Comic Confidential #1- Life as an Indie Comic Creator
You pick up your first comic at age 10 or 12 and instantly become enthralled by the muscular heroics of godlike people saving the world in exciting ways from the vilest villains you have ever seen. It becomes a love affair that will change and evolve, but always lasts longer than any other relationship you ever had. At one point it might have take over your whole life and become an obsession. The characters you read became more real to you than your own friends. The greatest day of the week becomes Wednesday, and comic cons become an almost religious event. If any of these various things describe you, then you too are just like me. You’re ComicBooked!
My name is Raphael Moran and I’m an indie comic creator. Since I’m new to the ComicBooked.com family, I wanted to shed a little light on who I am and what I’m all about. Like many of you out there, comics became a lifelong passion for me. Doodling away at my notebook in school instead of taking notes, all I could think about was aspiring to be a comic book creator when I grew up. In hindsight, maybe it wasn’t the greatest decision in the world; but how was I suppose to know the industry was fated to nosedive to apocalyptic levels?
I headed to art school with vigor and passion like you wouldn’t believe. The day I graduated I thought I’d have every comic company coming after me. It wasn’t soon before I realized that a roach in their offices probably got more attention than I would ever have. I floundered here and there doing art jobs until it started to come to a point that maybe that dream of being a comic creator was just that… a dream.
All of that changed when I pitched a comic to Ape Entertainment. That comic series was called, Dream Reavers. I got a fantastic artist named, Marc Borstel to illustrate the series, and crafted a bizarre story that was unlike anything on the stands. My dream had finally become a reality. You would think that, wouldn’t you?
Now that the pleasantries are out of the way, I want to get to the main point of this editorial. I created this “Comic Confidential” to shed the light on the things behind the industry. I want to spotlight people like letterers, inkers, editors, and all of the creators struggling to self publish on their own. Distribution is a serious trouble, for not just indie creators, but for the entire comic industry as a whole. The rise of digital comics are slowly killing print. The landscape of comics are in flux of uncertainty. Hopefully I can give you folks a special insider view of the industry we all love and care about.
Just because the dream comes true, doesn’t mean the nightmares end. The day I finished the last issue of my comic series and sent it off to the publishers was the greatest day of my life as a comic creator. After years of working on this book, it was finally finished. I was soon about to get schooled on the REAL struggle behind the comic industry. Trying to get your book noticed by the public is probably harder than it is to get a publisher interested in publishing it. Most of the bigger comic news sites don’t give you the light of day. To be frank…Most comic shops don’t give a #@%! about comics that are not from the “Big Two” publishers. Indie comics don’t have the marketing power like the bigger companies, so everything has to be more of a guerrilla campaign. You rack up hours upon hours calling every comic shop in the US begging them to carry your book, and send out personalized emails to a thousand different people trying to spread the word. Sometimes you can even mail out hundreds of previews to shops to get their attention. This is why, whenever I meet an aspiring comic creator at a comic con, I tell them the harsh truth… and here I am telling it to you.
After spending countless amounts of money on artists, promotion, and printing, at the end of the day I barely broke even (I’m being generous), but I’ll tell you this every single time… I would do it again in a heartbeat. Maybe I’m just a glutton for punishment, but every time I see a person asking for a autograph or a fan that praises my work, there’s no better feeling in the world. Good reviews can’t pay the rent, but it sure brings a smile to my life. Every time I see a gushing review online, it makes me turn into a giddy school girl. You have to be a special breed to be a indie comic creator. One minute you feel like you’re on top of the world, but reality always smacks you in the face and brings you back down to reality.
In the upcoming weeks you’ll get a chance to get into the minds of various creators from all aspects of the industry. We’ll spotlight various publishers and give you advice on how to market your books. The moment I came on to ComicBooked.com I decided to make it my mission to spotlight the underdogs. So the next time you step back into the comic shop and buy the 10th reboot of the same title and of the same story that’s been told over a hundred times already, take note about what I’ve said. The real heart of this comic industry is at the indie comics section. Pre-ordering is the life blood for us. If a customer doesn’t pre-order a book at a comic shop- more than likely the retailer will not order a copy of the book for their store. So we need your help. We need the comic fans! We put our sweat, blood and tears into our work. We’re not controlled by a bunch of corporate suits. We’re the real 99%. Instead of Occupying Wall Street, how about buying an indie comic instead, and do the world and a creator a favor. We need all the help we can get.
TO BE CONTINUED…
Next week, meet Mark Poulton, one of the busiest men in the comics industry…
You can currently order a copy of the trade paperback of my comic series, Dream Reavers,at Barnes and Nobles, Amazon.com, or any local comic shop or bookstore near you. All you have to do is give them the ordering info below.
Diamond Order Code- DEC110784