As SPACE 2013 approaches, the Indy Hunter talks to Brian James Mitchell about what's new with him this year.
We E-Meet Again...
Brian John Mitchell, it's nice to talk to you again! I interviewed you first, then you interviewed me, now I'm interviewing you, next time it'll be my turn and WOW am I gonna have to dig deep and after-burn some blood, sweat, and beers to keep up with your output my friend! Since the last S.P.A.C.E. show you've had a busy year haven't you?
First off, I actually am about to send a series of emails out to cartoonists I’ve interviewed in the past asking them to look over their past interviews & giving them a chance to write little essays updating something that has changed since then, so it is your turn next!
Sometimes it feels like I’ve been busy the past year & sometimes it feels like I haven’t gotten too much done. I did my Bottle Comics Project where I put my comics (they’re the size of a pack of matches) in bottles & put them in the ocean & a few rivers & such & that got a bit of buzz about it on the internet with some people saying I was just littering & others thinking it was a genius idea. I spent the month of November in Pittsburgh at The Cyberpunk Apocalypse House on a residence really working on my personal drawing & painting skills (I also made a nearly 300 page ebook collecting the art I did when I was there). But I still don’t know if I completed ten books over the year & I’m a little let down by that.
On the music side of things I’ve gotten some stuff going with a couple albums & an EP of my stuff coming out as well as putting out a few records & launching a string of five songs in five minute EPs. Whether that’s a lot of stuff or not is all about who you compare yourself to. & lastly I got a button maker machine & am having a lot of fun designing buttons & making them from other folks designs as well.
How was your experience last year at S.P.A.C.E?
I always have a good time at S.P.A.C.E. You get out what you put in. For me it’s more about seeing friends again & seeing what other people are doing than it is about sales & that makes it a great experience.
Pliable Goal Posts...
I remember when we last spoke, you mentioned a desire to do more shows, more conventions. Have you made good on that mission? If so in relation to the show, S.P.A.C.E, what would you say are some differences and what expectations did you have when you started attending more/other shows?
I did appear at eight conventions over the past year (half comic, half other things (local art & such)) & all conventions are interesting to see the different flavor & what works or doesn’t work as far as if what I’m doing matches what people want to buy. Some comic conventions are about people doing cosplay. Some are about dealers putting out hundreds of boxes of back issues at $0.50 apiece.
Neither of those situations really do great for me. The local art shows I have sometimes done okay at, but sometimes art shows are more geared towards jewelry making or knitted hats or something like that. The bottom line is you can’t tell how well you’ll do at an event unless you try it & each person’s experience is different. I just did a horror convention (mainly selling merch for the horror punk band The Independents, but my comics were there on the table as a tertiary item) & my sales weren’t great; but I met a couple other cartoonists & one had good luck getting some commissions to work on & the other had luck with selling a bunch of old comics from his personal collection for $0.50 a piece.
Any time I get to have a good conversation or two with someone about my work or their work, I’m happy in the end. Usually I get at least a couple of those in.
Secrets of Space..
Have those experiences given you more gamesmanship, more shelf savvy to bring back to this years, S.P.A.C.E?
I do have a couple plans to make for more sales this year. One is that my girlfriend is going to be there & she has a much more outgoing personality & people always prefer to talk to a cute girl. Another trick is that when there’s a line at a table, it generates interest & I’m going to be having people draw their own pictures for me to make buttons of right at the table & that should get some people hunkered over my table & that’ll get more people looking into what I’m doing. We’ll see if it works.
Last year you brought over 60 micro comics and other assorted collections to show and sell, i.e.: buttons, swag, your own music, what are you bringing with you this year?
Basically the same stuff, only a few more books & bunch more buttons. Maybe some of my paintings. I guess I need to try out what I can get to fit on my table.
I've been asking other S.P.A.C.E exhibitors this question, but what's the most memorable thing you can recall on S.P.A.C.E weekend either at the show, post-show parties, or in general. Give the readers a sense what the vibe is like if they ever find themselves lucky enough to attend.
It’s hard to say a specific thing. I think one of the great things about S.P.A.C.E. is you run into all these other people who you vaguely know from Facebook or the internet or whatever & you get to meet them & realize they all have the same struggles as you as far as finding time to make their comics or money to make their comics or enough attention to feel like their comics are any good. I really love that you see some people that are uber-professional & others being uber-DIY; some people doing things that would look at home in a comic shop & other people doing zine type stuff & others trying to make their own format (I like to think I’m in the last category).
QRD...It's not Just A Cool Button...
You're the father of Sibermedia.com which does a nice job of interviewing other independent talent and creators. How's that been going for you? For those new to the idea, fill them in.
QRD actually pre-dates Silber & used to be a print zine in the 1990s. In 1998 I started to put all the content on the web as well. In 2002 I abandoned print because it was costing too much money & that opened me to actually do longer interviews & the past few years I’ve kind of abandoned the typical interview about current events for an artist (be they a cartoonist, guitarist, or whatever) with 30-70 questions about their craft. A lot of the stuff is pretty gear oriented (what pedals & amps for guitarists & what pens & how scripting works for cartoonists) & so it’s more interviews with artists for other artists to read than interviews for fans of the artists.
As an artist that’s always more interesting to me. I don’t want to read a sales pitch based interview, so I don’t conduct that kind of interview. I just try to ask the questions I want to know the answers to & hope other people are interested in the same things as me.
So what's on the horizon this year for you and yours? You've got your creative little fingers in a few different pots, what can we expect from you this year even post-show?
Well, I have finally decided to start drawing & painting my own stories a bit more & to also step out of my format a bit (you can see what I did for the S.P.A.C.E. Anthology this year as an example) & so that should help me get a few more comics out as well as enable me to do some work for some friends anthologies. I’m talking about going to Cross Plains, Texas for a few days to wander around to research for my Robert E. Howard comic. Working on some more comics as always. Working on some new record albums as always.
QRD is going to launch some new interview series (drummer interviews & touring musician interviews). I keep talking about making some more ebooks. I’ve been trying to post sketches a bit more often & want to start doing that a bit. I keep talking about doing a series acting just as publisher for other people’s comics in my matchbook sized format. I’m theoretically working on a comic adaptation of a Philip K. Dick story. I just found out about that TeeSpring.com site & I might try to submit some stuff there as well. I’m hoping to finish up the two open ended story arcs I have on Lost Kisses (the “Ultimate” story & the time travel story) over the next year.
Lately I have been a little relaxed on my comic promotions & I want to step that back up. Only time will tell what happens.
Annnd in case they missed it, BJM, tell the people where they canfind you and creative efforts:
Comics – http://www.silbermedia.com/comics
Webzine/Interviews – http://www.silbermedia.com/qrd
Music/Label – http://www.silbermedia.com
Buttons – http://www.silbermedia.com/buttons
Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/silbermedia
Twitter – http://twitter.com/silberspy
Tumblr – http://silbermedia.tumblr.com/
Written or Contributed by J.M. Hunter
READ THIS ARTICLE ON THE FRONT PAGE, HUMANS!