More controversy this week as two big-name comics authors lay the smack down on the major publishers! But that works out alright by us, because there are plenty of fantastic small press books to look at too! And with the MoCCA Fest just around the corner, now’s a perfect time to check out some of the comics that might otherwise be under your radar!
Having just returned from a great work-cation at this year’s SPX (selling my comics to a comics-thirsty public and then drinking wine like a wine-thirsty Bacchus), all I can think about right now is the self-publishing scene. And also not being on my feet all weekend. Not standing AND the self-publishing scene.
We are in the midst of an interesting and important moment in the history of comics. While the big publishers (DC, Marvel, and to a lesser extend Dark Horse) still wield tremendous power and influence, smaller players (Fantagraphics, Top Shelf, and Drawn & Quarterly) have carved out sizable niches in the marketplace. At the same time, newer and smaller small-press publishers like Secret Acres and Koyama Press are making names for themselves. Meanwhile book publishers have begun to dip their toes into the comics-publishing world as well. Some, like Roaring Brook Press and Lerner Publishing Group, have even created their own comics imprints (First Second and Graphic Universe respectively).
And yet, in addition to all of these different avenues for comics publication, their remains one more path; one that is wholly unique to comics: Do It Yourself self-publishing. In the world of prose and poetry, self publishing is looked upon as the last avenue of the un-publishable crackpot (having worked in publishing, I can tell you that every self-published book that we got WAS from an un-publishable crackpot). However, at this moment in comics, self publishing is very well regarded. Publishers and editors attend many of the larger small-press and indie comics conventions (in particular the MoCCA Comics Fest and SPX, though I see the boys from Secret Acres at nearly every show I attend) looking for new creators. At this year’s MoCCA Comics Fest, for example, an artist beside me was offered illustration work from an editor at First Second after someone she knew had seen his work and recommended that she have a look.
My point is, and I do plan on making it eventually (I like words…), that in comics self publishing is an important first step for many independent cartoonists. However, not everyone agrees that self-publishing is the way to go.
Enter Slow Wave author Jesse Reklaw and his minicomic N.Y.D.I. #1: A History in Publishing. N.Y.D.I., which stands for “No, You Do It” is a counterpoint to the DYI self-publishing movement. Reklaw recounts his years of experience self-publishing and how he came to the realization that it wasn’t for him. His comic is very frank and straightforward, and is in many ways a primer on what a self-publisher can expect to run into. As one myself, I found myself nodding with agreement as he led me step by step to the uncomfortable conclusion that self-publishing might be more trouble than it’s worth.
However, I do feel that he is omitting some of the realities of publishing comics; not the least of which is that if you are just starting out, no one else is likely to publish you. D.I.Y. self-publishing may not be a sustainable business model for most people, true, but if one approaches it less as a business and more as a way to improve artistically AND to get your name out into the comics world, then it is still a worthwhile endeavor. You just have to accept that you will be loosing money in the short term, and gamble that it will pay off in the long term with a publisher seeing your work and deciding to take a chance on you.
This is essentially what has happened to Reklaw. His experience self-publishing taught him lessons that he would later call upon when dealing with publishers, agents, marketers, and so on. As he says near this comics’ close: “I know that I’ll always be on the fringe of the publishing world, but it doesn’t mean I have to struggle alone. I just need to find the right publisher, designer, agent, and marketing people to work with. Easier than doing it all myself, I guess.” Which is true, certainly; but in order to get there, in order to find those kindred spirits, most of us will have to self-publish first, at least for a little while.
Morgan Pielli is the author of Indestructible Universe Quarterly.
The San Diego Comic Con is happening tonight, tomorrow, and all through the weekend…without you or I in attendance AGAIN. How did we let this happen? It’s like the comic book rapture has occurred and we are left to fight for resources in the streets like unpure, heathen dogs. Arf.
TOP 10 COMIC BOOK RELATED THINGS TO DO IN AN ATTEMPT AT GETTING OUR MINDS OFF THE CRIPPLING DEPRESSION SPRINGING FROM NOT GOING TO SDCC 2011:
10: Go See Captain America! The Captain will cheer us up! He’s gonna’ punch Nazis, throw his shield and maybe even get injected with super-soldier serum until we feel better, why not? Maybe he’ll give us free Coffee Coolatas.
9: Come on over to the Forbidden Planet and pick up a couple of Captain America related titles after seeing Captain America. Might I recommend the Essential Avengers Vol. 1, The Captain America Omnibus by Ed Brubaker, and Secret War? Either “Secret War.” They’ve had a couple…shhh! It’s a secret. Continue reading
Today is Will Eisner’s 94th birthday! Why is it that we celebrate a persons birth even after death? Why not celebrate his death day? Or better yet, lets celebrate an important day in the persons life. Anyway, let us not have my questions rain on this parade, Mother Nature is doing a good enough job on her own. Weather aside, lets celebrate!
