As a preview to the New York Comic Con, I wanted to sit down with a few people and get what they’re doing for the show. Unfortunately, a troublesome issue arose: I had no Internet access for almost a week leading up to today. I have, however, had a chance to talk to a few folks and their stories will be posted starting with Samuel Vera of Crazee Comics. Started in 2003, Crazee first launched underground. At that time, Vera was working with a bigger team which downsized due to what he refers to as “personal reasons. Different career choices and stuff like that. So right now, I just hire freelancers,” he says. “I outsource, I create my stuff and then I outsource to artists and colorists and things like that. It seems to work easier that way.”
Vera is the creator of all the Crazee titles, and the only writer currently operating under the Crazee Comics banner. George Medina, who used to be a Crazee staffer, still letters some of Vera’s books. He’ll be at the convention on his own, but sitting in with Vera at the Crazee table will be David Quiles. He’s the illustrator on a children’s book Vera wrote, and also the artist on The Forbidden, which is a trade paperback Crazee is going to release in the winter.
Crazee’s current flagship title, There’s an Alien in My Toilet, is what’s getting a lot of buzz right now. Its central character, an alien-with-an-attitude named Doodie who seems a little like Jhonen Vasquez’s Invader Zim, is the subject of not only a graphic novel and a forthcoming follow up, but also a kids’ title tie-in called Doodie’s Adventures. While the first series came out as “floppy” comics before being collected, and Vera has done a special New York Comic Con reprint of the first issue due to reader demand, the series will from this point on be released exclusively as trade paperbacks.
For the con, Vera’s line of children’s book—he has several titles—wil be on sale along with the first trade paperback of There’s an Alien in My Toilet. There’s a pinup version of the second volume trade for There’s an Alien in My Toilet, and original sketch cards. He’ll have prototype figures and a resin prototype of some of the characters on display.
“I’m very strategic in terms of I do competitive pricing with manufacturers and designers and I’m a very big advocate of print-on-demand, so I only print what I can sell,” Vera says. “On that note, I try to moderate—I don’t overstock, I go with what I can sell, I only do the conventions that are going to be cost-effective.”
“I still have a full-time job by day, so that helps also to support this,” Vera says, “but I design my own website, I do my own website, I do my own PR, but I’ve been really pushing it right now, talking to some international reps to rep the products over seas and…trying to secure an animated series.”
Vera says that he puts a lot of emphasis on There’s an Alien in My Toilet but he feels he has to have something on his back burner because you don’t want to put all your eggs in one basket. “I work seven days a week and on my days off I’m behind my table,” says Vera. “Thank God I have a supportive wife.”
He describes his approach to Doodie’s stories as “trying to establish a brand like Charles Schultz did with Peanuts and make it recognizable. A lot of people say it should be a strip instead of a book, but I’ve found a model that I feel works for myself.”
Asked how to approach his line if a consumer only has a limited budget at the convention, Vera says, “Pick up the first issue of Doodie, because they’re definitely going to laugh and I stand by that. Get a sketch card or get another one of the younger age books that I have and they’ll definitely get a feel. I also have Doodie’s Adventures. That kind of tells you how he gets to where he is in the series.”