Reflections on making comics

“Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.”
—  Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

“Life beats down and crushes the soul and art reminds you that you have one.”
–Stella Adler

“Better Nouveau than never.”
–???

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posted by JP at 11:56 pm  

To clarify:

Issue 2 of London Horror Comic hits comic store shelves in March 2009.

It will be worth it. Honest.

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posted by JP at 11:47 pm  

Preview copies arrive from the printers!

Issue 2

It looks beautiful.

I punched the sky and danced the jig.

Too over-excited.

I may burst.

Ladies and Gentlemen, THIS is what publishing your own comic is all about. Let nothing stop you!

Hoo-haaah!

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posted by JP at 10:12 pm  

At the printers.

Issue 2 is now at the printers. The result of months of work, time and energy will soon manifest itself in 32-pages of glossy full colour and I can’t wait.

Sending your book off to the printers is a bit like finishing an exam and then having to wait for your results; all the effort has been in the preparation, now you wait to see how the comic has turned out.

That might sound a bit odd as you get to see full colour proofs before the book is printed and even a rough reading mock-up, but the true feeling of how a comic finally “reads” happens when you open the pages of the finished article.

It’s one of the reasons staff on magazines and newspapers still leap on copies of new issues to read, even though they’ve actually read the articles several times before submitting them to the production desk.

When the book goes off to the printers a weight lifts off your mind, too. In the run up of the book going to press you become a paranoid nut; checking, checking and checking. But once the proofs have been approved, it’s out of your hands, for a moment of time at least. Time to reflect, methinks.

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posted by JP at 1:26 pm  

ROFL

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posted by JP at 7:21 pm  

Status Red Alert

A friend told me to set the mood here at London Horror Towers by changing the lightbulbs from plain old white to red.

room

I’m kinda feeling it.

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posted by JP at 12:29 pm  

ATTN: Retailers and customers

Friday 23rd of January is the last day you will be able to pre-order the London Horror Comic #2 from Diamond.

The Diamond order code is: JAN094362

It is listed on page 301 of the January 2009 edition of the Diamond Previews catalogue.

You can print off an order coupon here. You can see previews of issue 2 and issue 1 here.

Now why the hell is that important?

You’re a busy discerning comic book reader. You have no time for numbers and dates. You wait until the last minute to get your taxes done. Why break the habit of a lifetime by pre-ordering a comic!?

Deal is this.

Pre-ordering guarantees that you, the customer, will get your copy when the book is released in March.

The first issue was available from most major stores in the UK and US, but I still got a bunch of emails from readers who found their comic stores were out of stock.

This is a shame given all the nice things folks said about the comic.

So going to your retailer this week and quoting the above order code guarantees a copy will be waiting for you at your local comic shop, wherever you are. A good thing.

Secondly, pre-ordering offers the retailer a guaranteed sale. This makes the retailer happy.

It also offers me a guaranteed sale.

This makes me happy – although whether financial recompense can truly equate to the emotional, mental and spiritual hardships involved in publishing is another post altogether.

For the moment assume that it does, and if you can pre-order, then that would be cool.

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posted by JP at 10:18 am  

Proof time!

proofs!

The proofs for issue two arrived today here at London Horror Towers. This is the last stage before the book goes off to the printers, so I shall be reading the book cover to cover, once, twice and three times.

It’s always a moment of excitement and terror when proofs arrive. Ideas which germinated in your head months ago are unrolled in full-colour glossy glory right in front of you.

A rush rises from your gut and dries your mouth. Your hands tremble as they try and contain the excitement. This is real and it looks gorgeous.

Nice.

But once you get over the initial excitement, you remind yourself that there is still work to do. To proof well, you have to take a step back from the work. You have to be your own worst critic.

Is the flow of dialogue clear? Is there a shorter word that I can use? Spelling? These audits all have to be carried out with a cool head and meticulously.

The marker pen hovers above each page like a hawk. You leap out of bed in the middle of the night for another quick read – just to be sure that it wasn’t a dream that you proofed it. Paranoia, the comic book writer’s old friend, returns.

And then you sleep.

The months of hard work, the late nights, the money and the roller-coaster of emotions slowly drift down in your mind like a penny descending to the seabed. You realise you’ve made a comic book.

How cool is that?

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posted by JP at 9:25 pm  

Comic-shop porn

I love this video, seriously.

The smooth hypnotic voice, the bossa nova soundtrack and, of course, rows upon rows of heavenly comics. As Homer would say: “Gaaaarrrrrh!”

One day, when I’m old, I plan to travel across America and visit every comic shop. I might start here.

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posted by JP at 1:21 am  

Ah, the joys of production

To get your own comic published you have to accept the following:

“The pain you would have experienced from not publishing your own comic would have been greater than the pain you finally do encounter, once you decide to publish your book.”

This is a mantra I keep repeating to myself when shit hits the fan. When you become a publisher, you are tested every day on what you know and, more importantly, what other people don’t know or think they know, but don’t really.

It’s enough to drive a person paranoid. You cannot oversee every aspect of producing your comic and you cannot control the process. Like a parent attending to a screaming child in the night, you are only tested on how fast you can get to your feet and find a bottle to plug the problem.

Are comics worth the hassle? Yes, they are to me. Comics are beautiful objects which are, as Alan Moore put it; “something that people have put a lot of honest endeavour into.”

Honest endeavour are not words you see printed on the back of most comic books. But they are there. The words are hidden within the line work of the pencils, in the detail of pain-staking cross hatching, the flow of the colour brush and and through the arrangement of letters by the author.

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posted by JP at 2:49 am  
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