THE WONDERS OF CRAPPY ENTERTAINMENT

Saturday, February 22nd, 2014

Hey Creators,

Welcome to my 50th blog and thanks for inspiring me to reach this tremendous milestone!  I can’t tell you how overwhelmed I’ve been by all the positive feedback I’ve received from readers.  I hope that the experiences and ideas that I’ve shared with you thus far have helped you make steps towards advancing your career!

Today I want to talk about something that I often get ridiculed for.  It’s one of the nasty pleasures that I have as a creator—and that’s reading and analyzing crappy entertainment.

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Be it comics, TV, or film, it goes without saying that all forms of media have a huge assortment of crap.  And I have to admit, I’m one of those people who can’t help but stare when I see a train wreck.  Sometimes when something is so bad, I absolutely must see it in order to discover just how bad it is.

But why?  What possible pleasure could I have in exposing myself to crap?  Why on God’s green earth would I waste what precious time I have on this planet reading stuff that makes me cringe?

So I can learn from it of course!

Studying the mistakes of others is an excellent way to help you learn to avoid falling into a similar or worse trap.  It can also inspire you to seek greater aspirations for your own work.

The point of this particular blog is not to justify crap or to encourage you to read and enjoy crap.  It is to teach you how to absorb crap in a creative way so that you can use it to inspire you.  All you need to do is ask yourself three simple questions once the crap has been ingested.

 

1.)  WHY DO OTHER PEOPLE LOVE WHAT I HATE?

The other day, I read one of the worst Goddamn comics I have ever come across in my entire life.  It was the biggest piece of crap I have ever suffered through.  There is nothing about this book that warrants it being published and yet it was–by a BIG name publisher!  If it were up to me, I would force the entire creative team to eat an enormous pile of feces ala SALO (if you haven’t seen that movie…well you can either read about it and imagine vomiting or you can see it and actually vomit) to make up for the awful work they have pushed right out of their butt and into the world.

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CRAP–IT’S WHAT’S FOR THE DINNER.

However, out of what little respect I have for said creators for actually getting their book done and out into the market, their names and the title of their craptastic book shall sadly go unmentioned.

But despite how crappy their book is, and believe me it’s crappy, it has been optioned for a film and is currently in production!  Yes, some idiot producer is ACTUALLY making a crappy comic book into a movie!  Go figure.

Throughout your life, there will be countless things that you come across as a creator that you will downright despise and that other people will love.  As a creator, you should always be thinking about why that is the case.

You should know why something that is so base and obtuse in your opinion is getting nothing but praise and attention from the world at large.  Could it be because the subject matter is high concept or as I’ve been hearing as of late, “low hanging fruit”?  Could it be that the creators have fooled the audience into thinking that they are brilliant without even realizing it themselves because they are that dense?  Or could it be that it simply doesn’t sit well with you because of your own personal feelings.

Obviously, the crap is getting attention for a reason.  What could that reason be?  Find out and you will only be the wiser.  Studying crap from time to time can be a great way to relate to the world at large.  If they like it, then chances are something is being done right.  It may not be much according to your standards, but being a creator isn’t about you–it’s about your audience.

I’ll be honest in saying that I am not a fan of the latest movies, TV shows, or comics but I immerse myself regardless because I need to understand what’s hot.  I need to know what people are enjoying and why.

Inspiring yourself by only exposing yourself to the stuff you like is limiting.  Stepping out of your own boundaries allows you to discover things you wouldn’t have noticed otherwise because you wrote it off so quickly.

 

2.)  WHY DO I LOVE SOMETHING OTHER PEOPLE HATE?

Face the facts, all of us like something that others can’t stand.  For example, I LOVED the CLONE SAGA in the 90’s SPIDER-MAN books.  I was hooked as a kid and despite what anyone says, I will always love it…even though it ultimately turned out to be crap.

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Sometimes we have to stop and think about why we love the things that others hate.  It helps us understand what the audience doesn’t like and by analyzing it, you might find a few things that actually work and that can be applied to your own work.

Always remember that not every element of crap is crap.  Some of it can actually be good.  It’s rare, but it’s true.  Case in point, most people hated the CLONE SAGA because it kept dragging on and didn’t have an end.

However, I loved the CLONE SAGA because of how the creators brought back Spider-Man’s old villain, the Jackal.  This was a villain that I didn’t really care for in the SPIDER-MAN universe but when he came back, it was a strong re-introduction for the character.  It worked.  At least for me.

ASM #399

It was actually through the CLONE SAGA that I learned to appreciate villains far more than superheroes because let’s face it–the villains are always more interesting anyway.

It was also through the CLONE SAGA that I learned that every story should have a beginning, a middle, and an end.  When things drag on forever, your audience eventually gets bored and moves onto something else.  I believe it’s better to go out with a bang than a whimper.

You’re not untalented for liking something that other people hate.  In fact, you’re unique because you like something everyone hates.  As a creator, you need to put on your detective cap and find out what acorn of good there is in bad crap and use it to make stuff that isn’t crap.

 

3.)  WHAT WOULD I HAVE DONE TO MAKE IT BETTER?

