Burn Out To The Drop
Posted by Richard Boom on Mar 27, 2012
Gert-Jan van Oosten has always been an avid comic book reader. One fine day he took the step from comic book fan to comic book creator and, nowadays, he is the co-owner of Drop Comics, a prime comics publisher in the Netherlands.
Every once in a while, Gert-Jan, the Goost Writer, shares his personal experience of how he started his own comics publishing company. Follow his trail. The trail of the Goost Writer.
Check out the previous columns for more of the Drop Comics story so far...
I know one thing about the people who work in comics: They aren’t in it for the money!
If I think about the amount of time and energy I have put into my comic projects and if I take a look at the revenue then I think an average banker would advise me to stop at once and do something different. The thing that a banker can’t measure is the amount of joy involved in creating something unique.
The thing I am trying to tell is that - at least in the Netherlands - you just can’t live by making comics alone. Perhaps in the future, but not right now. There are only a select few that have that privilege. To support my family and pay the mortgage on my house I have to have a ‘real’ job.
We at Drop Comics were really busy with the preparations for our first comic-con and all went according to plan. We even made T-shirts with our new logo on the front. We were ready!
But there was something happening to me... I was tired. I was really tired. I could not relax. I went to sleep at half past nine in the evening and I was awake at 5 o’clock in the morning and I couldn’t sleep anymore because I was thinking about my day-job. I was really, really, REALLY busy at my ‘real’ job. Every time I was at my place of work and the phone rang I became nauseous. It came to the point I couldn't even read anyore. When I read a sentence I knew what I was reading, but after two more sentences I couldn’t remember what I had read. The last straw was that I got nauseous when I stepped into the office. When that happened I went to see my supervisor.
Long story short; it hit me hard when the doctor said “it fits the syndrome of your illness” and diagnosed it as a major burnout.
The strange thing was that I am a very energetic person. I am the kind of guy that played three matches of soccer in one weekend and still had plenty of energy left to explore other adventures. But now… all of my energy was gone. I could only do one thing a day and at times it was as little as making a phone call and that was IT.
We only had a few weeks left before the comic-con in Breda (the Netherlands) started and I spoke with my wife about it. I spent a lot of time making my dream come true and now here I was: totally bummed out by having a burn-out. I also talked to Jorg, Ranjit and DMTR about it. I even talked about it with my doctor.
And then I made my decision… I worked so hard to make my comic dream come true and when the moment when it all came to one point in time I might not be there. That was not going to happen. I was going to be there no matter what!
The other DROP-guys started with the last part of the preparations and I tried to rest and act on my sport assignments, laid upon me by my doctor. I had to work out at least three times a week. It’s really strange when you are very busy and suddenly you are not allowed to do more then one thing a day.
And then the day came when we went to the comic-con. We asked Sybrand Klompstra, the best friend of DMTR, to come along. Sybrand, besides being a real funny guy-- and the equivalent of a human can of Red Bull (when he’s around you, you won’t fall asleep)-- he is also is a very good film maker.
But being burned out is not fun at all. I remember the guys going out for a drink before the big day and I was left behind; I was going to bed early.
Anyway, the day of our first ever official appearance started.
With two cars filled to the roof with merchandise and luggage and DROP-people, we drove to the comic-con's location. The first part of my dream came true. We were a comic book publisher and sold our own comics. How grand was that!!
And to our joy we also sold comics there! Not as much as Marvel would sell if they were there, but hey, we really SOLD OUR COMICS! And we had a lot of people who came to us to look at what we created. For a man with a burnout it was amazing to feel the amount of energy this experience gave back to me.
At the end of this first amazing day the other guys went out again and I went to bed and fell asleep, probably with a big smile on my face. We still had one more day to go and the best was yet to come.
Gert-Jan van Oosten, co-founder of Dutch comic book publisher, Drop Comics, talks about his efforts to find his place on the comics market from across the pond; the Netherlands.
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