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the eye

COMIC BOOK REALITIES REVISITED

Strange.It took a text message conversation with Canadian cartoonist Joe Ollmann to cement in reality something my mind had perhaps already accepted but needed a swift kick in the ass to accept: there is for most NO money in comics, or at least those of the Independent kind. Ollmann is on the roster of Conundrum Books a well established graphic novel Publisher so I can only believe he knows of what he speaks.
There are that handful of course. The Kevin Eastman/Peter Laird/ Jeff Smiths of the Industry. They stand atop a very small mountaintop of Indie creators who technically no longer need to produce artwork to make a living, able to live off the residuals of their most successful creations and perhaps dabble in the comics world once in awhile as a lark.
No, I am one of the thousands of creators who do what they do cause they love to do it. Need to do it. Is it a bitter pill to swallow? This late in the game? No, not really. Of course I would like to see my latest project picked up by a Publisher who can give it proper legs to run. Yet I am ready to self publish if necessary. Sometimes I feel if that happens it will likely be my last true kick at the comics can. I've been knocking out some goofy little autobio stories for various anthologies and really, those are nice. A huge workload doesn't sit atop my shoulders when I do those, even with the loss of Joe Meyer as my long time letterer/inker. The books come out, they sell, and I am content that work is out there. That some form of my work can live on and breath.
I have seen people go from very small to BLOWN UP, most of them met and friended on this very Livejournal almost twenty odd years ago for some. I was not among them, though I am forever in awe of how well my LJ cartoonist pals who stepped up their game to become a force in comics. When I look at it I am not alone in my status as not really been. Many dropped off the comics making world altogether to become parents, to become embroiled in their day jobs that were able to keep a roof over their heads. Maybe some still do comics. I can at least say that,though I am a father of two, married and working a heavy duty day job to keep a roof over my head and food on the table, I still force myself to do comics.
Joe Ollmann won a goddamn Doug Wright Award. As he put it to paraphrase, he felt he had gone bigtime with that "success" (his quotations, not mine). Then reality brought him down to Earth.
"We're not in comics to make money. We do this because we love doing it." is kind of how he put it.
How true. I've paid some bills with my sales. Paid some with freelance gigs. I'm not a huge sell for an Indie con though. Some of the numbers people throw at me saleswise staggers my imagination. Selling out before halfway through the second day of a three day show. Fuck, If I sold 12 or 13 of my graphic novels at a show that paid for my portion of a three way split table and bought dinner or paid a phone bill. Those numbers are rather mundane next to a lot of folks I know.
I will however always cheer on those who started out here on LJ with me and stepped full on into this crazy industry. They are my friends. How could I not?

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April 2015

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