Tag: Indie comics

So Long and Thanks for the Fish, Man #010: Indie Comic Book Publishing 101 Part 10

So Long and Thanks for the Fish, Man #010: Indie Comic Book Publishing 101 Part 10

The first comic book I ever bought was in fourth grade. It was an X-Men Adventures comic cribbed from the animated series, which itself cribbed heavily from a combination of Len Wein and Chris Claremont stories, published almost 2 decades prior. I bought it because I loved the “X-Men” animated adventures on Fox Kids, and figured the comic would further flesh out what I’d seen in the episode. It didn’t. But I still loved it none-the-less. After that purchase, I dove head-first into all manners of X-books. But I didn’t know the Brood from Bushmaster and called it quits nearly as quickly as I’d began my new hobby. It would take more than a few years after that to really be interested in comic books again.

My newly-minted best friend, Matt Wright, bicycled to my house in the freezing Chicago winter to deliver a hastily wrapped box with my birthday present tucked inside. A pair of #1 issues of my new found love of Malibu Comics’ Ultraforce and The Strangers — loved, again, because of my viewing of the soon-then-to-be-canceled animated series.

And from the moment I cracked open those books — sitting somewhere between homage and pastiche — I was adamant that I wanted to be in comics too.

With that in mind, after 9 weeks of helpful hints, tricks, tips, and too-green-to-be-called-sage advice? My last lesson is the only one that I can give you with trepidation:

Why do I make comic books? Because I have to.

Personal history aside, the fact of the matter is at my very core, I’m a communicator. Be it in print, in pictures, in song, or in actions… I strive constantly to be a vehicle of entertainment. Over the course of my life — however short or long you personally perceive 36 years on said planet to be — I have been a columnist, an artist, a singer, a stand-up comedian, a marketer, and a generally OK human being. The through-line to literally all of those mediums? That I’ve been entertaining in each; some funny, some heartfelt, some serious, and all existing likely somewhere in-between.

Of all those medium, the one I am proudest of? One guess.

No, it wasn’t stand-up.  Continue reading “So Long and Thanks for the Fish, Man #010: Indie Comic Book Publishing 101 Part 10”

So Long and Thanks for the Fish, Man #008: Indie Comic Book Publishing 101 Part 8

So Long and Thanks for the Fish, Man #008: Indie Comic Book Publishing 101 Part 8

This past weekend, Unshaven Comics attended a bad comic convention. I’ll unpack that a bit in a few moments, but for now, just go on the ride with me. Comic conventions are a mandatory element of our industry. Conventions are the live events that draws together the widest breadth of potential customers to the budding indie creator. From behind an eight-foot table, a would-be artist can get answers to nearly every single burning question they’ll wind up having throughout their comics career. In short? The comic con is a living breathing microcosm of the industry writ large. So pay attention, because:

The Con can make or break you.

Let’s start with this past weekend to provide us a dead body to dissect. I’ll opt not to name the convention where my Unshaven lads and I failed to succeed… because pointing a finger of shame/blame is not only unprofessional, it’s wholly unnecessary. And to boot, the coordinator of the Artist Alley was fantastic to us, and our load in and load out of the show was smooth as silk (once we got our table assignment).

So why did it suck?

In short: The fans didn’t show up. And those who did, were not in the mood to buy. It happens. And when it does, we need to look at the data, the anecdotal evidence, and extrapolate our conclusions.  Continue reading “So Long and Thanks for the Fish, Man #008: Indie Comic Book Publishing 101 Part 8”

So Long and Thanks for the Fish, Man #007: Indie Comic Book Publishing 101 Part 7

So Long and Thanks for the Fish, Man #007: Indie Comic Book Publishing 101 Part 7

If you google my name, and “Kickstarter”, “Crowdfunding”, or “Needs Money”, you will undoubtedly find a plethora of articles I’ve penned detailing my complicated thoughts on the matter. But, time has passed, and as such, it’s time within the context of this series to imbue you, the newly-minted would-be comic creator, with my hot take on all of your fancy IndieGoGoKickStartGoFundMe’ing. In short:

Crowdfunding is the blessing and bane of the indie comic movement.

