Been a bit of time since we posted much stuff and that's because we really haven't had good, solid information to post. I wish I could say much of that has changed, but I can't. Instead I wanted to explain why we're sort of stuck in limbo (a lot of it is good stuff, though, so don't worry).
The biggest thing slowing down production is that What the Flux Comics is approaching Diamond Distributors to get Tart (and their other titles) into the Diamond catalog. If you're newer to comics Diamond is the company that distributes comic books to the local comic shops around the world. Getting into the catalog allows shops to order your title as easily as checking a box on an order form.
Without being in Diamond, we will have to meet and establish relationships with every individual shop owner or manager in the country before getting a copy on their shelves. Obviously, a slow and inefficient process. So we've applied, sent in a copy of Tart and Red Angel (the other title What the Flux is applying with) to Diamond and are awaiting a response. Unfortunately, there is no set timetable for an answer.
If/when we get a yes, then we'll be looking at about a two to three month wait before Tart could be in shops (one month to get into the magazine, one month to be ordered, one month to be delivered). If we get a no, well, we start the hard slog.
In the meantime, Ludovic has illustrated a book which will be published in France around Halloween. I've only seen the cover, but just like everything he does, it's simply gorgeous:
If you want to learn more about the book, check out this site: fan2fantasy.fr/1224
I don't know if they deliver to the States, but if I was a book collector, I'd drop them a line to see. When you have a chance to get a debut book of a talent like Ludo's, in a limited to 250 copies edition, you need to jump on it (By the way, I get nothing from the purchase of this book, so consider this investment advice my civic duty).
Creatively, I've been working on a project outside of the Toxic Universe that I'm pretty excited about. I'll hopefully be able to tell you more about it soon.
With Tart, though, I've been busy preparing for Geekfest this November 18th on Florida Atlantic University's campus. I contacted a marketing company in the hopes of having something that will not only bring a bit of revenue in, but make an impression on people as well. Since we'll be on a college campus, I thought what would be the coolest, most unique product we could have? A 23 oz Tart Beer glass!
Looks pretty good, huh? Yeah, well how bout now:
Oh, yeah. Looking good. Anyway, we'll try to sell a few, and barring that, my family can expect to be getting beer glasses for the next 20 or so Christmases.
We also put together some women's tank tops. I thought about it for a bit and thought it was a touch early to expect a woman to wear a shirt reading "TART," so we went with "Toxic." Any of you with Tart Volume 1 can turn to the last couple pages of issue 3 to see the comic inspiration for these shirts.
We don't have too many shirts, as we were able to order them 1 by 1, so I'm hoping my family doesn't have to also receive tank tops for the holidays. My brother doesn't look good in pink.
And lastly, we're investigating printing out 200 or so copies of issue 1 which will be given away free at the door of Geekfest. We feel like our story is strong enough that getting it into people's hands is the best investment we can make. This isn't set in stone, but I'm really hoping it happens.
I met a huge comic fan on twitter named Jason Webb who reviews comics. What's great about Jay is he's willing to check out Indies right alongside books from Marvel and DC. So I asked if he'd mind taking a look at Tart.
Jason agreed and tonight sent me a link to his review. And it's a good one. Please go over to his site, read his review and say hello.
I'm not going to take up any more of your time because I really want you to read Jay's review:
I've been pretty quiet on here as all the things I've been working on have been sort of long term things. Scripts for a year from now, merchandising orders for some Tart stuff you guys might think are cool, etc.
But today, something big happened for us. Forty copies of Tart arrived. Some of the copies were mine, but the bulk were for me to deliver to three South Florida Comic shops that will be selling the book for us (and for them, too).
So my wife and I changed plans and I took off to visit CJ's Comics in Oakland Park (3548 NE 12th ave - just off Oakland Park Blvd and Dixie Highway)
Comics and Games in Pembroke Pines (7642 Pines blvd - just East of University Drive)
and Tate's Comics in Lauderhill (4566 University Dr between Commercial Blvd and Oakland Park Blvd).
I'll be working to get us place in more shops in the area, but this is a great start for us.
It's funny, being at SuperCon introducing Tart was a lot of work, but it never got to me. And I mean got to me in a "Holy crap, I've got a book I'm selling" type of got to me. But this. Driving to shops. Giving it to them to put on their shelves. That got to me. It made me so proud to be putting a book I believe in out to the local shops who will ultimately help us make it successful.
