Tagged: party

Marc Alan Fishman: Sell! Sell! Sell Your Comic!

Comic BooksHey kiddos! I decided I wanted to add a touch of linkbaiting this week to my article. Since the interwebs just goes gaga (but not Lady Gaga) over lists, I thought it was time I give you one… as I lay out to you the secret sauce that makes Unshaven Comics’ Big Mac. That Big Mac is, of course, the reason why we are (in part) as successful as we have been at comic conventions throughout the Mid-West and East Coast. Over the last five years, we’ve cultivated pitches for each of our books, such that it becomes abundantly clear to those standing in front of our table that they need the book we place in their hands.

In between discussions of great grub, good flicks, and other bric-a-brac, many of our fellow creators have asked Unshaven what lands us our good sales and closing ratio. And rather than write a book and sell it to them, I thought it’d be fun instead to even the playing field. So, without any further padding, let’s get into those tips you yourself need to turn your pet project into a product-moving behemoth.

1. You have my undivided attenti – Hey! Zombies!

When you’ve made eye-contact with a potential customer (a “fan,” if you will) and you’ve politely asked them if you can tell them about your comic book – you are doing that, aren’t you? – be clear that you have literally thirty seconds or less to captivate them. If you can’t get through the biggest reasons why your comic is appealing to them in that time? You might as well sit patiently and wait for your mother to walk by the table to listen to all you have to say. This isn’t a proclamation about the attention span of the millenials mind you… this is Advertising 101. So, tip 1: Keep. It. Short. Sassypants.

2. It’s like chocolate meets peanut butter.

Clichéd as it may be, a good pitch saves time by referencing previously available material. Yes, I know that your book is a beautiful and wholly original snowflake. But you know what? I don’t care. When you can tell me that your book is like Fight Club and My Little Pony, I’m free to the do the mental math quickly. Barrier to entry is now lessened, or the wasted time on someone you’re not going to sell to is shortened. So, pick a piece of memorable fiction that matches your book’s genre, and potentially style or mood. Present your X meets Y statement as such that your pitchee knows you’re not speaking on the quality of your piece, so much as the headspace you’re aiming for. In other words, don’t say “It’s like Star Wars Meets Titanic, because it’s just. That. Epic.”

3. People want story first, not characters.

Even if your book follows a single solitary soul for twenty some-odd pages, as a potential buyer I can’t be sold on a character in 30 seconds. Why? Because your characters are likely dimensional. They have depth, nuance, and shades of grey. A person can’t easily be quantified in a single sentence. But your story can. As I’ve been building here: you have limited real estate of ear-time with your would-be-fan. What will make them by your book is not how witty the banter may be… it’ll be the hook of the story. Just because your book stars Robo-Jesus doesn’t mean I instantly want it – it’s how Robo-Jesus fights a horde of rabid leprechauns that sells me on the issue quickest.

4. Leave room to breathe.

Ain’t I a stinker? Here I am building you up for what must feel like a drag race to a sale, and now I’m telling you to slow down! I’m not evil, trust me. Here’s the thing. 30 seconds is actually longer than you think. If you’ve followed along this far, you have a good idea what Unshaven Comics likes to do: We hop in, and tell our audience what our book is about, and end right on the hook. And then we breathe. We look the fan in the eye, and see that they absorb what we’ve said. Some folks will immediately have questions. Some will snicker with a “oh, really? Now what?” Others will ask where the line for Gene Ha starts. In any event, we build a nice pregnant pause into the pitch to force the customer to interact with us. Why? Because while we are trying to sell them, we’re not trying to be the late Billy Mays. It’s not a scream-a-thon until you beg for money… it’s actually a conversation.