Let’s just go ahead and lay out the forest before inspecting the trees, shall we? The good part about crowdfunding is that it offers the chance to level the playing field when it comes to raising funds before a project is ready to go—allowing successful campaigns to have a honey pot from which to build a budding empire. With the toolsets of all the major players set, crowdfunders enjoy having a working platform to process payments, organize purchasers, and promote their project both socially as well as natively to the crowdfunding site itself. And when a creator is extra good at creating a buzz? Well, sometimes those crowdfunding sites will organically promote those on-the-rise campaigns which can snowball a project from funded to stretch goals in a matter of hours. It’s exhilarating.  Continue reading “So Long and Thanks for the Fish, Man #007: Indie Comic Book Publishing 101 Part 7”

So Long and Thanks for the Fish, man #005: Indie Comic Book Publishing 101 Part 5

So Long and Thanks for the Fish, man #005: Indie Comic Book Publishing 101 Part 5

This week, I am most likely to shoot myself square in the foot. And not with one of those fancy 3D-printed ghost guns you’ve been hearing all about. And not with one of my dozens of Nerf blasters. You see, I’ve been around the indie comic community enough now to divulge a little bitty secret no one would tell you openly about. It’s one of those “unspoken” head-nod dealies. A little grime on the underbelly of an otherwise joyous and hilarious community I’m proud to be a part of. If only on the far reaches of it. Because kiddosؙ—

There is a cool kids club, and I ain’t in it.

The key to remember is that in any industry, there will always be a social stratum. Niches within niches. Diversity where you’d think there’d be only commonality. What this means, in short, is that even within the tiny universe of comic book creators… there’s a cool kids club that you don’t just get to belly up to.   Continue reading “So Long and Thanks for the Fish, man #005: Indie Comic Book Publishing 101 Part 5”

So Long and Thanks for the Fish, man #004: Indie Comic Book Publishing 101 Part 4

So Long and Thanks for the Fish, man #004: Indie Comic Book Publishing 101 Part 4

Onward Comic soldiers… marching on to cons! I hope you read that like the little ditty from Sunday school. Further down the rabbit hole of comic creation, we find ourselves at a foothold that will define you and your brand for years to come. One misstep could lead you from indie darling to worthless sham artist in a matter of swathes of a brush. Hyperbole? You bet. But we absolutely need to discuss the matter at hand:

Your Product is Your Brand.

Take a stroll down the aisles of artists in the alleys of comic cons (aka “Artist Alley”) and you’ll soon find that they all fall into one of a few basic categories: Book Pushers, Famous-Enough-Not-To-Need-To-Sell(ers), Original Artisans, and Mad Merch Guys. Now, everyone (of course) is a unique snowflake — so they will all be a certain percentage of one, and another percentage of another — but these categories all basically define not only what we sell, but how we sell at a comic con.  Continue reading “So Long and Thanks for the Fish, man #004: Indie Comic Book Publishing 101 Part 4”

So Long and Thanks for the Fish, man #003: Indie Comic Book Publishing 101 Part 3

So Long and Thanks for the Fish, man #003: Indie Comic Book Publishing 101 Part 3

 And so, we soldier on! In this my third installment of my ten-part series on playing the game of Independent Publishing, I turn away from the negative to embrace the positive. Where part one saw me bitterly biting folks over my trust issues, and part two was a wicked warning on the evils of exposure… this week, I’m opening up a topic that truly has no seedy underbelly! Wait, don’t quote me on that. This week, I implore you to consider this:

Networking is necessary.

No one is an island unto themselves if they want to be a success. Crack open nearly any comic worth its salt, and you’ll see colorists, letterers, editors, and others throwing in to the mix. When you’re starting out as a creator, shake hands with everyone you can. Because the next hand you shake may wind up saving your book in the eleventh hour. But let me not get ahead of myself… We should slow this down some.  Continue reading “So Long and Thanks for the Fish, man #003: Indie Comic Book Publishing 101 Part 3”

So Long and Thanks for the Fish, man #001: Indie Comic Book Publishing 101 Part 1

So Long and Thanks for the Fish, man #001: Indie Comic Book Publishing 101 Part 1

Indie Comic Book Publishing 101

Part 1: Trust is Earned

For those (few) who know me, I sincerely welcome you back to the Snark Show. For those uninitiated? Allow myself to introduce… myself. Oy.

My name is Marc Alan Fishman. I have been in the indie comic book publishing game now for about ten years. My studio, Unshaven Comics, has been slinging pulp and paper in the trenches of comic cons from our home base in Chicago, to as far east as New York, to as far west as Denver. Over my decade of work — as a writer, artist, designer, letterer, colorist, marketer, salesman, and company chauffeur— I have amassed a sundry sack of salacious sapience for the would-be indie darling. In addition, I’ve also become quite adept at useless alliteration. Natch. So, you want to make comic books? I’m going to take you on a journey over the next ten weeks dissecting what could have been a nifty listicle, and expanding each of my ten points into full-fledged advice columns.

Let’s start with the single most important thing I’ve learned in my decade (and change) of comic bookery:

Trust is earned. Continue reading “So Long and Thanks for the Fish, man #001: Indie Comic Book Publishing 101 Part 1”