This year’s New York Comic Con was a time of rough re-evaluation of our lives as creators. Those of us who straddle the line between full blown “made it” comickers and sideline, plugging-your-goods in every conversation aspirants, seem to have hit upon existential hard times at this most recent nerd-fest. While the convention hall was packed, seemingly despite the current recession, many of the writers and artists that I’m acquainted with didn’t sell as many books or sketches as they had hoped they would. Many shared booth space at two or three different booths, and everyone I spoke with—showing good common sense—waited until the last day, day of deals, to purchase anything.
Kurt and I, while wandering the hall at the very start of the con, felt a certain air of un-fulfillment with the rampant flood of imagination and commercialism that flowed around us. We’re two writers who have had mini-successes with doing that thing that we love to do: He with writing and self-publishing his almost finished original graphic novel THE LEGEND OF LIQUID FURY and his upcoming Comixology web-series; and me with the work I’ve done for Dark Horse comics, and Sterling’s ALL-ACTION CLASSICS series, and while we’re both extremely proud of our work, we can’t help but feel a certain sense of longing for more exposure.
That longing is a large part of the reason that this website, and the Write Club Podcast was born. So that we would have a forum with which to discuss our works and our opinions on work currently out there. The comic industry is so small that all one needs to do is to attend a handful of meet-up events, in-store signing, or drinks nights and chances are you’ve been in the presence of a majority of up-and-comers and likely two or three mainstream professionals, not to mention a slew of editors and other behind-the-scenes people, but just having face time isn’t enough. One must be producing work in order to really meet on common ground. One will, more than likely, be producing work just to appease oneself, because the comic industry, as previously mentioned, is a small one. In other words, you may labor for years on a project that is as much a part of you as your own heart, but still never gain mainstream recognition. The two big companies (Marvel & DC) are pretty much the only game in town, and they tend to hire from within, and further, hedge their bets by employing only known and published talent. Therefore, the best way to get published is to already be published, and while this may seem inherently unfair and counter intuitive, it is a system that works for them, and works well. Consider how many years a writer stays loyal to the company of their choice. It stands to reason that if you’re a good writer, and you’re offered the chance to write for the Big 2, and you continue to be a good writer, you’ve got a job for life.
Anyway, this is what weighed on our particular minds. You may be feeling the same, or you may be feeling the opposite or something in-between, but chances are this recent NYCC left an impression on you that previous cons have not. If it did, or did not, I’d love to hear how your con experience played out.