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Returning to "Brave Play" (was Omega and Alpha)

edited April 2012 in Work Logs
On Wednesday, April 4th, I passed the oral defense of my doctoral dissertation. After approximately six years working towards it, I have, short of some paperwork and arriving on Commencement Day to collect my degree, completed my Ph.D. studies.

It's time to return to comics.

But...how? And...with what?
«13

Comments

  • Congratulations, Dave.
  • Take some time to look at the industry and get grounded. Poke around here and see what people are doing. There are folk here focused on writing drawing and self publishing. People focused on print and on the web. People are doing mini-comics and contributing to anthologies, and people walking the wall between creator-owned and WFH with growing success, and people are taking the long walk of putting a graphic novel out.. Is there a genre you like? What is working in the marketplace?
  • Before doing anything else, edit your account to put "Dr. A. David" in the first-name field and "Lewis" in the last-name field. :)
  • Ah, you beat me to it, Jason! Congrats, Doc and welcome back!
  • edited April 2012
    First, thanks for the kind words, Shawn & Russell. (And permission to be haughty with my screenname.)

    To your point, Marv, do you think that creativity should be industry-driven? I mean, you're absolutely right that I should reacquaint myself with the flow of things -- what's hot, what's not, etc. But, at the end of the day, how much of an influence should that be on the projects I select?

    Conversely, how much thought should I put to how I want to be seen as a creator? That is, putting aside a number of other publications, if I'm known for anything, it's for The Lone and Level Sands and Some New Kind of Slaughter, right? (Er, am I right?) So, should I feel compelled to continue along those lines, or should I actively try to deviate/diversify?

    ...Or, forget all that, just do what tickles my fancy?
  •  The last, assuming you know what it is, and how to get it out.

    For that matter, the answer to any of this is knowing what you want to get out of comics. Do you want a high profile career moving between creator owned and WFH comics? An Image series followed by a chance to play in the Big Two sandbox, followed by an adaptation of an existing property, and then back to pushing a creator owned work...? Do you want to stick with the kind of literary comics we produced earlier and be known for that?

    Is it a career with financial aspirations? Or a career with artistic ones?  Or a lark?

    They are all worthy goals, but the first two are a career of one sort or the other. The last one is a hobby. You probably know what you want, if you listen to your heart. Then its a matter of planning the path and walking the walk.
  • For myself, for instance, I'm ready to move on to more solo, creator owned work. I'm looking for personal projects that have the possibility of breaking through into wider audiences, but are not standrad genre fare. Since I have to work for a living, a graphic novel seems like a better approach than a mini-series. I ca afford to take whatever time I need to finish. The Reading With Pictures project should be a nice piece with prospects for a higher profile, but mostly I want to leave short form work behind for a while.

    I've a few ideas.
  • @marvinmann Aye indeed. I haven't forgotten what we were talking about last year (almost a year ago now!) and I want to spend some more time with it in the coming months. 
  • Fwiw I LOVE the moniker, hopefully no one gives you shit for it not being a "real" first name - you EARNED it. Finally my two cents for what to do with your career: do what you love. @justinjordan loves horror and super-heroes and he had one of the break out hits of 2011 and who would've called it? Comics are too mercurial and temperamental to try to judge what's gonna be hot in the time it takes to put something out there.
  • I don't mind Dave's use of Doctor.... But he has to do something about that Red Sox hat.
  • Of course now that he's "Doctor ____", he'll need minions.
  • Congrats! Just remember, "The Doctor" is already taken. 

    There are so many levels of publishing and self-publishing today that you can get pretty much any kind of story out there. Just depends on how much of the business side you want/need to unload onto a publisher.  
  • @JasonAQuest Doctor Lewis...  Doctor Doom's half cousin. :D
  • edited April 2012
    Of course now that he's "Doctor ____", he'll need minions.
    And a mini-him.
  • @adlewis Congrats! That's a huge accomplishment.
  • Once the ink is dry on my doctoral degree, I'll begin accepting applications for minions; no rush, since this is a presidential election year, and most minions are likely being snapped up by all parties en masse.  :>

    (Also, no need for a Mini-Me. I've got some weight to lose and aim towards becoming a minier-me myself.)

    But thanks for all the kind words, gang.

    To Marv's point: Right now, in the wake of the dissertation, I have a hard time seeing comics writing as my main career, the one that pays the rent, etc. That could be an academic hangover, a case of scholarly Stolkholm Syndrome, or it may be the reality of things -- I have never made as much money in writing comics as I have in teaching.

    So, it doesn't seem as if my goal is to do comics as a breadwinning career; in fact, my goal with comics monetarily is simply not to lose money in producing them (an aim that comes from my years self-publishing Mortal Coils and the first edition of The Lone and Level Sands). Acclaim may be a more realistic (yet lofty) goal -- to produce high-quality work that gets noticed, gets a readership, and, in a nice loop, gets brought into academic discussion. All that means -- on my part as a writer -- is writing good comics, I feel.