Here’s a good exercise.  Take the time to revisit something you hated or expose yourself to something that you are certain is going to suck ass.  But instead of rolling your eyes every five seconds, try making note of all the things you would change to tell the story better than it’s currently being told.

When it comes to comics, sometimes a simple flip of a panel or a swapping of two panels can make a world of difference.  Sometimes leaving out a page or switching dialogue can improve a story as well.  Maybe even expounding upon or revisiting certain plot points that were overlooked can turn crap into gold.

This type of training is excellent because it teaches you to analyze your own work the same way.  On top of that, it’ll become easier for you to spot inconsistencies and problem solve when you come across challenges during production.

Now one thing you should know is that nobody makes comics, TV, or film with the intent of making something bad.  Gerry Conway actually wrote an outstanding blog about this a while ago.  Check it out here.  Everyone wants the stuff they work on to be great.  Sometimes what results in crap isn’t the fault of just one person but dozens.

That being said, always be mindful as a creator and think of ways to improve communication with the people you work with.  There are some pretty tough personalities in the entertainment business so learning to be flexible and open minded can go a long way.

When two parties can’t agree on something, you can be the middleman that solves a major conflict.  Learning to do that effectively will get you far so long as you know when to step in and when to back off.

4 WHEN ALL GOES TO HELL, PUT ON A BATH ROBE AND DANCE WITH YOUR CO-WORKERS.

So with all that being said, you are now free to expose yourself to crap without feeling that your time has been lost!

TO VICTORY!

Onrie Kompan

WHY DRAWING BATMAN WON’T SELL YOUR COMIC

Sunday, February 9th, 2014

Hey Everyone!

Earlier this week, I came across the following comic strip regarding comic conventions.  If you haven’t seen it yet, check it out right here;

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Now before I go on, I just want to say that I have nothing but total respect for David Herbert and Paul Salvi, the creators of this strip.  They’ve done an outstanding job of capturing what it feels like for most artists to be at a convention and to feel outnumbered.  I’m using their excellent strip as a platform to help you learn to turn the odds in your favor!

To all independent writers out there that think they need to learn how to draw Batman in order to make money at conventions, that is pure and utter HORSE SHIT!  First off, drawing Batman isn’t going to help you sell more copies of your book.  Second, Batman and the Green Lantern are not the reason why your comic isn’t selling.  Chances are that you’re the reason why your comic isn’t selling.

I’ve been to over 50 conventions in the last three years and sold out of my independent book at the majority of them.   I’ve never had problems selling my work despite being near very famous artists like Jill Thompson, Tony Moore, Darick Robertson, and even the dynamic duo of Art Baltazar and Franco!  Artists that make a living drawing all the DC and Marvel characters we know and love.

Today, I want to share three ideas derived from each panel of the strip above in order to help you think differently when you go to conventions. Artist Alley is a place designed for you to thrive if you are prepared both mentally and physically to make it happen.

 

1.)  LEARN YOUR MARKET

Look at Panel 1 of this strip.  We’ve got our comic creator making an honest attempt to pitch his book but before he can even finish, the girl he’s pitching walks right passed him without even glancing over.

Before you pitch anyone at any show, make sure you have their full attention.  Don’t waste words or time on people that refuse to pay attention to your pitch.  You’re better off moving onto the next person.  The sooner, the better!

There is nothing you can do to keep rejection from happening.  Rejection in all it’s ugliest and sadistic forms will occur hundreds of times at every show you go to.  Expect to be ignored, to have people turn their backs to you, and to get photo bombed in front of your booth by cosplayers.

Don’t take it personally.  Conventions can be pretty overwhelming.  Instead, just target the next person and keep pitching!

Now take another look at Panel 1 of that strip.  Notice what’s on the cover of our humble creators’ comic.  Boobs!  You know who like boobs?  Men!  You know who typically populate conventions?  Men!  You know who typically gets offended when they see boobs and a creator shouting that his comic is humorous?  Women!

Women have been disrespected for centuries and many of them don’t like how their gender has been portrayed in comics over the years.  In today’s world, women want to be respected more than ever before and deservingly so.  That’s not to say that our creator above can’t sell his comic with boobs to women (hey, some chicks really dig that stuff!) or that he’s a heartless bastard.  He just needs to find the right crowd for his book.

I’ve sold books to people of all backgrounds, genders, sexual orientations and beyond and my approach to each of them is different because in order to sell someone, they actually have to give a shit about what you’re selling them.  You have to speak their language.  You can’t know that until you’ve been…

2Learn your market and you will dominate!  No matter what you sell.

 

2.)  BUILD MOMENTUM

You’ve bled, sweat and killed for your comic.  You’ve dumped money into it and more importantly time.  Don’t go to conventions and get slammed by the guy next to you!  Work off of him and get your sales up!

You know why I love Norman Reedus?  Because every time his booth is near mine, my sales double within the hour.  I kid you not.  I look at Norman Reedus and I see big fat DOLLAR $IGNS!  He draws in a huge crowd and establishes massive lines that seem to never end.  And once people are done getting their picture taken with him, they come right for me!