5. But what am I actually buying?

Brass tacks: After you’ve dropped the setup and the hook. After you’ve compared your book to common fiction they know. After you’ve maybe answered a quick question about the art. It’s time to close the sale. In case you’re not familiar – and if you’re not, shame on you – watch Alec Baldwin tell you how it’s done.  Always. Be. Closing. The key to finishing strong, is to cut to the chase. Tell your interested party what they’re holding in their hands. How many pages is it? Is it color? How much does it cost? And then, as awkward as it may be, you have to then ask them if they’d like to give it a try. No arm wrenching necessary; just a polite notification that yes, you are indeed a business, and what you’re attempting here is to keep that business open. Your fan won’t mind the hustle, if you don’t mind the humility.

6. Don’t forget the upsell, or the closer.

When you’ve reached step 5, you have a sale or a runner. If they are willing to purchase, it literally loses you nothing to offer an upsell. For Unshaven Comics? It’s typically a free sticker, button, or poster, with purchase of another book. So, yes, for the cost of two comics (one of which you’ve now told yourself is worth purchasing) you now get something potentially cool totally free. Yessir, that’s an upsell. Or, perhaps you have someone on the fence. They like the idea, but… hey, it is five bucks. So, now, you need a closer. Offer to sign the book. Or eat the cost on a button, sticker, or poster. At the end of the day, issues moved are issues moved. And everything you should be doing on a cold sale is try to move that book.

Alrighty everyone. Seem simple enough? It’s not. Like I’d said above: it took us five years, and what I could figure as being literally 3,000+ pitches to get where we’re at. But don’t be discouraged. Remember that at a convention you’re in your element. The people walking that floor are there to be wowed. It’s your chance to wow them. Keep it short, keep it uncomplicated, be witty where you can. Be upfront about your price, and be ready to upsell if you can. And last but not least? Know that the worst a fan will ever say to you ultimately is ‘no’. So… if I haven’t ask you yet, stranger…

Can I tell you about my comic book?

 

Marc Alan Fishman: “Dear Gotham…”

My dearest Gotham,

I saw that you prematurely showed yourself to the world. It’s OK to be a tease. I can forgive that. But I couldn’t help myself… I was a voyeur to your little show. What can I say? I like what you’re bringing to the table.

For starters, you’re what’s all the rage these days… what with the grim and gritty streets that threaten to be poisoned with rivers of blood. You’re chock full of seedy low-lifes, sexpots, and wealthy elites. Your soldiers are unshaven (which how could I not love?), morally ambiguous fighters looking to right wrongs by any means necessary. And at your heart? A unmoustachioed malcontent, ready to play by the rules,  for once, goddamnit! How could I not swoon over the possibilities!

That being said, I’m not without my reservations, kiddo. It seems like you’re awfully complex right out of the gate. While I know your generation is just chomping at the bit to show off, be wary. A slow burn works today too. Now, if you were a little less straight edge, I’d sooner see you look towards campuses like AMC, FX, or the ivy leagues like HBO and their ilk. But I get it. FOX is a good commuter school with tons of public transportation. What you’ll lack in creative classes, you’ll make up with exposure. And more eyes early in your career can’t be a bad thing – unless you’re light in the loafers. But I digress. It’s just that I care about you, Gotham, I do. And to see that you’re bringing so many of your friends to the party right out of the gate makes me think you’ll end up not being able to really enjoy everyone’s company. But I’ve been wrong before. Hell, ask your older brother Arrow.

What you need to know though is this: pay close attention to your cousin SHIELD. He tried to balance all his loose threads when he hit the scene, but it took some serious reevaluation of his mission before he really started coming into his own. Come to think of it, Arrow was much the same. Given what you showed the world already, I’m wanting you to do the best you can, and look to graduate on time. No need for a masters or doctorate, slick. Get in, do the work, and get out. Trust me, don’t be like your uncle Smallville. Sure he came on strong… but eventually he stayed too long at the party. It’s something for you to consider. And take heed in knowing no matter how much you slip up, you’ll never touch the depravity of your sister Birdy. I mean, it was over a decade ago, but people still won’t let her live it down! All you have to do is keep your pants clean, and mind your manners. Yeesh.

