We’re continuing to catch up with folks who we posted about before San Diego to see what went down. Before the convention, we posted that Newsarama’s own Chris Arrant would bring an anthology to the show called Four Stories. We caught up with Chris to see how everything went last weekend.
Note: check the bottom of the post for a special offer …
Blog@Newsarama: Your new mini-comic Four Stories was released this past weekend in San Diego. Tell us a little bit about how you went about selling it at the con. Did you have a table, or did you partner with a retailer, or anything like that?
Chris Arrant: That’s the thing; I wasn’t selling it. The goal of Four Stories was to get it out there into people’s hands; to transition from the would-be or could-be comic creator to an actual creator of comics.
I took 150 copies to San Diego Comic-Con to give out to friends, publishers, creators, and just people I thought would appreciate it. No table, no retailer, just me with a messenger bag plump with free comics.
Blog@Newsarama: How did people react to the book?
Chris Arrant: Early reviews the work itself have been positive. I assume most people will be reading it once people get over the SDCC experience. Of those that have read it, they generally find at least one story that’s their favorite…. And so far, the favorites have been equally different. I’m glad each person has a different favorite from the four stories in *ahem* Four Stories.
Blog@Newsarama: On your website, you mentioned that three of the stories were almost like “pilot” episodes that would hopefully lead to ongoing series. Did you use the comic to make pitches to comic companies or make any contacts that could lead to something more?
Chris Arrant: Ideally, yes. But I decided to have each short story be a complete experience, so it could be enjoyed by anyone who read it and not just be a ‘pitch vehicle’. It’s intended both for potential publishers and regular fans who like good comics.
Blog@Newsarama: Tell us a little bit about the stories themselves, the artists you worked with, and why you chose to work with each of them.
Chris Arrant: When I started this project, my goal was to not only find four good artists, but partner them with good stories fit for their style and focus. Once I nailed down the four artists to work with, I sat down with each individually and pitched about 6 stories I thought they’d be appropriate for. With their feedback, we narrowed it down to one story per artist. I have notes for untold amounts of stories, so I was lucky to have lots of ammunition to come to an ideal story for me and them.
The first story, “Integral,” is a six pager with artist Matt Bayne. Matt’s a real down-to-earth illustrator that has a keen sense of movement and choreography that I wanted to exploit. We settled on this story about a widowed ex-cop, Frank Lowry, who gives up the police force after his wife is murdered to take care of their only child, Emma. In his previous life he was one of NYC’s finest, but not one of the high-profile investigators or CI’s you see on television; he’s the first on the scene, a beat cop, generally trained to expect anything when he shows up for a call. But he left all that, and the city, when he became a single father. In some ways, he blames his job and NYC for his wife’s death. He reluctantly comes back when his daughter is in line for a scholarship to the Julliard School for musical prodigies; but as he ventures back into the city for the first time in years, he gets harsh reminders why he left in the first place.
The second story is called “Snowblind,” and it’s a short suspense tale about two co-workers heading home from an office Christmas party on a snowy night. Jessica Hickman provides some great artwork that really makes the “characters” into “people” in only five pages.
Third is “Passenger” with TOKYOPOP artist Joanna Estep. This one follows a recent ex-boyfriend who’s still reeling from his girl’s disappearance. A weird dream puts their whole relationship in questions, leads him to believe something else might have happened. Joanna and I both love the psychological aspect of this story, and hope we can continue it somewhere in the near future.
Last is “Stuart” with artist Eric Adams of Lackluster World. I’ve become close with Eric over the years with our love of comics and graphic design, and I was ecstatic when he said he’d collaborate with me on this story. It’s about a precocious nine year-old boy that blended into the daily routine of the Pike County Hospital and its staff, brewing coffee in the waiting rooms, visiting the elderly and infirm, and generally brightening up the otherwise sterile environment with his compassion and charm. His name is Stuart… and this unusual boy has prompted people to wonder, “What is that kid doing wandering around a hospital?”
Blog@Newsarama: In terms of the con itself, what were the high points and low points?
Chris Arrant: The low points was not being able to do everything I wanted to. As a first-timer at SDCC, I over-planned and over-extended myself. Only caught about 1/3 of the panels I wanted to see, and barely got time to visit the big booths of Marvel, DC, Slave Labor, TOKYOPOP and others in the mid-section of the con.
High points? Meeting people I’ve talked to online and by phone. I could list about 30 or 40, but if I had to narrow it down I’d say Jose Villarrubia and Dean Haspiel. Jose was very engaging and warm person to be around, and Dean Haspiel a real supporter of “comix” people, and about enjoying it and having a good time. Getting the chance to see him wade into SDCC and do his thing was a genuinely inspiring sight to see.
Blog@Newsarama: Who were you most excited to hand your comic to at the con?
Chris Arrant: That’s a tough one. If I had to say, it’d probably be Brian Wood. He’s been a big influence on my work, not just in comics but graphic design as well.
Blog@Newsarama: What are your plans for following up on Four Stories?
Chris Arrant: Ideally, it would be the chance to do further adventures with the artists and stories from Four Stories. I’m in talks with some publishers right now, but it’s still early on in the game.
On Aug. 7, I’ll be debuting a weekly webcomic that I’m really excited about. I haven’t had this much fun since I played bass in a band several years back.
Want a copy fo the book? The first ten people to post a comment to this story will receive a free copy of Four Stories. So post away!
For more information on Arrant and Four Stories, check out his website.