Is this child trying to pop the head off this chick or just give it a cuddle? And if we pretend the chick is comics and we know that the child is me, does that change your answer?
Because loving comics is about equal parts wanting to give it a cuddle and wanting to strangle it to death.
Like most creative pursuits it’s beautiful and fun and amazing and rewarding and also a total nightmare. But when it comes together like it’s supposed to - it’s truly magical. (and shame on you, I was clearly trying to cuddle that chick!)
My first paying work in comics was a creator-owned book I did with Meredith McClaren called HEART IN A BOX (Dark Horse). It was an incredible experience in which we…barely made any money. Again, comics are really really hard. It’s hard to make them, it’s harder to make them good, and it’s hardest to make them good and also financially viable.
But Substack has taken some of those hurdles out of the way – clearing the way for me and a handful of fantastic creators/collaborators/colleagues – to make what we want and to own what we make. It’s huge and I’ve never seen anything quite like it before in comics and I’m honored to be a part of it. And I hope YOU will be too. All of this means nothing without you guys – it’s honestly a journey that needs us both, so I want you with me! It’s a little scary but also thrilling.
And I hope it's a life changing moment. It certainly feels like it is.
But I want to keep things as simple as possible in the first post of this new adventure, so I’m creating a FAQ page for a lot of the more detailed questions I expect you guys will have – a sort of living resource document that I’ll update as necessary with new information.
In the meantime, I love lists and operate best with a list so let’s do a little list!
Subscribing to the paid tier of my Substack means you will get COMICS (and access to lots of other cool stuff).
For these first two books I’m going to tell you about I have teamed up with Image Comics for the print editions (a dream come true - something I've been wanting to do not just for years as a creator, but since I was a teen)! So these comics will eventually also be beautiful books that you can hold in your hands if that’s what you’re into.
But I do think, if you just sit back and wait for that, you’ll be missing out on a lot of what this adventure is about - about getting to be an insider that was there from day one as it was being built and getting a real peek behind the curtain at the making of a comic from the ground up. This experiment is about more than just the great comics I know we’re going to end up with…it’s about the journey and I want YOU on that journey with us!
I’m going to tell you about two specific comics right now, but before I do, please note that all of these books will be edited by the fantastic Charles Beacham, who edited my Eisner-nominated HAWKEYE book at Marvel. The comics will also have logos/title block and book design by the excellent Rian Hughes, a guy who knows a thing or two about gorgeous comic book design! Okay, enough…onto the books!
Book One is:
A classic "hard-boiled" detective story set in a futuristic fantasy world where the "technology" is magic-based and the world is full of "fantasy" characters that don't always get along and all have motives for murder.
My co-creator on BLACK CLOAK is the fantastic Meredith McClaren (Heart In A Box, Hinges, Servant of The Black Dog). Meredith is co-creator, artist, and colorist on this project and it's looking so incredible already, you guys, I cannot wait to start showing off pages. The sublime Becca Carey will be our letterer on this book.
Book Two is THE CULL.
A sci-fi fantasy adventure following a group of high school friends who venture to a forbidden local rock to make a short film, only to find themselves in another world...and when they return home, everything has changed and it’s been years, not days.
My co-creator on this title is the terrific Mattia de Iulis (Jessica Jones, Immortal Hulk, Valkyries). Mattia is co-creator, artist, and colorist on this project and I am truly excited about getting to build something all-new with him after our work together on JESSICA JONES. This book will debut sometime in 2022, but here’s a tiny taste of what’s to come:
02. HOW IT WORKS!
There are tiers down below about pricing and specifically what you get. But after this initial announcement week we're going to typically have two posts a week. One will be the free newsletter that everyone can get - it will be a lot like the existing free newsletter if you’ve been reading that.
And the second post will be for paid subscribers only and will include the actual comics as well as insider content like world building documents, process stuff, scripts, interviews, exclusive giveaways, rare discounts, and cool behind the scenes stuff.
The plan is to run one comic at a time at roughly 5 pages/week (i.e. about 20 pages/month). And when one comic ends, a new one will begin. There may be some overlap of titles (Yay! More content good!) but we’ll have to see how the schedule goes. It’s an adventure, guys!
But I have to say, while all the “exciting new comics content” is the obvious star here, I’m pretty excited about some of the posts I’m planning as well. I made a huge list of all the stuff I wanted to share with you guys through this experiment and I don’t want to say it’s like a return to my blogging days…but it sort of is! In a good way! There are a lot of things I missed about connecting directly with readers like that - and I’m excited to get back to it.
03. THE TIERS!
FREE: $0/Month – Free Newsletter. Releases once a week and is similar to the existing newsletter – basic updates, recommendations, reminders, and some random stuff.
MONTHLY: $7/Month – Paid Subscription. This gets you access to all the comics, and all the exclusive content like world building documents, cool process stuff, interviews, scripts, exclusive giveaways, insider discounts, and other behind the scenes stuff.
YEARLY: $70/Year – This is the same as monthly, but cheaper because you’re paying upfront in one lump sum PLUS this tier also gets you entry to the exclusive giveaways (see more details below).
FOUNDERS LEVEL: $200/Year – This is the same as the annual tier but you will also get one “mini print” for each book that launches on the site this year (2021-2022), PLUS two copies of a rare SUBSTACK FOUNDERS ONLY Variant Cover of each #1 that we print – same cover, one copy signed and one copy unsigned. So at a minimum you will get two copies of a rare variant cover for both BLACK CLOAK #1 and THE CULL #1.
Additionally, the first 100 people that sign up for a paid yearly subscription (or higher) will be entered to win one of six DEADPOOL #1 or HAWKEYE #1 sketch covers with one of my relatively terrible (but always fun!) drawings on the front. These, inexplicably, sell really well on Ebay…so if it’s too hideous to look at you can probably flip it! ;D
The first 250 people that sign up for a paid yearly subscription (or higher) will be entered to win 1 of 10 signed comics from my personal stash (each valued at $50 or more).
And the first 500 people that sign up for a paid yearly subscription (or higher) will be entered to win a signed and numbered limited edition illustrated hardcover of my first novel THE GIRL WHO WOULD BE KING from my personal stock. These are very rare and sometimes go for a bunch of money on Ebay or Amazon. The last one I saw out in the world was selling for like 200 bucks on Ebay. Wild.
If you’re 1 - 100 you get tickets to all three giveaways.
If you’re 101 – 250 you get tickets to the first two giveaways.
If you’re 251 – 500 you get a ticket to only the last giveaway.
04. THE WRAP UP!
If you’re not ready to commit to a paid subscription today, I recommend at least signing up for the free weekly newsletter as a good way to keep up to date.
But I genuinely hope you guys will join me on this weird new adventure. I'm truly excited by the comics creators already announced on Substack, and I'm excited for the ones I know that are still coming. I'm excited for the first time in my life to see money funneled directly to comics creators to allow them to CREATE. It’s exciting stuff and I hope you’ll join me on this adventure.
Until next time my lambs. Be good and kind when possible and wear your masks!