Saturday, March 17, 2018

To Do March 21: Batman, Wonder Woman & artist Liam Sharp!

Meet artist/writer and FlyCo Favorite LIAM SHARP for the release of issue #2 of his new DC Comics six-issue miniseries---

A bit about this series: When a Celtic god's murder leads to a war between the fairy folk and a possible breach between worlds, Wonder Woman must find the murderer and keep the peace while Batman investigates strange occurrences in Gotham City. As Diana must turn to the World's Greatest Detective for help, the two heroes quickly learn their cases may be connected. 

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Advice for Aspiring Comics Artists

For the 8th year in a row, I had the honor of talking to a group of Diablo Valley College students, many involved in creating their own comics through a contest combining the English and Art departments. To learn more about the James O'Keefe Prize and see some of the comics work of DVC students, go HERE!

The goal for these students is to work some comics magic--- combining words and images into stories. I see my job there as to be encouraging to anyone and everyone wanting to do their own sequential storytelling.

This year,  rather than give the same talk I've given the previous seven years, I asked comics professionals who were kind enough to give me some words of advice for anyone wanting to work in the comics biz and do their own work. 

The advice was too good to let go into the wilds of the Twitter-sphere, so I'm posting it here with my thanks to all the comics pro who shared their wisdom.

Advice about the art & craft of comics creation...

The first bit of great advice comes from Dave Sim (creator of the 300 issue 1977-2004 Cerebus epic series), though it was indie self-publisher Randy Reynaldo (Rob Haines Adventures) who shared the advice:
"Get your first 100 pages out of the way."

Steve Lieber (artist of Whiteout, The Fix, Superior Foes of Spider-Man, etc):
"Start short: Do 4, 8, 10 page stories that hit an ending. The stories will improve a lot over time, and it's not fair to shackle the reasonably-skilled creator who is drawing page 100 to the awkward amateur who drew page 3." 

Jeff McComsey (Alterna Comics)

"1.Start small. I mean tiny. Jumping into doing work at 11x17 when starting out runs a lot of people off. Start off with 6x9 art areas and see how it feels.
2. Publish or self publish. You’ll hate it but there’s nothing else like it.
3. Thumbnail. Thumbnail. Thumbnail."


Christos Gage (TV writer of Luke Cage, Law & Order:SVU, Comics: Buffy, Marvel, Valiant)

"Let the making of the comic, in the best way you can make it, be the goal. Not getting published, or working for a specific company, or appealing to a given audience. Do what inspires you and do it the best you can. And don’t quit your day job."

Marc Laming (Planet Hulk, Star Wars)

"Unless you are writing & drawing comics is a team sport. Remember you will be called on to draw everything so get good at drawing buildings, cars, trees, jungles, animals and real people wearing street clothes."

Jeff Parker (Batman '66, X-men First Class)

"Absorb any good story rules you can and then remember there's also No Rules- what matters most is to be interesting and engaging by any means necessary. Don't play fair!"

Patch Zircher (Superman, Green Lantern)

"Have a reason for your choices; think about why you are choosing a long shot, close-up, extreme close-up, aerial view, character point-of-view. Every panel is informed by the panel before it."


Dan Brereton (Nocturnals, GiantKiller, Batman Thrillkiller)

"Be fearless, inventive and skilled!"

Darick Robertson (Transmetropolitan, The Boys, Happy, Harbinger Renengades)
"I tell aspiring comic artists of the internal experience of being an artist. You live with that more than the external bits. The hours of self doubt, the agony and ecstasy of creating. Starting and finishing. Days when you have to do your thing even though you don't want to. Overcoming setbacks and creating anyway. Doing it for the sheer joy of creating despite the financial benefits or lack thereof.

Do it because you can't think of anything better to do.
Do it because it aches too much not to create.
Do it because you have something to show the world and let the work speak for itself.

