WELCOME TO TAILSCOMIC.COM! I WILL BE YOUR HOST, ETHAN YOUNG! GLAD TO MEET YA! (Shake hands)
In a nutshell, this website is devoted to the re-launch of my first comic, Tails, along with new stories for all the Tails fans out there (all 8 of you).
For those of you who haven’t heard of Tails (I won’t hold it against you), it’s the semi-autobiographical adventures of a young, quirky Asian vegan who lives with his parents while struggling to become a cartoonist.The twist: he’s an animal rescuer with a dozen cats in his bedroom.I know, sounds like a winner! Tails was originally released in late 2005 as a 3 issue mini series and then collected into a trade paperback, Tails: Life in Progress. The collected volume was awarded Best Graphic Novel during the 2007 Independent Publishers Book Awards.All in all, the book was fairly well received.There was even a sequel planned for 2007, Tails: Addicted to Sin.
So…why the new website and re-launch?Lemme explain.
Like every other deluded, quixotic creator entering the field with their head in the clouds, I was expecting immediate riches and rewards; that all the wealth, fame and glory I deserved would fall directly onto my lap (I didn’t have a dime to my name in those days, so money was a major concern).
When you’re putting out a 24 page black & white comic, you wouldn’t need to sell that many copies to break even; and not that many more to turn a small, if not miniscule, profit(of course, this is only if we’re talking about printing costs).You sell about 2500 – 3000 copies, and you’re in Breaking-Even-Land.Do enough research, and you’ll find dozens of cautionary tales about self-publishing.You read them over and over again, and you think, “Oh, please!That ain’t gonna happen to me!I’m the next Jeff Smith!”Or Dave Sim or Terry Moore or whoever else you admire.Anyway…I ultimately learned, the hard way, just how rare it was to get pass the gates at Breaking-Even-Land.
At any rate, the sequel never saw print (obviously), but not for lack of completion.I completed all 80+ pages of Addicted to Sin around the winter of 2006, way ahead of schedule.However, the self-publishing route was more than I could really handle.I decided to try my hand at indie publishers.I sent the manuscript to all the major players in the indie field and got a wealth of lukewarm response.I even pissed off an editor or two with some contemptuous replies (hey, I was younger and more arrogant, gimme a break).
Afterwards, I decided to piece together Life in Progress and Addicted to Sin along with a third act to make one larger graphic novel; hopefully making it an easier sell to the publishers.Along the way, I thought, “Would it really hurt if I touched up a few pages?”What started as a simple ‘touch up’ turned into…well, let’s just say, out of the original graphic novel, only a handful of pages remained intact and unaltered.
Most of 2007 and 2008 was spent immersed in the re-editing process; as well as completing that glorious third act.Normally, it wouldn’t have taken me as long, but something amazing happened along the way: my freelance career started to gain momentum and I was actually able to sustain myself with it!I quit my day job as a dog-walker (not that I don’t still love dogs, but picking up their shit all day isn’t as fulfilling as you’d think) and started paying the bills with my art alone.A large part of my focus shifted from completing Tails to managing a fledging art career and learning new business skills, such as how to communicate articulately with the more big-wig clients.
After Tails was completed (again), I tried re-submitting it.Still no luck.
Then it dawned on me to release the entire comic online (I dunno why it didn’t dawn on me earlier).No editorial control, no having to deal with distributors, no having to worry about sales.Truth be told, I’d be working on Tails regardless of my financial situation.For better or worse, this comic is my baby; a labor of absolute love.So now, Tails is free for everyone to read.
And as for the people who actually did BUY Tails to support me, I only have one thing to say: thank you from the bottom of my heart.The numerous fan e-mails I received along this journey kept me going.I know you probably feel a bit ripped off right now, so I owe you one.Seriously.
I hope you all enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed creating it (hard to believe seeing as how I’ve just complained about the whole creative process).It wasn’t always easy, but it was always worth it.
Please read on.