Advice for Those What Want to Make Comics

Hi. I understand if you are surprised to hear from me. I have been absolute rubbish at keeping up my goal of blogging every week or so. On the bright side, the busy days have been reasonably creative. Thank you for your patience.

My friend (and technically, cousin by marriage) June Madeley asked me to speak to her class at UNBSJ about making comics, especially making them yourself. I have given this talk several times in the past and while some aspects of the talk haven’t changed, others have thanks to my own efforts to “level up” some aspects of what I do, from art to publishing and marketing. (Incidentally, if you feel like making a drinking game out of this post, take one every time I say “level up” in the following post.) I had a fine time babbling at the class for just under an hour. What follows is the notes that I more or less followed for that talk.

So if you want a nice long post about making comics from my perspective, you’re in luck. Here it is. If not, I promise the next post will probably be more of my usual nonsense. If you want more art and writing advice, I highly recommend you check out my tumblr devoted to exactly that.

Apologies for the formatting and scattered tone – someday I will pull all of this stuff together into a more helpful package. For now, it’s a bit of a brain dump.

  1. The Inspirational Part

I think, especially when we’re young, we look at other people doing things we want to do, and we think, it’s too much, it’s too big, I can’t do that, they have some kind of natural talent that I don’t. I remember thinking those things myself, and sometimes I still do even though I have been making, publishing and selling my own comics for over 25 years.

These fears are of course irrational. They come from the limbic system of the brain, which is sometimes called the lizard brain. It’s the little part of our brain that is in charge of the “fight or flight” instinct, but it’s not very good at distinguishing between actual danger and just stuff that just makes us anxious because it’s new or strange to us. I recommend that you start building the mental muscle that quickly and firmly tells that part of your brain – the lizard brain that wants you to be careful and safe- to shut up. Except in situations where you actually are in danger, of course.

Sometimes people ask me about writing or drawing or whatever and it seems like they are looking for a magic word or some secret knowledge or shortcut that will get them to where they want to go, which I assume is a lucrative and enjoyable career, perhaps with a side of fame. I’m happy to report that there is a magic word, but you might not like it: it’s “time.”

When you’re young, you don’t have much patience for the word time. You’ve already had people telling you for years to be patient, that all things will come with time. The good news is, you don’t have to be patient anymore. You don’t have to look for secret knowledge or shortcuts. You’re on the clock, starting now, and you have the rest of your lives, which I am sorry to inform you, will sometimes pass far more quickly than you would like.

The good news is that unlike when I started, the general public is pretty into comics these days, sometimes without even realizing it. Comics are all over pop culture and making their way into academia and even the fine art world here and there. In many ways, I see comics as the cannabis of the art world. Disreputable, regarded as kids stuff, but a secret guilty pleasure for many and as it comes into the mainstream, people are realizing that both could have benefits that we didn’t realize before. And much like cannabis, there are parts of the world where making comics (or the wrong kind of comics) will get you killed.

I don’t mean to scare you, or push you somewhere you don’t want to go. You’re here because you want to make comics. And I’m here to tell you: you’re ready. So go home tonight and take a few minutes to assess your goals and your skills and identify what you need to improve so that you can use your skills to achieve the goals.

Pick your first target, something you can achieve, and get it done. Celebrate getting it done. Post the results on the gram or tumblr or deviantart or whatever, as long as it’s a place where if there is an option for people to leave feedback, it should be an atmosphere of constructive feedback. Then pick the next target, and repeat for as long as you want to.

In the end, do what makes you happy. You only get one life, and let’s face it, this life can be hard. Your art can be a place for you to entertain others, but also to learn about yourself, and in doing so, hopefully, give you a regular dose of the happiness that comes with finishing something. Make it part of your process to step back and look for what you should level up next.

As I said in a blog post earlier this year, the older I get, the more I am convinced that fear is the thing that we must fight hardest against. The lizard-brain that makes us hate and suspect any stranger, any deviation from the path we think is safe. Kill it; kill your fear dead, and be free.

  1. My system

I thought it might be useful today to talk a little about my system. I’m not saying that it should also be your system, but hopefully you’ll find something in it that helps you get started on yours. I encourage you to check out my art advice tumblr as well.

During the last couple of years I have developed a kind of loose project management method, inspired by some books that I’ve read and interviews with cartoonists where they talk about their process. I have what I call a “funnel” for creating things. It’s widest at the top, where ideas enter. As they get fleshed out, eventually they progress down to a narrow neck, where they get put into real production; I make a rough schedule for getting each thing in the “neck” done and then start writing and sketching. Eventually I finish the pages and they go to the final stage, publishing in print or online (or both), emerging as a finished project from the spout, ready for distribution, sales, and promotion.

