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RE RE RE RE REY WORDZ ORDZ ORDZ ORDZ ORDZ ORDZ
POST Seeking advice from my intelligent superiors of art and comics: 
9th-Apr-2007 02:54 pm
Avez White
"POST-MANGA": The comics world we now inhabit, where the Japanese-style work ethic has influenced our Northern comics-producing continent. The idea of whole ORIGINAL GRAPHIC NOVELS ready for the shelves is more enticing than ever, especially more than simple single issues. WE WANT THIS. We want comics to be books, we want spines.

My first complete published work was just that. A 100+ page massive chunk of a book, Sharknife. Not only was my debut book a sizeable boulder of comix ferocity-- But it is part ONE of an AS OF YET UNDETERMINED multiple-part series. Pretty crazy notion for a starting-out comic artist to endeavor on-- but hey, OGN's are "the thing" to do (still are, for the moment?) so hey, I jumped right in. Page-rates, solicits, schedules be damned-- I will produce sheerly on ROCK alone, and the comic will be a success merely because I am awesome.

So where am I now? Two years later? I have no regrets. I have slayed some massive obstacles on my path of comics righteousness. My major comic of the last year was Rival Schools for Udon Comics. Without getting to specific, the project was a maelstrom of shit to overcome, a log jam all around. In another instance of how we were trying to assimilate the Japanese work ethic, I attempted to construct my own studio (YOSH). This ended up just being kind of a bunch of bullshit. A bunch of punk kids being solely responsible for a quite large entertainment property. Responsible for it's output in the comics world. We know how that went, since the last two issues are still being processed at this very moment (COMPLETE-- in the printing stage).

Besides Rival Schools, my non-comic drawing endeavors were various, as well. I produced a SHIT LOAD of art for MANY companies. The thing is, it was mostly concept stuff for animation, toy and movie development. So there's not a lot to SHOW. But hey, I kept busy.

Anyway, 2007, now I'm back to just REY! I can focus simply on my own created properties once again! GREAT VICTORY!!! I am once again endeavoring into the balls-out be-damned fray of ORIGINAL GRAPHIC NOVEL. For my followup to Sharknife, Sharknife Double Z. But how fucking honestly reasonable is it to ask ONE DUDE to produce a roughly-200 page OGN in the span of a few months?

IS THIS SOMETHING WE CAN REALLY DEPEND ON?

I'm dying every fucking second. I have no studio. I have no "people". Sharknife Co. Ltd. (tm) is all one guy. It takes a shit ass load of energy and intelligence to construct an entire universe for this shit!!! I'm not complaining!!! I FUCKING LOVE TO DO IT. But without instant success, piles of royalty checks or some kind of media tie-in deal, the OGN format is amazingly hard for a young BASICALLY "freelance" artist to commit to.

Oni, Myself, We all dream that the book will be out for San Diego Comic Con. We all crave new Sharknife :] But for that to happen, I'd have to draw 150 or 160 pages in roughly 3 months. And considering how GOD DAMN dense the pages are, that is a TALL, TALL, TALL order. Not to mention that I am also currently being sought after for many other side projects, which is a fucking conondrum when you're pinned as being somewhat "unreliable" on delivering serialized comics, yet people still hit you up for work coz you are "good", yet you need to focus on your ONE OGN, yet you need to take jobs because you are poor and need money. CONUNDRUM.

So my idea to Oni was to split Sharknife Double Z into 3 installments. Self-contained Peng-size comics to be released probably tri-monthly until the whole story is done, then collected into the "complete" Double Z book (probably with a bonus story). Not that astronomical of a suggestion, I think, since that's how most comics operate, anyway. In fact, the more I thought about it, the more SENSE it freakin' made to me. More SENSE than even the loftly goal of weekly serialized manga comics.

Let's look at the two sides of this immediate spectrum: On one hand you have the OGN, a massive chunk of comics. Fully satisfying and great to hold in your hands. Everyone is happy coz it's big and you get everything you want for your ten bucks. CONS ARE: If you can't feasibly make an OGN every year, your comic is not "regular" and is not commonly in the face of comic readers (your lifeblood). On the other hand is the manga-style weekly serialization (brilliantly orchestrated in something we WILL NOT SEE any time soon in the states: the weekly anthology). Every week you get a dose of your favorite comic, with the promise that it will all be collected into a digest once that volume is complete. However, there are CONS to this, too, and it is often complained about: Throw-away chapters. Quite often you'll skim thru weeks of manga serials just WAITING for the "big event" to happen. This is actually quite a huge bullshit problem, and probably the biggest strike against the "godly" manga work ethic.

