis' blog where they were both discussing the problems with the comic book industry in respect to the independent comic creator. I thought I would chip in my 2 cents as well. In most indy comics (and many mainstream comics), monthly single issues do not sell well enough for the publisher to recoup costs, and are in essence, loss leaders that lead up to an eventual release of the books in trade format. Like my book VILLAINS, issues #1-4 were released, and then a few months later, the collected trade was released (still available too, clicky on the links to the right and grab a copy!). Now I was very lucky, I knew from day 1 that my book was going to lose my publisher money, to this day I am still eternally grateful they agreed to publish it. The loss leader mentality can only go so far. The percentage of profit on a collected trade is much more than a single issue, so many publishers have started following the Asian market and began producing OGN (Original Graphic Novels) to try and stay alive, while still producing titles.

They problem with OGN's are the massive amount of work that must go into completing them in one giant, singular effort. When doing a series of individual issues, Issue #1 can be released while the creator is working on Issue #3, they can get an instant sense of satisfaction to help keep their creative energies flowing, and the book can begin to get reviewed, gain momentum, and build an audience. When doing an OGN, the creator might labor for months on end, half a year, more than that maybe, on a single volume. During this time, there is little to no momentum being gained, no audience being built, nothing. The creator can easily get dis-heartened, with no book out there with his/her name on it to promote or discuss, it's easy to feel let down and have your creativity sapped. This is part of the reason I am so frustrated with not having anything on the schedule or set up anywhere. I have plenty of projects I am working on, but with no deadline, or schedule, it is easy to become stagnant. The biggest problem seems to be money. It shouldn't come as a surprise to many, but 90% of comic creators make very little to NO money for doing what they love. We work at night after our "real" job, we work on the weekends, we do it all for the love of storytelling. But putting 6 months or a year into a 150 page book, to never see the light at the end of the tunnel is a hard thing to do.

Personally, my idea is to meet in the middle. Instead of releasing a 150 page OGN, break it up into three 60 page installments, sell them affordably and they can be released every 3 months or so. I have two current projects in development, Coral City Aeronauts and The Ronin of The Ryukyu series that I think would be perfect for this format and that is really the only way I am interested in publishing them. My dream for RoR is for it to be 6x9, 60 pages, b/w and priced at only $5.95. I have 3 volumes in mind, for a total of 180 pages or so. Now I just need to convince a publisher of this....

1 comment:

rory said...

Yeah , it's tough out there. I have the utmost respect for those that keep publishing despite income. You have some good ideas , I hope they work out.