If any of you are in South Florida and want your copy, please visit one of these shops. It's so important to us to show we can sell books for them. If you are not in the area, you can always get a copy from What The Flux?! Comics
Tart news is a little slow at the moment. Very little concrete I can tell you about, but I can keep you up to date with a few things. Ludo's working on issue 4 at the moment which we hope to have available at some point in October. As I've stated before in this blog we'd prefer to go slowly and keep the art at its highest possible quality, than to rush things.
On most comic books there is a separate artist for each of the following jobs: Penciler (the first drawings which actually are never seen by the reader), Inker (the dark, permanent lines which border the drawing and are seen in the final book), Colorist (I think even you comic newbies can get this one) and Letterer (the person who writes in all of the dialogue and narration). In our guerrilla style production all of those functions are performed by Ludo. And because an Indie Comic doesn't bring in a lot of money (we're not complaining, having a book out is a huge reward to us), he's been picking up as much freelance work as possible in order to do things like, say, eat.
To remind you, we're starting out with the goal of four issues per year at the beginning. Sort of a seasonal approach. So if we get 4 out in October for Fall, we'll shoot for a #5 coming out in January as a Winter issue, April will be #6 for Spring, and July rounds out the year with issue #7. The goal also being to have one Trade Paperback collecting the years work for SuperCon each and every year. Of course, if we go to publishing every other month, this would change.
Now one thing that is in the works could affect that. The people at What the Flux Comics have put together a packet to Diamond Distributors (the company that delivers books to most, if not all, of the Local Comic Shops in America) to have all of their books in the Diamond Catalog. This will make it much easier to get Tart into local shops around the country. If that happens, we'd work our butts off to create a snowball effect and get copies in every store willing to take a shot at us. And if the snowball grew, maybe we could bump up the speed of production, as more money came in, allowing Ludo to say no to some other work.
Two shops that have already said they'd carry Tart are CJ's Comics and Tate's Comics here in South Florida. We are in the midst of small changes to the Trade Paperbacks in order to smooth out the reading experience, and as soon as we're ready to print, we'll get books in both shops for all of our South Florida readers. I'll post here, on Twitter and on Facebook when, where and how to support these shops who are first out of the gates supporting us.
I can foresee the question, "Where should we buy it to help out the most?" And the answer is yes. Except for stealing it, however you get your hands on our book is the best way. Buying it directly from our website is the best way. Buying it from your local comic shop is the best way (convincing your local comic shop to order it so you can buy it from them is TOTALLY THE BEST WAY). If we can get it into the library system, then borrowing it from them is the best way. If you get a copy and lend it to your friend to read, then they got it the best way.
What we need now as creators is readers. We need readers who like what they read tell others. Or preferably to show others. We're not asking anyone to lie. But if you like what you see, please tell others. Write a review.
You know what, forget readers. We need soldiers. So this is a call to join the Toxic Fruit Organization.
To join in on the fun & amplify the message. I can say Tart is a good book all I want. And if I don't the books really in trouble, but people really shouldn't believe me. If you like what you see. Like what you read, please shout it to the rooftops. Tell anyone who shares common interests about Tart, and that they might like it.
You can also directly join in on the conversation by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or visit our tartcomic.tumblr.com (very new, and so far I stink at it, but I'm trying to learn). Or hit either of us up on Twitter: I'm @bnokj (a long story) and Ludo is @Hellstrawberry.
Basically we're all at an awesome time in this endeavor. Where we don't have fans of Tart. We have friends of Tart. And there's no way in this life you can have too many friends.
By the way, the email@example.com mailbox currently only has two emails, one of which reads:
Attention: Email Owner,
We are pleased to notify you once again that your email address have won the SOUTH AFRICA LOTTO JACKPOT Promotion program held this Year 2012, You have therefore been approved to claim the sum of R 9,000,000.00(Nine Million South African Rand) In US Dollars $1,100,648.15(USD) We are yet to receive your file for Claims.For Due remittance of funds.Contact Claims Agent for your claims with Reference numbers and Batch numbers
So now you see why we aren't worried about how you get your hands on our books. We're just one email reply from rolling in the dough anyway.
