A recent trip to the comic shop got me thinking…. It’s been a while since I’ve really enjoyed going to the comic shop and picking up new comics. For some reason, the excitement isn’t what it used to be and there aren’t really any titles that I collect anymore. Part of the reason I don’t buy as many comics as I used to is that it’s just too hard to jump in on a comic series if you don’t have access to all of the back issues, as most comics nowadays are long stories that require previous issues to understand what is going on in the story. The other reason is that it’s just too darn expensive to buy those back issues, even if the comic shop has them all in stock. Don’t get me wrong, I like the collector mentality, where you have to hunt down missing issues and fill in gaps of the story, but missing issues shouldn’t stall your enjoyment of the issues that you have.
Like all of my comic thoughts, I turn them back to my own comic, The Possum. I’m currently working on issue #5, and I have certainly learned a lot as I’ve made mistakes on the previous issues. As I look over the last 5 issues of The Possum, and as I get set to plot out the next couple, I realize that I need to make each issue stand alone better as it’s own story. Issue #1 works, but it’s 72 pages. Issues #2,3 and 4 work together, but on their own they fall into the aforementioned category. Moving on, it’s a goal of mine to condense the stories more and try to make each issue work on it’s own. Sure there will be story arcs that weave their way through all the issues, as Stan Lee used to do so well, but each issue on it’s own HAS to make sense.
As I write this, I’m currently working on an 8 page Possum story, and a separate 4 page Possum story, for two different publications. In total, I will have completed 5 short stories over the last few years, and I find these really good exercises to condense my writing and try to get more happening on each page.
As I look forward to 2011, I’m really pumped to make comics and try to implement some of these observations into my own work. I’m going to start the year by taking a month or so off from my day job to focus on comics, with the goal of finishing these two short stories I’m working on, completing issue #5, and if all works out as planned, getting a good start on issue #6. I’ve never taken more than a week off to work on comics before, so I’m really looking forward to trying to make the most of my time off. I’ll let you know how it goes.