Preemptive Mental Con Crud

So tomorrow I’ll be at the Mississippi Comic Con for two days which means today I’m more depressed than I’ve ever been in my entire life. I’m sad, grumpy, and angry, and well, way too many emotions to list including angrosity and sadination. I don’t really know why this happens before comic related events but it does. Let’s take a look at it together and maybe I can start to figure this thing out.

First.
I’m going to be surrounded by some terribly talented artist like Steve Scott, Steve Butler, Geoffrey Gwin, and Mitch Bird. Then there’s me. My goofy, angular and round characters that aren’t quite anime and aren’t quite western. My stories about metaphysical drama around a guy on a scooter. My high school comic about the personifications of abstract concepts. The guy trying to push long form story surrounded by pin-ups and amazing professionals. It’s a little bit of jealousy. It’s mostly feeling less. I feel out of place and like someone threw me a bone by letting me be there. I keep expecting the con people to come up and say “I’m sorry, Mr. Hayman. There was a terribly mistake. You’re not really SUPPOSED to be here. We need you to pack up and go home. Sorry for the inconvenience.”
I know they’re not, but on some level I’d feel this massive relief if they did. I could just pack up and go home and stop embarrassing myself.

Second.
I know, not think, but KNOW that I’m not going to make any sales at any event I go to and if I do, my mind will turn those sales into pity and make me resent them. I realize that this makes about as much sense as covering a mountain in Nutella and then roller skating down it, but there we are. That’s the way my mind works and that’s how depression works in a nutshell. All of your little victories become meaningless and are just veiled insults. In the end you find yourself wanting to crawl under something and crying.  You can’t win. Not because of other people or fate or the Universe or God.
I can’t win because I won’t let myself win. I will always be the guy that came in last no matter what reallly happened.

Third.
No one actually wants to see me. People act like they’re please to see me but it’s a thin layer of nicety over a mountain of “Oh GOD. THIS guy again. Maybe they’ll move me.” My evidence for this, and every other point on this list, is nonexistent. This isn’t confined to events either though. This is how I think people see me most of the time. I don’t get out of the house much any more and see people because I’ve convinced myself that they don’t WANT to see me. Why would they? It’s me. I’m the guy who shows up, tells the same stories and joke over and over and then makes everyone feel bad by the end of the night. Who’d want to hang out with that guy?
Am I really like this? I don’t honestly know. I can’t see outside of myself like I used to. I’m stuck riding around in this truck and there’s no mirrors.

So what have we learned?
We’ve learned that I have some serious issues still confronting me all these years later. We’ve learned that there’s no actual basis for any of this but I still believe it. What we’ve also learned is that despite all this I’m going to the con anyway and I’m going to try and have a good time. Expect an after action report next week and hopefully from a me with a clearer head. See you guys on the flipside.

Thoughts on Comics and My Area.

Get your mind out of the gutter! I didn’t mean THAT area!

So the past week or so has been really really productive for me. I’ve been cranking comics out like a machine and it feels good. When I do that it feels like comics are my job and man do I wish they were. I could get a page and a half to two pages done a day if I didn’t have work and responsibilities. The problem is getting paid for it.

Patreon is helping with that. It’s been surprisingly successful lately with helping to make some money. More so than my freelance graphic design has. Which leads me to an interesting story.

This past weekend a friend of mine from Iron Tiger Comics was at the Ottawa Comic Con. . . thing. . . and he was selling stuff from several other ITC members. He sold all three of the copies of my book on Saturday. In Canada. A book about Mississippi. I can’t even give my book away here for toilet paper and we can’t keep a con going if we gave away free crack and hookers. There’s something positively toxic about the environment down here for creatives. We can’t sell our stuff or even get a place TO sell our stuff. Without even being there I sold $105 at a con outside of Mississippi.

I guess that’s about all I have to say today. Tune in next time where I complain some more about my home state and give it a vaguely suggestive headline.

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Oh, here’s a Rick and Morty thing I did a little while back that didn’t sell at an event.

Products and Productivity

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Me and products based on my comics do not have a good history. I’m made countless t-shirts and prints, and products and for the most part they’ve sat there in whatever store front site I’ve used and not made any money. I pretty much gave up on marketing after a while. How many times does a guy need to be kicked down?

Well, it’s time to try again. I’ve got some ideas for stuff to sell and I hope they’ll do well. First, of course, is “The Big Book of the Errant Apprentice”. It’ll have the first six issues and probably the most extensive explanation of the back story of the series I’ve ever done. World history, character descriptions, and other things and all from Elton’s point of view.

The other idea is from some friends. A large poster of the United States with the domains of different types of monsters marked out by different colors. One of the things I’ve never really explained is that different magical type monsters live in different areas. There’s some overlap, but dragons don’t live in the northwest and Bigfoot doesn’t live in the southeast. I think a map showing those locations would be fun.

Lastly, I have a print in mind. It got done for someone that never claimed it and I’ll try making some posters of that at some point in the future. The only problem is that it’s some funky dimensions. I’ll see how that works.

So yeah. Lots on my plate coming up. More on that later.