Have a great week!
* Before Tart was published, I'd had about 5 short stories published in a British fantasy magazine called Ethereal Tales. And had self-published "The Bargain I Made for her Heart" with the French artist Laurence Peguy. With nearly all copies of said books either in Britain or France, my wife and I began to joke, "You know, nobody in America knows who Kevin Joseph is, but he's HUUUUUGGGGEEE in Europe."
The title of this post is a little underhanded. Ludo and I are barreling forward with our story and have no plans to give up on what we started. But I wanted to talk a little about how my tastes in comics have changed, and how that change relates to the story we're going to tell.
When I began reading comics I was all X-Men, all the time. It was during Claremont's extraordinary run, just after The Fall of the Mutants. My Mom once asked me why I liked comics, and I answered that I liked to read, and comics were a way that the story never ended. Sure Kitty and Wolvie had escaped the Marauders, but all I had to do was wait one month and another chapter would be on its way.
That was then. Now when I think back to the stories that stuck with me, single arcs in ongoing comics don't jump out. The ones I remember are Mage, Watchmen and V for Vendetta. I still have a love for the comics I read as a kid, but the ones that made the strongest impressions on me ended. And they didn't end because they were cancelled, they ended because they were written to end.
In my adult life I've finally read my two favorite comic series of all time, Sandman and Bone. They both end. And they end when they're supposed to. I can not recommend either of them enough.
Seriously. Go read Bone and Sandman if you haven't. Now.
I believe these series resonate better with me than the perpetually ongoing ones because when you're on the 400th issue of a title, what could be your goal? Sure you want to entertain your readers. And yes, you want to invent new and interesting conflicts/scenarios for those characters to live through. But in truth what you're really trying to do is just keep the patient on life support as long as possible.
A very recent example is Fables. From what I understand Fables was envisioned as a 70 or 80 issue series with a definitive end. And when they got there, the writer realized he had more stories to tell. Bill Willingham is an extraordinary writer (and his primary artist on the series, Mark Buckingham, is one of my all-time favorites) so each individual issue after the envisioned ending has been enjoyable. But in my opinion, they aren't memorable. To me the series ends when the war against The Adversary ends. Everything afterwards fades from my mind. Please feel free to disagree in the comments if you've read it.
So what does that have to do with Tart? Ludo and I are (perhaps, naively) ambitious with this project. We want it to be the type of series that resonates. We want it to be one that can be read multiple times. And we want it to be one that sticks with you.
Tart will end. I can't say which issue it will end on (heck, the story to issues 4-7 didn't exist when we mapped our series, and a few of our ideas will not work for various reasons so any total number of issues for this series would be no more than a guess), but it will end. And we know what that ending is.
As my mind wonders to the ending, and I plan on how to make it satisfying for the audience, it also allows me to build toward it. Just yesterday, I sent Ludo an image he'll need for the final issue. An image he may not draw for print for 5 to 10 years, but that he will draw eventually. I hope this will make each issue not a comic in your hands, but an individual chapter in one long novel (I chose not to use the term Graphic Novel here because Tart is a comic, and I'm proud it's a comic. Graphic Novel is a term people outside of comics use to forgive themselves for reading comics. Off soapbox).
Oh, and Hell No, I won't tell you what that ending is.
The past weekend was a ton of fun, and there's very little the people at SuperCon could have done to make it better. But there's one thing I think needs to stop.
By now you've probably seen the Sexy Sax Man on Youtube. If you haven't then go here:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GaoLU6zKaws It's basically a guy who breaks into a sax rendition of Wham's "Careless Whisper" in any place that he shouldn't break into an sax rendition of Wham's "Careless Whisper."
Well somebody who came to SuperCon has seen it. And he decided to serenade us. 12 thousand times. Which got a bit annoying, but that's not what I think needs to change. The funny thing about Sexy Sax Man is that he's so damn annoying. Annoying I can handle.
What I can't handle is that Sexy Sax Man was not the only person who brought his musical instrument. There was also a guy with a tuba. Now I'm old and I don't watch Family Guy, so for the first three days I didn't know what this strange song I kept hearing was. Until it was explained to me on Monday. Here's the song, and the clip from the show, the person with the tuba was imitating: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_KMk1-erNhQ
So what the kid was doing was finding overweight people at the Con and following them around just like Stewie does in the cartoon.
