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Dropping The Label

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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...

First off, sorry about the long break. Like mister John Lennon said:  Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans.
And what happened was that my ‘other life’, the one that brings in the money was asking a lot of time and energy and I, sadly, have only sixty minutes in an hour. Then there was another great opportunity that came my way (I will tell you about it in another episode), so …… I guess I am trying to say, I am sorry for taking so long.

The last time I was telling you about the first time we met. We were together for the first time. Jorg, Ranjit, DMTR and myself. After a round at Starbucks we started talking about the thing which bounded us; comics. And after yet another round of coffee the guys and I walked (well I kind of bounced after a coffee overdoses ) to the nearby comic bookstores. It was fun to see four guys totally into comics, have such a different taste in comics and so much similarities.

DMTR loves (I might understate a bit) LOVES the Goon and Hellboy. Ranjit is the biggest J. Scott Campell fan I have ever encountered. And Jorg is a all round art guy who just happens to have a lot of hardcover Hellboy’s. I think I was the only one who was also reading superhero comics (yep, I’m a Marvel Zombie). But there are a few artists we all four really like (we are talking about you, mister Humberto Ramos! ).

We went to a bar and talked some more. We started to get to know each other a little better. And the best part was, we had a lot of fun. It felt like if we had known each other for years. And almost at the end of our meeting it was DMTR who said; If we are going to make comics together, wouldn’t it be an idea to do it under one name or label?

And with that said we looked at each other and said; “ Uh..”. I loved the idea, but how do you created your own label. But the idea was kind of cool. We talked a bit about it, drank our last beer and went home.

The next few days we had our first e-mail meeting. We send e-mails back and forth. We were going to do this! We were starting up our own label.

We made a long list of names for our label. And we all had a few favorites. But there was one name we all liked. Drop Comics. Drop is Dutch for licorice; a candy we eat a lot here.
After agreeing on the name, DMTR -who is also a very talented designer- came up with a logo. And after seeing the logo it was as if my journey was really taking off.

Remember that I was just a comic fanboy who also liked to write and wanted to make comics. Now there were great artists, a name and a logo. The best thing was, that I wasn’t scarred of failing. I was enjoying this whole journey.  The only thing that was a bit weird about the situation was, I could not really share my joy with my co-workers at my ‘day-job’.  It was not that they weren’t happy for me, but I don’t think they really knew what I was doing.  

I have told this before. Here in the Netherlands it is normal to read a comic book when you are a kid. When you are 16 and still read comic books, you are considered a bit ...... weird. And by the time you are grownup the whole idea of picking up a comic book seems so alien. Off course this is a bit of a black and white look of things, but you get the picture.

But that was not taking anything away of the joy I felt when we were talking or e-mailing about our plans. And the pages came in, both for ACE and for Sanguis. Ranjit en DMTR were in the final stages of finishing their comics. And so we had to think about the next and most important stage of making comics. Trying and selling the comics. And there was a Dutch Comic-con about three months away. Everything was going according to plan.  But then something happened I did not expected.

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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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