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So the next time you go to a show and see a massive amount of people crowding the table next to you, try waiting for them to make their purchase and then pitch them!  Your neighbor has done the hard work for you by drawing in the crowd.  But be sure you NEVER steal sales from them because you can ultimately piss off your neighbor or worse–you can both lose the sale.  This is important.

Just because someone likes Green Lantern doesn’t mean they can’t like your book too.  Surviving in any Artist Alley is all about building momentum.  You can’t be afraid to approach people.  Take the risk!  The worst that will happen is that people will say no to you.  And if you want to be in comics, you’re going to hear the word “NO” quite often.  Get used to it.

 

3.)  KEEP THE FOCUS ON YOU

If an artist tells you that a con is easy–they are most likely bragging because deep down they had a really shitty day and don’t want anyone to find out or they just sat on their ass all day doing nothing.  Cons are not easy for anyone.  I believe that the third panel of this strip is a representation of what artists feel after a bad day.  They look at their neighbors who seem to be doing better than them (even though that may not even be true) and are let down because they couldn’t achieve what they set out to do.

Remember one thing whenever you go to a convention–this its about you and your comic.  Not your neighbor.

Nobody just throws money at anything.  Just because an artist is sitting back at a show doesn’t mean they aren’t working.  One of the most successful people in Artist Alley is Arthur Suydam.  His work FLIES off of tables.  Go see him after the end of a Saturday at any show.  The dude is exhausted because he worked his ass off!

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Do not fool yourself into thinking that money comes easy.  It doesn’t.  Everyone has to fight for it.  Even rich folk.  You’re a creator and as a creator you need to find opportunity wherever it may be, especially at conventions.

 

Here’s some food for thought.  Did you know it’s possible for you to make money and for the guy next to you selling prints of Dr. Who to make money too?  If you enter all conventions with a positive mindset, wonderful things can happen for you and your neighbors.  So don’t covet thy neighbor.  Instead, embrace and encourage thy neighbor!   Unless he’s being an asshole.  Then just pretend he is a figment of your imagination.

When it comes to people, positivity attracts positivity.  Negativity attracts nothing.

One last thought. Batman doesn’t blame Superman for the fact that Gotham City is a shithole.  So don’t blame your neighbor because they are successfully selling prints and you’re not selling your comic.  Take charge and fight your way to success!  You can do it!

TO VICTORY!

Onrie Kompan

PROUDLY PRESENTING — EL ARNAKLEUS!

Wednesday, October 30th, 2013

It is my great honor and pleasure to introduce all of you to the stunning artwork of YI SOON SHIN’s brand new series artist!

This was a hard secret to keep! You’ll see why — when his earth shattering art strikes your eyes for the very first time in YI SOON SHIN: FALLEN AVENGER #2!

In FALLEN AVENGER #2, things are going to get dark and bloody. Yi Soon Shin is going to fall.  This brutal course for the series requires a bold and different style. Artist emeritus Giovanni Timpano joins us in welcoming the shockingly awesome art of — El Arnakleus!

Below is just a small taste of what El has in store for the series!

Old Yi Soon Shin Letters Final Draft
This arc is going to put Korea’s greatest hero through hell and change him forever!  Does he still have the strength to stand against the endless hordes of samurai from Japan?

Won Kyun Letters Final Draft
If you thought you saw the last of Admiral Won Kyun, rest assured that Yi Soon Shin’s bitter rival will be back to claim as many Japanese heads as possible!  But at what cost?

Jin Letters Final Draft
The enigmatic survivor Jin has her own agenda, as always, but is now stuck between a rock and a hard place.  What is in store for her and Lieutenant Song? Her and Admiral Won Kyun? Her and Baron Seo?  And what is that drawing her son Jae-Sun has made in the sand?  Could it be a clue regarding the fate of the Korean Navy?

YI SOON SHIN: FALLEN AVENGER #2 features a story written by Yours Truly and my co-writer and editor David Anthony Kraft, along with colors by the remarkably talented Adriana De Los Santos and letters by the magnificent Joel Saavedra!

Plus a stunning cover by YI SOON SHIN’s original artist, the spectacular Giovanni Timpano!

Arnakleus

 

El will be joining me at Stan Lee’s Comikaze this coming weekend to sign prints of each teaser image!

BONUS:  Every fan of great comics who purchases the YI SOON SHIN: WARRIOR AND DEFENDER graphic novel will receive one sketch for free signed by El himself!

Come see us at Booth #1534!

We can’t wait to see you there!

TO VICTORY!

Onrie Kompan

PRO-PREPPING FOR YOUR FIRST COMIC-CON

Monday, July 15th, 2013

Hey Comic Creators!

As I’m sure you all know, this week is the most important week in the comic book industry and perhaps all of entertainment period!

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IT’S COMIC-CON WEEK!

I have been traveling to conventions for a number of years and I’ve learned a great deal over time.  So if this is your first convention as a comic book professional, you need to know what to expect (as well as what not to expect) in order to make this show (and all of the other shows that follow) work for you!

I hope that my words will be of service to you!