At the end of the day, I’m proud of you. You took a chance, and soon will be ready to let the world see you each and every week. Just stay true to yourself, take deep breaths between large thoughts, and be sure to keep us guessing what you’ll do next. Don’t go goth on us. Don’t have a sass-mouth. Respect your elders, and realize in our post modern world… we’ve likely seen it all, already. We don’t need you to reinvent the wheel so much as we need you to prove that you did your homework. Capisce?

All our love,

Momma and Papa Warner

 

The Law Is A Ass #315: In God We Trust, Because We Can’t Trust Iron Man

contentBillionaires become billionaires because they use their superior business acumen to start an enterprise and build it up over time until it, and they, are worth a billion dollars. Or they inherit the billion-dollar business from their fathers and have no business acumen of their own.

Tony Stark is, apparently, the latter kind of billionaire. And over in the Amazing Spider-Man comic strip, he’s proving he has no business sense by committing acts so monumentally stupid that he’s opening himself up to dozens of lawsuits.

Last week I described the story they’re currently running in the Amazing Spider-Man comic strip – a story that’s been plodding along since back in December. For want of a better name I think they’re calling it “Iron Jonah,” but that’s only because King Features Syndicate  wouldn’t let them call it by its proper name “Dumb and Dumbass.” Here’s what’s happened so far in this story. (more…)

Martha Thomases: MoCCA My Socks Off

mocca_logoAs a writer and a long-time nerd, I’m used to spending a lot of time alone.  Especially after the winter we’ve had, I can go for days not only not leaving my apartment, but not even wearing anything my mother would recognize as pants (sweatpants didn’t count).

And then, this weekend, just as the snow finally melts and the sun comes out, is the MoCCA Festival .  All of a sudden, instead of talking only to my cat (who doesn’t require much sophisticated banter), a lot of people I enjoy will be conveniently assembled in one place.

MoCCA is certainly a lot bigger than it was the first time I went, back in the days when the museum was separate from the Society of Illustrators.  Still, compared to the behemoths in San Diego, Chicago, and even across town at the Javitz Center.  Instead of Hollywood previews and video game demonstrations, MoCCA’s non-comics exhibitors tend to display hand-made crochet monsters or cal figurines.

I’ve seen people I admire on the floor of this show, just as I’ve seen people I admire on the subway and on the sidewalk. But celebrities?  In San Diego and New York, I’ve seen people like Robert Downey, Jr. and Whoopi Goldberg on the floor.  They are easy to spot because they are surrounded by bodyguards.  And they need to be.  Fans have to be kept away or the celebrity will be mobbed, even physically hurt.  This year’s MoCCA celebrity spotting?  Probably the most high-profile will be Macy’s Charlie Brown parade balloon.  Fans aren’t tall enough to maul him.

That’s cool.  At MoCCA, the books are the celebrities.  And this year’s assortment of new books looks especially wonderful.

MoCCA has books for kids and books for grown-ups without either feeling forced, because, for the most part, the people creating the books are creating what they want to read, not (necessarily) what they think the market wants.  MoCCA is fan-friendly in a way that doesn’t require special events for cos-players. Nor do they need security guards to protect women and/or children and/or queer people and/or other minorities from assault.

Sometimes the aisles get too crowded, and sometimes it’s too hot, but it’s a very friendly show, with plenty of good will.  I wish all comic book shows could be this pleasant.

In case that isn’t enough people for me, I’m also going to one of the two big benefits my family enjoys attending every year.  A cancer charity throws a big party that is attended by huge celebrities, like these from last year.

Come by, if you find yourself with nothing to do in the middle of MoCCA.

Peter David & Will Sliney unite for SPIDER-MAN 2099

Via Marvel:

Get ready to party like it’s 2099, bitheads! Because YOU demanded it – Spider-Man 2099 is back and he’s here to stay in SPIDER-MAN 2099 #1! From the splintered fringes of time comes an all-new ongoing series from legendary Spider-Man 2099 creator Peter David (All-New X-Factor, Amazing Spider-Man) and fan-favorite artist Will Sliney (Fearless Defenders, Superior Spider-Man Team-Up)!

