Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Windy City

I've been in the Windy City for a week now and so far, so good. Situation's a little less fluid than I'd hoped, but I'm adjusting well. Right now I'm searching for part-time work to help supplement funding for This Batman Life, which is going a lot worse than I'd expected. Oh well, chin up old boy. There's still the Onion AV Club interview. One of the fascinating things about the project in relation to Chicago is the fact that the girl working the counter at GMart comics knew all about it. Internet famous without even really trying.

For those of you wondering, I do intend to continue the project regardless of the Kickstarter outcome. It will likely take on a different form, with less travel and more of the stuff happening in Chicago proper, but I'll still be doing it. There will also be a PayPal donation button on the site itself, so people can still give money if they think it a worthy cause.

The Pitch Perfect team is in place as well. We're sussing out which character to "pitch" first right now. In case you're wondering about the line-up, right now we're sitting at myself, blogger Jessi Reid, all around comics badass Chad Nevett, Sequart superstar Kevin Thurman, Robot13 writer Thomas Hall and The Hero Code and Omnitarium creator Jamie Gambell. We'll also have true editorial guidance from guest editors including Andy Schmidt of Comics Experience (formerly of Marvel and IDW) and Christopher Cerasi, former licensed publishing editor for Lucasfilm and DC. Anybody have any suggestions on characters for which you'd like to see us construct pitches?

Aside from that I pitched my first story to a major publisher and I'm currently waiting to hear back from them. Hopefully it doesn't get dismissed out of hand, but if it does, it's back to the drawing board. I'm also having a powwow with a friend in Nashville next month about the possibility of bringing my superhero universe to life through self-publishing and I'll also be competing in Tyler James' 30 in 30 challenge. So it's going to be busy times for ol' GB Weems coming up. I'm excited!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

What I See

I've been writing about comics and breaking into comics for a few years now, and there's one thing I've gleaned, one undeniable truth that holds the key to making it in this industry:

Don't Be An Asshole.

I'd guess this is the same for most industries, but a few I'd call into question. It seems that being an asshole in the world of hedge fund brokerage and insider trading might give you an edge. Certainly being an asshole in professional sports doesn't keep you from getting paid. And hell, being an asshole in politics seems to be the order of the day. Not so in comics.

Guys, comics is a good guy industry. What's that mean? Well, the best I can explain it, it means that comics is mostly run by the good guys. It's a labor of love. What you see at convention portfolio reviews aside, this is not an industry that's courting what most people would consider the top talent. You don't make money doing this unless you're very lucky (Cullen Bunn and Brian Hurtt are a star worth hitching a wagon or two, to). That's not to say that you can't put food on the table making comics, but the idea that you're going to be some rock star, money swimming king of nerd mountain is just foolish. Despite what publishers might have you believe, the most talented people in the fields of writing, design, typography and illustration are not beating down the doors of major comics publishers. We get talented people because those talented people love comic books.

But if you didn't love comic books you wouldn't be trying to do this, so I'm not telling you anything you don't know already. What I am telling you, when I tell you not to be an asshole, is that sometimes your level of talent doesn't even matter as much as just how well you work in the industry itself. Sure, talent is a factor. Nobody is going to publish your stuff, no art director is going to put your illustrations in their favorite book, if you don't possess some skill for the medium. Increasingly though, I've found that the most important skills in this industry are interpersonal.

I'd like to state for the record that I'm not trying to undermine the value of hard work. Comics is a grueling medium (see above that you have to love this to do it) that requires miles of research and hours of hard work for very little pay. Nor am I trying to sound like a whiny creator who doesn't appreciate what the industry has offered me (and I'm young yet, so there's more to come). Certainly it's a blast having such a large network of creative people which you can tap for advice, certainly traveling to some America's best cities each year for "work" is a privilege not afforded most people in most lines of work, and god knows that creating something you love as a job is a far cry from the grist mill of the typical 9 to 5.

I'm simply trying to illustrate that in this industry, being a decent person is going to go a long way. Not that comics creators aren't open to critique or mindful of negative press, they are. And like most creative types, comics creators learn from their mistakes and taken open and honest criticism to heart. What I'm trying to illustrate here is just how large and how supportive a community this is. If all you ever see of comics are vitriolic fanboy messages about the presence of Superman's underwear, then you might carry with you a bad impression of the industry as a whole. The fact of the matter is though, most of the people who make comics really look out for their own.

Sure, there are the Twitter fights. Sure, there is the summary dismissal of the majority of Mark Millar's oeuvre. Sure, we're all less than sanguine about this new DC reboot. For the most part though, comics creators band together. Go to any convention and marvel at how easy it is to make new friends. Certainly your work will eventually have to stand on it's own merit and if you have good work, you're more likely to make a profound and beneficial connection. Regardless of your work though, you'll have no shortage of new friends. If you are friendly, if you are passionate, if you are supportive and realistic, this industry will invite you in with open arms.

If you're a dick, well...I don't like your chances.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Pitch Perfect

The emails have been sent and now I'm just waiting to hear back from the murderer's row of writers I'm trying to assemble so we can get this thing off the ground. To tease you, it's going to be kind of like Comic Twart, but with out pictures. Exciting, right?

In This Batman Life news, the press release was picked up and disseminated by Comic Book Resources, the fashion blog Chubstr contacted me for an interview and, the kicker here...

The Onion A.V. Club wants to interview me for a feature on their site.

Yeah, that's right.

The A.V. Club.

This thing might just work.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

This Batman Life

Hopefully you're showing up to my blog because you saw it on another site, such as Geeks of Doom. For now you'll be able to see updates about This Batman Life progress here (or at the Kickstarter itself, if you donate *wink wink, nudge nudge*). thisbatmanlife.com will be up soon and then you'll be able to go through that site for all your Dork Knight needs.

If you like what I'm doing, please keep visiting this blog as well. In the planning for This Batman Life, PING! has suffered, but I'm about to be back on a regular schedule here which includes a project aimed at helping all of us build stronger pitches. Pitch Perfect will launch tonight so be sure to check back for that as well!

Thanks for stopping by!