Just to make sure we’re all on the same page, Will Eisner is considered by most people to be the most influential and/or important person to ever grace the comic industry. You might also know him from a little book called The Spirit. Here’s the short biography from WillEisner.com
WILL EISNER was born William Erwin Eisner on March 6, 1917 in Brooklyn, New York. By the time of his death on January 3, 2005, following complications from open heart surgery, Eisner was recognized internationally as one of the giants in the field of sequential art, a term he coined.
In a career that spanned nearly seventy years and eight decades — from the dawn of the comic book to the advent of digital comics — he truly was the ‘Orson Welles of comics’ and the ‘father of the Graphic Novel’. He broke new ground in the development of visual narrative and the language of comics and was the creator of The Spirit, John Law, Lady Luck, Mr. Mystic, Uncle Sam, Blackhawk, Sheena and countless others.
One of the comic industry’s most prestigious awards, The Eisner Award, is named after him. Recognized as the ‘Oscars’ of the American comic book business, the Eisners are presented annually before a packed ballroom at Comi-Con International in San Diego, America’s largest comics convention.
Wizard magazine named Eisner “the most influential comic artist of all time.” Michael Chabon’s Pulitzer-prize winning novel Kavalier and Clay is based in good part on Eisner. Also in 2002, Eisner received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Federation for Jewish Culture, only the second such honor in the organization’s history, presented by Pulitzer-prize winning cartoonist Art Spiegelman.
An authorized biography, Will Eisner: A Spirited Life by Bob Andelman, was published in 2005. A new biography, Will Eisner: A Dreamer’s Life in Comics by Michael Schumacher has been released in 2010 by Bloomsbury.
A film documentary about Eisner’s career, “Will Eisner: Portrait of a Sequential Artist” from Montilla Pictures (Andrew and Jon B. Cooke), premiered at the 2007 Tribeca Film Festival.
Back to the celebration…
Check out Google’s Eisner inspired page header. Click it and your mind will be opened to all the Eisner you can handle.
Then if you feel like braving the rain, drop by MoCCA today for a screening of Will Eisner: Portrait of a Sequential Artist followed by a panel with the film’s makers, Andrew D. Cooke and Jon B. Cooke moderated by Danny Fingeroth.
The Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art – MoCCA – and The Will and Ann Eisner Family Foundation are proud to announce that, as part of Will Eisner Week, 2011, they will be presenting a screening of the award-winning Documentary “Will Eisner: Portrait of a Sequential Artist,” followed by a special panel with the film’s makers, Andrew D. Cooke and Jon B. Cooke. The panel will be moderated by Danny Fingeroth, MoCCA’s SVP of Education and co-curator of Will Eisner’s New York: From the Spirit to the Modern Graphic Novel exhibition, currently on view at MoCCA.
WHEN: Sunday, March 6, 2011
WHERE: Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art (MoCCA)
594 Broadway, suite 401, New York, NY 10012
COST: General public: $5 / MoCCA members: Free
Space is limited, and reservations are required. To make a reservation, please call MoCCA at 212-254-3511, Tuesday through Sundays, 12 PM to 5 PM. For more information visit www.moccany.org
Click the DVD and you’ll be taken to a site that hosts the trailer.
If you can’t make it today, don’t fret… all week MoCCA is hosting Will Eisner’s New York: From the Spirit to the Modern Graphic Novel, an exhibit of Will Eisner’s New York inspired work, curated by Danny Fingeroth, and one of the coolest dudes in comics Denis Kitchen.
Do yourself a favor and stop by the store, or webstore for that matter and familiarize yourself with the work of Mr. Eisner.
Happy Birthday Will, thanks for everything!
The Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art here in NYC is running an exhibition of the original art for the entire issue of Amazing Spider-Man #50, as pencilled by John Romita Jr. with inks by Scott Hanna, and to kick this puppy into gear they’re hosting an evening with Spidey editors past and present.
In honor of our exhibition of original art from the entire issue of AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #50 by J. Michael Straczynski, John Romita Jr. and Scott Hanna, MoCCA presents an unprecedented roundtable discussion of the past quarter-century of all things Peter Parker with the editors who have helmed the title since the Reagan Administration! Axel Alonso (editor of ASM #50), Tom Brevoort, Danny Fingeroth, and MoCCA Trustee Jim Salicrup join current AMAZING editor Steve Wacker for the panel chat and audience Q&A. Moderated by MoCCA Trustee and current Spidey scribe Fred Van Lente.
594 Broadway, Suite 401
(btwn. Houston and Prince)
Thursday, February 11, 2010
7:00pm – 9:00pm
Free for MoCCA Members
In addition to this MoCCA’s also running The Art of Archie Comics (both thru 2/28). It’s only a few blocks from Forbidden Planet, so I encourage comic fans of all stripes to visit us both this coming Thursday.