My successful dive into Crowd Funding a comic.
By Cody Fernandez
We all have dreams we keep alight. Some are small and simple, yet profoundly important and others are so large they may just never happen. My dream since I became immersed into the world of comics was to join the ranks of the amazing creators on those books.
I can’t draw really. I can paint a bit, but I have no real skill coloring. Inking, though extremely vital, is an odd niche to pick up when you first want to hop in. So what was it I could do? I love world building. I adore it. So I figured I would have to write something.
I started with a fan script for a huge marvel crossover, (oh how naïve I was) and that was what got my feet wet in scripting. The more I learned about the industry the more I realized that being an outsider and an unknown meant I’d probably never work on any of the major properties I had come to love.
“Fine then” I thought. The best thing then would be to craft something I’ll love to work on myself. Something that I want to share and work on for a long time if I am able. It was time to dive into Creator Owned comics.
I started writing Jack Irons: The Steel Cowboy shortly around my sixteenth year on this rock and have kept at it (with large silly breaks of course) ever since. Only about four years ago I got serious about producing an issue. I knew a script rarely gets you anywhere in entertainment. You need a hook. In a comic book, that hook tends to be the art.
Shortly after my mother passed in 2015, (huge turning point for me), I went ahead and decided it was now or never. I took out an ad on Craigslist looking for a comic artist, not knowing rates or anything, just wanting to get the ball rolling. A very kind young man from Argentina happened to answer, and not only that, happened to be in town so we could meet up.
Nervous does not begin to explain how I felt first meeting the man who would make my dreams and ideas into something people can see and enjoy. I showed up with my pen and folder, and a copy of my scripts. I entered the McDonalds and found a kind looking fellow sitting there with his very clear artist’s portfolio.
We met, we talked, and everything went smoothly. We negotiated a price, and decided to meet again after he had tried a few concepts with my little concept and we’d then sign a little agreement to make sure everyone got what we wanted out of this collaboration.
Not too shabby a way to dip your foot in.
After about a year of back and forth regarding pages and the script, as well as Mr. Dall’o teaching me few things about flow and panel pacing, we had a little book put together. Issue #1 of Jack irons had actually manifested into something I could read.
I hate to say it but that is where the first hill was attempted and failed. I shopped this first issue around for almost two years after this, to every publisher I could find that took creator owned submissions. That was a heartbreaker honestly. The big boys wanted nothing to do with our work, and neither did the medium, or even the little guys.
What was I to do? Well I gave up for a while. I regret it now, but it led me here so I wouldn’t change it. That didn’t last (obviously) but it did take a toll of my creative well being and my self esteem.
I got through that and I was double determined to get our work out there, even for free, just to see how I could leverage it for more. I took my time and figured out I’d need to bite the bullet on something I never really wanted…. Social Media. I am a huge privacy advocate, but you have to be realistic and free marketing? Yes please.
That is really what had made the largest difference and allowed me to meet many amazing artists and creators, and leverage our collective agony of both being under-served by big companies and being friendly supportive people into a successful Indiegogo campaign.
Thanks almost exclusively to twitter, I was able to find a small, but very awesome audience. I was able to make many new friends and see so many amazing works of art and read so many amazing stories. The comic industry may seem a bit dead. But trust me. It’s only sleeping, waiting for the new blood to invigorate it and get it running again.