Sunday, February 26, 2012

Living With Comics

The Panel Bound blog has this brief but helpful guide on how to pitch your comics.  I particularly like the bit at the end about being willing to compromise.  Just because Dark Horse can't publish your original idea, that doesn't mean they won't be impressed enough by your pitch that they throw you some Star Wars work, or ask you to contribute to DHP.  Doing something really close to what you set out trying to do is better than not doing it at all.

I recently found the Comic Tools website and it really just speaks for itself.  Visit it often.

The fabulous Ink Studs site had this discussion with Fank Santoro and Brandon Graham.  Anytime you get a chance to hear those two speak on comics, you take it.  Follow Ink Studs for great insight into comics.

Friend of the blog Kurtis Wiebe hosts an excellent podcast on creating comics called The Process.  You can find it here.

I'm going to break from talking about process and comics creation for a moment to shamelessly plug my new local comic shop.  Challengers Comics ( is one of the best comics shops I've ever seen, maybe the best.  With an eye to aesthetic, quality branding and design, and smart shopping flow that separates it from the standard comic shop mold, Challengers is an instantly intimate place.  It's the sort of place you want to support, the kind of shop you want to stand in for an hour and just talk.  And that's exactly what they want you to do.  Challengers is not the place to go if you want to pour over long box after long box looking for foil variant covers from the 90s.  As co-owner Patrick Bower puts it, "We don't mark anything up, only down."  At Challengers they want you to read your comics.  Need proof?  Just ask them about their lending program, where you can rent any graphic novel from their vast rental stock for just $10 a month.  When I wasn't constantly scripting my own stuff, I used to read about six graphic novels a month.  Having a place to check out and read what you want without buying each issue is a nice way to stay abreast of good comics when you're living on a budget.  But that's hardly the only thing that Challengers does to promote reading and celebrating comics.  They run a book club (currently reading Books of Magic by Neil Gaiman), hold various special events involving people from a vast cross section of the comics world, promote the hell out of local creators and run a comics-specific art gallery called Rogues Gallery (currently showing the cover progression show by Jenny Frison).  Challengers is firmly rooted in the comic shop tradition that allowed the direct market to hold sway over the industry, but they're doing something that a lot of traditional comic shops seem unwilling to do (which alludes to problems in the industry itself); Challengers is evolving.  This is not a shop that feels terrorized by the digital shift (observe the Comixology partnership on their homepage) or a shop that allows the trends of national book store chains to dictate what they market.  Challengers promotes who they want, what they want and how they want, and that's what makes them so refreshing.  They're running a business certainly, but their business isn't collecting comics.  At Challengers, they're in the business of loving comics.  And for that, they get my love too.

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