Wednesday, November 07, 2012

NaBloPoMo Post #7 - Making Comics

I wrote a lot yesterday about how we got to this point in the creative process in my recap of our search for an artist, and it got me thinking about how much goes into making one 22-page comic (No wonder Marvel's always late!) 
First off, we had to write the thing, which took us awhile, since John and I wanted to really get this one right.  We pored over every line of dialogue, and since we don't really live near each other anymore, we would sometimes do it together, sometimes over Skype, and sometimes email drafts back and forth.  Unfortunately, since this process has literally taken years, and we have seen a few computers come and go in that time, and I'm not a very good organizer in the first place, some data was lost.  Also, as I said in an earlier post, I did a lot of research on this one, mostly for Akira's dialogue, but also because I wanted to include real facts about the places our heroes visit.  So, it was time-consuming, but very rewarding.  Back in our Secret Monkey days, John and I could bang out an issue pretty quick, but that was mostly for our own enjoyment.  It was no less rewarding, but we were trying to do something a little more meaningful than poke fun at old comics.  Still, we did get 16 issues in the can in almost no time.  Those were the days.    
Beyond writing and drawing it, however, there is still more to be done.  Thankfully, Faith's creator also works in the biz, so we had a letterer and colorist on hand.  Unfortunately, being that coloring and lettering is also John's full-time job, it was hard to justify spending time on it when he should be spending time on the actual paying work (Hey, the guy had just bought a house.)  So, some of faith's color work was done (and is being done) by outside forces that John knew through his various comic connections.  This is great because I love spreading the work around and helping these unsung comic heroes earn money, but it's a bit of a loss because John is an amazing colorist.  And if I may throw in a cheap plug, he'll be featured in the Athena Voltaire book from Dark Horse, so watch for that.
There is also something called inking that most comics require.  Thankfully, Mark, our second half artist, did his own, but we had to hire one for the rest.  If anyone remembers that scene from Chasing Amy, you can probably figure out what the inker does, but regardless of what side of the inker/tracer fence you sit on, it is necessary.
This is all just to actually complete the book, but if you ask me, that's the easy part.  the hard part?  getting anyone to read that damn thing.  Which I guess is part of the reason I'm doing all this in the first place.  These days, self-publishing is a lot easier than it was when we started Secret Monkey over a decade ago.  In fact, Kickstarter is now the #2 publisher of graphic novels in the country.  Your chances of striking gold are minimal, but if you just want to see your creative work out there, and have people enjoy it, and want to see a job well done, now is the time.

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