You know the one problem with this: he was following a fat person around the Con playing a song meant to ridicule him for his weight.
There's a word for people who do things like that: bully.
And if there's one place in the world you should be safe from bullies, it's at a Comic Convention (feel free to replace the word comic with sci fi, anime, video game, Star Trek or whatever cult genre you'd like).
Cons are a place where a gay man should be able to dress up like Xena Warrior Princess without being picked on. Where a skinny kid should be able to spike his hair up and hold a crappily made cardboard broadsword and not get picked on. Where a straight guy should be able to have buttons with the My Little Pony characters pinned all over his shirt without being picked on. Where two girlfriends should be able to dress up like Raggedy Ann and Andy and walk holding hands without being picked on. And yes, where an overweight person should be able to walk from one booth to the next without being picked on.
All of us who have an affinity for what the rest of the world likes to call geeky need to stick together. We need to protect our fellow travelers.
In short, we need to demand that our Cons are bully-free zones.
Holy moly. I don't know how people do this over and over. Maybe it's like a marathon. The first one you do kills you, but as you do more and more, your body acclimates to the experience. Unfortunately the simile breaks down when you realize there's no way to "jog" in the morning to prepare for a convention.
The strangest, most unexpected thing to happen to me is what I call the "Con Hangover." You're trying your best to strike up conversations with as many people as you can, and inevitably you forget to drink water. I'm a caffeine addict, so once I'd get parched, I'd throw down a Diet Coke and keep talking. Which is fine for an hour or two, but for an entire day, leaves you dehydrated. So every morning, I'd wake up as if I'd had too much to drink the night before. Next time I need to get a hotel room next to the convention center so I don't have to drive home every night. That way I can get tanked each evening. If I'm going to have a hangover anyway, I might as well earn it right?
Overall, my perceptions of a con as a creator was overwhelmingly positive. I've only been to two conventions before (once in New York, and once at MegaCon in Orlando), but both times as just a comic fan/collector. As a creator you have much less time to enjoy the other exhibitions. Sure, you can get up and walk around, but while you do that you have the sneaking suspicion that you're needed back at the booth. You are looking at another cool indie comic (more on those later) and the thought runs through your head, "What if that one person who's willing to check out Tart walks by while I'm not there." So you divide your attention, and find yourself caught in the tractor beam that is your own booth.
The only time I felt negatively was Friday night. The crowd that came Friday was most likely people who had three day passes. I only guess this because they were very standoffish about even speaking to us. I sold two copies of Tart to daring and cool people, but was unable to tell many more people about the project. I found Saturday, when we sold 6 copies, that it wasn't the number of books we sold Friday that got me down, it was that people weren't interested in hearing about it. 6 books is not that many more than 2, but I probably introduced Tart to 100 people Saturday who may someday see it at their comic shops shelf and say "I think I've heard of that."
I'll be honest, that came as a surprise. Before the weekend, if you told me we sold 6 books on Saturday, and I'd be happy, I wouldn't have believed you. But it's all about exposure and getting people to understand the concept. Sunday and Monday were more like Saturday, with the con attendees really interested in hearing about the book, and willing to flip through it.
All in all we had 40 books, and with our presale which I signed for anyone who ordered, went through the entire print run (actually we are one short). So one of the people who gets the Trade Paperback will get it unsigned. Don't worry, I already know who it is, and it's probably not you. If it is you (Jobu), you were chosen because you already have a 1 of a kind painting from Ludo for your help earlier in the series). If you want it signed, I'm sure we'll run into each other soon enough in Tallahassee.
The other thing that made Saturday rock was that our models were there. Viktoria arrived to be the spokesmodel Tart. This is a bit fuzzy (had the camera on the wrong setting), but I wanted to show you the before/after or Clark Kent/Superman transformation:
Viktoria is a beautiful girl. But her strength as a person and as a spokesmodel for something like this is that she's fearless when it comes to talking to new people. And she's enthusiastic and engaging. With her in front of our booth we were able to funnel a much higher percentage of traffic toward the What The Flux Comics line of books.
And Viktoria wasn't the only person we had dressed as our characters. Amy Vitale and Mike Hammonds were both cosplayed up to support their books Red Angel and Sam Savage.
