Putting Yourself Out There: The Daunting Task Of Becoming A Comic Creator

Nic J. Shaw writes for Bleeding Cool:

Luke Parker Art PrintBecoming a comic creator is not something I ever envisioned for myself. But here we are, I have a series of shorts out for free online, and I just launched a Kickstarter

I was first introduced to comics as a young lad going to visit my father on weekends; he'd take me into the local newsagency on his way into the TAB and I'd get to pick out a few issues. While he was placing a bet on a horse or dog or the footy, I'd be placing my own bets on who would come out on top, Spider-Man or Venom, Batman or Joker, Thor or Loki. Then I'd sit there for hours doodling ideas and coming up with new ways for Daredevil to take out Bullseye, all to the sound and sight of some old dudes smoking and yelling at screens for reasons that escaped my young mind.

"Why would you waste your time yelling at a short guy riding a horse, when you could be cheering for Superman or Green Lantern to save the world?" I'd ask myself. "Pfft…Adults"

Shepherd_08Now, here I am all grown up, battered and broken by the world, and I'm still thinking of ways for Daredevil to take out Bullseye, Still cheering for Supes and Hal Jordan, still betting that Spider-Man is going to triumph over whoever stole his body this month.

Now though, I'm also writing these ideas down, trying to hone a craft. I'm also coming up with my own ideas, my own characters, characters that I'd love to share with the world. It's a daunting task; putting yourself out there, praying and hoping that maybe, just maybe, someone will like your work.

Shepherd_19We've all had that self-doubt, that uninvited feeling in the back our head that reminds you every time the pen hits the paper "Hey, bro, what if you're not good enough?" It's probably the number one fear amongst all creative professionals. I mean it's not like we're creating fire, or saving lives, what we do isn't' a necessity. As much as our work as creators enriches our lives and the lives of others, it remains something that we could probably live without.

That doubt isn't solved by success either; the world is full of successful artists, musicians, and authors that still get struck down by feelings of self-doubt and despair. It's something that as a creator you need to live with; you have to value the creative process as much as the work itself.

Shepherd_20But it was this self-doubt that became truly evident when I recently launched my Kickstarter. We're $4000 into our $17,000 goal with 19 days to go and there has yet to be a day yet where I haven't broken out in a half-sweat deliberating why more people aren't pledging, or questioned whether or not I'm good enough to make comics. Statistically we're in pretty good shape, not the best, but good; I should be happy right? And I suppose I am, we've got an awesome story, amazing art, and at least 82 people who think our book is good enough to warrant them dropping some dollars on it. And that's pretty fantastic.

The idea behind Shepherd is a little different, and not something we thought would be picked up by a publisher; that's why we turned to Kickstarter. Set in the 1930's, Rom and Remmy Shepherd are world-class and world famous hunters. They get the big jobs when some fat cat wants a new Burmese tiger, or a rare Thylacine head to hang on their wall. Thing is, the Shepherd brothers haven't killed anything since they shot the very last Newfoundland wolf, and drove that species into extinction. It was a pivotal moment in their lives and transformed them from being the ender of species, to the protectors.

They use their status to be first in line for the crucial jobs that would endanger the declining numbers of the animals they've grown to love. They take those animals that they save to their sanctuary and allow them to live free, even mate and multiply. When word gets out that the pair has a reserve replete with expensive high value targets, dangerous people from their old line of work line up to cash in on it.

Shepherd_21Shepherd has begun its journey to get funded on Kickstarter with tons of rewards and content. We've got pin-ups from Image Comics artist Artyom Trakhanov (UNDERTOW), Luke Parker (THE SENSATIONAL ELEPHANT MAN), Ariela Kristantina, and an artist who we're very excited to announce soon!

I hope you lovely readers will find the time to share our link or throw down some dollars and help me alleviate a little bit of this self-doubt that's been plaguing me.  You can check out our Kickstarter here, or have a read of Action Johnson, my free comic series here.

Nic J Shaw

Kickstarter Link: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1788369130/shepherd-graphic-novel
Action Johnson Link: http://actionjohnson.com/

About Dan Wickline

Has quietly been working at Bleeding Cool for over three years. He has written comics for Image, Top Cow, Shadowline, Avatar, IDW, Dynamite, Moonstone, Humanoids and Zenescope. He is the author of the Lucius Fogg series of novels and a published photographer.