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This text you are reading logically should not exist.

My name is Gert-Jan van Oosten. For the people who don’t speak Dutch: don’t try to pronounce it, you might break your tongue. You should have less trouble with my nickname: Goost Writer. I am 35 years old, have a lovely wife and three little children. I live in the northern part of the Netherlands and I am a co-founder of a new Dutch  comic book publisher, Drop Comics.

In this series of articles here at Broken Frontier, I will tell you about my journey with my fellow co-founders as we try to achieve our dreams. But first, let me explain why this text should not exist.

For starters, I am dyslectic. Well, to be honest, it’s more a kind of letter deficiency: I am the king of sentences that don’t go anywhere. There probably aren’t a lot of words left in the dictionary where I didn’t forget one or more letters or put them in the wrong order. In high school, my essays were used as an example of how not to write essays. And even with this feature here, chances are I had to read, and reread and reread it a couple of times before I dared submit it for publication. 

Secondly, as I said, I am not born in a country where English is the first language. However, if I would have written this text in Dutch, 98% of the visitors of this site wouldn’t be able to read it. It already takes me a lot of time and energy to find the right words to tell you what I mean in Dutch… let alone in English.

Now that you know all that, let’s get back to the one thing that binds us together: comics. And in my case, the difficult road one has to follow to getting them made.

In the Netherlands, comic books are seen as inferior reading. There may be a few exceptions – like Asterix (which you probably know about) and a Dutch comic book called Ollie B. Bommel – but the majority of the Dutch think that the European comic book is for little children and that comics should go as soon as puberty and zits hit. Thankfully, there is still a group of adults reading comic books out there. But, the Dutch market is really limited when it comes to homegrown adult comics, which kind of make American-styled comics our best option. Yet, reading comic books in public gets you no respect.

Also, I have a full time job, three little children ages 1, 3 and 5 and a lovely wife with whom I like to spend some time. I don’t really have any time to spare. Having a full time job is great for your financial health, but killing for your spare time. And as I found out, three little children are like a spare time sponge. You can’t do anything when they are around. When you come home after work, they are all over you… but I wouldn’t want it any other way. 

The most financially inefficient thing I have ever done in my whole life is making comics. The hours that I’ve already spent writing comics, organizing, making phone calls, writing emails and whatnot… if I was as financially inefficient with my work as I am with making comics, I probably would have more spare time to spend creating them, but perhaps no computer to write.

So, why does this article exist? Why is this letter deficient Dutchman, with almost no spare time, doing this financially inefficient thing that doesn’t gain him any respect? BECAUSE I LOVE COMICS! And I love writing.

I think I was like 7 years old when I read my first comics. Fantastic Four. They blew my mind. I’ve loved the medium ever since, and I don’t care what people think when I am in public reading a comic. And heck, maybe my letter deficiency holds me back when I type the words, but it doesn’t affect my fantasy or my ideas. Plus, rereading a piece is not a big deal and I’ve got the best invention of the 20th century to fall back on. Yes, I’m referring to the spell checker.

In these articles, I will tell you how I started with an idea and what I, and later we, did to make our joint dream a reality. Are we there yet? No way. We’re just getting started. Are we going to succeed? I hope so. Can we fail? It’s a real possibility, but we’re going to try our hardest nevertheless.

Maybe someone out there has an idea and just maybe that will get inspired to follow their dream. Maybe that person is you.

This is my journey to become a comic book creator. And while logically I probably shouldn’t be doing this, my heart says I’m on the right track. So, come follow my trail… The Trail of the Goost Writer.

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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 American/English comics market from across the pond.

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