Now unlike Viktoria who was there doing me a tremendous favor, Mike and Amy actually ARE the characters from their books. Which is kind of a cool thing WTFC does.
We lost Viktoria on Sunday through a series of unfortunate events (don't worry her parents are still alive), so I had to trudge on without my ace in the hole. But the ball was rolling and we had a great day that day as well. The coolest part of Sunday was that my Mom was able to watch my daughter for the day, so my wife Janet came down to experience her first Con.
I was too busy to go with her, but she went to see the question and answer from Scott Adsit, who plays Pete Hornberger on 30 Rock. It's one of our favorite shows, and Scott is certainly an unsung, yet integral part to it's success. After the Q&A, Janet returned to our booth. She had this strange, embarrassed smile on her face.
I asked if she enjoyed it. "Yeah," she said. "Scott paid for me to get his autograph."
"I was in line to get his autograph, and I grabbed one of the pictures in front of him to get it signed, and one of the staffers said, 'You buy the photos over there.' I said, 'Ok,' and was going to get out of the line and Scott reached into his wallet and pulled out a five and gave it to the guy and said, 'It's ok.'
"I know. I had the five dollars ready. I just didn't know where to buy it. I told him it was alright. And he refused my money and told me he felt bad."
"Are you kidding me. HE paid... for YOU... to get... HIS... autograph?"
So we walked back over to his table and I tried to give him his five back by saying, "Listen, I know you bought the photo for her, but can we at least buy you a beer or a sandwich with this?"
And he blew us off and smiled. Dude, what a nice guy. And then we got this photo:
I think there's going to be a free copy of Tart sent his way as soon as I can get one. Actors that come to these are there to make money. It's accepted. Treating fans the right way is a testament either to how cool Scott is, or just to the fact that he doesn't yet realize he's supposed to squash us like bugs with his celebrity. Either way two people who were probably fans for life anyway, are cemented firmly in his corner.
Monday had a whole different feel. Half of the booths were empty and we moved into the center of the con which is often called Artist Alley. The artist who'd had the spot was on a plane home, so we got much better convention real estate. Many of the people that were left, were offering good deals on their product. And I was plumb out of energy.
Sure we pushed our books, but we got into a lot more full on conversations with people. There were fewer people to catch passing the booth, so we had more time to actually get to know the people that were there. Three young, very talented, artists came up to the booth and I ended up trading a copy of Tart to them for some of their prints. Check out their Deviant Art pages for some amazing stuff:
All three artists are just out of high school and off to college to pursue dreams in the art world. Meeting people like them was as cool, or even cooler than, actually selling my book to people. Ok, both things are very, very cool.
And another very cool thing that happened was, with our new, better real estate, we were right across from about six of the kids from The Hunger Games. Now I've read the books, but I haven't seen the movie yet, so this isn't that big of a deal to me. But I looked across and one of the young women looks amazingly like Tart. Well film and TV are not necessarily the goal of Tart (That goal is to make a kick ass comic book). But in order to make the comic as good as it can be, Ludo and I have a goal of being able to work on it, and our other creative pursuits full time.
Feeding and sheltering my family, (and for Ludo feeding himself, plus starting a life post-school) isn't cheap. So we both have to divert our attention away from Tart enough to bring in money to live. And if the right situation presented itself - one that allowed us the financial freedom to make art full time, but that also honored the story and character of Tart - we wouldn't be averse to seeing Tart in another medium.
The young actress who looks so much like Tart is Annie Thurman (http://www.imdb.com/name/nm4114443/). I figured, it would take a couple years for Tart to turn into a property anyway, so I might as well give her a copy to read. If she likes it, and is still interested in acting when she's Tart's age (a little over 18 if you're wondering), then what the heck. If she doesn't like it, no harm, no foul. She was very nice and accepted it. I then left her alone. I really didn't want to be the weird guy. If it had been Sunday I probably would have sent Janet over to deliver it (and Annie might have paid her for the right to read it)
With a pseudo-introduction to the cast a few of the other actors came over to the table and we ended up talking and showing them Tart and some of the other WTFC comics we had to offer. The two actors I spoke with the most were Ethan Jamieson (http://www.imdb.com/name/nm3837100/) and Dakota Hood (http://www.imdb.com/name/nm3037964/). They simply couldn't have been nicer. If anyone out there wants young actors who are going to be easy to work with on set, get your butts to these kids' agents and sign them now!.
