Home FAQ 4.2: Comics
3/2/01, 11:38 a.m.
David, I was wondering if you had any thoughts on how the
process of finding new writers and unknown writers getting their work
seen can be improved.
Yeah, I pretty much took it into my own hands. To publish my writing, I
just broke down and decided I'd figure out how to draw it as well, and
then I put it into little ashcan versions that I would sell at conventions.
This is pretty much the same thing that Brian Bendis did.
Brian was looking for writing work, but not for work as an artist. But he drew his books anyway in order to get the story across and give his writing a method of presentation.
I sent a copy of Brian's Torso book (written and drawn by him) to Joe Quesada to introduce Joe to Brians work.
Getting something in a presentation form worked very well for each of us.
Of course, if you don't want to draw it, having another artist draw a project and them show it at conventions works well, too.
5/12/01, 2:42 a.m.
I started writing Kabuki when I was 20. I do comics because I've always had a passion for many diverse forms of arts, media, ideas, etc, and I found that instead of having to pick one, I could integrate all of them within the format of the comicbook.
Kabuki was designed as a book that I could incorporate not just media, such as art, poetry, etc, but also all the things I was learning about, my other interests in philosophies, and real like experience and challenges that I'm able to funnel directly into the book. It has been a real joy so far.
There are a zillion other reasons that I could mention. One is that comics and Kabuki are to me, not just expression, but a form of comunication in which I feel like I am able to construct a new language.
6/5/01, 5:18 a.m.
Only my closest friends know about my hobbies, you know comics, soldiers, tattoos. I guess I am a little guarded with them.
The comics, books, films, music, and hobbies that I enjoy are things
that I am eager to share with my friends and aquaintences. My friends and
I often give each other books, comics, movies, films that we have enjoyed,
or we introduce each other to different games, excercises or practices.
Rockclimbing and pilates yoga are things a friend of mine has got me into
by sharing his passions with me and my friends. I always count on my friends
to introduce me to now music and books, too. And I pretty much do the same
with the things that I have been passionate about. In the last couple years
that has been sharing a lot of my enjoyment in theoretical physics and
How about everyone else?
Share your passions. It's good to break that wall and bring more people
to the party. That is, unless, you want to keep that sphere of life seperate
from your other parts of life because you need that private place. I'm
sure everyone has this, too. I love having the different worlds that I romp
in overlap. But there are some that I keep seperate as well. Both ways
help me rejuvenate and learn from one and apply it to the other.
But for the most part, I'm pretty casual and open about sharing the
things I enjoy with others. This happens a lot at Kinko's when people ask
me what I am copying and Fed-Exing. I show them a book and tell them they
can get more at the comic store down the street. I let them know that comics
can be more than what they remember when they were kids. The guy at my
comic store always lets me know that these brand new customers come in
and start reading comics because they met me at Kinko's.
12/08/03, 4:26 am
Brian and I met at the Chicago Convention. We were both doing creator-owned comics through Caliber and other publishers. At one point, we were both signing at the Caliber table at the same time and introduced ourselves and showed each other our work and immediatly became friends and hung out
together for the entire rest of the show. And at the show, he told me he was up for some pencilling gigs, and wanted me as his inker. So we began working that way as well and we were on the phone every week from then on. And we began critiquing each other's personal work as we developed it. This was hugely helpful and we each sort of shaped and informed the other in our early formative years. Brian's advice and POV opened up whole new worlds to me at that time, that enriched my approach to my storytelling. And I'd like to think I was as helpful to him in that regard.
I did a couple-creator owned series before Kabuki. But I decided to not mention or keep in print any of my work before Kabuki.
I did many hundreds of published pages of work before Kabuki. I was at the show promoting this books and handing our or selling my homemade Kabuki ashcan comics [Circle of Blood #2 & #4].
As far as breaking in, at 18 I just accepted any job no matter how small or lowpaying (or non-paying) as long as it was published. Then I used those published books as examples to get other work. I'd set up at cons with all my motley crew of published things and present my work.
But that work-for-hire was all really just for practice and and fun and learning the business and the craft and the experience of the publishing. I really wanted to do my own book which turned out to be Kabuki. I was able to practice my skills and learn the nature of the business side and contracts and stuff by working these smaller gigs, or any gig I could find, cover artists, pencilling, inking, whatever.
And when I felt I was ready, I would do my own thing. But I wanted to get my work to a readable and less embarassing place first.
My theory (and Brian's) is that you need to do about three hundred pages of work just to get the crap out of your system. Stuff you think is your serious work, you are really trying your best, and you think it is your best, and you really put in the time and effort to improve on every page and panel, but it really serves to get your influences out of your system and to develope your own POV. Then, after doing that for about 300 pages of various books and developing your arsenal of skills and experiences and problem-solving abilities, you can be a bit more objective with your work and move on into your own sense of what you want out of your work.
So when I felt like I learned enough to be able to begin my own larger project, I just did Kabuki and made homemade comics. And sold them. And used it to present to my publisher, retailers, distributors and readers. That is when I made my first significant mark, (or break) in the consciousness of most readers.
But before that I did a lot of long hard work to develop. My first job paid ten dollars a page as a penciler. And it took me twelve hours for each page. And I drew seven issues of that title. Six were published. I painted the covers too. I was paid thirty dollars for each of the painted covers.
To make ends meet, I also worked many other non-comics jobs. I worked for a printer, and then hooked the printer up with the comic I was drawing. So besides being paid to draw it, I also was paid minimum wage to print it and trim it, and staple it. I learned a lot about the nature of printing.
But it was just practice that I needed. Like going to college that I didn't have to pay for. But it even paid me. And the excitement and experience of the published work was priceless. I started college at 17 knowing that I would be doing comics. My freshman year, I turned 18 and got that first paying ($10 a page) job right around my 18th birthday. And that job was just due to having a large body of work and constantly showing and giving copies to everyone even remotely interested or involved in the business. It comes down to nobody is going to offer you work if they don't see it, or more importantly, if you don't do it. But if you are constantly showing large bodies of work they start to take you seriously and know you can meet the deadline.
As far as Kabuki, I just did it first. And figured out how to publish it after.