Loser Comix #2 Is Almost Ready to Go to Press -- Come Along With Me And Push it Over the Finish Line!
Greetings, dear reader, and welcome to my project!
My name's Richard Van Ingram - been around for many a year, just Google my name or visit www.losercomix.com to see a selection of some of my work, humor, and basic attitude towards art and comix.
In 2009, after 4 years teaching philosophy (ethics) and 10 years working in the field of public mental health in Georgia (USA), I picked up and moved to San Antonio, TX to begin my life again and pursue a lifelong dream of making art, politically/socially satirical comics, and generally making a creative nuisance of myself in an urban, diverse environment.
On the whole, I've been successful, but only on a very, very small scale. I do quality visual work and my writing is better than the average; it's also aimed at adults and spreading a necessary message during this strange moment in US history with the rise of a potentially violent far right-wing backlash against social gains made over the last part of the 20th century.
Comics can play a positive or negative role in quickly, effectively, directly spreading social, ethical messages and commentary to a broad audience. And they're fun and relatively cheap, disposable. Just look at the political comics of Herblock or the accomplishments of Art Spiegelman (MAUS). Or on the negative side, look at the fundamentalist, theocratic and paranoid fantasies of Jack T. Chick.
The trick is getting the message in front of the audience, getting the physical object made, printed, and into the hands of appropriate readers,
And that costs money and time. The artist isn't going to have a great deal of time to make the work unless she's under- or unemployed yet has access to the computer equipment and programs required to make modern comics. She needs access to printers who don't charge so much she can't even make enough from re-sale to buy more art supplies, much less earn a living (an impossibility for most small independent comics creators after the hey-day of the '90s).
Add to that she must have an advertizing and distribution system. If people don't know you have a comic, they aren't going to look for it. The internet helps, but to use it effectively requires a budget -- and it often requires giving away the content of the book in hopes people will donate or buy the physical copies.
From first-hand experience over 5 years I can tell you that the present-day internet audience sees internet content as their free-to-enjoy property and generally don't compensate the creator even with a one dollar donation.
So physical copies and sales remain the central means of compensation, hence distribution. Online distribution is helpful, but one can't rely on it. Recently, I heard an excellent comic artist ecstatic because he'd sold 15 entire copies of a book online it took him months to make. Great if this is a hobby; not so great if you want to make a living as a comic book artist and contribute to social change.
So, how am I going to do this differently?!
The $1000 I'm trying to raise will at least get me about 500 books published with a CMYK printer. The material is the easy part -- I've got most of it ready to go having worked on it over the past couple of years. See the majority of it here: http://losercomix2.tumblr.com/ . Nothing hidden -- this is most of it; some requires some lettering and coloring, but that goes quickly. I'll be taking some vacation time off my paying job to do that part. I'll go with one of the printers I've worked with in the past who can give me good quality and a good deal on the price. Easy.
Distribution: I'm going to drive these things around to various establishments that sell a variety of things to adults -- comic book shops are fairly useless as they are stuck in the Diamond Distribution monopoly system and most standard comic book readers aren't interested in anything that doesn't wear spandex and deliver 32 pages of senseless fighting through rehashed plots happily delivered by Marvel and DC.
Such establishments that would carry my books include, but aren't limited to, paraphernalia shops, tattoo parlors, independent used book stores, and used comics and record shops. I'm just going to have to do a lot of leg work between San Antonio and Austin to canvass possible alternative salespeople.
And there are conventions. Texas has many good conventions regularly -- attending would cost me money, but might help build my reputation and there is always the possibility of getting in as a guest, not a dealer. They are good places to network.
Wanna see some pictures before clicking on my links?
Of course you do. The proof's in the pudding, as one of my teachers used to say when I claimed I forgot my homework.
The check, dear friend, is not in the mail. Here's some evidence of who I am, what I've done, and what I'm doing.
[ "It Ate the Future" was a full-frontal assault on Ayn Rand's "philosophy" and the utopian capitalist libertarianism it spawned. The story is a sort of horror-dystopian fairy-tale with pitch black humor.]
[ HAWT! was an attempt to use Humorama-style comic humor to turn the tables on the traditional sexist punchlines and themes that women are "easy".]
And on to our present project, Loser Comix #2 :
Alethia is Ancient Greek for truth as revelation, pulling back common opinion to reveal the truth -- or the moment that allows us to contemplate truth.
Doxa is the Ancient Greek work for common opinion that obscures truth.
"Return of the Plague" is a story influenced by many sources - Camus, Burroughs, Alan Moore, and others. It involves a symbolic exploration of contemporary themes: The "War" on Terror, state sponsored torture and destruction of civil liberties, the economic divide, technology, the rise of theocracy and superstitious disdain for science, and so on. Happy times.
This and all b&w pieces will be colored.
Gotta get them freeloaders workin'.
I think that's an adequate sampling. Go to http://losercomix2.tumblr.com/ to see the majority of LOSER COMIX #2.
Thanks for your consideration and time.
Risks and challenges
Finishing the project, all disasters in the way of health and finances barred, isn't a problem. I'm practically done.
Deciding on a printer shouldn't present an issue -- it never has in the past. Finding one who'll work with me on the price to put out a quality product is more difficult, but with $1000 capital plus what I'll put in myself should give me some leverage to get out around 500 books and what I make off that should fund further projects along these lines.
Locating the places that will sell my work is the most difficult part, but I've already been scouting. I need some product in hand to make my case -- sort of like a salesman with a physical sample and catalogue. Getting into conventions is easy -- either I beg my way in as a guest (done it before, it's just been a few years) or just shell out money for a dealer's table and bomb the place with free swag (I make buttons and handmade swag bags for this. It's not too difficult or cost prohibitive.)
I work hard at my day job -- it's full-time, even though I'm severely underemployed and underpaid. But my wife's job takes care of insurance and i do get paid leave when we're allowed to take it. I've saved mine up since last September both for private issues and to complete this project and market it. I often work my full shift and then come home to work half the night or more on getting the art done. I work on art in my car during lunch breaks. I am committed to eventually doing this for a living, but small steps first. I need a breakthrough book and am hoping this is it or sets up the one that will be.
I'm not easily dissuaded and am in this for the long haul. I've put in five solid years so far; five more is nothing. This is what I do and what I want to do even if it makes moderate income and small fame. The message is the point and I'm committed to it.
Have questions? Ask away. I've got nothing to hide.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)