The only problem is this: I haven't seen the movie yet. Like I said, I've read the book. Now that I know and like these kids, I'm going to have to watch them get killed. I've never had that experience with a movie before. I wonder what it will feel like?
Anyway, I've rambled enough (more than enough probably). The Con was amazing. Tart is out in the world that much more than she was last Thursday. And that's good enough for me.
I've started and stopped this post about four times in the last day.
Gonna do it again. This time I'm just going to ramble through and see what happens.
Tart's good enough. She's smart enough. And doggone it, people like her.
I've aped Stuart Smalley's catch-phrase as my mantra to get me through the next three days.
This weekend is the sort of the public debut of Tart at Miami's SuperCon. And the nerves are starting to kick in. Not scared or nervous, but chomping at the bit to just GET THERE ALREADY!
I'm like a kid who has a date with a girl I've liked forever, but it's days away. And I know I can knock it out of the park if things go right (I've got a great comic, with beautiful art, a stunning model who's going to walk the floor funneling people to me, and a group of What the Flux writers, artists, actors etc who will be working together to help each other out). But if it goes wrong...
What do I do then? Or more to the point, what can I do NOW to make sure it doesn't go wrong?
The only answer I can come up with is: nothing.
So I pace. Jump on the elliptical (gotten on three days in a row and probably hadn't gotten on three times in the last month total - nervous energy can be a good thing). Start and stop the same blog post over and over. Snack (ok, so nervous hunger can be a worse thing than nervous energy can be a good thing). And fret.
I simply can't prepare for what's about to transpire. I have never done anything like this before. I have no experiences to relive and learn from that would prepare me for selling an unknown comic to a convention crowd. I don't even really have a clue what's going to happen.
Sure, I'll introduce myself and Tart to anybody who comes by the booth, but though I'm thoroughly comfortable meeting new people, I'm less comfortable with the carnival barker role of luring those people my way.
As a current card dealer, and a former bartender, entertaining strangers is a breeze for me. But these are people who self-select. In a restaurant, the people who sit at the bar CHOOSE to sit at the bar. Then I worked to make the experience so fun, they HAD to come back. At my tables, the players walk up to me. Until they've played at my table, I'm no different than any other dealer. I work to make it as fun as I can, so the next time they see a group of dealers, they pick me out as the guy they want to play with.
But neither of those jobs help me when the situation calls for baiting people to come up. Not sure if it's shyness, or maybe I just don't want to be seen as pushy, but this has never been me.
And I'm guessing that a little bit of me is going to have to do that.
Thanks for the therapy guys, I think I just needed to put those fears out there.
PS - if you preordered, Larry is bringing your copy of the trade paperback down to SuperCon for me to sign (the printing got delayed a week, so we decided to get an autograph on all of them as a thank you for your support and patience before we mail them out).
With Ludovic's in France, getting his signature will be a bit more work, but a much better story. Whether we fly him to the states and you get to the convention he visits, or you head to Europe, I want to hear from the first person who gets both my, and Ludo's autographs in their book.
Last week Ludovic put up some cool portraits of two characters (Orange Carnage and the demon Trebario) that we were going to try to fashion a web comic around. The idea being to fill in bits of the Toxic Universe for you all, but do it in a way that was: free for you, entertaining in its own right and a small workload for Ludovic.
We've realized together that it's just not going to work. Ludovic sent me the art for the first update and it was gorgeous. I loved it. But he'd spent 8 hours on it over the course of the week. I could tell this type of time spent wouldn't be sustainable. So I suggested just doing a black and white version where the art is there, and nice, but not as lush and beautiful as he usually delivers.
Ludo went back to the drawing board (I can finally say that literally) and did something. I don't know what, because he never sent it to me. Between you and me, Ludovic is a perfectionist. And I say that with respect. If it doesn't satisfy him, he doesn't want anyone to see it.
So we run into a bit of a problem. Time dictates that if we're going to do anything on the web, it has to be something that steals less time away from Tart, his Hell Strawberry work, his graphic design company which is his paying his bills and, I hope, his free time spent doing something other than drawing. As much as chaining him to a desk seems like a good idea, I'd have to fly to France to do it. But when he spends less time on the artwork, he doesn't like the product enough to put it out there for you.
