Thursday, January 5, 2017

Space Monstas Mini Tour - Reflection

First I would like to say Thank You to Jesse James Comics, Ash Avenue Comics, Samurai Comics and Drawn to Comics for letting take up space in their stores and sell my books without asking me for a dime. Arizona has some of the classist comic shops in the world.
I came up with the idea of doing a little mini tour to celebrate the release of my Space Monstas comic last November. I had originally intended to release the comic at the Tucson Comic Con, but things just did not get done in time. The next convention is not until the end of February and I did not want to wait that long. I had also talked with some of the local comic store owners about how people only release their books around conventions and have really been forgetting that the stores have new releases every Wednesday. 

A light bulb popped in my head, why not release the Space Monstas book on a Wednesday at a local store. Now which one? The answer was not which one, but how many would I be able to hit in one day.  Why go to multiple stores, because I have done in-store appearances and they tend to drag on. I felt if I was at a store for only a couple of hours, I would get a change of scenery when I needed it.

So I asked the 4 stores that I shop with the most if they were down with me setting up a small mini tour and stopping at each of their stores for 2 hours. All 4 were done and suggested some type of cross promotion (that is where the idea of the flyer came from.)

Next I needed to figure out what order I was going to visit the stores. For this I used Google to see when different stores had their peak times. I got to tell you, Google seemed to be right on. Each store had a steady flow of customers while I was there. The order was set and placed an hour between each appearance to help with travel time.

Now a little bit about sales. I sold about 4 books at each shop (plus 1 figure and 1 shirt) throughout the day. For each odd number of books that I sold I gave 1 book to the store to sell as a thank you for
the use of their space (if I sold 1 book, I gave 1 book to the store, if I sold 3 books, I gave 2 books to the store). This plan came together because my goal with my comics is not to make a ton of money, but get a ton of readers and I figured the books left at the stores would generate new readers (I will have to see how this works over the next few weeks as I stop at the store.) I moved a total of 27 books during the day (16 sold, 9 given to the stores and 2 sold wholesale). Money wise, I made over 170% of what it cost me to produce the books that I moved (this figure only includes printing costs).

One thing I should have picked up one earlier in the day was that at Jesse James Comics, Jesse had me put some books up by the register. Jesse's shop was the place that I sold the most books all day. This did not hit me until I was looking at numbers after I got home.

Another great thing about the day was the excitement from the people who were purchasing the book.
When I got home there we several Instagram posts about the days events. 
So overall this was a good day and I plan on releasing future books in a similar fashion. Next Up: Cousin Harold #12 in April or May.

- denny



Saturday, December 31, 2016

2016 - the Good and the Bad

Well 2016 was a year. I think it might have been my most successful year creatively. It was also filled with the biggest heartbreaks and failures creatively.

I created the Space Monstas figures, but have failed more times than I have been successful. I put out some really awesome books, but sold very few of them. I tabled at some big shows this year, but made the less money this year than last year. I put out 4 volumes of the Comics Never Stop newspaper, only to have the whole thing implode on the biggest stage.

It seems with every success there was a failure holding it's hand. The best thing that happened this year though was that I DIDN"T GIVE UP!

And because I didn't give up I brought this awesome book Space Monstas into the world.
Another issue of Cousin Harold (issue 11, but actually the 13 comic).
The Spacer Monstas figures (I mentioned these earlier) are probably the things that I'm second most proud of (after not giving up this year.)


Also I'm hard at work on a new Cousin Harold storyline that will run most of 2017. These are the circus guys that Harold meets up with.
Harold becomes a clown. Seriously having fun making these stories. I hope it is showing.

So for all the good stuff that happened in 2016, there was bad stuff. But hey if making comics and figures was easy, everyone would be doing it.

- denny!

Update - Just made this 2016 is not over yet!!!




Tuesday, December 27, 2016

It Would Have Been Cool

So some time ago I had the idea suggested to me to do a 24hour figure making day. Anyone that knows me, knows that I'm down for this type of challenge. I figured out the first day that I would be available to do this type of challenge, which was today - December 27th, 2016. So I set a side the day to make figures and ever came up with a good idea. I would make the figure as a surprise for one of the other creators in the community.