So here I am, the fucking prodigal son of POST-MANGA ARCADE LOGIC WHATEVER THE FUCK YOU WANT TO CALL IT. No big "deal" of any nature to speak of keeping me afloat- simply still getting by on my INNER-ROCK alone. Stuck between my ideals, wanting to produce huge books, but at the same time wanting to give the world regular immediate doses of my freakin shit.

Where does this path lead me?

What am I thinking?

I am thinking my suggestion to Oni was the real shit.

Brandon (Graham) and I have strived to think of what it "IS" we "post-manga"ers DO. What the true format of our work should be presented in and regarded as. IT IS different. It aint 22-page ad-infested floppy comics, it aint weekly serialized anthology comics, it aint online comics, it aint single OGN 1-shot comics, and it is RARELY multi-volume OGN comics*

*Sharknife Vol.1 was an act of sheer willpower, King City took Brandon 2+ years, Scott Pilgrim is a rare exception due to it's instant brilliance and mal being a dickhead genius. Like, where is East Coast Rising part 2? Simmering in the background because Becky's more satisfied (and probably paid better) doing her Vertigo Book. In fact, the only other multi-volume OGN I can think of that is past "part 1" is MBQ by Felipe Smith, and that guy is a fucking monster.

So here's my point, and am I a madman for thinking this? Maybe there is a "post-manga" format that suits us creators who don't desire to make single floppies or single OGNs. Maybe there's a REASON my 2nd comic PENG is my favorite, and the THB 6 series is my favorite Pope works. Maybe 70-ish page comic installments, leading IN TO a complete graphic novel is THE WAY TO GO? It has all the qualities of american-floppies and japanese-serials, with a distinct new-vibe that makes me want to collect it. Has someone already thought of this and put it into effect???

When I think of this notion, I think of a term; POD-COMICS. I like my comics to be like PODS of entertainment that you collect like legos. Then when they're ready, you can put 'em together to form the greater story. That is just my way of making stories. People like Mal who are geniuses of writing and character weaving, etc, can plan out 6 volumes of book and have it work... Me, I like to work on a book-to-book basis and let the characters take me wherever.

AM I FUCKING CRAZY?????

Of course, from a comics publisher/retailer standpoint, I am fucking crazy. Because I've already dove into this damn industry, guns blazing. My first book was a fucking bazooka. Of course the next book needs to be a bazooka too. Can't a dude just chill out and distribute some fucking AK-47's for the damn revolution??

And what does all this talk mean? At the end of the day, either I'll be making Sharknife Double Z the OGN still, or I'll get my way and I'll make some Double Z "Pod-Comics". But the fact that this is a "weird thing" will still be prevalent. I think this speaks in conjunction with the industry as a whole... and the possible way it could change on my watch.

YOUR THOUGHTS?
Comments 
9th-Apr-2007 11:19 pm (UTC) - Inspired by the Lego analogy.
I can see it now! One collects all of the pods/issues in a novel, then along comes the OGN spine and cover. One just needs to snap/glue/tape/etc in the pods/issues/whatever to have the complete OGN!
9th-Apr-2007 11:23 pm (UTC) - Re: Inspired by the Lego analogy.
HOLY SHIT YESSSSSS. HA HA AHAHAHAHA

when the last book comes out, we can send out special "sharknife tape" so you can just tape all the books together.

fuck that actually sounds like a lot of fun.

holy shit. ha ha ha. this is what i want from comics.
9th-Apr-2007 11:31 pm (UTC)
"In fact, the only other multi-volume OGN I can think of that is past "part 1" is MBQ by Felipe Smith, and that guy is a fucking monster."

