How an issue #2 gets made

There’s a ton of info on the web about how to produce your first comic but very little on how to approach that second issue.

What makes issue two different from the first? On a practical level, nothing. It still has to be written, drawn and printed. As a publisher, you are better armed with more information – you have fewer questions about ‘how’ to do stuff but more questions on ‘what’ you should do.

What do you do to keep things interesting for yourself as well as the reader? What worked well in the first issue and what didn’t? What should you change or refine the second time around? If you were praised for the seriousness of your stories from issue one, do you continue on this tack, or do you rebel and try something light-hearted?

Questions like these spring out of having to meet a set of expectations that were not there when issue one launched. You have an audience (hopefully) and they’re waiting to see what you do next. You become a lot more conscious about what you write – the topics and subject matter you select – and how you treat them.

A case in point is one story I’ve included in issue two called “Brother’s Keeper.” Looking at the selection of stories I had originally queued for the next issue, I felt that the book needed a straight up action story to pick up the overall pace. In this way, I had to be ruthless about what stories were adding something to the overall reading experience.

This is where having a vision for your book is important. It helps keep subsequent issues on tack.
The vision behind the London Horror Comic is variety. It’s four different types of comics that can be rolled into a single tube. When the selection of books on shelves can be overwhelming, it’s the one title anyone should be able to reach for, to make that journey home from work pass quickly.

So if you’re about to write that second issue and hit a wall, think back to what inspired you to start your book in the first place. What weren’t you getting from existing comics that fired you up to do your own? Proceed from there and then become ruthless about the stories you write. If you find yourself writing the same story but with different characters, re-frame the story as a comedy and see what you get.

Above all, take risks. Part of the joy of reaching for a new comic is to see what happens next. So if it’s issue two or issue 300, make sure you keep readers guessing. They will thank you for it.

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posted by JP at 11:39 pm  

London Horror Comic ATTN: RETAILERS

The London Horror Comic is also available from Dimension Comics – a fine retailer with discerning taste.

If your store is also selling the book drop me a line at: editor [@] londonhorrorcomic [dOt] com.

You will be added to our list and will be in line for free swag when the time comes to promote issue two.

New Dimension Comics

Cranberry
New Dimension Comics
20550 Rout 19 – Piazza Plaza
Cranberry Twp, PA 16066
Phone: (724) 776-0433

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posted by JP at 11:26 pm  

The London Horror Comic will be available to buy in the US from the 24th September (this Wednesday) from retailers, which include:

New Dimension Comics

Cranberry
20550 Rout 19 – Piazza Plaza
Cranberry Twp, PA 16066
Phone: (724) 776-0433

Midtown Comics

Midtown Comics Times Square
200 W 40th Street (Corner of 7th Avenue)
New York, NY 10018
Midtown Comics Grand Central
459 Lexington Avenue (Corner of 45th Street)
New York, NY 10017

Graham Crackers

77 E. Madison St., Chicago, IL 60602
STORE PHONE # (312) 629-1810

Westfield Comics

7475 Mineral Point Road
Madison, WI 53717
Phone:
608-833-4444

Jim Hanley’s Universe

4 West 33rd St., New York
(opposite The Empire State Building)
(212) 268-7088

Mile High Comics

8806 N. Washington, Unit H
Thornton,CO
(303) 457-2612

Cosmic Comics

10 E23rd St.,
New York City,
NY 10010

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posted by JP at 3:34 pm  

Drool here

Cover to issue two of the London Horror Comic.

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posted by JP at 7:58 pm  

Interview over at Jazma Online with the writer and artist of the London Horror Comic

Read it here.

I totally need to get a new picture.

Expect a mass of weird self portraits in the next few days.

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posted by JP at 7:27 pm  

London Horror Comic – US release

I am informed by Diamond that the US release will be the 24th September and not the 17th.

One more week for X-men to enjoy the number one spot, I guess.

