Anyone who knows me a bit understands that I love comics as much as I love R&B, Funk and Hip-Hop music. Not that I don’t like the rest of the musical spectrum, but it’s just my thing. Did I send you on the wrong page? No. You’re not in the wrong section of the blog, we’re talking comics here! We’re talking about catalogs!
See, in music, it’s clear as sound: your catalog, your body of work is what makes you interesting, relevant. What makes you a valuable asset. What makes you last. You produced something, then you are somebody who can do stuff. You’re not full of it.
In comics, it’s more or less the same. When you work for the big publishers as a work for hire talent, it’s great. You get to play in a bigger sandbox and you have access to characters you were probably reading as a kid. So it’s like a “passage obligé” as we say in French. Something you have to do at least once in your life as a comic book creator. And it’s a blast. But the brand will always be bigger than you.
As comic book people, we get that question all the time: “how do you break into comics?”.
Every creator now comes back with the same answer: produce content. Publish something. Be interesting. Haters gonna hate. But creators gonna create!
The more you create, the more you’ll be impossible to overlook. The more chances are you don’t just break in… You stick in. Look at the book industry. Who are the stars? Authors who publish often. It’s not always good, but there’s always something to like in their work (if you like their work at all). And it has always been like that. French legendary writers like Balzac, Jules Verne or Victor Hugo wrote a lot of books. Their work is still in print everywhere, more than a century after they died.
In comics we have great examples. Will Eisner is the first that comes to my mind. We’ll get to celebrate his 100th birthday in a few months (as well as Jack Kirby’s). Will has been a creator owned pioneer. He never stopped producing comics, creating stuff for people to read. His body of work, his catalog, is impressive. He’s a model for many of us.
Yet, producing comics when you’re not a one-man team like Eisner was, is more complex. Who’s gonna pay for all that? Because creating comics doesn’t come at no cost. It’s an expensive thing. And you don’t make money on it overnight. It’s a marathon that can last and entire lifetime.
I realized that, up to now, I could only produce one mini-series of creator-owned comics every 18 months or so. The artist, the colorist, have to be paid. I’m doing the writing, lettering and design. But the rest is too much, even with great tools such as Kickstarter.
Apart from Spider-Man Noir and Edge of Spider-Verse which are sold by Marvel Comics, I can only show up at conventions with One-Hit Wonder and Intertwined right now (and, of course, all the drawings I make). I’ve been fighting with myself to finish translating Black Box into english so that I can reprint it and end up having at least three books at comic book conventions (plus the art).
A bigger #CATALOG. That’s my hashtag for next year. How about yours?
To be continued