 

1.)  MANAGE YOUR EXPECTATIONS

If this is your first convention, you shouldn’t be trying to hit a home run if you’ve never batted before.  First get on base.  It’s no secret that this is a very difficult business to break into, which doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try but it also means that you should be realistic about what you are capable of achieving at the show.

If your goal at Comic-Con is to get an exclusive deal with Marvel or DC and it doesn’t happen, don’t beat yourself up.  In all honesty, even if Marvel or DC show interest in your work, it’s going to take a lot of time for them to find work for you.

I know this because I am closely associated with artists that have had their portfolios looked at by Marvel and DC, have been told that they have great work, and STILL have yet to hear back from them!

If you’re a full-time freelancer like they are, you’re going to need to survive in the meantime which means that you should be looking at other publishers for work.  Very rarely do artists manage to break into the Big Two without having done work for other publishers first such as Image, Dark Horse, IDW, BOOM! and so on.

And make no mistake, breaking in with them is just as hard!

The good news is that everyone is at Comic-Con so approach as many publishers (big and small), writers, creators and artists as you can!  You never know who might be working on something big.  Even if they aren’t a name today, that doesn’t mean that they won’t be tomorrow!  Besides, as long as they pay on time, who cares how big or small they are?

Give everyone a chance.

2IMPORTANT:  Publishers are EXTREMELY busy at Comic-Con.  They have panels to attend, signings to manage, announcements to make, etc.  Be smart and respect that they are at this show to work and make money.  Approach them with caution.

Don’t throw your work in anyone’s face at anytime.  Be sure that you have their full attention.  Here’s what you can try doing.  Come to an editor, offer to shake their hand and introduce yourself.  Tell them that you are looking for work and ASK them if you can show them your portfolio.  If they tell you that now isn’t a good time for them, ask them when it would be better for you to come back.

Be sure to follow their protocol.  Don’t worry, if they like what they see they will get back to you.

If they check out your portfolio and tell you that your work needs improvement, ask them to be specific.  Pay close attention to what they are saying.  Just because you aren’t hearing what you want to hear doesn’t mean you aren’t hearing what you need to hear!  Keep an open mind and analyze everything later.

 

2.)  THIS SHOW ISN’T GOING TO BE PERFECT.

Read that top line one more time and make sure you understand every word.

A lot of announcements are going to be made and a lot of artists are going to have big things going on and they are going to be pretty vocal about it, just as you would be if you were in their shoes.

But just because nothing big is going on for you today, doesn’t mean that you’ve failed and it definitely doesn’t mean that you should suddenly try to change your strategy in the middle of the show.  Focus on the goals you set for yourself and make sure to get them done!

No show is perfect.  There are always lull moments and there are always points when you will begin to wonder if you’re doing enough.  When that happens, remember this–worry about yourself because no one else is going to.

IMPORTANT:  Don’t be afraid to make mistakes.  Just make sure you learn from them.  Keep in mind that if this is your first convention, it most certainly won’t be your last!  Hopefully, if things go well enough, you’ll be doing shows for the rest of your career and eventually you’ll get the hang of how all this works.  Believe it!

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3.)  BUILDING = BUSINESS

Don’t kid yourself into thinking that all you need to worry about is your art.  You have to worry about selling yourself to publishers who are eventually going to be selling your art.

If this is your first show then it would serve you well to shake as many hands as possible.  Collect business cards.  Make a friend and buy them a round after hours.  Business is all about building and maintaining relationships.

Getting your name out there is crucial.  In time, finding freelance work will become much easier.

IMPORTANT:  People tend to trust someone they know as opposed to someone they don’t.  Anytime a book is published, a publisher’s ass is on the line.  If that book fails, they lose money.  You wouldn’t trust a complete stranger to watch your wallet or purse would you? So why should you expect a publisher to put money into you without knowing who the heck you are?

Focus on being yourself.  Be kind, mindful and respectful towards others.  And not just to publishers but to everyone.  Remember, everyone always remembers someone who was kind to them.  Nobody ever forgets (or forgives) a jerk!

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Just because your lucky break doesn’t happen today, doesn’t mean that it can’t happen tomorrow!  Just because your book got rejected by every publisher doesn’t mean that nobody will read it.  There is a time and place for everything!  Including your success!

Remember to enjoy yourself and to make Comic-Con work for you!  And if you need help promoting your work for free, be sure to come see me at the show and I’ll tell you more about Freedable Comics, which you can check out by clicking HERE!  I’ll be setup with Southern California Comics at Booth #1115 with plenty copies of YI SOON SHIN on hand!  I look forward to seeing you there!  Good luck!

TO VICTORY!

Onrie Kompan

 

 

I BELIEVE IN FREEDABLE COMICS!

Wednesday, July 10th, 2013

To all my fellow writers, artists and creators!

It’s no secret that working in comics is not easy, especially if it’s your full time gig!

Promoting your comic series is an uphill battle.  It doesn’t matter how big a name you are in the industry.  Any time you have a new series coming out, you have to do anything and everything to get people to check it out!

Even if it means giving it up for free.

Aside from getting your book distributed through Diamond, there isn’t much else you can do aside from traveling to conventions and selling enough books to stay afloat.  And let me tell you from personal experience that this is not easy!  I know because I’ve been doing it for the past three years and while I love interacting with my readers, I know that it’s not enough.

