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My Comics Year: Making Comics

By | December 29th, 2017
Posted in Columns | % Comments

During 2017, I probably read fewer comics than I did in 2016. There’s a number of reasons for that – work was busy, I was traveling more, whatever, but one of the major ones had to be that I was also making comics during 2017 too.

Don’t get me wrong here, I’m not some indie titan making critically acclaimed comics that sell thousands of copies. It’s more just me making things with friends. But those things, often just dumb things, are incredibly rewarding all the same.

Right before ECCC 2017, I made a short comic of about a dozen pages with some friends, printed up a few copies, and gave them to folks I admired at ECCC. In about three weeks, we went from “we should make a dumb comic about Tarrare” to having a physical version of this dumb comic about the 18th century Frenchman who ate basically anything. It definitely shows that we made it in about three weeks, the art could be better, the writing could be better, there’s a typo in there. Still, we acted on an idea and made a thing for no other reason than because we wanted to. It’s immensely fulfilling.

Throughout the year, I worked as an editor on an anthology with my good buddy Ricardo Mo. We took a story idea he had, reached out to a bunch of friends, and made an anthology that everyone could take pride in. “Transience” would go on to be over 200% funded on Kickstarter with over 200 backers. “Transience” was the product of many months of emails, reading scripts, art feedback, coordinating with a cover artist, designers, and so many more things. It was a ton of work, but it was also one of the most rewarding things I’ve done. Part of that comes from the validation of doing interviews and seeing reviews and getting messages from people telling you that these stories you helped make resonated with them somehow and they genuinely enjoyed the anthology. I worked with a group of insanely talented artists and writers, people who have been part of the DC Talent Workshop or had sold out comics or had comics optioned for film, and we made a bunch of stories that eventually came together to make a kickass anthology.

And the year has ended with work on the FlavorZine. This is easily one of the dumbest things I’ve ever done, but making a collection of art, comics, stories, and more about Guy Fieri and Flavor Town seems right somehow. It’s now quite done yet, but it should be done and printed by the time ECCC 2018 rolls around.

In a year, I’ve helped to make three things ranging from a really dumb, quickly thrown together comic about a French guy who probably ate a baby one time to a serious, thoughtful anthology with work by a group of immensely talented creators to a bunch of weird drawings of Guy Fieri. It’s been a weird year and these things have taken up an often immense amount of time, but they’ve all been amazing to work on. Even with just an editorial role in all these things, the process of actually making these things and taking them from an idea to a finished product has given me an increased appreciation for the comics I read. Comics are a ton of work and even the dumb ones take a lot of effort to actually get made. I may have read fewer comics this year, but I had a newfound appreciation for the ones I did get to read, having a better idea of the time, energy, and effort that it took to get that comic from the idea stage to an actual product.

//TAGS | 2017 Year in Review

Leo Johnson

Leo is a biology/secondary education major and one day may just be teaching your children. In the meantime, he’s podcasting, reading comics, working retail, and rarely sleeping. He can be found tweeting about all these things as @LFLJ..


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