Monday, September 5, 2011

Comfort Love & Adam Withers Discuss Self-Publishing on the Creators Workshop


In last month’s Creators Workshop live session, the husband and wife comics-creating team of Comfort Love and Adam Withers discussed their road to independent comics, and why other creators should be realistic about what steps are necessary to reach their goals.

Adam and Comfort are the Harvey Award-nominated creators of the comic book series Rainbow in the Dark and The Uniques, as well as the Harvey Award-nominated anthology, Unique Tales.

However, Adam and Comfort didn’t start out with the goal of self-publishing creator-owned comics.

“We tried to pursue comics in the way people used to do, and the stories you used to be told,” said Adam. “You go to a convention, you show your portfolio, and if you’re good enough an editor will shine down upon you and take you under their wing. And that’s how it’s supposed to work.”

Instead, as the years went by, Comfort and Adam received more and more work as freelance illustrators, and worked with writers on pitch books and other projects, but were unable to gain traction with the Big Two publishers.

Part of the problem, Comfort said, is that she and Adam were influenced by artists who straddled the line between an animated and realistic style, such as Chris Bachalo, J. Scott Campbell and Joe Madureira. But when they were trying to break in, publishers were more interested in an uber-realistic style of art. Comfort said editors would often tell them, “I love your stuff, it looks great, I wish I could do something for you, but I don’t know where it fits.”

But Adam and Comfort both said that, style issues aside, it would still be extremely difficult to break into the Big Two through portfolio reviews alone.

“It doesn’t happen that way anymore,” Adam said. “You have to be published to be published.”

And so they turned to self-publishing. Fast-forward to the present day, and Comfort and Adam are highly sought-after convention guests, the critically acclaimed creators of The Uniques and Rainbow in the Dark, and 2011 Harvey Award nominees for most promising new talent, and best anthology for Unique Tales.

Their journey to self-publishing was just one small part of Comfort and Adam’s presentation. They also discussed the collaborative process, marketing your creator-owned material, selling digital comics, and how to make the most out of comics conventions (hint: the most profitable cons may not be the ones you’ve heard of).

A recording of the entire discussion will be available to Workshop members for a few weeks, so it's not too late to check out the full session.

The next live session will feature writer/artist Jeff Lemire discussing Volumes 1 and 2 of his Vertigo title, Sweet Tooth, in a Book Club session of the workshop. (Read more about that upcoming session right here.)

Comics Experience live sessions take place every month, giving members real-world knowledge that will help them succeed in their comics career. There’s still plenty of time to sign up before next month’s session. We hope to see you there.

-- Posted by Paul Allor

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