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posted by JP at 6:10 pm  

London Horror Comic – the US release Wed 24th September

The UK music press often report that home grown bands must strike it big in the US if they are to be successful. Going after the US market is a must if bands are to continue to insure the fast cars they bought with their first royalty cheque. Success by selling to the US market is assured by numbers. There are simply more people, which it makes it an important nut for musicians and comic book publishers alike to crack.

The first big performance stateside is tense. All the confidence and swagger that’s pumped into a lead singer from fans back home can escape into air the second they find themselves playing to a half filled auditorium in Nebraska. While bands might make the front page in a UK tabloid, in American papers, they become a footnote.

On the near-eve of the US release of the “London Horror Comic” (out 17th September kids) I am eager with anticipation as to how the book will go down with an American audience. Its appearance is deceptively American: 32 pages of full glossy colour. Its content, however, is firmly European with parodies, social awkwardness and provocative observations.

People might go picking up the comic in good faith of finding the same old bog standard horror story where someone turns out to be someone they’re not at the end (usually a vampire), and instead find themselves chuckling about how a vampire could ever feel embarrassed in front of an old school friend.

It’s this reaction that I’m hoping to get from American readers – the realisation that a horror comic book – or indeed any comic book – can play several different chords at once and still leave them entertained That whatever expectation they bring to a horror, crime or super hero book should be thwarted in a way that entertains.

This is one of the reasons I’ve enjoyed Grant Morrison’s run on Batman. We’re seeing a take on Batman told in a choppy and imaginative style (hey, let’s pump him with weapons grade crystal meth and kit him out in yellow and purple), that we otherwise would never see. Each issue raises more questions then answers. To me that’s fascinating and fresh and one of the reasons I look out for it whenever I’m in a store.

But to go back to the music analogy, the best any musician can hope for, either at home or across the pond, is that feet begin tapping when they start playing. This is how everything that matters almost always starts. It might take years before they sell out Madison Square Garden, but as a pair of tapping feet turn into two pairs and eventually hundred, a shudder will be heard.

So bring on the US opening night for the London Horror Comic and listen for the sound of thunder.

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posted by JP at 9:18 pm  

London Horror Comic #1 out now in the UK! – US release next week

The first issue of the London Horror Comic has been released this week in the UK (Thursday 5th September 2008) and will be available to buy from US stores next week Wednesday 17th September.

You can buy the comic in the UK from the following retailers. US Retailers: email me your store details to be added to the list.

Orbital Comics London
148 Charing Cross Road
London, WC2H 0LB
020 7240 7672

Gosh Comics
39 Great Russell St,
London
020 76361011

Forbidden Planet London
179 Shaftesbury Ave
London
WC2H 8JR
Telephone 0207 420 3666

Avalon Comics London
143 Lavender Hill
London, SW11 5QJ
020 79243609

Forbidden Planet Leeds
30 Eastgate
The Headrow
LS2 7JL
Phone: 0113 242 6325

Forbidden Planet Glasgow
168 Buchanan Street
Glasgow
G1 2LW
Phone: 0141 331 1215

Forbidden Planet Southampton
Southampton Megastore
24 Hanover Buildings
Southampton
SO14 1JU
Telephone 023 8022 4761

Forbidden Planet Newcastle
59 Grainger Street
Newcastle
NE1 5JE
phone 0191 261 9173

Negative Zone Newport
The Provision Market
Newport, NP20 1DD
01633 222159

Cardiff’s Comic Guru Presents
20-22 Wyndham Arcade
Cardiff, CF10 1FJ
029 20229119

Whatever Comics Kent
2 Burgate Lane
Canterbury
Kent
CT1 2HH
01227 453226

Kent Comics
59 High St
Orpington, BR6 0JF
01689 824489

American dream comics 2 Bath
Unit 2 72, walcot street
bath
ba1 3bd
01225 424881

Ace Comics
42 Culver Street East
Colchester
Essex
CO1 1LE
01206 561912

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posted by JP at 8:50 am