I scribble down a lot of random ideas that get thrown into the funnel for later development, and I usually work on a few things at a time so that one thing might be just getting started, one might be halfway done, one might be nearly done and so on. Sometimes I go for a stretch concentrating on just one project, other times I might jump between 2 or 3 projects the same day. I don’t really care as long as I spend at least as much time creating stuff as I do consuming stuff.

  1. Leveling up

  • Take inventory of your skills, your goals, and while you’re at it, yourself. What are you good at now? What do you want to get better at? What kind of person are you? Do you like working with others or are you more introverted? Are you progressive or conservative by nature? (Digress about this if there is time)
  • Start generating ideas. You probably already have some dream projects. Start writing down what they would look like when they are finished. Are there any smaller ones that might make a good first project? Or even just a short scene that you could start with?
  • Don’t worry about tools. Worry about using your projects not just to tell a given story, but to also develop a given skill. Maybe you want to do a tribute to the classic Marvel comics of the 60s; wouldn’t that be an excellent place to work on colour, or action sequences, or hand-lettering and special effects? Or maybe you want to develop more on the writing side – what if you did a short story with next to no dialogue, so that you had to tell it with body language and other devices? Or what if it was all dialogue, with minimal art?
  • Develop your system, as I did with the funnel approach that I told you about. How your system looks and works will depend on how you like to work. But remember, just like your art and writing skills, your organizational and professional skills can level up too. Don’t be afraid to step back and look at where you could improve. There’s no right or wrong system or tools, as long as the system keeps you moving forward and finishing the things you want to make.
  • Don’t let your inner critic or any other lizard-brain tricks, or cultural indifference discourage you. Make your pages. Level up. Make more pages. Level up some more. Learn to be professional. Post your best work in an online portfolio. Take commissions. Charge what is fair for your prints and originals. Fan art is fine – keep making it. But when it’s time to be professional, be professional. That means knowing what questions to ask about an assignment, doing the work well, on time, on budget. Even if the publisher is you. Develop a professional mindset, learn some basic project management skills, and level those up as well.
  1. Best Practices, Tips, and Resources:

Check out my zine called “In No Particular Order” online for more of this kind of thing.

  • Try all the jobs in making comics, at least once, end to end from having the idea to publishing and distributing. It’s OK if the result is ugly. The ugly pages become the foundations for the beautiful ones.
  • Try deconstructing an existing comic. Draw thumbnails of each page and storyboard what happens with stick figures. Take the dialogue and revert it back to a Word document in script format.
  • Look for professionals online who have gotten where you want to go. Chances are at least one of them has written about or been interviewed about their process. If you’re an artist, do what apprentice artists have done for millennia: copy the masters. Learn the techniques they use and try them yourself.
  • There are many, many tutorials online for almost everything you will ever need to do to make comics. Some applications like Clip Studio have dedicated user support resources and channels.
  • Read your scripts out loud. Sometimes your ear will catch things that don’t sound right once they’re vocalized.
  • Get a sketchbook and start filling it. Practice drawing people, plants, vehicles, animals, abstract things. Do life drawing classes if you can. Get in the habit of drawing what you actually see, not just what your brain wants to autocomplete.
  • Remember the magic word: time. Time is what governs comics. We manipulate the flow of dialogue, artwork, and other elements in order to transmit a story to the reader. Do you know who else can manipulate time? Wizards. So if it helps, think of yourself as a wizard. Alan Moore does. (Please don’t turn me into a lizard, Alan. Or do. Maybe that would be for the best)
  • Recommended reading:
    1. On Writing by Stephen King (yes, that Stephen King)
    2. Understanding Comics and Making Comics by Scott McCloud
    3. Comic Book Inking by Gary Martin and Steve Rude
    4. Comics and Sequential Art by Will Eisner
    5. How to Think When You Draw by the Etherington Brothers
    6. Perspective for Comic Book Artists by David Chelsea
    7. The Human Figure by John VanDerPoel
    8. Directing the Story by Francis Glebas
    9. Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain by Betty Edwards
    10. Blogs and newsletters by Jesse Hamm (art advice), Warren Ellis (writing advice and thoughts)
  1. A hopeful conclusion

I hope this has been useful for you. I hope that you go forth and start taking the steps down the road to completion of your comics goals, whether it’s a short minicomic or a phonebook sized graphic novel. I hope that if you have any questions, today or anytime in the future, you will reach out and ask. When you have something ready for people to see, I insist that you send me a link or tell me where to buy it. And I hope to see you at next year’s conventions, at a table with your comics.


