Like everyone else in the comic book world, I spent this past week soaking up the awesomeness that was Wednesday Comics. I was frightened at first (since there was a rumor that stores under-ordered), and my regular shop, Roger’s Time Machine, isn’t always fully stocked (still my favorite comic shop though).Luckily, that was not the case, and even though Wednesday Comics contained merely 15 pages of actual content, it took me twice as long to absorb compared to the Batman issue I purchased.
I can’t judge the stories yet, but the art is astounding; especially the Green Lantern story illustrated by Joe Quinones.I mean, all the artists were stellar, but Quinones’s work had a certain flare and quality that reminded me of Dave Stevens’s Rocketeer stuff; an old-school craftsmanship, you could say.I’ve never heard of Quinones before this week, but was completely blown away.This one issue of Wednesday Comics reminded me why I fell in love with comics in the first place.
Which coincidentally brings to mind a certain era: the 90s.The infamous speculators’ market. (Or was it spectator’s market?)Say what you will about the comics industry in the 90s, but in my mind, that was the last time a mass audience fell in love with American comics.Without mentioning Manga, of course.I have nothing against Manga, but those are just a different set of circumstances.And I’m not counting casual readers who don’t collect comics but follow titles such as Strangers in Paradise, Y: the Last Man, etc., etc.I’m well aware of the crossover hits.
During the 90s heyday – a ton of grade schoolers, college kids and young adults were falling in love with American comics as a medium, or at least as an industry.“Hurray, we can invest in multiple copies!”
Every boy in my 3rd grade class was reading X-MEN, collecting the Marvel and DC trading cards, and watching the X-MEN cartoon.Comic shops (or at least shops that carried comics) were ubiquitous (to an 8 year old anyway).I remember this one hobby shop in Chinatown jumped on the bandwagon and decided to sell comics too.Image stuff.Valiant stuff.These old Chinese men knew NOTHING about comics, yet they were making a killing.
I’m not really trying to get at anything; just contemplating out loud.It’s just kinda sad how the American comics industry isn’t solidifying a new fan-base.Even after the speculators’ bubble burst in the mid 90s, the top selling comic was still reaching numbers as high as 300,000.What’s the highest selling monthly these days?100,000?150,000?
One can argue that it’s better now, since graphic novels are more prominent in book stores and we’re developing a casual readership versus planting the seeds to create future fanboys.I get that, I know that.But quite frankly, the romantic in me, misses the 90s.I miss the idea of sneaking your weekly purchases into school, avoiding confiscation by your teacher, trading comics & cards back and forth.
Ahh, the good ol’ days…
I know I’m just being nostalgic, and we always reconstruct memories in our head.I’m sure if you were an older reader at that time, you would’ve been horrified by the idea of Rob Liefeld starting his own studio.
Out of all the kids I knew in grade school / junior high who collected comics, I think I’m the only one still reading.That’s kinda sad, but not unexpected.You tend to outgrow things, but at least my old classmates will have American comics as a part of their childhood.“Hey, remember when we used to read Spawn?”They are the last people who will get to say that…
Anyway, that’s it for the ranting.Time for another installment of…
HOW TO MAKE A LIVING WITH YOUR ART WITHOUT BEING FAMOUS: ADVENTURES IN THE WORLD OF FREELANCING!!
If you’re an aspiring comic book artist and you’re having trouble breaking into the comics industry – try doing storyboards in the meantime.
Now, I’m not talking about storyboards for a big-budget Hollywood film.I’m talking about the countless independent filmmakers, screenwriters and producers who are in need of your artistic abilities to bring their projects to life (so they can pitch it to financiers).Think about it – storyboards and comics both utilize the art of sequential storytelling. But with storyboards, you don’t have to stress over every tiny detail (since more often than not, all that’s required are simple, loose drawings).
If you haven’t done so already, look on Craigslist, which is where I’ve found some worthwhile storyboard jobs.It should be much easier if you live in or near a metropolitan area.I find that a lot of people view Craigslist as simply a haven for spammers, scammers and crap gigs that pay you shit.Although that may be roughly accurate, there are always some hidden gems.More importantly, check job sites that cater to freelancers, such as Guru.com and iFreelance.Those two sites both costs money to join, of course.
Storyboarding will help expand your portfolio and hopefully put some cash in your pocket.Indie filmmakers are usually more willing to pay (even if it’s a little), versus most aspiring comic creators who prefer collaborations.I don’t have anything against the latter, but we’re talking about paying the bills here, right?You could make the argument that collaborations with a 50/50 split of future profits is more lucrative in the long run, and I completely respect that, but let’s not open up that can of worms tonight.