Amazon and digital provide wonderful platforms for creators to sell their work but even those sales can be hard to acquire if people don’t know exactly where to find your work.

I know how hard it is because I’m going through all of this just like you.  Like most struggling creators, I’ve been kicked around and am no stranger to rejection.

There have been moments when I thought that the final hour has dawned on my career and I have had to decide whether or not I can continue my journey and fight to keep my projects alive or be forced to abandon them completely.

But then I have been reminded time and again that passion can go a long way.  If you’re really serious about your project but can’t find a way to get it out there, I can help you!

I am reaching out to all comic book professionals out there and offering you a chance to turn the odds in your favor and help make your projects thrive, rather than remain unknown and ignored by the masses!

Spreading awareness and promoting your book is what leads to sales.  I know from first hand experience and that is why I invite you to check out Freedable Comics by clicking HERE.

Take a moment to read our mission statement and our FAQ section and send us your work for a chance to be part of the big launch!

I believe in Freedable Comics.  In fact, I believe in it so much that I will be putting YI SOON SHIN: WARRIOR AND DEFENDER #1-3 up on the site for FREE.  This is a book I’ve spent the last eight years of my life bleeding over and I’m not afraid of offering it up for free on this platform because I know it will only help me gain exposure, build my audience while giving them a taste of what I have to offer and enable me to utilize those numbers to increase future sales.  You can do the same!

It’s pretty clear that this is the solution to an ongoing problem and the alternative is letting your project remain unnoticed by comic fans from all over the world!

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I want to help you!  Join me and together we can bring YOUR comics to the forefront!  Let’s reach above and beyond!

Final Logo

TO VICTORY!

Onrie Kompan

ALWAYS BREAKING INTO COMICS

Sunday, June 16th, 2013

A few years ago, I attended my first local Drink and Draw in Chicago and eavesdropped on a conversation that Tim Seeley was having with a bunch of local creators.  At one point he said that no one ever really breaks into comics.  The truth of the matter is that you are ALWAYS breaking into comics.

I always grew up thinking that there was some sort of invisible firewall that separated average folks like me from the fortunate few that make comics for a living.  I used to think that if only I could somehow break through that firewall, everything would be all right.

Growing up, I didn’t know anyone who worked in comics for a living because I was raised by Russian Jewish immigrants.  Everyone I knew was either studying to become an engineer, a lawyer, or a doctor.  I was the odd ball who wanted to write comics.

And so that’s what I ended up doing.  Tim’s words finally made me realize that the invisible firewall never actually existed.  You never break into comics–you ALWAYS break into comics!

Today, I’d like to share three very short stories to support this theory.  I hope you will find them enlightening and helpful!

A TALE RE-PITCHING

Next month, YI SOON SHIN will sell a total of 20,000 units.  Almost 90% of those sales were acquired through my interactions with actual comic book readers at various conventions located all over the US and abroad!

I have had numerous customers tell me how much they are enjoying the series and reviewers are all raving about how great my series is.  Hell, Stan Lee himself wrote the foreword to the damn book!  That should count for something, shouldn’t it?

Well…no.  Not really.

I will ALWAYS have to pitch YI SOON SHIN to everyone for the rest of my life.  It doesn’t matter who I have working on the project or who I have doing variant covers.  EVERY book must be pitched and re-pitched!  Again and again and again!

And it makes perfect sense!  Every organization has to do this.  Take the military for example.  How many people actually want to join the US Marines and be a part of one of the most powerful military organizations in the world?

Only a select few say, “HELL YES!  SIGN ME UP!”  But the majority say no.  Of all the US military branches, the Marines have the lowest rate of recruitment, which is why they coined the term, “The Few.  The proud.”

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The same principles apply to selling people comics.  The same thing applies to a company like Sony that wants you to buy their latest model television.  Why should you buy it?  Simply because it says “Made by Sony”?  No way!

People consume and invest in the things that they believe in.  Whether it’s a name brand or not.

That is why you will ALWAYS be pitching and re-pitching your work!  Writing and creating your story is one thing.  Convincing others why they should endorse your work is something that only you can master!

 

BREACHING THE PUBLISHER’S STRONGHOLD

Don’t think that just because your book is now being published that you can just sit back and wait for the money to start rolling in.  The truth of the matter is that unless you make publishers a ton of money they will do virtually nothing to promote you or your book.  That responsibility falls on you.

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And the creators that do make publishers lots of money do so because they have already established themselves after years of back-breaking work.  Overnight success is a myth!  Those who are in true positions of success, such as the creators who have huge lines in front of their tables at conventions, have earned it and are still earning it!  Otherwise, nobody would approach them.

It doesn’t matter if you are young or old talent.  At every show I’ve seen him at, Mark Bagley (who has been drawing comics for decades) has crowds of people at his table.  So does Neal Adams, Greg Horn and Arthur Suydam.  Don’t think they didn’t work their butts off to achieve this level of success.  These artists are workhorses and that is why we admire them and their work!

As a creator you have two responsibilities–to master your craft (be it writing, drawing, inking, coloring, lettering, or all of the above) and to promote your image.