    But, yes, it also requires -- on my part as a professional -- establishing and maintaining professional ties as well as making certain that the work I do is match with high-caliber collaborators, too. It's more work than a lark requires, and that takes it well out of the realm of "hobby" for me. (Otherwise, I'd just stay home, stay quiet, and write some Transformers/Dr. Who fanfic.)

    I would love the chance to write something for the Big Two. Someday. Eventually. But I cannot let that be my driving force. Nor is money my priority, either. I'm still left uncertain, though, of what is my motivation -- exorcising creative weirdness from my mind, working through themes I feel that need a spotlight, playing fast and loose with overly rigid mythology...? This is still my big TBD.

    (But, man, do I have a Superman story in my back pocket...)
  • Write what you want to read

    ~or~

    write what you're capable of writing...

    not necessarily the same things.




  • Once the ink is dry on my doctoral degree, I'll begin accepting applications for minions; no rush, since this is a presidential election year, and most minions are likely being snapped up by all parties en masse.  :>.)
    There will evil minions aplenty available once three of the GOP hopefuls are eliminated.

    Then onward to publish-or-perish territory. :)
  • Acclaim may be a more realistic (yet lofty) goal -- to produce
    high-quality work that gets noticed, gets a readership, and, in a nice
    loop, gets brought into academic discussion. All that means -- on my
    part as a writer -- is writing good comics, I feel.

    I would love the chance to write something for the Big Two. Someday. Eventually. But I cannot let that be my driving force.


    These look like the key sentiments to me. They might be a bit at odds. Books that get picked out as Year's Best most often tend to be personal work, although not always. Personal work for some (many? most?) of us tends to be work that conforms more or less to the kind of genre work that can lead to playtime with the Cool Toys in the Big Sandbox.

    So why not outline a path for yourself in that direction for the next two or three years? Target some anthologies DHP or maybe submit to Pj's OCP book if he's still looking. Go for an Image mini-series or two. Come back to Archaia with an OGN that's a bit more mainstream than LALS and SNKS.

    The only real way to find out if its still you, is to try.

    Just, I would say, don't wait for anyone to give you permission to make a comic. Start writing. Writers write. The only way to find your path is to start down it.


  • The only way to get Marvel or DC to hire you is by having a "hit" series outside the Big Two. And not necessarily superheroes.
    Be an acclaimed writer with an own voice with sorta screwed up ways of thinking. Get a twitter posse.
    See at MArvel where all their "architects" are writers who before their gigs with Marvel never wrote a superhero book.

    You will be asked to pitch, not the other way round.
  • "Writers write." That's an excellent point, Marv. And I think, starting fresh tomorrow, I will begin writing again.

    The place I have to start, regardless of whether it becomes a whole project or sees print, is Brave Play -- the 1940s baseball/Native American folklore story that I had to abandon last year when being a new daddy and maintaining a delayed dissertation proved too rough. My artist, too, hit some hardships himself, so we had to abort what was a decent online following (still available at www.braveplay.com).

    But the story has not translated well as a piece-by-piece webcomic, and another artist would probably have to start from square one if I were to pursue it. Still, the last two "issues" remain unwritten by me, so I think that I have to finish it -- exorcise that demon (beloved narrative demon, though it is) -- before I target a new goal.

    ...Does that make sense? 
  • Makes a lot of sense, clears the pipes, as it were.
  • "Writers write" -- I've always amended that a bit --

    Writers write, unless there's something on TV.  Or that shelf needs rearranging.  Or it's time for a snack.  Or that Sudoku's not going to do itself.  Or there's something else on TV.
  • Or they're writing in their heads while lying on the couch with eyes closed.
  • you can replace writers with artists and it would also apply.
  • Or they're writing in their heads while lying on the couch with eyes closed.
    You know, Raoul Cauvin, the most succesfull comical comicwriter of Belgium for the last 40-50 years does exactly that insofar that his sofa is almost as famous as he is :)

    His method of working is getting up from bed, go to his study or office and lie on his sofa and he first thinks out the entire script before writing/thumbnailing it.

  • I rewrote a couple pages of dialog while swimming laps a little while ago.  Can't remember much of it though.
  • Almost all of my actual writing gets done while riding BART, walking the dog, or in the shower.
  • Almost all of my actual writing gets done while riding BART, walking the dog, or in the shower.
    At this point, if I have a story point that's being difficult, I take a shower. Something about it gets my brain working gooder.
  • I like to take a walk to hammer story ideas out. People steer clear when I start gesticulating and talking to myself.
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