How to Make Comics!!
There a so many ways to “make comics” or to “break in” to this business. Tim Seeley, I believe said recently that it’s easier to break in to comics, then it is to stay in. I think to a very real level this is true. Think about it, list the names of quote “professional” creators out there, then tell me, who is doing pencils or writing on Spidergirl right now? Do you even know how long they have been on the title? I’m sure there are a few Spidergirl fans out there that would know the answer, yet compared to who could name the creators on titles like New Avengers, Superman, Green Lantern, or even Spiderman, there would be no comparison. Yet even YOU can make a comic.
Now you have options, choices to pick through to determine what it is you want to do. You can mold yourself, and get yourself in to a publisher doing work for hire assignments where you all you have is the pay for your work and occasional royalties from larger sales numbers. You could also do creator owned, self published work, where you are paid nothing up front, yet should your book do well, the money, creative rights, and ownership ALL go to YOU and no one else. Between these two most common paths there seems to be one trend that stands out over the last 15 years in comics. It is the strength of the creative team.
You’ll hear Editors talk about the finer points of storytelling, strength of solid anatomy, or the value in having a depth of knowledge regarding specific characters or the historical continuity of a character. What I am talking to you about is being a student of the game, knowing the business side of things and using that to your advantage. It is not for everyone. And that is ok, some people should only write or draw, ink or color, allowing the editors of the business handle the pairing of groups together, hoping one day to find their Jeph Loeb to their Ed McGuiness. Yet for those out there who have a need to steer their careers a little more there is a simple truth that can be found from studying the history of successful creators in the last 10 to 15 years.
Some creator teams didn’t find themselves until they were at a publisher like Marvel or DC, yet once finding each other; they have made a point to keep working together. They found there band and its time to make music, as it were. A great and very recent example of this pattern can be found in the pairing of Mark Millar and Steve McNiven. Joining up on the Civil War Mega Event for Marvel, They followed that up with the HUGELY successful “Old Man Logan” centering around a now aged Wolverine, The pairing have found their stride and have become one of most successful creative team sales wise of the last decade. The Key to this is that THEY have seen it. So much so that the team of M&M are hitting the ground running with their own creator owned comic that is believed to start in March of 2010, printing through Marvels Icon imprint.
You also have guys like Brian M. Bendis and Michael Avon Oeming who made their mark with POWERS through Image comics, and have gone one to huge success as a pairing and found homes at Marvel, bringing POWERS with them. Each has gone on to do work with other creators however they never stopped working together as well.
This is the same with pairing of artist also. Teams like Michael Turner/Peter Steigerwald, Ed McGuiness/Dexter Vines, Jim Lee/ Scott Williams, and the lists go on with teams that have made a commitment to each other and through perseverance and TEAM WORK they have found success in the business. Moving from Independent/ Creator owned comics to work-for-hire at major publishers, and sometimes back again with continued success. WHY? Because they made a brand for themselves, and they stuck together in their work efforts. This gives Editors a package to look at. They have a book, and it needs and art team. They don’t have to find the next Quesada/Miki combo; they can just GO GET THEM, because they are a team. This is KEY behind the methodology of A.N.A. Comics. There are plenty of folks in this business who will promise you opportunities, use you to get THEIR foot in the door, and simply get your work and not pay you and move on once the job is done. When all that is done, where are you really? More times than not you are right where you were to start. That is not acceptable for us, and it shouldn’t be for you. You have to take action, and you need to connect yourself with people that either are already where you want to be, or they are going in that direction. It’s the strength of the creative team. A.N.A. Comics is all about support and development of solid creators. To help them find their Stan Lee for their own Jack Kirby and go out to change the comic scene forever.
At anacomics.com we have a forum set up to share your work, get critiques and grow as an artist. We also use this as a field to develop relationships within the industry. A.N.A. Comics itself is the result of the combined joining of Supreme Knight Studios, Floating Island Press, and Carbon Hallway Graphics & Production. Each was on their own, striving to put together comic books and other creative medium properties. We saw a similarity to our focus and made the commitment to go at this together. Taking the comic book production focus from all three of our studios, we combined to for A.N.A. Comics.
Creators have asked us about working with us or for us. Our business model is different then what most have seen. Really, it all come down to being committed. You have to be committed to be part of A.N.A. Comics. We aren’t in the position to take your creator owned book, drop thousands of dollars of our resources to print and advertise it in the hopes that it would either sell enough for us to recoup our investment or make all of us loads of money. Nor are we in the position to try to hold you financially accountable to the project.
Quite simply it should be said:
At A.N.A. Comics, creators don’t work FOR us, they work WITH us.
