Friday, May 13, 2011

So I wanna publish comics books. Really.

I was first inspired to consider the option of self-publishing when I read Dave Sim's thoughtful notes prefacing issues of Cerebus during the late 80s. I respected (and still do) his drive to do Cerebus his way, and stick with it for 300 issues, despite the up and downs of the comic book marketplace.

Comics used to have better distribution, and were readily available almost everywhere. Once the direct market was born (with brick and mortar stores selling only comic books and related product), they became alot harder to find. Over time, readership has dwindled (and continues to drop alarmingly), and most folk buying comics nowadays are adults with fond memories (and plenty of disposable income) of collecting comics in their youth.

There was a period in the 90s where speculators flocked into the hobby, and artificially drove sales to amazing levels; once they abruptly left, the resulting crash demonstrated how low the percentage of faithful readers actually was. The truth of the matter: a big percentage of the audience for comics had grown up and walked away from colorful super-heroes. Publishers relied on lame gimmicks to keep old readers, without any concern for attracting new ones (a mindset that continues today).

Self-publishing was a cool option in the 80s, when certain properties achived great success (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, for example); small press comics are still kicking today, but remain extremely difficult to track down for any casual reader. Lisencing seems to be a popular option; why create something new when a comic based on some property can be churned out to a built-in fanbase?

I decided years ago that I'd prefer to do my comics my way. Self-publishing is borderline insane, but my goal is to produce quality material, try to get as much exposure for my concepts as possible, and release product at regular intervals without fail in order to build a loyal group of readers. A simple recipe to launching a successful comic series, right?

The few readers of mainstream books hanging around demand 'sophisticated' product; most of these 'adult' books are simply violent for the sake of being hip, and crap on the work of creators who built the comic book universes. I believe strongly that the future of comic books rests with the young, and young at heart. My concepts are taylored for all-ages, and I aim to attract younger readers, not only collectors of comic books.

I have faith in my concepts, and a strong desire to finally have them see the light of day. Selling them in a dying market may be an uphill battle, but I think that smart decisions, hard work, and creativity will help win the day!

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