The reason why is because nothing is ever 100% certain.  Today, you may have everything going for you.  But tomorrow, everything can instantly go to shit.  If you choose to work in this business you cannot give up!  Ever!  The only way that is an option is if you decide to pursue a new line of work.  If you’re like me and comics and entertainment are the only things you know, then you have no choice but to survive, especially if you have a family to provide for!

A good friend of mine was working as a regular artist on a DC title and recently discovered that DC no longer wants him working on that book.  Yesterday he was working for one of the top publishers in the comic book industry and now he’s back to square one and trying to figure out a way to break back in!

There is no such thing as a permanent position at a publishing house unless you bring in money or are cleaning toilets and fetching people coffee for pennies on the dollar.  However, if you manage to break in as a creator, there is no guarantee that you will be there tomorrow.   Even if you are a top writer or editor.

There are countless stories of talent getting jobs from editors at the Big Two who are then fired, thus leaving both the editor AND the talent out of work.  There are even more stories of creators discovering that they’ve been fired from the Big Two from outside sources like Bleeding Cool and CBR.  Yep, the industry is that cruel.

The lesson here is that you must first win the hearts of your readers and then they will follow you wherever you go so long as you continue to maintain your promise to them and deliver the best damn work you are capable of putting out there!  That will ensure your survival even when the shit hits the fan.

 

BLEEDING THE SAME BLOOD

Being a creator means the following;

1.)  You are going to worry endlessly about the survival of your project.  You are your work!

2.)  You are going to be envious and jealous of other creators that are successful.  Hopefully, that will encourage you to work even harder.

3.)  Money is going to be an issue for you.  Whether you are struggling to make ends meet or making millions of dollars.

All creators bleed the same blood.  We all worry about the same things.  We all want to succeed and we are all deserving of our fate!

If you come to a show, sit on your ass all weekend waiting for people to come to you, and don’t make a single sale–you deserve it!

If you come to a show and work your ass off to make every single sale–you deserve it!

If you come to a show and work your ass off but don’t get any sales–learn from it!

It helps to work with your neighbors at shows.  Promote each other.  Help one another.  Because whether you have more or less experience than them, there is something to be learned.

Last weekend at Heroescon, I was setup next to an upcoming writer named La Ron Jenkins.  La Ron has written two wonderful sci-fi prose novels so if you’re looking for something new to read, check out his stuff HERE!

This show was La Ron’s first time exhibiting and throughout the entire weekend, he was carefully watching me work.  He asked me lots of questions, which I was more than happy to answer.

By Sunday, La Ron’s book sold out.  He made that show work for him where many others couldn’t.  His wife and son were there too and I have no doubt that they were proud of him for putting all of his efforts into pushing his book.  I hope that one day, I can perform a perfect sell out in front of my own son when he’s old enough.  That is my dream!

Seeing La Ron interact with his customers made me realize how much I love this industry.  La Ron LOVES sci-fi!  He wouldn’t have written two books within the genre if he didn’t!  Seeing him share that love with his newly acquired readers as if they were his closest friends was a touching moment for me.

He wasn’t just trying to take people’s money.  Once La Ron’s customers invested in him, he reciprocated.  That is a very powerful thing.

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La Ron earned his success at Heroescon.

 

Nothing in life is easy and nothing in life is impossible!  Fight for your dreams and force your own path!  No matter how hard it may seem!  You can do it!

TO VICTORY!

Onrie Kompan

 

 

 

CHALLENGERS CHATS YI SOON SHIN

Thursday, June 6th, 2013

Hey Folks,

The gracious and humble head honchos of Challengers Comics in Chicago have decided to chat about the YI SOON SHIN: WARRIOR AND DEFENDER graphic novel!  So this month’s Chattingers book club will be discussing the graphic novel that Mark Waid himself calls, “Ambitious and smart!” 

Challenger’s invites everyone to come to their shop and buy the graphic novel at 20% off the cover price between today and June 26th, 2013.  Each copy has been signed by Yours Truly and also comes with your choice of one FREE YI SOON SHIN poster and sticker!   

So if you’re looking for a new book to read and discuss with your fellow peers, look no further than YI SOON SHIN!  Chattingers will be gathering together to discuss the book at Challengers on June 26th, 2013 from 7-8PM!

It’s going to be one heck of a local gathering at Chicago’s premier comic shop!

Don’t miss out!

tn_chatyisoonshin

GO CHALLENGERS!

Onrie Kompan

YI SOON SHIN ACHIEVES GROUND BREAKING SALES!!!

Monday, April 29th, 2013

To Our Dearest Friends and Fans,

After premiering and rapidly selling out of YI SOON SHIN: FALLEN AVENGER #1 this weekend at C2E2, it is my sincere pleasure to announce that YI SOON SHIN has achieved yet another magnanimous victory at the very same show!

Issue #1 Front Cover Letters Draft #5

YI SOON SHIN: WARRIOR AND DEFENDER #1 has now broken 6000 unit sales with very limited distribution.  Our first book continues to see sales grow with each passing year!