If you want to make a lot of money, go into banking or law. Learn the stock market. If you're going into comics to be famous and rich, you're in for a huge let down. So make the act of creating the reward you're after and create the images and stories you believe are worthy of being read. If you wouldn't read your own stories, then why would anyone else? If you wouldn't buy your comic, then why would anyone else?

It's a lot of long hours, often spent alone, and if you don't like being in that mental space, it's not going to be fun. And if it's not fun, what's the point? Be humble and be prepared to learn something new, no matter how good you are. The growth is the purest form of joy from learning the craft."

Advice about the Business of Comics
More from Darick Robertson...
"Handshakes spread germs and make for lousy contracts. Get a contract, in writing. Pay for a good lawyer to read it and trust no one until that dotted line is signed. People will rob and use you up otherwise. 

If they're willing to hire you, they should be willing to pay you. Be friendly, be polite, but be firm about what's fair and know your worth. Know where friendship stops and business begins. It's vital to your future and mental well being.

If you work for free, people will expect that that is your rate. If there's something worthwhile in it for you, then make sure you gather that element. Being offered "exposure" or "back end once it's sold" is mining for fool's gold and your time is valuable. There are a lot of sharks in the water now; be careful.

Meet your deadlines, communicate if you can't and don't disappear on an editor. They'll remember that--- not that you drew really well."

Maggie Thompson (Comics Buyers Guide, First Lady of Comics Fandom)

"Creators who share work with another creator need to be clear about who owns what and whose rights are encumbered - or unencumbered. And what rights they're selling, if/when they sell. Collaborative art can be tricky."

Zack Davisson 
(Historian, manga translator)
"Shigeru Mizuki (Showa: A History of Japan, Kitaro) sold his first comic at 40 years old, and became one of the most beloved and successful cartoonists of all time. It's never too late."

Jim Lee (DC co-publisher, Batman, X-Men)

"Draw like you have the job already-- that means try and sit and draw 7-9 hours a day :) "

Terry Moore (Strangers in Paradise)

"You get to create a world you like better."

What I can tell you from my 30 years of experience in selling comics and in working with comics creators, I can tell you this: 

If you're doing comics because it's the single thing you most want to do, then that's all the reason you need to keep plugging. Don't do it for the money or the fame or some elusive deal for TV or movie riches... do it because it's what you want to do, what makes you feel alive and creative. Don't ever let anyone rob that from you.

And I leave you with the words of immortal comics creator Jack Kirby:

(All art here is copyright by the respective rights holders.)

So after reading all this professional and free advice, why not treat yourself by buying some work by these comics creators? Stop by Flying Colors and let us show you their stuff!

Thanks for reading!

Joe "FlyCoJoe" Field

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

BLACK PANTHER #1 Special Covers by Tom Beland

Place your advance orders NOW at Flying Colors!

A new Black Panther #1 is coming from Marvel Comics, due to be released on Wedensday May 23.
A couple of the variant covers for this issue are shown here, featuring the work by cartoonist Tom Beland.

When Tom drew this image and shared it on social media, it was then shared more than 10,000 times  including being shared by actor Michael B Jordan and others who worked on the sensational Black Panther movie. These two variant editions will be available at cover price of $4.99. 

Place your advance order on your next visit to Flying Colors.

Monday, January 08, 2018

Flying Colors Best Sellers

Presenting Flying Colors Comics Top 50 Best-Sellers of 2017 in Comics and Graphic Novels!

Please visit my Twitter feed for a series of stats and thoughts about these lists, along with commentary about the shifting landscape in the comics market. My Twitter thread starts here!

Thanks so much to all those supporting Flying Colors with your weekly purchases of comics, graphic novels and other cool stuff here at our Concord shop. As 2018 progresses, we'll bring you more fun events while continuing to sling the best in comics to Contra Costa County and the Cosmos!

Hey! Hit this link for a look at what's new this week--- then come and visit us, OK?


Joe "FlyCoJoe" Field