What Not To Do In Comics

So John Allison has a great post up about the nature of comics in the UK.

I want to talk about it, but at the outset I have to set some guidelines up so we know what we’re dealing with here.

  1. He is speaking to the UK specifically.
  2. There are probably things over there in the indie comics scene that I don’t know anything about.
  3. He’s way more experienced in comics than I am at this point.

That said, I think a lot of things that Allison is saying are pretty applicable to the United States comic scene. With the rise of (as far as I can tell) predominately American webcomics, we’ve seen a shift in the way that comics are being done. People have made their careers based on small gag strips in webcomic form that end up printed on paper and sold to the same people who read it online for free (kc green, Kate Beaton) . I’ve spoken to people about this recently, as well, but I think that the idea of a webcomic means that there needs to be some kind of transition out of that medium sometime. The webomic should be a way to get out of the internet–Penny Arcade have done an amazing job of this, “diversifying their portfolio” with, basically, a gaming empire. I mean, shit, they’re a brand now.

The comic book company that some friends and I created (Cherry Blossom Comics) has been pretty successful creating little comics–what Allison calls pamphlets–and making them, well, more marketable. Allison is right when he says that we don’t need to be afraid of making money or using business techniques. The only reason that we make sales is because he harass the hell out of people, and while I feel weird about that, I can look down the aisle at basically any con and know that I’m making more money with my one product than they are with their repertoire. This could be saying something about the nature of comic book creators, and that they’re not very sociable, but I digress; my point is that marketing the self and the comic works well. But the mini comic that we’ve made was really straightforward–a horror tale of warning, which is popular with the kids.

Speaking of kids, we’re using minicomics as a way to increase our readership. First, we try to get people with free cookies. If that doesn’t work, we’ll try the horror minicomic. If that doesn’t work, in the future we’ll get them with the free comic for kids. We want to get all age groups, comic book readers and non-comics people, and that means having products for everyone. I’m interested in telling stories, most of all.

So that’s really all I have to say about this. I really just wanted to make this post and say that, yes, Allison’s methods seem like they are common sense to me. At the same time, I see the people doing these things “wrong” at all of the American cons that I’ve been to.

So there.



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