Svet Chmakova's working on vol 3 of DRAMACON at the moment, but she may not be "post-manga" to you. Becky's PIRATES only came out last year, and she's deep into Vol 2 right now.
9th-Apr-2007 11:40 pm (UTC)
Becky is a beast and always will be. I was wrong with my estimation about how far she is with her book... but I do believe she's probably still happier working on Virgin? I think I read something to that extent somewhere? And maybe she'd agree with my post anyway?

And Svet, ok, that's three Multi-volume-capable creators out of like hundreds of dickshit kids who aspire to do what they do.

I realize I may just be an idiot and am whining too much... But I feel there is something to this.
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10th-Apr-2007 12:59 am (UTC)
Look,...this is the deal. What do the people want? Should we(you) give it to them? maybe we should give them something else...something NEW to swallow instead...

okay,...now back to you. Do the 3 book deal. The problem with OGN's are that...Well, imagine a friend that you see all the time, like once a month, on a solid hang out tip, dinner, beers...late nights rambling and bullshiting. Once a month.

Now, all of a sudden it like, "Yo , lets make this a YEARLY thing." In that year, you dont get to see his failed and succesful fashion moments, the good or bad haircuts, the nitty gritty everyday shit...No, you just get the yearly up date, the 'Did you lose wieght?' logic. Doing serials is important, and an interesting format, but should not be rushed for the all mighty dollar sign the way Marvel does it. 3 books a year sounds perfect. The problem is distribution. I think more books would sell. I know every time I even try and find a Rival Schools comic of yours, or PENG....its , well....IMPOSSIBLE. They either dont order it, or just sell out so fast and thats the end of that. The requests dry up, and the 'comicbook readers' move on. I say sell the comics straight up off your site, work something out with ONI, but for other planets in your universe, like PINAPL, Apollonia NO! Peng...etc....Its all one universe...its all corey's world. Fuck man!...so much potential. I feel you hard. Thats why I am doing a comic with no comic....When you see this huge drawing I am doing its....insane, and its basiclally like an elaborate 'panel', where the possible panal after it is like, a video, or some object. Image if ...not just some, but the pivitol,....hella important pages in your book had ...more. Like evidence. Like a seperate book that was the foot notes to some backstory of some object, ...or better yet, the object itself...Thats where the pod idea is amazing. YESYES like fuckin legos. brilliant.

anyways....my ideas for the future of comics are crazed and lofty. I know that there is one thing that we will have to fight for at length...Comics, should always come back to its truest, congealed form.

ink on cheap paper.

But we gotta come up with an exit stratagy...Leave the comics world behind...be the'post-manger' and say fuck it. There is a clear seperation. You are part of a new generation of artists that can break free of this shit. We gotta pay the bills, but....I know you got it in you. Fuck, ...we gotta talk more on this.

but yes on the 3 book thing. fo sho...
10th-Apr-2007 01:47 am (UTC)
Thanks Vio, awesome words
10th-Apr-2007 01:23 am (UTC)
"What do the people want? Should we(you) give it to them? maybe we should give them something else...something NEW to swallow instead..."

THAT'S the important lesson, yeah. You don't give the people what they want. You tell them what they want.
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10th-Apr-2007 02:20 am (UTC)
Dude, I'm not an "intelligent superior of art and comics" in any way, but I have to say that I picked up PENG this weekend and it blew me away. I absolutely loved the format and size of the thing and think 'pods' would absolutely play to your strengths.

I thought that the oversized (well, compared to digest) pages really helped show off your art and kept things clear, and the page count allowed for a "satisfying chunk of content". The card-stock covers make it into this sort of art-piece thing, like Ashley Wood's new book, but at the same time the staples keep it as this disposable pop thing.

Content aside even, it just totally jazzed me on comics. Honestly the 'PENG format' is what I'd love comics to be. I don't know how clear I was on what I was trying to get across, but yeah, go for pods dude.
10th-Apr-2007 02:30 am (UTC)
As a Sharknife fan I'd get whatever dosage, OGN/pods/issues, I can get.

I think this POD comics idea will fixate Sharknife demand more regularly, give the impression that both new Sharknife and your work is "more" regularly produced and out there for the consumers/readers and let you survive by doing other paid side-gigs. Rather than riding on the promise of giving the readers a full buffet of Sharknife (which from what you're saying you'll probably not be able to make it anyway) just give the readers the "Yum Cha (Dim Sum)" version; yummy delicious installments of the best meal they'll (we'll) ever have.

