Sunday, 6 July 2014

There's no gold in them dar hills!

Don't make a super hero comic.

Especially a long form or ongoing one.

Seriously. Just don't.

Ask anyone advice about making independent comics, and most times the above sentences will come out of their mouths. And they are totally right if your aim is to make money in comics.

It's also pretty true for any form of comics, to be honest.

Comics, as a money making venture is pretty much a closed door. I think you can make a decent living off of comics (at least some people can), and some people can break even or self-fund doing comics, but I don't think many people make money from comics.

The golden idea - or the "Walking Dead" dream - for most is to create something, sell the idea to another medium, sit in piles of cash. But of the thousands of comic ideas created every month, how many make it to the big or small screen?

Super hero movies don't make money.

Wait a minute, you may say, what about all those super hero movies that make billions every year?

Those aren't super hero movies. They are brand movies. They are movies with 50-80 years of built in brand marketing.

How many super hero movies are made from new ideas about new characters created by an unknown creator or creators?

Not many.

Not when you can just reboot Spider-Man and have the built in brand.

I don't make Hero Code for the money - and if I did, I'm doing a terrible job doing it. I make it because I enjoy it. I hope you do too. There may be times when I can't afford to do it as regularly as I would like, but I hope to keep doing it for a long time. Ongoing, in fact.

I have stories plotted way beyond the ones I've written, and I've written way beyond the ones that have been printed. Lots more.

Stick around.

The Hero Code issue one is now available on Comixology.

Monday, 16 June 2014

100 Days of Comics

I've been inspired by Kevin Cross, who is currently on day 43 of his 100 days of comics quest.

The idea is to make time to work on one's own comic projects every day for 100 days. Just 30 minutes (at least) to focus on your own stuff.

As all I do is my own stuff, I am not distracted by client work. However, I do have a full time job, and two kids, so there are other things!

I plan to use 30 minutes to either plot, plan, outline, or script my comics every day for the next 100 days.

The majority of this will be for my series, The Hero Code, but there are two other side projects I am currently working on which will also get some attention.

I won't be starting until Wednesday - the day I return to the day job after a short break for the summer.

I'll try to post little updates and video blogs on YouTube as part of the process.

Monday, 9 June 2014

The Black Wraith - Production Samples

Our printers, the rather splendid PrintNinja, sent word that the production samples had arrived (and that they would be sending me one) today.
This means that the initial printing has begun in earnest, and that the books should be soon making their slow journey across the sea to me here.
Here are some pictures that the sent over to show how the book looks;




 Looking good!
In other news, here is Alex Diotto's take on our hero;
This, sadly, didn't make it into the book, but will be in a future Black Wraith story which I will be sure to let you all know about.

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Comixology - Black Wraith issue one

Black Wraith issue one, featuring the work of G. Brett Williams, M. Lee Harris, Heather Breckel, Frank Cvetkovic (and a stellar cover by Ming Doyle!) has joined the other Monkey Pipe Studios titles up and available at Comixology.

A nice selection of books up there now, hopefully will be joined by Hero Code and Hero Code: Theatre of War soon!

Monday, 28 April 2014

Comixology Kurfuffle

Comixology, one of the big players in 3rd party digital comic book reading, announced a couple of big changes recently.

Firstly, they were bought by Amazon.

Secondly, they announced a change in their app which saw the ability to buy comics within the app removed, making readers need to visit their online store and then download the comics to the app.

Not a surprising move - taking the Apple model as an example, if you bought a comic on your iPad to read on the app, the money would be split 30/30/40 roughly (apple/comixology/creator). Taking out that middle man (apple) from the money side of things seems like an obvious thing to do. Especially as Amazon want in on the lucrative phone and tablet market.

As of writing there as been no word as to whether this removal of the middle man sees the split going to a straight 50/50, or to a 30/70 between Comixology and creator.

Many people complained about the move, citing the added layer of purchase as a pain in the butt which would remove casual buyers, and some even saying make them look to torrenting comics in the future.

For indie creators on the Submit side of the world, not really sure how this will affect us, and it could be a year or so before any of us get the numbers to indicate if it does indeed affect us at all.

As for my own part in this, MPS will still have books on Comixology, because, quite frankly, it has proven to be the widest and best reach for our comics online thus far. We don't have any in-store clout, nor are we likely to at any point soon, and online store fronts are steady but low.

For those who aren't going to run to the torrents, you can buy MPS books on Comixology here.

For those who hate Comixology and want to move away, you can buy MPS books via Gumroad here.

For those who don't want to pay a penny to anyone, you can read the comics, ad free, online here.


Saturday, 26 April 2014

WonderCon Numbers

Here's the numbers on things sold at WonderCon by me;

Hero Code issue 1 - x3 copies
Hero Code issue 2 - x3 copies
Hero Code issue 6 - x1 copy

Hero Code TOW prologue - x1 copy
Hero Code TOW issue 1 - x1 copy

Black Wraith ashcan set - x1

Department O issue 1 - x3 copies
Department O issue 2 - x2 copies

Collector Card sets - x15

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

WonderCon remembered

WonderCon was great fun. I managed to put a lot of faces to names I knew online, and said hi to some old faces. I also managed to meet a few backers of the Black Wraith kickstarter, which was really cool.

So how did I do?

Pretty good. The people who wanted stuff actually wanted stuff, and often times I would suddenly be aware of someone at my table, book in hand, wanting to buy it.

Books were the big mover. Artist Alley seems to become less and less about actual single issues or new comics, and more and more about original art and prints - this show was no different. Maybe because of the rest of the AA, people came to my table primarily for comics.

Prints have never been a big mover for me, and I've been rethinking my table layout quite a lot. They take up a lot of space, and rarely serve as more than browsing material. I think it's time to lose the big prints, maybe prints all together, and focus on the comics.

A thing which has remained constant at every show, is interest in the little collector card sets I have. I have a pack of 6 cards featuring Hero Code characters by different artists, little bios on the back, and sell these for a dollar a set. I've not done a show where I haven't sold a handful of these, and WonderCon was no different - I think, all in, I sold around 15 sets.

They are small, take up little space, and pay for themselves quite quickly (cost of art, cost of printing (I use GotPrint's collector card option), cost of plastic sleeve). I think a lot of people have mentioned in the past the importance of having a low priced item at your table for casual buyers, and the cards have proven to be a great item for me. I'll be producing more sets soon.

I may not do another show this year until Long Beach in September. By then I should have at least another issue of Hero Code finished, as well as another Theatre of War issue, and, of course, The Black Wraith digest book (we shall see how the Kickstarter goes as to what form this book takes, color or black and white).

All in all, I enjoyed WonderCon - the banner I have now really helped attract people, and I feel like I need to focus on comics as the primary item I am presenting - having more issues this time around, rather than a large selection of issue ones, really helped.