A Post of Serials: A Healthy Venting

I’m feeling a bit discouraged at the moment. As I’ve mentioned in several recent posts, I’ve become more interested in the potential of comic books and manga for my writing. Right now, I’m seriously reconsidering that direction.

Don’t get me wrong, I still think that some of my ideas could best be realized as a manga or comic book series. But there in lies the problem, too. Original English Language/ World Manga don’t sell particularly well and the industry is, honestly, in pretty poor shape. American style comic books would be a better fit, but there are as many issues there that make things complicated.

As Peter David points out in Writing for Comics, it is advisable to do work for hire before and during one’s work on a creator owned title.  Like video game writing, it is important to get one’s name out there, to build a reputation, and to form a fan base. And even then, as David continues, it is rare that the average comic book reader will move beyond one’s work for hire. There are some exceptions like Kirkman and possibly Snyder, but most readers will only know a writer from one’s work on the iconic superhero.

And that is not to mention the issues about artists. Many of the publishers in their submissions guidelines request both art and story combined. Therefore a writer/artist  or a preexisting creative team is best. The reason for that is excellently expressed by eigoMANGA. If either an artist or writer is selected alone, then the rest of the creative team will effectively be working for hire rather than being a coequal creator. So that’s stopped me short.

Now, I’ve been looking at alternatives. I could return to my original plan of a series of novels like Fleming’s James Bond or the Conan pastiches. In this case, a story arc would be contained within a single novel and the interludes between arcs  would exist within the anticlimax and flashbacks.

Another option is a serial. In a funny construction, web serials are also called web comics sans graphics. This could work, but I only know of one web serial, written by Matthew David Surridge. So, I need to do more research on this option and see what the possibilities of web serials are.

The creation process is fun, but equally frustrating. That’s what makes art so great. But, no matter what direction I go in, I can’t wait to introduce the adventures of Ulrich Vesper and Henry Jett to readers.

As a postscript, a few days ago, Michal at One Last Sketch had a post called “Black Powder Fantasy.” I’m looking to go one step further and look at the possibilities and pitfalls of non medieval based secondary worlds from prehistory and the ancient world to our own time and from Europe to the whole world.



Posted on January 23, 2012, in Books and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. I’ve actually found a bunch of other serials, some of them even ongoing. C.S.E. Cooney directed me to Tales of Mu: http://www.talesofmu.com/story/

    It seems well-done, if not exactly my bag.

    I haven’t had much feedback on the serial — perhaps due to the fact that ill health has kept me from updating for the past three months, but even before then response was slow. Not non-existent, but slow. I’ll see what happens when the first e-book collection comes out.

    In terms of comics … it’s a scary field. I haven’t read David’s book, so I don’t know exactly what he says, but it seems to me that the traditional Direct Market is basically set up to sell Marvel and DC comics. Anything that isn’t by those two companies seems to have a strike against it, and anything that isn’t specifically a super-hero story has another strike. Ten or twenty years ago self-publishing in comics was actually a real possibility, if still not easy — there’s one distributor and no returns (stores can’t return unsold comics to the publishers), so you could put a listing in the distributor catalogue, wait to see how many orders you got, and print that many (or a little more, to have extras on hand, review copies, and so forth). But now the distributor’s more selective about what goes in the the catalogue, so self-publishing’s not what it once was, as far as I can see,.

    Have you considered looking for an artist and doing a webcomic? A friend of mine’s trying that with a superhero story he has in mind. The trick is finding a good artistic collaborator — somebody who’s reliable, who can do artistically all the things you want in the story, and who you can work with long-term.

    Any way you end up going, I’m happy to hear you’ve got plans — I’m looking forward to reading your stories!

    • Matthew,
      Thanks for your comment and story recommendation. I was actually planning on emailing you and asking you how the response to The Fellgard Codices has been.
      Writing for Comics is really good and I highly recommend it. You’re right that comics are geared almost exclusively towards Marvel and DC with a few other publishers straggling behind. Most of the small presses are either relegated to comics shops or online orders. And of course, super hero comics are all but the only show in town (which is rather discouraging). And the OEL market is equally problematic.. .
      I really hadn’t thought about traditional self publishing, although I am rather leery about it. My wariness also extends to web publishing, but it seems that the market is increasingly moving towards e-book and web publishing (so I need to learn how to do those).
      Finding an artist has been something I’ve seriously thought about, although I’m not sure exactly where to go to find artists who may be interested.
      All of this indicates that my comics webzine idea my have some merit after all.

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