Hurry Up and Wait

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.


The Music Day!

Thursday Update exceptionally!
To celebrate the Music Day in France, this June 21th, I made illustrations of my characters like famous album covers.

Two famous hommages for Tart, not need to specify I guess.

Big reference for Hell Strawberry because the vol. 3 that I make will take place in London, 1969.




... And biting off more than you can chew.

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.


Tart Vol.One

Issue 01/ Appetizer
Issue 02/ Adrift
Issue 03/ The Longest Season

And a bunch of extras!


The importance of Preorders

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:


What will happen next tuesday?

Hi everyone,

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.

See you next week to discover it.


The Onus is on the Bonus

Ludo and I have been brainstorming with the people at What The Flux Comics to put something a extra in the trade paperback for those of you who preorder. And though I can't tell you exactly what it will be (because Ludo hasn't drawn it yet), we've got a little extra bonus art which we will randomly be giving away.

Ludo is going to sketch out at least 2 new drawings, which we will randomly giving away at the end of June. At least one will go to someone who preordered through WTFC's website (http://whatthefluxcomics.com/webstore.php) and another will be given away to someone who purchases the book at SuperCon (the convention in Miami I will be at June 29th - July 2nd). To make it more likely that you'll receive something extra, What The Flux Comics is going to print a very limited number of these drawings and place them in every fifth book - either prerdered or purchased at SuperCon.

These giveaways are only available until June 20th on the website or at SuperCon. After that, the price goes up, the giveaways stop and if there are any remaining art prints, you're going to have to buy them.

Ludo and I want you to own our stuff. And we want you to pay as little as possible to do it. So jump aboard now, save a couple bucks and cross your fingers for free art.