Is anyone else new at making comics? I went through a bit of an experience that I thought might be good to share here.
In 2010, I wanted to make a comic. I had several ideas that I really wanted to do but I was scared. I thought “nobody wants to read these” and “I can’t make a comic about superheroes, people will rip it to shreds!”. Instead, my writer and I thought of an idea that we were SURE would A. Have mass appeal, B. Make a ton of money, and C. Was totally going to become a cartoon series on TV.
So we came up with Magia High.
You can read the title and think “oh gosh how overdone is this idea” and you are totally right. Magic high school thing is done to pieces. Now, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t think Magia High was leaps and bounds better than things like “Monster High” and “Ever After High” and “Sky High”. It had a lot of potential and we did take some risks (we had some gay characters, decided that our main character would not have a love interest, etc). However, in general, we were making the comic to make a profit. Not necessarily because we loved the story/characters.
Don’t get me wrong, you should always keep profit in mind. Things like “how much will this cost to make?” and “if I get it printed, how much should I sell it for?” are important questions. However, we made this comic for all the wrong reasons. Kind of like when game companies think “what kind of game will make us the most money?” vs “let’s create original content that is awesome!”. Choosing the first path may lead you down a road of boredom and half-ass work.
If you were to look up “Magia High” right now in google, you’d find a website, a kickstarter, some reviews, and holy crap I have a tumblr for Magia High? That’s new, I forgot about that. ANYWAY! What you would also find is a project that is unfinished.
What I thought was going to be a long-term project pushing out 2-3 issues per year turned out to be a 1 issue a year project for 2 years. We went through multiple writers, last minute arts, etc. It was a stressful mess that is nobody’s fault but my own. After a lot of soul searching, I realized I just didn’t want to do it. I groaned at the idea of working on the comic any further. I hated having to take time to work on it. My wife told me that I should listen to my instincts. That if I didn’t want to do it, I didn’t have to.
But I mean, I already had 2 issues that I spent over $2,000 to get printed. I went to conventions and advertised it a lot. I still get emails from people asking me when Issue 3 is coming out and how much their kids love it. It kills me. I spent a lot of time and money on it, why would I give up on it?
Then my lovely wife reminded me of something “Annie, it’s your FIRST comic…It’s okay to fail. That’s how you learn…”
So I failed.
But I’m okay with that. I don’t feel as if I had given up on everything. Just one project in HOPEFULLY a long line of projects. I’m only 25, after all. I feel as if I learned a lesson. It’s okay to fail because now I know what I really want.
I learned that, for ME personally, it can’t be about the money. It has to be about the love and the passion I have for the characters and the story I want to tell.
Everyone is different and has different motivations. I just had to find mine.
So remember, don’t be afraid to fail. Don’t be afraid to experiment. If you mess up, you know what to do better later on. Figure out what works best for YOU.
Good luck to everyone out there with your projects. I truly wish you the best of luck.