The Hero

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I’ve got some very particular ideas about what I want in a hero and it all stems back to when I read comics as a kid. I was never attracted to the comics about gritty anti-heroes or the guys that were just bad guys killing other bad guys. They aren’t, by the strictest definition, heroes. Then again, neither are most comic book heroes.

If you’ve read anything by Joseph Campbell then you all ready know about archetypes and the Hero’s Journey. It’s a classic structure that’s found in every culture. It also appeals to us because it’s somewhere inside all of us. Look at Star Wars. That IS the hero’s journey brought to the present day. It’s those characters I love the best. It’s those characters that no one wants to read about.nCharacters like The Punisher and Wolverine don’t do it for me. I want a likable person, or an unlikeable person who changes and becomes the hero he (or she) should be.

Maybe I’m bucking the trend or maybe I’m falling back on old archetypes, but I want my heroes to be remembered. I want people to relate to them and root for them. I want them to feel the pain they feel as they travel through their lives. Above all else though, I want that journey to end. It is a journey after all. That journey should change them. They shouldn’t be the same person they were when it started. Despite all the years of stories, Peter is still the loser who puts on tights and tries to fight crime. He’s still a smart-ass. Bruce Wayne is still a fractured rich guy who spends his money and nights fighting criminals. He’s never healed and found a higher reason for doing it.

I think that’s one of the biggest problems with today’s heroes. They keep going. The longer the series run the more changes and crazy ideas they have to incorporate. The more watered down the premise gets. What you eventually get are things like Superman killing people, Batman getting kids murdered, and crap like Superior Spiderman. It’s a gimmick. The characters should have had planned arcs and set timelines. They should age. They should end. Well, except Superman I guess. He’s practically immortal, isn’t he? Still, there are other things they could do with the character. I have my own ideas for that, but that’s another story.

I always try to have a mental picture in my mind when I write a series. I have an image of the character at the beginning of the series and at the end of the series. If they’re the same then something has to be rewritten.

Then again, maybe I’m in the minority here. Maybe people don’t want heroes any more. Maybe we’ve become a culture that celebrates the horrible and the mean spirited. Maybe we want a person to be and stay and asshole. . .

Back on Point

As some of you are aware, I’ve put Mailbox Rocketship on hiatus. It’s not anything to do with that series itself. I just need to focus on Errant Apprentice. I’m at a crucial phase in the series and it needs my full attention. I also realized that instead of doing two series at once I could put all my effort into one series and update three times a week like I used to with Kota’s World.

And that leads me to something else I realized. For a while now doing the comics hasn’t really be my drive. I do it and enjoy it but I don’t funnel as much energy into it as I used to. I think there’s a little bit of bitterness about the amount of time I pour into with so little pay off. This week I had my big realization. You get out of it what you put into it. I need to put more in. I need BE a cartoonist/artist/nut-job. So that’s what I’m going to do.

Starting next week I’m going to focus on EA like never before. Monday, Wednesday, and Friday there will be updates and I will stop complaining about my lack of free time. I was given this talent for a reason and by thunder I will use it. I will be the webcartoonist I was. That being said, I’ll see you Monday.

Free Comic Book Day Recap

So this week is going to be a lot of posts about Free Comic Book Day and my adventure to the coast for it. Later this week I’ll get a Vlog edited of it, but for now here’s a general run down.

I’ve been going to conventions and FCBD events since around 2008 starting with Megacon in Florida. The FCBD things I’ve been to here in town were never really anything to write home about. Very little money was made, not too many people came through and it we usually cut out early. This was by far the most fun and awesome event I’ve ever been too.

I’ve had mostly the same sketches in my binder since 2010. Occasionally I’d do a new drawing for someone and it would sell right off, but for the most part all my art has just sat there. Well, this weekend I sold all of what I call my “A-Game” pieces and most of my “B-Game” pieces. I actually have to refill my book now! It blew my friggin’ mind! Kit had tons of commissions too!

The best part of the whole thing though was the people. I got to see Jeff, Tiny, and Cami again. Steven Butler was there and we talked video game comics since he works on Sonic the Hedgehog for Archie Comics. We talked a bit about his newer art style. It’s got a very Bruce Timm feeling to it. The guy has so much talent it’s nuts!

Steve Scott was also there completing my collection of comic artists named “Steve”. Steve’s work is also amazing. We joked around a little and we talked about his William Shatner “Rock-it, man!” print. To give you some idea of how awesome this guy is, he gave me a free print of it for my friend Austin when I told him he owned that album. Hell, I even got a hug out of the guy!

Then there’s Andy. Andy and I have been friends for quite some time now and when we get together at events it’s like an old school comedy duo. Lots of jabs and one-liners. Lots of me hitting him with my hat. We have a ball. The only downside is that I talk so much that I’m nearly hoarse by the end of the day! Wouldn’t trade it for the world though!

There’s tons of other people I met and saw like Pedro and Bryan King and Suave Maurice, but I’m running out of steam so I’ll let the vlog speak for itself later this week.

So yeah. I guess what I’m saying is I’ll be going back next year. Possibly sooner just to hang out!
Well, that’s all for now. See ya in a few days!