Sorry, I hope that analogy made some sense. I'm hungry.
10th-Apr-2007 04:01 am (UTC) - my thoughts...
It's hard to figure one's format... I mean there's so many ways to do a comic... be it webcomic, digest, or 24page monthlies... An artist has to figure out which one works for them. I'm trying to get my first comic in the midst of madness called life. Maybe sometime this decade, it will get published. You just have to keep doing what your doing and all will be just fine.

PS
I love Sharknife and I just can't wait til the next one...
10th-Apr-2007 06:15 am (UTC)
the time i've spent in academia, including a current intensive cultural theory class where i read 3 essays on the meaning of the "post-" for the second day of class, has given me a hatred for the prefix. as if manga is over. ridiculous.
10th-Apr-2007 04:27 pm (UTC)
It's not that Manga is over, its that its not a NEW thing in the west. It is a mainstay part of our diet. What does this do to the generation of 'post-manga' comickers in the US? what state of mind does this place on the artists and writers, and what does the INDUSTRY expect?...this is some of what Corey is talking about.
10th-Apr-2007 06:41 am (UTC)
Anonymous
Doode. This is a conundrum. Part of me would just love one format. But I am one of those people who fucking NEED Sharknife. You can't create unrealistic expectations for yourself. Comics creators are human. I can't speak for everyone, but one advantage of this new POD format, is that I am the kind of dude, who would buy the installments, AND the collected format. I'm not made of money either. But I would love to be updated on Sharknife, whilst in the end having this tangible book on my shelf. ALSO, if this POD format meant other REY side projects (which I assume there could be, due to the apparent amount of huge interest in you from comics companies) or the other properties in the REY universe like Appolonia NO, or more Stab Kids, more Peng...etc.. I would fully embrace that. Because more of your art is such a good thing. I'm not a comic book artist/writer, just merely a huge fan of yours.
(sorry about this anonymous thing...i should probably start a LJ account.)
-Brennan
10th-Apr-2007 07:34 am (UTC)
I'm currently reading Buffy Season Eight from Dark Horse, and you know what? It frustrates the fuck out of me.

Because I'm used to getting my Buffy in big, meaty, 42-minute-long chunks that usually contain a complete story. Wheres now I'm getting it in 22-page bits that I can read in 10 minutes, which usually end on a cliffhanger.

PENG was great, partially because it was that midway format that's so rare. It was a couple bucks more than a floppy, but it took some *time* to read, there was a weight to it. If you serialized the next Sharknife in three big chunks, I would love that -- it'd certainly beat waiting many months for the next full OGN, and it would also beat getting a tiny monthly fix.
10th-Apr-2007 07:48 am (UTC)
You have alot of fans whatever you do they will be behind you.

I say go with the PODS everyone awaits Sharknife Double Z, Everyone awaits more stuff from you, this way you can spread out Sharknife giving people time to think about whats going on in the story and hype them up for the next interval.

You have a creative mind, I say work with it the idea.
You could revolutionize the comic industry.

-Kid
10th-Apr-2007 09:26 am (UTC) - PODS as LEGO

Continuing with the PODS as LEGO analogy... you could make the narrative so that, like LEGO, the reader can rearrange the order of the pods to build their own creations... something like a Christopher Nolan film, with separate scenes featuring various characters. These could be read in any order, but would all fit together in the climax/conclusion.

One downside to this is that, if/when the pods are collected in a TPB, you would have to specify a 'correct' order for the pods. The solution to this could be having 'alternate' versions, with pods in different orders (and a different cover for each?)

Alternatively, the 'Sharknife Tape' could actually be 'Sharknife Velcro'! XD

Anyway, just brainstorming!
10th-Apr-2007 01:30 pm (UTC)
This morning when I woke up, I discovered that Alan Moore is releasing the new League of Extraordinary Gentlemen as pods.

So there you go.
10th-Apr-2007 05:35 pm (UTC)
pod it dude.
10th-Apr-2007 04:45 pm (UTC)
I think you should actually print the covers with lego pegs & holes so that they actually connect into a solid cube with a cupholder on top.
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