(I’m getting closer and closer to having this book come out, and so I thought I’d write a few posts meditating on the process. This one focuses on some of the practical elements of getting the book out there, specifically printing. Need to know what this is all about? Take a look here: FIGHT COMICS! An Introduction)
I had a meeting today at a print shop. I was getting answers to questions, like what kind of page weight I wanted inside the book versus for the cover, what the turnaround time for proofs would be, and how to account for ‘bleed’ in the art. (The extra section of the page that will be trimmed off when the book is printed.)
I was struck by the fact that even at this most physical level of production, that these decisions are as artistic as they are practical. I want the book to feel a certain way, and that informs the choices. (In this case, I’m going for a non-glossy black-and-white book, something that feels like the comics I read back in the 80’s, where the newsprint paper seemed like it was just an avenue of getting the story into your mind.) But until I was at the print shop, looking at four completely different kinds of blank white paper, it hadn’t occurred to me.
When I started this project, I knew that I’d be learning a lot… I’d say I’ve learned even more. I’d written a few comics stories, and helped get the projects ready for print. I’d produced a few theatre shows, and even made a short film. I thought I had a handle on moving a project from idea to completion.
Self-publishing comics has been unlike any of those experiences. There have been some obvious similarities: writing the scripts, finding the talent, making creative choices. But dealing with technical issues about about page size ratios and grayscale, I feel like Rumsfeld and his ‘unknown unknowns,’ issues that I didn’t predict. I’ve had to answer each problem individually.
It’s turned out great; I’ve been lucky to work with great artists who are turning out work that shows not just their skill, but their range. I’ve had the chance to tell stories that I’ve been thinking about for years. (The whole thing has been a long time coming… two years from an initial idea to finally printing.) I’ve started to build up a body of work that will serve as a foundation for my future career.
I’m at peace with the time spent… I’m considering all of these lessons another part part of what I’m getting by paying the artists and covering all the other costs. The time and money spent is tuition, basically, and it’ll mean I’ll have an even tighter project the next time around. And I can’t wait to show you these stories in… (wait for it):
FIGHT COMICS! II
(Release date: unknown)