Apologies for missing a week!
So we had our team. Driver and Shotgun were ready to roll and artist Dean Kotz and I were ready to take on the world, or at least a small corner of the indie comic scene.
It was 2015 and we had 5 pages penciled and inked, with colors added by J Gonzo. Unfortunately Gonzo was busy and I had no funds to afford him the time to work on the book so I was going to color it myself. Dean and I decided our styles were close enough that we should just use the pages I had drawn and he would start on page 6.
I had the rest of the book thumbnailed as well as most of issue 2. We had an over all ending for the final issue but we were working issue to issue as to create a sense of spontaneity. As if we had been creating this month to month in the 80s for Marvel. It was an exciting yet exhausting creative process. Each new issue we would have a new idea that could have only been created in this way. We were surprising ourselves with the fun you could have when you present creative problems for one’s self in one issue and and are forced to solve it in the next or following issues.
I do not recommend this method for everyone or every project. In fact for issues 5-8 We are working with a tighter plot, but it fits this story better to do so.
Pages were coming in from Dean and I was starting to color and letter and get them ready for Comixology, under my own company name, Knovelty Comics. Since I could not afford a print run we decided to produce great comics and put them out digitally, thinking there was a bigger market for it than there was. I had done this with Death Betty and we only made a couple bucks but we did get a bunch of readers and fans. I was banking on continuity of great product to help lead the charge.
I soon realized this was a small market and it was not growing, plus...we wanted our book in print.
The reason we had not pitched to anyone was due to the way many indie comics companies treat creators. We wanted to own the property outright and we wanted to do the story our way. And my previous experiences with Image were going to keep me from wanting to ever return.
Then in 2016, in the distance...you could smell it...someone started printing on newsprint.
I had been familiar with the Alterna Comics brand through the IF anthology, and a few random graphic novels here and there. I didn’t know it was a one man shop, and I didn’t know the one man, Peter Simeti.
But I quickly started paying attention.
We started following each other and realized we had both been preaching the same stuff to different people. We both thought comics needed to be affordable and everywhere for customers to grab. And that those customers needed to know they were heard and appreciated.
We set up a live stream combo event where he drew Batman on his channel and then I inked it on my channel. I was going to take it to SDCC for a charity auction. The auction fell through and we ended up gifting the piece to Alterna/Ryan Winn super fan and friend, Anthony or AJ for his birthday. He had been a big fan of both of us separately and now that we had come together he was more than excited to get this as a thanks for his support.
I’d met Peter now. We liked him. We liked what he was doing. And more than anything... we trusted him.
We now wanted to pitch Driver and Shotgun to Alterna, we wanted that newsprint and a fun publisher and we were gonna do our best to get it.
I’m going to save the pitches part for next week as this piece got a little long. To make up for the delay I will include the original pitch for you all to see. You can learn, you can laugh.
For now, enjoy these thumbnails. This is essentially how I write. I make a list of events, then ai pace things out visually for me or Dean.