"How To Succeed In Comics Without Really Trying"

Two weeks ago, my first comics work was published in Love in Tights Valentine's Special. Since then, I've noticed that women throw their panties at me, men look at me with jealousy, dogs stop to wait for me to scratch their heads, and strangers walk up to me and hand me money.

See what a good fiction writer I've become?

At any rate, since being published, the only change I really have is 20 more copies of Love in Tights than I previously had, a slightly more positive feeling about the possibility that I'll ever write for a living, and the possibility of follow-up stories. But it was still a lot of fun. Since I've had at least one suggestion of talking about the process, and had a few people asking me writing questions, I thought maybe I'd devote the column to how I got the job and the various things that went into getting it from script to published comic.

Well, first of all, how did I even get the job in the first place? As you know if you've been reading my website for any length of time, I've been working on a project called "Treasure Hunt" for about two years. I've gone through five artists, some of whom have provided sketches before disappearing from the face of the Earth. Anyway, I was sending the script to a couple people I know to get input, and as I've reviewed a lot of J. Torres' stuff and talked to him quite a bit, I asked if he would take a look. He did, and he asked me if I wanted to pitch him something for a new anthology he had in mind. I was working with an artist at that point, so I asked if he wanted to work on this. He said sure.

Inside of a couple days, I had the idea of a superhero wedding, and inside of a couple weeks, I finished my script, a 6-pager that I thought was pretty good. Nervously, I sent it off to J. and he liked it a lot. A few changes, and it was set to go in either the first issue or the second. So I contacted my artist...and waited...and waited...and never heard back. I started looking around for another artist, and I told J., who told me he had hooked up with a studio and might be able to find someone. I latched onto another artist, one who was also doing professional coloring work and turned in a couple sketches. Okay, back on track.

I finished the script with J.'s help inside of a month, and it was ready long before the deadline for the first issue. As that deadline got closer, J. decided to put my story in the second issue, which was to be the Valentine's Day special. I continued to wait...and wait...and wait...finally, my second artist told me he was too busy with coloring work that had come up, so he wouldn't be able to make the original deadline. J. had a couple ideas for artists, though, and although I was nervous, I figured I'd still be okay.

In San Diego, I met one of the artists, Steve Remen, who had agreed to do a story for J. He was set to do the story, and said he thought he could get the artwork done by the deadline (which was end of November, middle of December.) When I got back from the Con, I faxed him the script from Kinko's (big mistake...fax to Canada at Kinko's took five minutes and cost about $30.) So I waited...and waited...and waited. I called during November, and he seemed a bit disinterested, but promised he would get it done. I called again in the third week of December, after conferring with J., and told him I was desperate to get this done so that my first work would be published. At the eleventh hour, he e-mailed me the pages, and they looked pretty good. *whew*

Finally, in February, the book came out. My pay for Slave Labor was...uh, nil. But I got exposure. My comp copies received were...uh, nil. But I bought 25 copies at 40% off from Dragon's Lair. Critical reaction was generally positive, although not glowingly so. Now that I've done it, though, I'm really excited about the possibility of more stuff, and I'm hopeful that exposure in the Slave Labor anthology might help me get Treasure Hunt published...

If I can find a good and reliable artist.

Randy W. Lander

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