Hello everyone. I just wanted to jumpstart some conversations here… 😉
So how about if everyone chimes in with a little bit about themselves?
Are you a creator who’s had some work published? If so, please let us know what that work is below (and where we can see/get it, if possible).
OR — are you someone wishing to be a part of the comics industry, and looking for ways to break in? Let us know what avenue you’re trying to pursue, and what you hope to accomplish. Perhaps someone else here can give some pointers!
Give us some background by replying below!
I’ll start with myself: I was previously a comics store owner (for about a year and a half), and then worked at DC Comics for over a decade (first as a marketing writer, and then as a collected editions editor).
I’ve been out of the industry for over 4 years now, but I still have dreams of writing comics one day. While I’ve had tons of experience as an editor, I’m still a bit uncertain how to pair myself with an artist for something that would most-likely be self-published. Working at a place like DC or another big publisher is a whole different story, and it’s easy to find an artist for guaranteed paid work. But what do you do when you’re trying to find an artist for a self-published or indie project? Is it just a matter of winning an artist over with your writing and concept and taking it to kickstarter or somewhere? I
Anton: I am an artists hag so I make friends with lots of comics artists through message boards and social networking groups like this one. I can’t think of a single comics artist that I’ve worked with or I’m working with who I did not meet this way.
So much depends on a context of relatedness for indie graphic novel to happen and relationships are a long game. I suck at networking but I make friends easily so I stick to relationship-based comics creation.
(A bilingual French magazine about gay comics will have an interview with me that talks about the Secret Origins of my collaborations. I’ll post a link to it when it’s out. 🙂 )
About what I have worked on:
As you may know, I write and art direct gay, character-based, sex-positive graphic novels that are wordless (without dialogue or captions) for an international audience. They’re published in hardcover through Bruno Gmünder GmbH and in digital format through Selz. For your convenience, you can access purchasing options for both hardcover and e-book editions of the books I’ve collaborated on at http://www.dalelazarov.com/ (NSFW!).
Our hardcovers so far are FAST FRIENDS (drawn by Michael Broderick), GREEK LOVE (drawn by Adam Graphite), GOOD SPORTS (drawn by Alessio Slonimsky), NIGHTLIFE (drawn by Bastian Jonsson), MANLY (drawn by Amy Colburn), and STICKY (drawn by Steve MacIsaac). I currently have 21 different digital comics (serialized books, graphic novels and mini-comics) on sale through Selz — both reprints of the hardcovers and digital originals.
About what I am working on:
I have a ton of stuff coming out in the next three years since both digital publishing and Gmünder’s administrative and financial restructuring, which coincided with the speedy sell-through of the first printing of GREEK LOVE, have raised my profile and opportunities to publish.
— Fall 2015: PEACOCK PUNKS, with art by Mauro Mariotti and colors by Janos Janecki
— Winter 2016: PARDNERS with art and colors by Bo Revel
— Spring 2016: BULLDOGS, with covers and concept art by Chas Hunter and linework and colors by Si Arden.
These will be followed by the unscheduled-at-the-moment and in no-particular-order:
— VIKING LOVE with art and colors by Jeff Jacklin
— NIGHTLIFE 2, with art by Bastian Jonsson and colors by Yann Duminil
— SLY with art and colors by mpMann
— CARNAL, with art and colors by theAmir
— TIMBER with art and colors by Player
— SUPER CREEPS with art and colors by Bo Revel
— [Untitled Graphic Novel] with art and colors by Janos Janecki
— I will publish the books listed as they are completed, with serialized stories for CARNAL and SLY, and the last stories in BULLDOGS and NIGHTLIFE 2 joining them. I am also doing a mini-comic with Janos Janecki which is what led to the graphic novel I am now writing for him.
Sorry for the enormous post! :-/
It hit me yesterday that all that comics writers have in common is that they were first known for writing *something other than comics*. I fit that classification as I first wrote literary short fiction which is why Steve MacIsaac asked me to write for him.