Stranded in the present day after the events of the New York Times best-selling Superior Spider-Man series, Miguel O’Hara must come to terms with living in the year 2014. Undercover in the employ of mega-corporation Alchemax, he’ll attempt to change the course of his future and prevent the rise of one of his greatest villains!

“Miguel becomes determined to try and transform his grandfather, Tiberius Stone into a decent guy in the hopes that it will wind up informing the raising of Tyler Stone, and perhaps make him a better person,” says writer Peter David in an interview with Marvel.com. “In short, he’s hoping that he can influence the development of both the present and future of Alchemax.”

“He’s going to find that’s not as easy as he’d hoped,” David continued.

“It’s going to be a huge year for all things Spider!” added series editor Ellie Pyle “This is your chance to get to know Spider-Man 2099 before the Spider-Man universe gets more crowded, and Peter and Will have prepared quite the introduction!”

Can one man change the future? When the dust settles – will there still be a future worth fighting for? The battle for tomorrow begins this July in SPIDER-MAN 2099 #1!

SPIDER-MAN 2099
Written by PETER DAVID
Art by WILL SLINEY
Cover by SIMONE BIANCHI
On-Sale This July!

THE LAW IS A ASS #311: Commissioner Gordon: Threat Or Menace?

All I can conclude is that James Gordon attended police academy with Steve Guttenberg. That’s the only explanation I can come up with for what he did in Detective Comics #25.

Detective Comics #25 is set during Batman: Year Zero which, despite that title means the story takes place during Batman’s first year, not his zeroth year. At this time, James Gordon wasn’t Commissioner of the G.C.P.D. yet, just a recent transfer from Chicago who found himself in a city overrun by mobsters and crooked cops paid to look the other way while the mobsters mobbed. Gordon wanted to take down both the mobsters and the corrupt cops, starting with Roman Sionis, who Gordon suspected was the secret head behind the Black Mask gang. So what Gordon did was…

Oh, wait. SPOILER WARNING! Leaving your milk out will spoil the milk. Reading this column will spoil Detective Comics # 25. If you don’t want either your milk or comic books spoiled, don’t leave your milk out and don’t read this column. (No, wait. Do read it, just finish reading Detective Comics # 25 first.) (more…)

Box Office Democracy: “Mr. Peabody & Sherman”

I was a big fan of The Rocky & Bullwinkle Show as a child and while I enjoyed almost all of the segments “Peabody’s Improbable History” was a particular favorite.  I don’t know what it is but time travel and know-it-alls have always appealed to me.  It was because of this fandom and the horrific earlier attempts to make films out of the Jay Ward cartoons that made me approach Mr. Peabody & Sherman with particular trepidation.  I’m happy to report that these fears were unfounded and that Mr. Peabody & Sherman is a generally delightful movie.

After perhaps a bit too much exposition (the original cartoon never seemed to need much more than talking dog, pet boy, time machine) Mr. Peabody & Sherman gets right into a trip to Revolutionary France that plays like a more action-packed version of an old-school Peabody short.  It even closes with a pun.  From there the movie packs on a rather stunning amount of plot when all I really wanted was more of the classic formula.

This is the peril of the modern reboot movie; they often lose the fun in favor of a more modern approach to storytelling.  I don’t care about Sherman being bullied for having a father that’s a dog, I don’t care about irrationally angry school counselors that want to involve Child Protective Services, I only care about Mr. Peabody hosting a dinner party because the characters attending are voiced by Stephen Colbert and Leslie Mann, and I don’t really need Mr. Peabody to learn a lesson about being a good father.  I just want time travel and jokes and for a good percentage of those jokes to be terrible puns.  I don’t think that’s too much to ask and the movie delivers on this frequently but I left the theater wanting more.

Mr. Peabody & Sherman is better than it is bad and I enthusiastically await a sequel (it seems on pace for those kind of numbers assuming the rights aren’t a mess) but there are so many tiny flaws holding this one back from the excellence that was in its grasp.  I’ve seen enough terrible kids movies the last two years that very good is more than enough for me but if I were Rob Minkoff and I had directed this and The Lion King I would feel like this one could have been a bigger deal.

