All In

So I want to make a comic series…

I’m sure there are many of you in the same boat.  We want to get that published comic out there.  It will be amazing and it will sell millions and hollywood will love it…okay, maybe I’m jumping very far (if ever) ahead. This isn’t a column about how to break into comics.  There are many other columnists out there that will tell you some great tips about producing the medium. Many of the much more qualified than yours truly.

So what am I talking about?

I’m talking about paying your artists.

I’m a writer. Sometimes I think I’m even a good one. One big problem with wanting to write comics, graphic novels, or any form of graphic literature is that comics by their very nature are a visual medium. You need pictures. You need art. You need eye candy, in the form of superheroes, dynamic motion (or the illusion of), or just awesome visuals.

It is your artist that does the heavy lifting with any of your creations in this medium. Comics are time consuming and a lot of work. Good comics are done by multiple people. The cost of actually putting one of these great works of art to print? That can add up fast when you factor in pencillers, inkers, colorists, letterers, editors, coffee, and print costs.

That’s not saying it’s impossible. I have published a comic. And if I can go do it, anyone can.

So how did I do it?

Money helps. Sooner or later finances do enter things, especially if, like me, you are doing your first book and you aren’t known by anybody. Putting together Veritas became a journey, due to the financial pitfalls that came in my own personal life. That said, I persevered and did it.

But you don’t just need money. You need dedication, passion, and a drive to produce something. If the artist isn’t interested, they aren’t going to produce or, at the very least, not produce as well as they could.

So how do I acquire an artists’ services without paying through the nose, and what does any of this have to do with ownership?

On a current project, I managed to talk with an amazingly talented artist in Australia who wanted to do a book. I mulled around what I thought what was a pretty cool idea. She liked it, and we talked about her commitment and mine. After talking we agreed to co-own this project.

Comics are intellectual properties. Properties that can be sold in a multitude of mediums.

Hollywood could come calling in a multitude of ways and if that happens creators hit the jackpot. There are risks (we may not make a dime doing this), and there is a lot of blood, sweat, sacrifice and tears. That said, the potential rewards for doing a story are sky high. The hope we could become the next Walking Dead, Game of Thrones, or even Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is always there. For her and myself, the rewards are worth pursuing the risks.

There are a lot of comics produced by companies, such as Image, that let creators retain ownership. Creative people working together to try and produce something incredible. There are no guarantees, however, there is always a risk involved in pursuing something like this.

This path isn’t necessarily for everyone. There are pencilers who will only work for you for money. They are putting the time and effort to produce a final product. That’s fine. In that case, you negotiate to something you both can live with. If you can’t, you can’t.

Sometimes in life, you gotta go All In. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. Ownership can be a powerful incentive. The artist is now invested in producing the best work they can, and they can knock your socks off. I know my next book will do this when it’s finally ready.

So I want to make a comic series…and I am. Slowly but surely. I hope you all take a look.