Sunday, 27 January 2013

I regret nothing*! (*almost everything)

"The greatest mistake you can make in life is to be continually afraid you will make one." Elbert Hubbard

The Hero Code - a long-form, independent, super-hero sci-fi sage.

Advice from so many writers tell us that we shouldn't go for the long, sprawling stories which most of us are familiar with who grew up reading comics. 

They also tell us how the market is full, fit to bursting, with super hero books - and that no one cares about the indies. Who wants to read somebodies idea of Batman, when they can read the actual Batman?

They also tell us to tell the story that we want to tell, and find the audience that we deserve.

The Hero Code feels, for me, to have had a false start. When I originally set out to tell the story, I had a chronological story starting in WWII, and heading in both directions - flash backs to tell more about the Code's particular world, and stories to move us forward up to modern day.

The problem was, I was trying to recreate comic books as I saw them, rather than create the Hero Code as I saw it. I opted, after far too much procrastination and deliberation, to start the story in the modern era.

Problem was, there were certain beats that would play out in these issues, which would require some back story to play out. Wedging the flash-back into the main story would, in my opinion, slow the pacing down and be too much of a wrench.

Couple this with the fact that the artist on The Hero Code, Jonathan Rector, needed some time to finish other commitments, which again slowed the pace of the story more.

The mistakes I made, I think, as a creator, weren't that I tried to tell a story which most people tell me isn't going to resonate with indie readers, but rather that I tried to mold the story into a shape which wasn't working.

Since then, I've started reading the excellent Copra, by Michel Fiffe. A long-form superhero saga, but told very much in an indie style. 

Copra, issue 2 - all rights Michel Fiffe

I urge you all to seek out Copra, it is fantastic, and show me something I always thought - it can be done.

I am not proposing a restart, or a reboot of Hero Code, but I will begin telling the story in the manner which I first envisioned - and I will sort out the numbering somewhere down the line. The loss of ICGeeks to the indie POD world has been a tough one, and means that I am seriously questioning how to approach the print market, so Hero Code will probably be a digital first series from now on - print, I will address down the line.

I will be writing a companion piece to this at some point, addressing where I think I made mistakes in my Kickstarter campaign, and what I hopefully learned.

"Mistakes are the portals of discovery." James Joyce


watson387 said...

Don't get discouraged man! You do fine work and I'm loving The Hero Code so far. I missed out on the Kickstarter as I wasn't aware of it until too late. I won't miss the next one. As far as digital goes,that's the main way I buy comics anymore. The only print comics I buy anymore are golden age or signed copies of newer stuff. I do like webcomics but I usually wait until they're released as a collection and buy that than read one page at a time as they're released. Again, don't get discouraged! I look forward to your future stories!

Jamie Gambell said...

Thank you, sir!

It always helps to hear someone say that.

I have such long term plans for The Hero Code, by hook or by crook, I will get it done! Having Jonathan back will really help.

As to Kickstarter, as I said, I will say more on this in the future, but think that perhaps I will revisit it for when I have a completed arc and am looking to print a trade...

Thank you again.

Peter Palmiotti said...

Have you ever thought of using another artist for the past stories? To help keep the book production going!?

Jamie Gambell said...

Hi Peter - I have. In fact I am hoping to work with Gary Lister on at least the first issue of the past stories, with the possibility of another artist there after.

I rushed an earlier version a long time ago, working with Omnitarium artist, J C Grande, but it never quite gelled, and the script itself really needed a heavy edit (you can see the aborted work here -

If all goes to plan, I will be able to start working on the past issues a lot more soon, and get those up to speed in time for Jonathan's return, which should be around February or March.

I am trying, however, to be mindful of taking on too much, financially speaking, so that I don't get caught dripping out work across multiple books, slowing them all down!