So that was the talk I gave. I also wrote answers to some more technical and background questions that June has posed in the past, so for the sake of completeness, here’s that too:

  1. How did you come to be a comics creator?

I loved them growing up. When I was in college I was stuck for an idea for a paper for my Linguistics class and decided to write an essay about comics. Later, in grad school, I wrote a thesis about comics and how they work narratively, using Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ Watchmen – still relatively new at the time – as a case study. This caused a bit of consternation in my department, but they gave me the degree. We asked Will Eisner, one of the great American cartoonists, to be an external reader but he was busy with a book tour.

While writing the thesis I took a foundation year art class to try to understand the visual side of comics better, and after graduation I started making comics of my own. At that time, there was a rising wave of personal and autobiographical comics like Seth’s Palookaville, Julie Doucet’s Dirty Plotte, and Harvey Pekar’s American Splendor, among many others. My comics have always tended to be in that tradition. I sent some of the early ones to Eisner to thank him and let him know that I was continuing on from the thesis that way, and he replied with an encouraging letter. I think that pretty much sealed it. No matter how much or how little success I ever have selling the comics I make, and no matter what else I get interested in or where my life goes, I think I’ll always make comics of some kind because it’s how I most prefer to communicate with the world.

  1. What specific tools do you use to create and has this changed over time?

The parallel story of my comics career is of the technological changes. When I started in 1990, I went to art supply stores and bought the same tools that professional cartoonists used then, which were basically the same tools that advertising departments used to assemble pages in the 1950s. I had a burnishing tool for applying sticky alphabets of letters and zip-a-tone benday patterns. I had French curves, a T-square, a lettering guide, plastic oval and circle templates, assorted pencils and brushes and nibs and inks.

In the late 90s I trained to become a graphic designer, and my first job in the field gave me access to Photoshop and the other Adobe graphics tools, as well as a big scanner and an expensive colour laser printer. Eventually I was able to afford some of those tools for home as well, and bought a small Wacom graphics tablet. I eventually shifted to an entirely digital workflow, using an application that is now called Clip Studio Paint, and started making more webcomics than print comics.

These days I use whatever tools I like using the most at the time, which at the moment is a blue or graphite technical pencil for a lot of rough drawings, which I might scan and finish in Clip Studio, or I might ink and colour on illustration board or some other analog surface. In fact, the last thing I published was an 8-page comic where all of the original pages were created entirely with analog tools, including hand-lettering. I like doing a lot of analog sketching and colouring now, I feel like my art is leveling up more quickly as a result.

  1. Has comics ever been a full-time gig for you? If not is it hard to fit in time to create around a regular job and other obligations?

No, it hasn’t, and considering the kind of comics I make, I never really expected it would be. As for if it is hard to find time, yes and no. I have gone through periods where I take a break from making comics for one reason or another. In the last few years I think I have found a good balance, because I work from home but my wife is a student with a very irregular schedule, I can usually find a couple of hours a day to work on whatever I’m working on.

  1. What ways have you used to distribute your comics? Have some been more successful than others? do you have recommendations for good ways to self-distribute comics?

Comics distribution is wretched, in a word. I have distributed my comics in person to shops on consignment, through the mail in catalogs like Factsheet 5 or Broken Pencil; on the internet through various avenues; at conventions where I am a guest or tabling in artist’s alley; and now, thanks to the advances in print on demand, my book collections are available to stores, online and to the public through Amazon.

As for recommendations, I think your publishing and distribution options will be very much determined by the sort of material you produce. Everyone can make a webcomic, so that’s a good and low risk way to start. If the kind of comic you want to make is traditional Japanese manga, you may have to figure out that market or try to work with a publisher already in the market, like Tokyopop. I don’t mean to endorse any particular publisher, by the way – just giving examples. If the kind of comic you want to produce is on the fine art side, you might be able to work with a publisher like Koyama Press or a distributor like Spit and a Half.

I don’t do a lot of digital distribution – it’s a genuine deficit on my part that I should work on correcting. When I do, I will look more seriously at getting my books into channels like Comixology, as well as general bookstores and libraries. You can pretty much spend all of your time trying to get the word out about your books, if you have the patience for that. I don’t. As much I like the print design aspect of publishing, I hate promotion, so that’s something I need to start looking for help with.

