By Christian Beranek
Hello and welcome again to another installment of The Life of High Adventure — this one has a title longer than any Star Wars prequel! It also packs twice the punch.
It’s convention season. There is hope in the air. The smell of musty old comics mixed with fresh ink. There’s going to be a lot of stained fingers and plenty of broken hearts. Comic enthusiasts will flock to the shows with items to have signed, sketches drawn and questions answered about the future of their favorite franchises.
It’s a time to rock.
Your beloved CB has rocked many of these shows throughout the years, as a fan and as a creator. I’ve hauled boxes of books miles across cement floors. I’ve drank my heart out in the hotel bars and awoken the next morning ready to bring the word of sweet comics to the masses.
At many of the shows I do a panel called What It Takes To Make It In Comics. At these discussions I notice the room gets fairly packed. I wish it was that people come to see me! No, it is because there are tons of hopeful comic creators out there — so many that I wonder if every person who regularly buys comics wants to create them themselves!
The panels are always enjoyable. Sometimes I’ll bring in a guest to sit in with me, but more often than not I love rocking these alone. There’s something to be said about the thrill of performing solo (and not in the way that you’re thinking dirty birdie, although that is nice too.)
I get asked a lot of intelligent questions. The general jist of them comes down to this: “How do I break in?” More and more my answer is: “You already are in, where do you want to go?”
And it’s that simple. Used to be back in the day you had to get a book printed and distributed because it was the only avenue. You may be able to set up shop at a show and sling some copies, but the time and costs of those endeavors barely covered bar tabs.
Back in the day we didn’t have fancy iPads, iPhones, itunes, netbooks (I ain’t forgetting PC users — now buy my comics!), print on demand houses, etc and etc and on and on. No, we had to do four color separations and get the pages to the printers and wait… and wait… and wait…
It was a lot of damn work.
Now, like it or not, comics are instant. Yep. It takes a moment to upload a comic to the web and a moment for a reader to click on a link. And several moments to enjoy.
When I used to buy comics regularly (don’t look at me like that, those things are expensive these days) it took me about 5 – 10 minutes to read one. They were great to take with me into the bathroom so I could get some privacy from my ex-common law wife. And they made Wednesday afternoons something to look forward to — and we’re not going to lose that feeling — that love for newly printed comics everyone, at least not for a long while. But now, with webcomics, you can read an entire run of strips… for free. Not $3.99. FREE. And they are available 24/7. You can read them in your underwear. I know I do from time to time.
So, with all of these new avenues to get comics out there instantly — and don’t forget you do have to still write and draw them — you can technically break in at any moment.
“But is anyone going to read it?” you ask.
Well, now that you broke in, that’s up to you.
Christian Beranek is a writer, musician, actor, film/tv producer and webcomic entrepreneur. He co-runs The Webcomic Factory with Tony DiGerolamo and is hard at work on several original graphic novels. He is also co-starring in High School Sucks The Musical for Lakeshore Entertainment and PDFlo Films. He is never late for dinner and invites you to add him on twitter: http://www.twitter.com/beranek