I like to consider myself a polymath; A sort of 'jack of all trades.' While I've done many things in my career such as stand up comedy, professional ring announcing, video editing and story consulting, it's writing that is something I'm most passionate about. Though that's yielded a couple of works I'm proud of, I could tell something was missing.
I wanted to be a comic book writer.
I already had an idea for a comic in my mind, and I knew an idea 'in your head' was as good as the paper it was written on. The idea eventually became SILVERSTREEK, a light, meta approach to the superhero genre. During the course of its development, I learned a couple of things that I thought I'd share with you:
1) There's No Money in Indie Comics
That's not to say you can't make money publishing your comics, just realize that it's nearly impossible to "get rich" making them. This fact is especially true for writers, who can never get the amount of commissions an artist can. When you decide to self-publish, understand you have to take on the whole DIY (aka Do it Yourself) aesthetic. Namely, you're doing it because you love to do it, not because you have fantasies of being mobbed at the next comic convention.
In creating the Silverstreek One Shot, I had the pleasure of working with an artist that created something beautiful given my budget. Yes, I did say budget. In most independent comic arrangements, the writer also becomes the publisher. You usually have to find artistic talent and pay them up front, no matter how many copies your book eventually will sell. As a video editor, I understood this. I always walk away from a producer who claims that they can't pay me for a job but can guarantee me "exposure."
2) Superhero Comics Are Doomed (But I Made One Anyway)
Do you like comics? Do you find yourself saying, "I like comics, but I'm not into the superhero stuff?" The thing is, that is a very common sentiment from the comic reading community. Admittedly, I was bit thrown when I was told that "superheroes were lame." I mean, I still read superhero books, did that make me lame? At the time, I decided to shelve Silverstreek because it appeared "old fashioned" or out of date. As the years rolled on, I realized when I was going to the comic shop to pick up Green Lantern Corps or Wonder Woman that, "Dangit, I love superheroes and there's got to be others like me."
For all the talk that indie superheroes try too hard to be different or that you would be destined to be compared to Marvel or DC, I say "so what?" If you have the will to make comics, you deserve to make the comics you want to read. If you're lucky, you'll make the comics that others want to read too, but that's just icing on the cake. At the end of the day, you have to stand behind the product that will eventually bear your name. No pressure, right?
3) Get To Know Doubt. He'll Be Hanging With You For A While.
What if it sucks? What if the printing company I choose does a bad job? What if no one buys it?
All valid questions, and all are questions that will loop in your brain while you create. Doubt is every part of the creative process and it never goes away. When the One-Shot for Silverstreek was released, there was a small part of me that was glad I was 'done.' Then there was this much bigger part of me that just knew I made some sort of mistake.
"What was I thinking?"
That all changed when a small family walked up to me during a signing and offered a "thumbs up." After they bought an issue I realized that maybe things just might work out after all.
The Silverstreek One Shot is available HERE. If you like what you're reading, be sure to support the Silverstreek: Graphic Novel campaign over at Indiegogo.