See the pickle we're in?
The answer, at least at this time, is that the webcomic is going to have to wait. Please forgive us for advertising it, but for all the reasons listed previously, it just won't work. And worse than not working, it may gum up what is working.
And what is working, is the art to issue 4. It really is extraordinary. And I haven't seen it with the color effects Ludovic has envisioned. Also working, is the preorders of Tart Vol 1 which is still available for 10 dollars at http://whatthefluxcomics.com/webstore.php until Wed June 20th (that's tomorrow, so get on it now if you want to save enough that you basically offset the shipping charge). After that the price returns to $12.99.
Last I heard we'd sold 16 copies. Which is not bad at all for a small start up comic. Obviously we want to sell more (17 is better than 16, and 18 is better than 17), but we're thankful to everyone who's supported us thus far.
Every step of the Tart comic book has been a learning experience for me. From conception, to the mechanics of writing in a visual medium, to pitch, to the point we're at now, which is marketing.
As a writer, I can tell you that marketing is the most difficult to me. I'm not going to lie and pretend I'm this deep, introverted artist afraid of the outside world. Anyone who knows me, knows talking has never been a problem. There have been people in my life who often wish I'd just shut up.
It's not even that I don't find bits of the marketing fun. Problem solving with my wife to get the outfit created, handing out leaflets at MegaCon, reaching out to people like Kevin Smith and Troy and Will at Completely Comics to ask them to check Tart out (Molly Quinn of ABC's Castle has also been a wonderful help in getting the word out, but What the Flux Comics made that connection for us), reaching out to many others who didn't reply (Ok, that wasn't fun, but I made each inquiry with the "expect no response, and celebrate if you're wrong" mindset), the photoshoot with Viktoria:
and now preparing for how I'm going to get Tart into people's hands at SuperCon.
One aspect that has not been fun (though is as much a learning experience as any of the other aspects) has been using social media to remind friends and followers of the project. I've tried very hard to balance getting the word out with overloading peoples walls with "ads" for Tart. Because we are new, a large percentage of our likes on Facebook are either friends of mine or Ludovics. That's ok. In fact, that's great! We need our friends support as we build this. but we are trying not to annoy those friends by constantly blasting: TART TART TART all over their wall.
Basically, I see it as if there is a line between informing and annoying, and I'm doing everything in my power to put my toe on that line. Which means there's a possibility some of you have been annoyed, and if that's the case, then I apologize. If you haven't been annoyed, WOO HOO!
With that preamble, we now get to the meat of this blogpost: preorders. Up until June 20th you can preorder the Tart Trade Paperback collecting issues 1 through 3 from What the Flux Comics' website ( http://whatthefluxcomics.com/webstore.php ) and save $2.99 (It comes out to 13.50 total after shipping is added).
Why is it important that you do this? What the Flux is an independent comic producer and does not have a billion dollar company like Warner Bros or Disney behind them. They have to front every penny of production costs themselves. When you preorder a copy the money goes directly into the printing costs, which allows us to print more copies. The more copies we have at SuperCon, the more eyes we can get on the project, and the larger audience we can reach.
So please, if you want a copy of Ludo's or my work on your bookshelf (and if you're reading this, I can't help but assume you do), please support us by purchasing a copy or two if you're feeling magnanimous. If you would like it signed by me, please note that and Larry will bring copies down to SuperCon. I'll write a not in it if you like, but will only sign it unless instructed otherwise (values of books go up if the author and/or artist sign them. They go down if they're inscribed. Please note, I can't promise these will be valuable collectibles, but if Tart is ever valuable, these first issues will likely be the smallest print runs, and therefore the rarest books out there).
There. Marketing done for the day. Now to the script of issue 6, and possibly the fourth part of Trebario and Orange Carnage, the web comic Ludo is drawing to give you all new, free entertainment while we try to extort money from you in different avenues.
Before I go. You deserve one more bit of pretty to help you through the day:
This week just two quick sketches for the announcement of the next webcomic.
Kevin and I prepare something for the next tuesdays.
The first story will introduce a new demon : Treborio and a Toxic Fruit, Orange Carnage.
This webcomic will be an extra to the TART adventure but it can be read individually too.