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NYCC Survival

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The release of the American Terrorist graphic novel at New York Comic Con turned out to be a success. Not that my standards for a success were all that high. I’m not a major publisher with lots of marketing behind this, and I also didn’t need to achieve any high “opening numbers” like box office numbers for a movie. For me, this release was more about starting something and building from there. I wanted to get the book into people’s hands (finally have someone other than my wife and my letterer read the whole story) and possibly get some reviews and news coverage for it.

In total, I sold 34 copies of the American Terrorist graphic novel at NYCC. That’s pretty good for a full graphic novel. Who am I kidding? Those are good numbers for me even if I had had a 3 dollar comic. That fact that I sold that many copies, plus add in a few prints and sketchbook sales, and it all added up to a pretty good weekend.

The funny thing is, there was a point around mid-day on Saturday that I thought the show might be a bust. There were just too many people pushing through the aisles. It was like a river breaking through a dam. I remember one woman trying to stop to look at my stuff as she was continually shoved forward, sliding across it until she was eventually past it by no choice of her own.

Luckily my patience was rewarded and the rush of people subsided (not usually a positive thing) and gave way to committed comic fans and those interested in discovering new comics and graphic novels. I really enjoyed seeing new readers flip through American Terrorist and talking to them about what it was about. The concept seemed to resonate with a lot of people.

Even someone connected to the Occupy Wall Street movement stopped by to pick up a copy. I gave her an extra copy to donate to the OWS public library. She sent me this photo from when she dropped it off.

I’ve also had a number of positive reviews so far. Jazma Online give it 5 start out of 5 and Hollywood Soapbox named it the most promising graphic novel debut of NYCC!
There are more reviews still to come, not to mention some podcast interviews I recorded. I’ll be sure to follow-up on those in next week’s column.

For the rest of this column, I’d like to take some time real quickly to run through some great looking, independent graphic novels I picked up at the show.

The first is Vision Machine by Pak Man Productions. It’s written by Greg Pak with pencils by RB Silva. It’s a futuristic story about our obsession with the latest tech gadgets and our preference for virtual reality over real life. This graphic novel was also free. This seems to be part of its commentary on information and content sharing, just as long as the creators are credited. You can download a free copy at their website.

The next book I picked up was Mariachi Samurai by Jose Lopez. This is a really nice hardcover book with a slipcase. I haven’t had a chance to read it yet and the blurb on the back is in Spanish even though the interior is in English, so I can’t give you much of a rundown on it, but the artwork is absolutely beautiful! Jose has been a character designer for the past 10 years working for animation, film and video games so he certainly has chops in the art world and it shows.

Next, I grabbed a copy of Odessa by Inkbot. This is an alternative reality story about what would have happened if the Nazis had won the war. It’s a compelling story with great, old school style comic art. You can read some of the comic on their site.

In the category of “things to hang on my wall”, I got this great Batman commission from Ken Knudtsen. His graphic novel, My Monkey’s Name is Jennifer, came out last year and is incredibly original, hilarious and well worth the read. If you haven’t read it yet, I would highly recommend it.

I also picked up this poster for the second Cursed Pirate Girl series at the Archaia table. It looks like one of my favorite series in recent times will be back next year and with a new publisher, Archaia. Artist Jeremy Bastian was initially going to publish the first series through Archaia, but they were only willing to publish color comics and Jeremy didn’t want to have it colored. Archaia has apparently changed its mind, probably after seeing how successful the first series was.

That seems to be the story of independent publishing. You kind of just have to do it yourself before people will take notice. That’s what I was trying to do at the show, and so were the creators of the other books I just mentioned. Give them a try.

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Tyler Chin-Tanner started his own publishing company, A Wave Blue World, where he wrote and drew layouts for Adrenaline, its flagship series, Adrenaline and wrote its latest graphic novel, American Terrorist.
© 2011 Tyler Chin-Tanner.  All rights reserved.
Email: tyler@awaveblueworld.com

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