Issue #1 Cover Titles

In 2010, YI SOON SHIN: WARRIOR AND DEFENDER #2 was premiered at the very first C2E2 convention.  This weekend, YI SOON SHIN: WARRIOR AND DEFENDER #2 broke 5000 unit sales without ANY distribution!

Issue #2 Cover Titles

This series has proven that it is unlike anything else that has come before it in the comic book industry.  It truly is unique unto itself standing taller and stronger than ever thanks to our wonderful readers who continue to support us!  We love all of you!

To achieve such an incredible feat in my hometown of Chicago is a great honor and I couldn’t have done it without the help of some very good friends of mine who I would like to express my humble gratitude towards!

First and foremost, the folks at Reed Pop deserve my thanks for allowing me to exhibit at their wonderful show!  Their tireless efforts to expand C2E2 is an inspiration!

C2E2

I would also like to thank my friends at Comic Book Displays who were tremendously successful this weekend!  If you haven’t heard about these guys yet, I HIGHLY recommend you check them out by clicking HERE!

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And finally, I would like to thank my booth buddies from Traffick Free!  Not only were they a fantastic group of people but their noble cause is one that I think everyone should support!  Feel free to learn more about them by clicking HERE!

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To be a part of this industry is a dream come true!  Thank you for helping my team make the impossible possible!

We can’t wait to show you what we have in store for you next!

TO VICTORY!

Onrie Kompan

YI SOON SHIN: FALLEN AVENGER #1 IS HERE!

Sunday, April 21st, 2013

Dear Friends and Fans,

It is my pleasure to officially announce that YI SOON SHIN: FALLEN AVENGER #1 has completed production as of tonight!

The start of the second act of the YI SOON SHIN Trilogy features some of the most INCREDIBLE artwork and storytelling you’re ever going to see!  Rather than spoil the fun for you, we’ll entertain your curiosity with a fresh new spoiler-free trailer that will go live on Tuesday, April 23rd at 4:00PM US Central Time!

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We’ve got all kinds of surprises lined up for you this time around!  Fans of YI SOON SHIN: WARRIOR AND DEFENDER are about to have all your questions answered after Issue #4’s shocking conclusion!

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We’ve got more action than you can shoot a cannon at!  We’ve got not 1, but 2 brutal Kirby-style fist fights that would make King Jack himself proud and a story that is going to leave you salivating and yearning for more!

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So don’t miss out!  We’ve got a very limited amount of books for sale at C2E2 next weekend so be sure to snag your SIGNED copy!  I’ll be setup at Booth #1136 and I’ll have plenty of copies of YI SOON SHIN: WARRIOR AND DEFENDER for all you folks that still haven’t made the plunge into our fantastic series yet!

Issue #1 Front Cover Letters Draft #5

Buy the single issues or go all out and pick up the graphic novel, which features a foreword by Stan “The Man” Lee and over 50 pages of additional content including a director’s cut of how the book was made, interviews with the creative team, and character profiles!

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Pick up the graphic novel and not only are you getting this awesome 176-page hard cover bound book but you’ll also get a FREE poster and 2 letter illustration stickers designed by letterer extraordinaire Joel Saavedra!

So come on by, say hello and get your comics!

And if for some reason you can’t make it to C2E2 this weekend, don’t fret!  YI SOON SHIN: FALLEN AVENGER #1 is still available for pre-order on Amazon!  Just click HERE!  Or pre-order it from our website directly by clicking HERE and I will sign and send your book right to your door!  We ship worldwide!

TO VICTORY!

Onrie Kompan

WHAT IS TRAFFICK FREE?

Friday, April 12th, 2013

Hey Folks,

C2E2 2013 is right around the corner and it’s going to be an GIGANTIC event for us!

Not only are we launching YI SOON SHIN: FALLEN AVENGER #1 but we will also be partnering up with a very cool group of do-gooders who have set out to solve a very common problem in America and the world! Today, I have Brooke Hennen with TRAFFICK FREE to tell us all about their awesome operation and if you’re interested you can help join their cause by clicking HERE!

Ladies and Gentlemen, I am pleased to introduce you all to THE Brooke Hennen!

PrintSo tell us about Traffick Free.

Traffick Free is a Chicago-based non-profit organization. We are a volunteer run operation that specializes in raising awareness and putting a stop to human trafficking. This is how we get our vigilantism on. There’s no capes or masks and we’d never condone anyone directly confronting traffickers but we are supporting law enforcement and many other non-profits in the fight against human trafficking in Chicago! My wife runs monthly Green Light meetings, which is the first step to becoming a volunteer for Traffick Free. We are known in the anti-trafficking community for our panel events. The next of which is our big annual on May 17th, 2013 at the Fair Trade Wine & Chocolate Expert Panel via Housing for Survivors.

What is the human trafficking situation in Chicago?

The New York Times named Chicago as a hub for human trafficking and it’s no surprise given the central location of this city in the United States. Chicago has two international airports and that makes it a strategic point for traffickers because international victims are commonly transported here. Chicago is also a hotspot for domestic victims when you look at the city’s high rates for gang activity, runaways, and homelessness. All are related issues directly affecting the sex trade. It is impossible to quantify “an average of victims in Chicago”.