Unfortunately, living in the Maritimes does not help matters either. The population is small, and while there are some great comic shops and bookstores, self-published and small press comics tend not to have the sales and built-in awareness of mainstream comics. If you live in a larger city like Montreal or Toronto, there would be a few stores that sell zines, and some of them should work with you from the Maritimes through the internet. Thanks to the population and the art school and other colleges, Halifax does have a thriving comic and zine scene despite the obstacles.

  1. How do you come up with the stories? Have you ever worked with a writer? We looked closely at a writer’s script and then at the final pages (Staggar Lee by Derek McCulloch), do you think it is harder to create on your own or do you prefer that? If so why?

I like working on my own because I’m a bit of an introvert, and because it allows me to change my working method or pause a project or drop it entirely if I feel like it. I wouldn’t feel so free to do that if I had collaborators to worry about. I collaborated with a couple of friends who wrote scripts early on, and I collaborated with my wife on a webcomic a few years ago, but otherwise I generally do most of the jobs myself.

During the last couple of years I have developed a kind of loose project management method, inspired by some books that I’ve read and interviews with cartoonists where they talk about their process. I have what I call a “funnel” for creating things. It’s widest at the top, where ideas enter. As they get fleshed out, eventually they progress down to a narrow neck, where they get put into real production; I make a rough schedule for getting each thing in the “neck” done and then start writing and sketching. Eventually I finish the pages and they go to the final stage, publishing in print or online (or both), emerging as a finished project from the spout, ready for distribution, sales, and promotion.

I scribble down a lot of random ideas that get thrown into the funnel for later development, and I usually work on a few things at a time so that one thing might be just getting started, one might be halfway done, one might be nearly done and so on. Sometimes I go for a stretch concentrating on just one project, other times I might jump between 2 or 3 projects the same day. I don’t really care as long as I spend at least as much time creating stuff as I do consuming stuff.

  1. Do you have some sort of art training? Are you self-taught. Which path would you recommend?

I had the aforementioned foundation year art class in graduate school, plus an art history elective in my BA. Otherwise I am self-taught. I know that there are programs out there where you can learn to make comics  – the earliest ones like the Kubert school were essentially updates of the illustration schools that used to advertise in comic books. Now, there are so many options that you should probably just do what works for you. Some people thrive in a classroom, with a bunch of peers to interact with in a specialized program. Or, you could watch instructional videos for nearly anything you want to know about on YouTube, or you could start going to drink and draw events if your city has one, or find other erstwhile cartoonists who want to rent a workspace together.

I’m a big believer in trying everything you can. Why not? My only cautionary note is not to spend money you don’t have. Fortunately, it is cheaper than ever to make near-to-professional-grade comics and get them in front of people. My main hope for today’s beginning cartoonists is that they will try all the jobs involved, really get their hands dirty making something new and personal instead of just trying to be the next Spider-Man artist or even the next Chris Ware. Be the first you in comics. No one else can do that.

 

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A New Decade

As I write this, I have exactly one week left in my forties, and that is a strange feeling. Not a bad one, exactly. But very strange. I was talking with my mother recently, as we sometimes do on the phone, about the disconnect between mental age and physical age. Because they had me in high school, my parents were always younger than other people’s, and my mother could justifiably say stuff like “I can’t believe my son is 30!” when she was not yet 48 and could still pass for 40.

Anyway, she said something that I had been feeling for some time but hadn’t really articulated. It is simply that once you hit a certain age, your hypersensitivity to how old you are drops off. Perhaps you remember being a kid under 10 and demanding that people recognize you were 7 and a half, not just 7. I grew up younger than my cohort after skipping grade one and it was a bizarre experience, in retrospect, to go to college having just turned 17. What the hell were we thinking back then?

Mom told me that even as she approaches 70, she feels like she’s about 50. And I, at nearly-50, feel like I have the energy and kind of engagement with the world that someone in their 30s would have. Or that is just the age group I relate to? She told me how her mother, the late great Alice Amero, always talked about feeling young. It is a good way to be, I can’t deny it. Where does this ability come from? Does everyone have it? Is it healthy? I couldn’t say. But this vague and probably unimportant delusion is where I currently rest, like an old man on a bench in a mall, waiting for his wife to finish smelling things in Lush.