Michael Davis: ComicMix Up?

26261My last ComicMix article ran Tuesday past, January 29, 2014. When first posted the image used was so small it almost unreadable. Mike Weber posted the following in the comment section

Heh. That S.H.I.E.L.D. cover you reproduce so illegibly small at the column head was knocked off in the ‘80s for the back glass on a pinball machine named “Blackout”.

I had nothing to do with the art, Mike.

I think since no other art on the site is in such a state, perhaps Mr. Gold did so purposely. He’s fed up with my stuff arriving with but a few minutes to spare and what better way to show me he’s not standing for my shit than sending me a “I’m not standing for your shit’”email this?

There are many reasons why the art is reproduced in such a manner. The top four are listed below:

a) He’s not standing for my shit.

b) Because I’m black.

c) He’s not standing for my shit and I’m black.

d) Or, maybe (and let this be real the actual reason), there’s an issue with the site.

Guess which reason won’t be mentioned during the annual Black Panel at the San Diego Comic Con?

Someone is bound (A Plant? No!) too ask the question, “why is ComicMix disrespecting the most influential and sexist black man who has ever worked in comics?” That person I have never met will certainly follow up with “how can ComicMix hate when he’s committed to finding a cure for sex addiction in pretty women between the ages of 18-21, feeding the hungry and preaching the gospel?”

Then the completely unknown to me person will undoubtedly bring up how each of those noble undertaking are more time consuming than the other (from last to first…give that a sec) and ComicMix should be boycotted.

The following was posted by Doctor R-Man

Hey, Michael.

A bit OT, but I have a question.

Exactly what licensing issues are preventing Milestone characters from seeing use in DC stories?

Could you guys please allow DC to continue to use the characters? I’m hoping you could give DC a chance and sort this out.

It really doesn’t help for a character like Static to be stuck in limbo.

Doctor,

Milestone has decided if DC wants to use our characters they are forbidden to use any person of color in any of their books. They must also stop using the word and the color black. Frankly, we don’t see what the big deal is. We see this as neither unreasonable nor racial.

What do I consider an unreasonable demand?

Let’s see…a letter from a lawyer telling me to stop doing something a million other people are doing. Well, I can’t stop doing it because I have no control over where it’s being done.

But! If I could stop it I would.

Not because I give a flying fuck about some lawyer that my lawyers would destroy like the Seahawks destroyed the Broncos, no, I’d do it just to see the realization of just how dumb a move this was dawn on those who had the letter sent.

That realization would come fast, hard and often when they have to answer the question of why send a cease and desist letter on the eve of Black History Month that demands the removal of a black iconic character from a place where that character is being recognized as a part of black history?

That’s what I would consider unreasonable and what the black press and public would consider racial. I don’t see it as racial but what I see can’t stop what people think.

But Doctor, I (sorry Peter) I digress.

The above two examples are just plain stupid and I’m sure you get the joke that they are two fictional (as of now) instances that illustrate just how wrong a wrong move could be.

To your question about Milestone and DC: other than non-compete clauses and then only when necessary, I don’t comment on contractual agreements when those agreements are still valid that has all the making of a wrong move.

I have no idea where you heard this from, but I’ve got a pretty good idea – if I’m right I feel it’s a bit of a bitch move to say a contract is preventing you from doing something as it always cast the other party as the bad guy. It’s like the police saying someone is a person of interest. Everyone thinks that person is guilty.

Consider the source, when one party feels it needs to speak on what they cannot do because of an agreement there is always a self-serving agenda.

I’ve heard everything from Milestone is preventing DC from using the characters, Milestone is going to Marvel, Milestone runs the east coast drug trade and DC owed us money so Doomsday was sent to kill Superman because of that debt.

My dear Doctor, even if something is true, until it’s confirmed it’s hearsay. On that note, I’d like to take this time and confirm rather or not it’s true or not. The hell with not commenting.

