Part 2 of Rick's essay about self-publishing comics gets us through the collapse of the Direct Market and up to date with his current projects. The essay is followed by a sampling of Road Bits he picked out by various other friends and self-publishers. Road Bits were loose little sketches of recent dreams, usually done in a single panel. Pretty facsinating stuff. I'd never seen some of these before. Part 1 of his story is here. Rick Veitch's blog can be found here.
Rick Veitch Part 2:
Self Publishing: My Current Period
The collapse of distribution could have been the end for King Hell, but I still had a solid inventory of trade paperbacks and the rights to all those projects I'd done under creator ownership deals. Some nice folks at Diamond approached me at a show in 2002 and we were able to get King Hell back on track. The good news was that even though I'd been off the radar for a few years, the market was still there for my books. In a quick succession of solicitations through Diamond, I sold out of my inventory of THE ONE, BRAT PACK and MAXIMORTAL.
With the sudden cash infusion I finally invested in a real graphics computer set up. Took about a year to teach myself the software so I could put together a complete book in Photoshop and InDesign. But by 2004 I was able to release the third dream comics collection, CRYPTO ZOO doing all the scanning, design and file prep myself.
One of my main goals was to create nice collections of those fully painted stories and graphic novels I'd done in my early period. All this material was executed in a bright color palette that hadn't reproduced well in EPIC. Having control of the color right through to the digital file means I can get it to reproduce exactly as I painted it back in the day. That's a big deal for me.
As I get more familiar with the software, I really enjoy the whole process of re-mastering my old stuff and designing for new formats. Getting intimately reacquainted with a major project you created decades earlier is a cool thing to do. Design-wise, I try to give myself one new challenge with each book. ABRAXAS AND THE EARTHMAN had cover flaps. SHINY BEASTS boasted a gatefold.
With each King Hell release I'm getting a nice spike in the backlist reorders. Initial orders of successive new volumes have gone up. Needless to say, I'm hoping the trend will continue with orders due this week for the third volume in the Epic series, HEARTBURST AND OTHER PLEASURES. Foreign licensing is picking up too. There are already nice Brazilian and Spanish editions of my superhero comics and Comma 22 is in the process of bringing out the complete King Hell library in Italy.
This fall I'll be soliciting a high-end hardcover of BRAT PACK with unseen art, covers, photos, back stage history and more alongside a new regular softcover edition. I'm also preparing a collection of my underground comix titled BONG! for '09.
So, yeah. Still crazy after all these years.
End of Part 2
Rick's selected Road Bits…