Ken Eppstein looks at 2012 in his latest addition of Indie Insights!
Last column of the year. I started 2011 with what I consider a fairly modest goal. Start self publishing my own comic book. I know that seems daunting goal to a lot of folks, but in case you haven't been paying attention to the undertone I've been trying to keep with these Indie Insight thing-a-ma-jiggers, I really feel that its something anyone can do with a little hard work and anyone willing to sacrifice the time and energy should do.
So for 2012, forget the modest goals. The low hanging fruit has been harvested and now its time to show a little ambition. Here are my goals for 2012:
Expand the Nix Comics brand:
I'm no dope. Nix Comics Quarterly isn't for everybody. Rock N Roll themed tales about zombies, devils, monster hunting vicars and strange men shouting at the bus stop sure seems niche to me. (Read niche as "esoteric punk rock crap.") Plus, the quarterly has a degree of violence and cuss vocabulary that not all readers are comfortable with.
To that end, I'm working on two additional titles to go under the Nix Comics Umbrella.
First up will be "Nix Comics Western #1" with Bob Ray Starker which will be a full length story 28 page story as opposed an anthology. The first print run will include its own Ennio Morricone inspired spooky guitar soundtrack in the form of a 7" record. (Did you know Bob is a musician? That's actually how I, and most of the City of Columbus, knew him for years. We had no idea until this year that he's one of the best cartoonists in town.)
Also, I'll be working with children's book author Brian Kraft to put out "Nix Comics For Kids: Starring Boy Howdie." This book will feature three or four related stories of the title character trying to relate to his dopey aging hipster parents. (Dad and Mom Howdie, of course.) Apparently this a recurring theme in the Kraft household. I was smart enough to avoid having kids and therefore have nobody to tell me how old or dopey I am.
These two projects will take up a little bit of time, so volume 2 the Quarterly will be briefly put on hold. That's kind of a blessing in disguise in that I think its put a lot of pressure on my artists to have a deadline so close to the Holidays. When these new ventures push the quarterly's schedule off of the calendar yer I can avoid that Christmas crunch.
Expand the Ken Eppstein brand:
If I'm gonna be standing on the corner of 53rd and 3rd hawking my wares, I need to gussy up a little so I stand out from the crowd. Yes, that's an icky metaphor. Sadly its appropriate. It'd be less so if there weren't so many of us hopeful creative types desperately vying for the exploitative attentions of the same couple sugar daddies cruising by in their big black cars.
The first step I'm going to take towards this expanded personal brand is to swallow my pride and work the job like its supposed to be done. (Yeesh. Again, sorry if combined with last paragraph's metaphor this keeps getting ickier. Oh well, if you can't join 'em ,lick 'em. Or something like that.)
Anyways, I'm in the process of cooking up two scripts for pitches to other comic book publishers. The artists are lined up. The pittance that I can afford to pay the artists is socked away. All that's left for the big sell out is convincing a couple of big wigs to buy into what I'm selling. Forgive a little self confidence, but I think it'll happen.
The second step is to expand my presence in the social media. Between facebook and twitter I have a few hundred dedicated followers. Ideally I'd like 10 times that by the end of 2012. I know that's a little hypocritical given that I've said in past columns that I want people to be aware of the limits of social media. Cut me some slack, I never said social media was useless. Its just that to turn it into anything, you need a legion of friends, fans and followers. Thing is, I have no idea NO IDEA how that kind of thing is accomplished. I'm probably going to have to hire a 1,000 monkeys with a 1,000 ipads or something like that to get the job done. Or maybe a publicist.
Keep it Fun:
The worst thing I ever did to my inner fanboy was open a comic book store in the 90s. Almost instantly, my love for comic books, comic culture and my general mental well being took a nose dive. All of a sudden my favorite hobby had become co-mingled with my ability to keep a roof over my head and I HATED it. Suddenly, if Marvel's latest crossover event sucked or if I invested in a cool indie comic that nobody else liked, it had a direct impact on my actual day to day life instead of being idle coffee house yammer with my buddies. Ugh! My favorite things became units to sell. My ambition to do something cool and fun for myself and the city of Columbus had really blown up in my face.
Now, the writing and self publishing gig is a different beast than a retail shop. I can keep a day job and make sure that I'm not sweating my next paycheck, for one thing. For another thing, its sure a lot different selling my own creative works. A lot more exciting.
But still... There are temptations.
"Say... I sure could write a lot more if I quit my job."
"My artists are late. I'm going to yell at them because its important to stay on schedule."
"I could a lot further if I had some investors. All I'd have to do is figure out some way to make sure they get some money back outta the deal..."
Does any of that sound fun? No sir. Well if it ain't fun, then I ain't gonna do it in 2012.
Written or Contributed by: Ken Eppstein, Outhouse Contributor