This TEAM focus has been the key to our success so far and we believe it will continue to be. All of our projects are handled with open, honest, strait forward communication that eliminates confusion and promotes production. The way we do business may not be the avenue you find best for your strides to make comics, and that is ok. Still I will run down some of the things we are doing here at A.N.A. Comics, and you can see for yourself what we do:
A.N.A. Comics offers creators, who already have their own web comic strips, the opportunity to submit to us, and if chosen, we would provide a website set up to hold your comic and feature your work. There is no out of pocket charge to the creator for this. There is a signed agreement and a commitment for regular production (at least one update a week) that would be required.
Currently there are Two webcomics running at ANAComics.com/webcomics and 2 more planned for 2011. Take a look and see if you would like to feature your own story in our web-comics area.
With 2010 A.N.A. Comics began what we hope to be an Annual tradition: A.N.A. COMICS PRESENTS: WE'RE INDY: Rise of the Independents #1!
This Annual Anthology featured 11 unique works from Independent creators in all genre of storytelling. A.N.A. Comics doesn’t ask for any financial commitment from the creators to have their work included, nor is any pay promised back to the creators. A release is signed allowing A.N.A. Comics the privilege to print the submitted story in the Anthology, while the creators retain complete ownership over their property. The goal is simply to showcase the wide range of great comics out there.
If you would ever wish to be included in a future printing, please keep an eye out for open submissions at anacomics.com in The BOARD
ANAComics.com offers Indy Creators the opportunity to purchase Ad space on our site. If you look around anacomics.com you’ll notice a header and a side bar advertisement. These are set up to cycle through different advertisers we have, changing with each click of the page. With thousands of visitors to our website, your ad would be viewed hundreds if not thousands of times. ANAComics.com offers three packages for advertizing, broken down by how many times your add would appear in a month: 500/Ads for $5 – 1200/Ads for $10 – or Unlimited Ads for $20 a month. All packages are offered in 3, 6, or 12 month increments. Our super saver package is Unlimited Ads for a FULL year for just $200.00. If you are interested in advertising with ANAComics.com please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
COMIC BOOKS :
We wouldn’t be much of a comics company without actual comic books. A.N.A. Comics first comic book was published October 2009.
BRETHREN: Beginnings marked the initial venture into physical comic book printing and also the start to the much anticipated creator owned project from A.N.A. Comics co-founder Anthony “ANMPH” Hary. A.N.A. Comics also has special Directors Cut Trade Paperback of Harijan, a sci-fi epic from the mind of A.N.A. Comics co-founder Nicholas P. Myers. This will be the first time his original mini-series is collected in one book, and it will contain a special interview with the creator along with never before seen art and previews of what is to come! We are very excited about that.
Along with other projects in the works, A.N.A. Comics is working on the completion of a special Charity benefit Swimsuit issue that is set to have the profits benefit Breast Cancer research. All the characters in the book, both men and women, will be characters from A.N.A. Comics & other creator owned indy characters. Making this book not only an awesome way to support a great cause, but also an unique opportunity to get to know characters from within the different worlds of A.N.A. Comics and the Independent world of comics that you may not have had otherwise.
We are always open to creators that would be looking for a home for their project. We have already started discussions with a couple creators and it’s great to see who else is out there. Similar to our other ventures, we do not ask for any financial commitment from creators we team up with, rather we set up a complimentary relationship that helps the creator establish a brand and reach out to a wider audience then they may have been able to on their own.
A.N.A. Comics recently had the pleasure of having Daniel Woolley's HENCHMAN join the A.N.A. Comics fold. With Indyplanet currently showing issue #1 available for purchase!
Things to know, A.N.A. Comics is a family based company. Outside of our annual anthology, or special creator owned books, we have no intention to produce products or stories with content that would be above what is typically allowed in a PG13 film. Our commitment is to stories, quality stories, and to keeping them free of fluff or any sort of gratuitous content included simply for the sake of doing it. If your property contains heavy gore, nudity, swearing, or offensive content, we are not who you are looking to work with, as we as a group feel those elements are not necessary at such an excessive level to tell a quality story, but rather they hurt your story.
We’ve considered a lot today. We have looked over how A.N.A. Comics goes about the business of making comics. How will YOU make your comic? Will you work for someone else, or do you have the commitment and dedication to make your dream happen all on your own. There is not one path that is better than the other. You simply have to know which path is for you. Please feel free to visit The BOARD forum at anacomics.com and talk to us, share work, and bounce ideas around. We are here to help, and build up the Indy side of comics.
Thanks for reading.