First, Sci-Fi writers became comics writers… Then, fanzine writers became comics writers… Then, cartoonists became comics writers… Then, TV and movie writers became comics writers… Now, comics bloggers become comics writers…
See the pattern? So, for you to become a comics writer, you’re going to have to figure out what other thing you’re going to write first. (Knowing artists obviously helped me but clearly that wouldn’t have led to writing comics if I hadn’t published short fiction.)
Does that make sense?
Jonathan Hickman came into writing comics by designing them! I guess he’s an outlier.
Anton: If you’re looking to finance a book through kickstarter, your best bet is to attract and secure an artist who has agreed that, should the project be funded, to be available for the entirely of the production of the book. I’d also look for someone with prior experience completing an entire graphic novel, as a lot of the people out there looking for work are used to smaller projects and might not understand the time, dedication and commitment a larger project requires. Even if their art is great, the last thing you want is your artist dropping out on you once the book has been funded–there’s no guarantee that you’ll fine an artist who will exactly match the budget you had earmarked for your previous artist at the same level of quality.
Once you’ve secured an artist who is in if the book is successfully funded, pay up front for sample pages, art and promotional graphics specifically for your kickstarter. It has the dual purposes of showing the artist that you’re willing to put your money where your mouth–they will notice and remember when it comes time to sit down and do the real book–and making a professional looking kickstarter with the quality of art that backers can expect.
Always get things in writing, and be clear about who owns what and where profits beyond the printing and shipping of the book and any other rewards will go–if you promise partial ownership to another party and they do zero work, cutting them out of the project is no longer a cut and dry, here’s the door action. If an artist is leery about signing anything at all, that’s not necessarily a red flag, but is something to be cautious about.
As for what I’m working on, I’ve been illustrating and co-writing The End for almost 5 years now. We’ve successfully kickstarted our first book (216 pages, yikes!) and are still shipping it out, and are almost finished the contents of a second volume. The end is a sci-fi adventure about two well-meaning aliens who accidentally abduct a group of nerds at a sci-fi and comic convention. It starts off as lighthearted, but quickly devolves into darker themes as we get to know the characters better. It has a large, diverse cast to boot.
I also recently participated in the Valor Anthology, which raised over $1o0k on kickstarter and backerkit (and also paid me, which was very refreshing with how anthologies usually that matter). Drawing damsel-less subversions of fairy tales was really fun, and I got to draw someone headbutting a dude in the face in the middle of a sword fight, which was, unsurprisingly, also really fun.
Ran – Thanks for all the info on funding a book through Kickstarter! Very useful and informative…
I just completed a graphic novel! 3+ years in the making and ready to print. I actually did a Kickstarter fund for it. My very first.
Although, it’s quite a dark journey.
Curious as to what other gay artist think.
Hey everyone! I’m currently working on a Superhero Webcomic with a gay male protagonist called Night Twink. The comic is a kind of spin-ff from the parent Webcomic, Heroes of the World and Beyond, and came about as I was glancing through some of the popular romance based BL comics that have exploded on to the scene of late. I didn’t really feel what they were conveying, and I wanted to depict the more casual and sleazy aspects of gay culture, without the judgement being there.
The comic is an ongoing project and right now I’m just hoping people read and enjoy it, and it gains a good readership. I’d more go down the Patreon route than Kickstarter if I did anything more. It’s personally an interesting project for me as I wanted to do something more grim and gritty than my usual four-colour hero stuff. As much as a lot of Night Twink is pure fantasy I do hope to highlight some of the issues we face in gay culture as I go, such as homophobia, pigeon holing and slut shaming, to name a few.
Thanks for reading and say hi! 🙂
I’m Stuffed Animal: A strictly (and proudly) amateur old-fashioned cartoonist with a unique political perspective: Black, Gay, homeless, feminist-leaning, anti-stereotype. Up until this year, I posted graphic features to my blog that re-imagined the Archie characters as adults and diversified their ethnicities and sexual orientations. Now I’m writing a re-boot of the obscure 1940s superhero Stormy Foster: New costume, new South Asian secret identity, all-new characters and situations.
well I write stories