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Serendipity - Part I

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The Three Princes of Serendip…

Broken Frontier owner, Frederik Hautain, contacted me a while ago asking me if I wouldn’t mind doing a follow up of sorts to Val Staples excellent series of articles, “The Poor Man’s Guide to Self-Publishing” (you can still find Val’s excellent series of articles tucked away in the Lowdown archives). Being an independent publisher myself, I guess Frederik thought I might have something to say on the subject.

I do, however:

1. Val Staples covered just about everything you need to know to make a decision about self-publishing. Read his series of articles here at Broken Frontier. Val pulls no punches and gives you the full reality of his experiences as a publisher who climbed to the top and then clawed his heart out to try and stay there.
2. What Val didn’t cover is covered in Larry Young’s book, TRUE FACTS. TRUE FACTS is a no-holds-barred education on comic publishing that grabs you by the throat and gets you off your ass. Larry’s moto is a lot like Nike’s: Just Do It!
3. What Larry didn’t cover is probably found in Dave Sim’s book, CEREBUS GUIDE TO SELF PUBLISHING. Dave Sim has been a successful self-publisher for over two decades. His self published book, CEREBUS, went 300 issues with a relentless, apparently all-consuming verve. What he has to say on self publishing should be considered Gospel. Amen.
4. Anything else you could possibly ever need is probably in Mike Hall’s, MAKE YOUR OWN COMICS. Where Young cajoles and Sim’s educates, Hall just flat out cheerleads. You won’t read a book with more enthusiasm about the most mundane of self publishing tasks. Hall flat out loves him some comic book making and has a special knack for imparting that love and knowledge to you.

If you want to self publish, get these books. By the time you’re done you’ll have a very good handle on the basics and the rest is pretty much up to you anyway. In the end, it’s 10% talent and 90% determination.

If you’re a creator, that’s really the best advice I can give you.

For the Readers In the Crowd…
Now that I have that out of the way, let’s talk about Rob Liefeld.
I’m an unabashed, un-apologetic fan of Rob Liefeld. Didn’t see that coming, did you?

Rob brought an energy and excitement to comics that had me salivating as a teen. Every book that came from him was a frenzied assault on my senses… but, you know, in a good way. I didn’t care that his ideas never got fleshed out or developed. It was the variety that kept me buying. Every new character, every new convoluted plot he threw out, I faithfully picked up and read with a delirious frenzy that only a crack addict could relate to.

Eventually, I kicked the habit.

But I’ll never stop thanking Rob for that breath of fresh air. It kept me into comics at a time in my life when most people drop out and, more importantly, it gave me a love for comic book serendipity; for finding new voices and visions.

Welcome to Your World…
In the spirit of comic serendipity, and in hopes of exciting a new generation of readers into having a backbone, I present to you the following bits of shiny things:

Ferretpress.com
Dara Naraghi (probably one of the most talented, ‘up-and-coming’ writers in the industry) and his crew of Ohio Art Hooligans serve up one of the best blogs on comics, politics, and life that you’re going to find.

Poopsheet
For years Rick Bradford has been looking under every rock and stone in search of small press and independent comics to review and discuss. His positive enthusiasm for the cool underbelly of the comic book medium is a breath of fresh air in what is normally a room of stale negativity.

If you’re looking for the truly interesting and obscure, Rick’s reviews are the place to start.

Sam Hiti
You’ll probably be hearing more and more of this guy in the future. Sam was tapped to do some Lemony Snickets comic art for Nickelodeon recently but his big, bold, beautiful book- TIEMPO FINALES is what you should be buying. A beautifully illustrated book featuring a demon hunting, leather clad Latino with the power of God in his gun.

Need a better recommendation than me? TIEMPO FINALES won a Xeric Grant.

Infinite Kung Fu
The title truly says it all. A Kung Fu master on a quest to take down evil forces. Does it get any better? I submit that it does NOT! You should buy this book for the art on the covers alone.

See kids? I’m not asking a lot of you here. Demon hunting, leather clad vigilantes and KUNG FU. Plenty of Fist Flyin’ action for those having trouble kicking the super hero habit.

Owly
Here’s another title I think will be on everyone’s favorite list in the future. A kind, lonely owl in search of new friends and adventure. This is the one you give to your kids while you’re reading the new book from…

Franchesco
I don’t want to appear like I’m a comic snob. There are plenty of good super hero comics flying under the radar these days. Franchesco is drawing one of them. The guy is amazingly talented and you’re all going to find out just how talented he is when the Savage She-Dragon comes out from Image Comics. Support.

Wrap-up…
Do what you will with the info above. I hope you find a gem or are inspired to go searching for such.

In a comic culture where re-tread and re-hash seems to be the norm, it may take a little more effort to find something truly unique. But believe me when I tell you that the effort makes the eventual find all that much sweeter.

If you’ve got something comic cool you want to share, email it to me at grunts@ape-entertainment.com and I’ll add it for next time. We’re only doing three of these columns so don’t hesitate. Give me momentum and I’ll do the same for you.

***

David Hedgecock is co-founder of  Ape Entertainment, a company always looking for shiny new things.
David’s new sci-fi adventure graphic novel, A Different Pace, hit stores February 23rd. It too is shiny and new.

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