So how are you doing? Well, I hope. I last posted here two months ago and joked about how infrequent I have gotten with posting. That’s the kind of year it’s been, like we are in one of those weeping angel episodes of Doctor Who. Every time we blink, something weird and disturbing appears behind us. But you can’t just go around with your eyes bulging open, so we carefully blink and keep making adjustments to whatever new horrors have appeared.

These days I am mostly trying to get some drawing done and finish up some comics in time for DCAF, which is less than two weeks away. I am fairly certain that I will get at least one of them done. And then, after the show and the week off that precedes it, I will rest; by which I mean I will go back to my day job, but at night I will relax and play video games or something until my guilt overtakes me and I start spending my evenings trying to learn a 3D sculpting program or something.

Meanwhile time keeps on slippin’ slippin’ slippin’ into the future as Steve Miller so infuriatingly predicted. My very general plans are to draw comics this month, finish and revise a short novel next month, do Inktober in October, do National Novel Writing Month in November, and then do my usual December rituals of making some gifts and gift tags, updating my website and scanning stuff, and generally getting organized for next year. What was 2018? Where did it go? Blink.

Anyway, since I am posting so infrequently now that you could fairly assume that I have taken up residence on the event horizon of a black hole, here are some things I should plug while I have your attention:

  • I have a new online store! I spent a long time tinkering with it and trying to ensure that the shipping costs were going to be fair. If you want an autographed book, or Story Mode cards, or if you want to commission a piece, you can do it all there.
  • Come say hello at DCAF on Sunday, August 19th at Alderney Landing in Dartmouth if you are going to be in the area. It is always an enjoyable show with cool stuff to see.
  • I finally launched the Story Mode card game, and you can try it yourself for free by downloading and printing the cards or you can order a set from me while supplies last through the new online store, or you can get some from me at DCAF. If you are an English Lit or drama nerd, a teacher, actor, improviser, or card game nerd, you will probably find something to enjoy in Story Mode.

That’s it for now. Thanks as always for reading. I hope you are having a good summer.

One of Those Days

I woke up this morning earlier than my wife, as I typically do, and sat on the couch in pajama pants and a t-shirt catching up on the internet or playing the daily rounds of Fairway solitaire. I read a story that was really upsetting and shared it to facebook, and felt my mood shift. I entered an emotional funk that was not really lifted for a few hours, when I read another long article, this one not so much upsetting as grim, but it seemed to help. In between I spent a lot of time with the Buddhist Voice in my head, reminding me to seek balance. My asshole brain took that as a cue to start spinning comics ideas out of whatever BV said.

While Nicole visited her family in the afternoon, I finished writing the script for the latest episode of Sunday Night in Cinema 3 and was pleased with it. I recorded the episode, pausing the recording at one point while the cat made some noise getting dry food from her food puzzle. Yes, I said food puzzle. I finished the recording just before Nicole got home.

We talked and made dinner, watched some TV, and I went to edit and publish the podcast. I edit along until I get to the part where I paused for the cat noise and… there’s nothing after it. I don’t know if I didn’t resume the recording properly, or if I somehow deleted the second section, but in any case, it isn’t there. So the episode will be a day late, I will re-record the missing section tomorrow and publish it after work.

One of those days. But honestly, I’m not bothered. I’d gladly trade some little mishaps for being in a happy and productive mood.

We went for a skate on the last day of the season this morning, and talked about wanting to do more travel this summer within the province, as well as day trips to the beach and perhaps a longer jaunt around Cape Breton, where I haven’t been since I was a child. We also want to do some camping and kayaking; perhaps I will even give surfing another go. The weather has been warming enough and I have been working out often enough during the winter that I feel like I can get back to running outside again soon.

Upsetting think-pieces aside, it was a pretty good week, more so because of a general increase in productivity at my day job, which makes me feel less general anxiety. I wrapped up the work week by doing my annual fantasy baseball draft with some old friends on Friday night and a local record fair on Saturday morning.

That’s it. Look for the podcast tomorrow and some other stuff to publish this week. Have a good one.

 

What Time Is It?

I’ve always been fascinated by the concept of time, something both so natural and so artificial, that we bend intentionally and that bends us. One of my favourite books is Einstein’s Dreams by Alan Lightman; it is a collection of short vignettes about the early life of Einstein when he was a patent clerk in Vienna, and the dreams that Lightman imagines might have inspired the theory of relativity. Each of the dreams posits a scenario where time works differently than the way we are used to.

Anyway, remember how I was writing about stress last week? I was thinking about it some more and analyzing where stress comes from, for me. It often comes from the fear of being late- I am generally VERY punctual- and that could include deadlines for work or for my own projects.

