Long term comic book creator and author Rich Tommaso took a childhood character to social media and was persuaded that, yes, there was an audience for this character and this type of storytelling, put a comic book together and before you knew it, Spy Seal had been picked up by Image Comics. It is an intentional and affectionate anthropomorphic spy thriller take on the kind of work popularised by Herge's Tintin. And in a year when the new Asterix volume has a first print run of five million copies, one may have thought there might be room for such a thing.
It seems not. He posts on Facebook,
As he says,
In my 24-year "profession" as a cartoonist, I have never felt more angry, depressed, frustrated, confused, disenchanted, burned out, suicidal, and just plain fed up working in the comics medium than I do right at this moment. After a grueling, 3-year-long, 7-day-a-week work schedule of writing, hand lettering, penciling, inking, and coloring various original projects at IMAGE, I have just experienced a total meltdown after discovering the narrow sales figures for Issue #1 of my third series for them, SPY SEAL, now mere weeks from its release date.
In recent months Marvel and DC Comics have been tightening their market share against the other, squeezing out other publishers. But that is just the North American direct market comic shops. Spy Seal's success, and I truly believe it is a book that deserves just that, will most likely be elsewhere.
Bookstores. And foreign bookstores at that. Thankfully, as an Image Comics title while it may not find favour with the US comic store owners, in the wake of projects such as The Walking Dead and Saga, that will smooth its path to being seen by other publishers in other countries. Who will very likely find something in it that they know their audiences will love.
This has Angouleme Official Selection written all over it. Just getting there is the hard and financially challenging bit – and a number of Image Comics creators have never been able to make it that far…
But Rich is plugging along.
And he's feeling the love.
Good luck Rich!