It’s all true. Doomsday worked for us.

WEDNESDAY MORNING: Mike Gold 

THURSDAY MORNING: Dennis O’Neil

THURSDAY EVENING: Tweeks!

 

Dennis O’Neil: Friendly Fandom Family

O'Neil Art 140109 “I don’t care to belong to any club that will have me as a member.”

Groucho Marx

I didn’t know about organized comics fandom until 1964 when I interviewed Roy Thomas for a Missouri newspaper, and that was only a month or two before, under Roy’s aegis, I became a comics professional. And I wonder: if fandom had existed in, say, the 1950s in the roughly the same way it does now and if I’d had access to it, would I have joined?

I don’t know. I’ve liked comics and science fiction and related stuff since I was a kid, but I’m a margin guy, not a joiner. If you discount a rather dismal stint in the Boy Scouts, a year in Junior Achievement, and several years as a member of my high school speech club, my organizations have either been therapeutic or professional. The Academy of Comic Book Arts burst on the scene in the 1970s and then gradually faded to black to live on only in memory and as a Wikipedia entry. I joined The Writer Guild East, and finally and briefly, The Science Fiction Writers of America – those were the professional clubs and if there’s another, I’m not remembering it.

But being a fan might have been fun, so who knows?

What prompts this stumble down Memory Lane are the items I’ve been reading off my computer screen lately, not only about comics’ splashiest progeny, superheroes, but about comic books themselves – newsy tidbits that once would not have been fodder for the news maw but might not have interested anyone who was not a fan.

So: has fandom infected the masses?

Well, thanks for a lovely woman I once knew who had a connection or two to the world of the fan, I came to realize that this world offered much more than opportunities to immerse oneself in a cherished art form. It provided camaraderie and a private quasi-mythology for the initiates and a context in which to meet people who could become important to you, and that emphatically does not exclude possible mates. Finally, fandom provided an excuse to get out of the house and go places, mingle, party, and have an old-fashioned good time.

In other words, fandom offered some of the same benefits as religions, lodges, amateur sports, alumnae organizations, veterans organizations, yacht clubs… In some respects, fandom belongs among those groups and others of their ilk. It gives us a pleasurable way to heed one of evolution’s commandments: Find your tribe and belong to it.

But when millions share a fairly intense involvement with an art form and it has morphed into Big Business, can those millions be considered to be a tribe? Doesn’t tribal membership require some measure of exclusivity?

Wiser folk than I, please take note and provide an answer. Meanwhile, for those of you who want superhero fixes and don’t want to be part of a megahorde, may I suggest that you limit your involvement with the genre to comic books? There aren’t a tremendous number of comic book readers – heck, of any kind of fiction readers – around these days, so if it’s exclusivity you crave… don’t count on running into me.

THURSDAY AFTERNOON: The Tweeks!

FRIDAY: Martha Thomases

SATURDAY: Marc Alan Fishman

 

Marc Alan Fishman’s Geek Year Resolutions

Fishman Art 140104While many of you were out toasting the New Year with friends and acquaintances – perhaps a bit tipsy from the festivities and calamity – I was spending my NYE at home with the wife and kiddo. Wifey and I recently came down with a crappy bug (of which I was the first recipient, on my birthday to boot), and did not feel it smart to venture outside the containment field of our suburban enclave. I was all set and ready to throw myself a pity party, but Michael Davis not only took that cake this week… bitch cooked it up from scratch, decorated it, and served it with ice cream.

I thought it might be nice for me to spare you all a post of malaise and doldrums, and opt instead to look to the coming new year, and make some resolutions for myself. But not the typical “I need to lose weight” (I do), or “I need to quit cigarettes” (I don’t). I’m going to use my column inches today to make some geek year resolutions; things I need to do or stop doing to be a better geek in 2014.