When you are a self-publisher, I don’t think it makes ANY sense to create deadline related stress for yourself. We already have enough of that in our day to day lives. This is something I was especially thinking about as I fleshed out the timelines for projects I want to get done this year. Some of the tasks were viable, others would be charitably called stretch goals (64 pages of comics from me in a year? Yeah right).

Once all those deadlines and checkpoints were laid out for me, I could feel the stress wanting to rise, but thankfully the Zen side of me put a firm hand on its shoulder and invited it to sit. I decided to try a different approach for a while, one which is sometimes used as a mindfulness exercise for Buddhists. If I started to feel stressed, or paralyzed by too many choices of what I could be doing, I would simply stop, take a breath, and ask myself, what time is it?

We have many times of day, and they don’t all have hard strict limits, but they tend to have fairly regular patterns. I work Monday to Friday from 8:30 AM to 5 PM, for example. Some days I might not sign in until 9, or I might work a few hours late at the end of the day. But the general “work day” pattern is there. So if it’s 3PM on a Tuesday and I ask myself, what time is it? The answer is: time to work, dummy.

Those answers could come from commitments (like work), habits (running or the gym), biological need (eating, sleeping), psychological need (relaxing, recreation), and more. So there are many possible responses to “what time is it?” at any given time of the day, but I think it’s asking the question that kicks the answer into our heads, because deep down we know what we ought to be doing, if only we did not fear the prospect of doing it.

Anyway. Give it a try, if you think it would be useful for you.

What else to talk about this week? I watched a lot of Bones, which is still possibly the worst thing ever made, and yet I cannot stop. I will ride all fourteen seasons down to hell in the name of distracting my overactive brain in the afternoons at work.

I’ve been reading the latest novel by Tom Perrotta, called Mrs. Fletcher, which alternates between the point of view of an entitled white kid from the Boston suburbs and his mother who has just seen him off to college and who is coming to embrace the idea of being a MILF. Like everything Perrotta does (The Leftovers, Election) it’s a little twisted, but compelling.

I guess I could sum up what I have done this week creatively. I worked on a new print and am just about ready to start the artwork in Clip Studio. I had a cute idea for another print and sketched that out. I published two new installments of The Insult., and two new installments of Faith of the Heart, one of which is exclusively on Patreon. I reviewed some of the manuscript of 4 of a Kind, my soon to be finished novel from last year’s NaNoWriMo. And, I published the latest episode of Sunday Night in Cinema 3 and have applied to have it listed in the iTunes store… cross your fingers.

Lots to do, as always, but the technique I described above is helping. Hope you have a great week.

-SM

Adventures in Publishing

I’ve dusted off this old blog and will try to post something useful here once in a while, probably about projects that I am working on.  If you’re interested in other kinds of content, you can also enjoy my angry retweets on Twitter, reblogs of useful art tips on Tumblr, and a very infrequently updated Facebook page.

Anyway. I’ve posted before, here and there, about how I am a project-oriented artist. So much so that I keep an Access database of things I want to get done, from comics and illustrations to animations and card games. I usually have more than one thing going on at a time, for the sake of variety.

As 2016 came to a close, I realized that it had been around 25 years since I started drawing comics in earnest. Most of them were self-published at copy shops and distributed around wherever I was living at the time, and while I still have decent scans and file copies, most of them fell out of print. Sometimes I would make them available for download online as PDFs.

I thought that it might be nice to mark that 25th anniversary with a collection – something I could publish through a print on demand service, make available to actual bookstores and libraries as well as comic shops. So, I looked around at my options and decided to try Amazon’s print on demand service, CreateSpace.

Then I realized: why not bring back other stuff into print? I have also written plays, novels, tons of film reviews, and webcomics. I decided to try publishing one of my plays, An Otherworld, first. I already had the interior pages saved as a decent PDF, so all I had to do was design a cover. The entire effort took less than a day, and within a week I had copies in my hand. The quality was good, so I did another book of plays and then decided to try a collection of comics, to see how well the artwork would print.

That collection of a webcomic I did last year, The Insult, turned out very well, I think. So, I am currently dividing my time between getting that book into stores and assembling the pages for the next one, the aforementioned retrospective which will be called “Young, Dumb, and Full of Comics.” After that, probably one of the novels, and after that, a collection of film reviews and essays.

If you wind up checking any of them out, I hope you enjoy them. Watch this space for updates on their progress.