The Illinois Department of Health and Human Services quotes an average of 16,000 to 25,000 girls and women are at risk for commercial sexual exploitation each year. Those numbers are right around one percent of Chicago’s population! It used to be the case in the early and mid 2000’s that traffickers were allowed to operate on gang territory. In the last several years, Chicago gangs realized there was more profit if they sold the sex, making this a domestic issue.

What does Traffick Free do beyond raising awareness?

Everything starts with raising awareness. We continuously run into people who do not realize that human trafficking happens everywhere. Between schools, community groups, radio and print interviews, and Traffick Free events, we reach thousands of individuals annually and each person who becomes aware of the issue becomes an advocate as well. The only other way to prevent human trafficking is through mentoring.

Traffick Free does not have the capacity to directly host a mentorship program but we do partner with organizations like the Dreamcatcher Foundation that does. We leave the crime intervention to the police. We do support that anyone who sees suspicious behavior, warning signs and such call the human trafficking hotline. You can even put this number in your phone! (888) 373-7888.

The more calls that go in on suspicious activity justifies the allocation of resources to respond. One third of all arrests come from anonymous tips called in so every call counts!

What can people who aren’t from Chicago do to help your cause?

People can donate and get behind legislation in their state as well as their local political circle. At Traffick Free, we realize that it is not a one-organization solution. We have chosen to focus on the Chicagoland area knowing how critical the issue is. We do learn and exchange practices from other organizations nationwide. People outside Chicago can certainly donate to Traffick Free from anywhere. Just recently, Wyoming became the 50th state to enact anti-human trafficking laws so we know that efforts are being done all across the country. Get involved in the issue locally or internationally. Use whatever talents you have to speak about the issue and affect change – just like Traffick Free is made up of all sorts of talents, so anyone and everyone can make a difference!

It’s really awesome that you guys have targeted the comic book audience in order to help spread the word about your cause! Just out of curiosity though, what connection do comics have to Traffick Free?

It’s that vigilante connection. As a comic book reader I’ve discovered this marvelous opportunity to go from reading comics and thinking about vigilantism to becoming a part of the solution without becoming a part of law enforcement. I want to share this opportunity with as many other comic lovers as I can. It was the PUNISHER MAX VOLUME # 5: SLAYERS that introduced me to human trafficking before I met my wife, a founder of Traffick Free. I was so excited to see what fighting crime was like with Traffick Free.

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It’s transformative, going from thinking about the fantasy of comics, the vitality you get from reading WOLVERINE AND THE X-MEN and seeing that mentorship to finding a way you can provide a version of that to trafficking victims.

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How has your approach of spreading awareness at C2E2 differed from your usual events?

C2E2 is the only event Traffick Free participates in where human trafficking isn’t the reason people have gathered. It’s the biggest test of our outreach abilities because maybe only a third, or less, of the people we engaged with last year knew trafficking was happening in Chicago. We then have to assure them that groups like Traffick Free are fighting the trafficking and offer them the opportunity to join the fight as well. There are two fronts at the convention.

We’ll have a booth as a home base but I’ll be directly reaching out to friends in the community, creators whose stories have touched on human trafficking and Chicago-based creators. We are a potential resource for creators who may want to go beyond the “This person is bad because they run a human trafficking ring” line we see in comics.

How has the comic book community responded to Traffick Free?

Since C2E2 last year I’ve been approaching comic book stores in Chicago. I used to have my comics sent to me from Clem’s Collectibles where I used to work in Lansing, Michigan, cause I still had a great discount. Last fall I decided I needed to commit to stores in Chicago and the first way to do that was to buy my comics from them. I’m a bit ridiculous though because I have subscriptions at three stores now, First Aid in Hyde Park, First Aid in Little Italy and Graham Crackers in the Loop. I just wanted to be connected.

They each have worked with non-profits before my arrival. And I’ve been open with them about my pulls. Fortunately, the First Aid owners have responded very favorably to Traffick Free’s desire to team-up with them! I’ve finally started spreading awareness to more stores. I’ve spoken with Graham Crackers in the Loop and Edgewater, Alleycat Comics as well as Third Coast Comics.

Is there anyone in the comic book industry in particular that has helped you guys?

It would not surprise me if Geoff Johns doesn’t recall this but our first C2E2 donation last year came from him! It was before the floor was open to everyone, and Johns walked by and I called out to him, “Hey Geoff Johns!” He turned, and I said, “Thank you for your contribution to the comic book industry!” Then I gave him our pitch. It was huge for me. Of all the people at the convention, Geoff Johns was our first supporter!

Marc Wolfe and I go way back. He’s done work for Lucas Arts in the past. We’ve yet to collaborate on a book together. He donated over a dozen prints last year and helped our booth immensely.

Matthew Sargent is the artist behind Traffick Free’s convention print. He’s working on something new for Traffick Free right now that we’re hoping to have it ready for C2E2!

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Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions Brooke! I can’t wait to partner up with you guys at C2E2!

Likewise Onrie!

We’re gonna have a blast!

See you folks in two short weeks!

TO VICTORY!

Onrie Kompan