Become a Whovian. Well, as many read some time ago I gave in and watched “The Day of the Doctor.. I also recently have partaken of a few choice episodes, as well as the most recent Christmas Special. That allows me now to start fresh and new with whatever Capaldi’s Who will be. Now, I’ll be honest… a cursory Googling did not tell me when the new series will start, but I’m simply resolving in 2014 to watch more Who. Thanks largely to a DVR and BBC America, that shouldn’t be a problem. This will also mean at conventions I’ll be more apt to draw my patented Domos (note that they are NOT actually patented by me, nor should you think they are…) in the guise of all the various Doctors of yore. And maybe a Weeping Angel Domo. Ooh! And a Dalek Domo. That outta’ be a larf.

Start A Wrestling Podcast. One of my friends in the Indie Comic Industry (we don’t have an acronym yet, but who wouldn’t like the ICI?) recently posted on a random wrestling tweet I made that he and I should do a wrestling podcast. I’ll be honest. As soon as I saw that response, I was half-planning it already. I know there’s few wrestling fans here at the ‘Mix, but I can’t not let my freak-flag fly. In 2013, I became a full-fledged re-upped wrestling fan. I purchased a single pay-per-view (it was enough), and I’ve since relegated two evenings a week to watching the product. I spent at least some time every day reading the dirt sheets (online rumor mills), and formulating my ever-so-important opinions. Knowing that I have a great gaggle of pals on the internet (who live semi-local to me) means I can finally make that excuse to learn how to Skype in guests from my home computer, and launch my own wrestling podcast. All I’ll need? A catchy name. The front-runner for now… “Let’s Go Wrestling! Wrestling Sucks!”

Get Back to the Shop. I admit it, everyone. I gave up buying weekly comics. It wasn’t a logistic or financial decision either. It was one grown from malaise. Too many predictable beats from the big two… and too little knowledge about the “not big two” to know what to buy, and what not to try. In the end, I opted to read someone else’s books, and even then… not with any rhyme or reason. Over at MichaelDavisWorld, my review column enjoyed my new approach to “read anything,” but on a personal level, I lost the personal connection I had to my favorite characters. So, in 2014, I’m vowing to find my passion for the medium I create in to become a reader once again. And while I’m likely to continue to stray away from much of the Big Two’s offerings… I don’t think I’ll be missed. Instead, I’ll be making a more concerted effort to seek the stronger smaller-press books that are made by those I might dare to say work even harder than those who are enjoying tenure on prestigious titles.

Give Up Worthless Gaming. Candy Crush Saga and Tetris have a place. They belong on my phone, to be dusted off when I’m in those rare waiting rooms where I have no choice but to distract myself with said phone. I’ve lost perhaps whole days worth of my time to the crushing of digital candies… all for what? Unlocking the next level that frustrates me until I tell myself it’s OK to drop a buck to buy the cheat to win. I’ve only done it a handful of times, but frankly? That’s handful too many. Instead, I’ll resolve to fill my time with more creative endeavors. Just as I can “zone out” whilst swapping striped and wrapped tokens, I can do much the same flatting or inking my work. This leads me to the big one:

Publish Two New Issues and Start The Next Series for Unshaven Comics. In 2013, Unshaven Comics was able to produce only one new issue. Granted we still crushed our sales records, but it almost felt like a hollow victory. The key here is that we (Unshavens…) have only two issues left to produce for our first real mini-series. “The Curse of the Dreadnuts” when finished, will immediately be ready to pull together into our first real graphic novel. Pair that with a foreword by Mike Gold, and an afterward by John Ostrander (see how I’m beginning to beg already!) and a gallery of pin-ups from appropriate friends? We’ll have ourselves a real piece of work that we just might find a way to get into those aforementioned local comic shops. Dare we to dream of a world where the Samurnauts are a known name without our siren’s song of “Excuse me! Can I tell you about my comic book?”

A boy can dream. A boy can dream. Be well, my friends and fans (c’mon, I’ve got to have a few by now, right?). Cheers to a nerdy new year.

SUNDAY: John Ostrander

MONDAY: Mindy Newell

TUESDAY MORNING: Jen Krueger