So I started this morning.
First the clay I needed to make the 2 part mold was frozen solid. This was an easy fix, I used a hair dryer to heat it up and had the clay ready in about 30 minutes. However when I poured the mold I forgot to put marks in the clay so that the 2 side of my 2 part mold would match up. (Should have started over at this point, but I pressed on.) I used the xacto knife to make some marks that I could use to line up the 2 parts later. (This seemed to work most of the time.)
The 1st pull was lopsided due to the molds not matching up 100% (see I should have restarted). However my 2nd pull came out fine, so did my 3rd pull, but that was it. The 4th, 5th and 6th pulls all had some issue. Mostly with the hands. I was having problems getting the thumb on the left figure to fill. 
I tried shaking and tapping, all these tricks that people have shared with me, but I just could not get this stupid thumb to fill. (Pull 5 was also horribly misaligned.)

I planned the time, how long it should take to do everything in order to get it all done. At this point I'm a couple of hours behind and quite frustrated. I promised myself that if things were not working out. I could just walk away (which is something that is new to me). So that is what I'm doing, I'm throwing in the towel. I have too many other things to work on at this point to let this challenge continue to bring me down.
So who was the figure for? Gary Griggs! I love his Pink Chewbacca (which I will start calling Pookie). Gary is not a super close friend, but he is an all around nice dude and was there last year, when I was first learning to make figures from Eric Erspamer. 

It would have been cool!

I haven't given up on making a figure for Gary. I have just thrown in the towel today. Hopefully I will find some time to try and make some of these figures again sometime soon.

-denny



Sunday, December 4, 2016

Wrapping Up 2016

Out here on the west side of town, I type this in my bedroom on the south-side of Peoria. At this point I'm wrapping up my 2016 projects as I plan my 2017 project. I'm a little behind, but I should finish everything I planned before the end of the year.

- -- Today I'm putting the finishing touched on the 1st Space Monstas comic. I had hoped to have this finished in October and run a Kickstarter for Space Monstas products, but that just did not happen. So I'm putting out a very limited edition version for The dennmann 2016 Subscription Kickstarter backers and planning the big 2017 launch. Below is the cover for the limited edition version.
The Space Monstas series (comics, toys, cards and t-shirts) has really recharged me. One of my big plans for 2017 involves this series. More info to come in the last post of the year.
- -- Had a GREAT time at this year's DesignerCon (though I wish I had a table). Had a great talk with the Sucklord (one of my idols in the toy game). He had some nice comments about me toys when I showed them to him. I gave him a Cousin Harold mini-comic, which he also complimented. Picked up a couple of his figures, wish I had the money for more of them.
My Savior 7000 figure was for sale at the DKE booth during the show. I think there are some left, hit up Dov with DKE Toys if you are interested in picking one up. It was an honor to be on display next to many of the other figures that I have been collecting.
- -- My picture was in the newest issue of Echo Magazine. I think this is a freebie magazine that is available at local coffee shops. This reminded me of the great time I had at this year's PHX Zine Fest. I cannot wait for next year. (I do not have a copy of this magazine yet. The picture was shared with me by a friend.)

- -- Also wrapping up Cousin Harold 11 this week. Wish I had a cover to share with you at this point, but I still cannot decide what to do with it. I'm sure I will figure it out before I have to send it off to the printer.
- -- Comic of the week, 2001 a Space Odyssey #10 by Jack Kirby (featuring Machine Man). I have been looking for a copy of this book for a year and have not been able to locate it until now (or at least a copy that does not have the white from the back cover rolled onto the front cover). Those that know me know that I'ma huge Kirby fan. I have been wrapping up my collection of his late 70's Marvel work. I think I have all of the interior work. Now onto Kamandi.

Well that is about it for now. I'm sure I will be back next week with more info on Cousin Harold 11.
Until then, Take Care!

-denny

Sunday, November 13, 2016

In a FUNK

Out here on the west side of town, also known as the south side of Peoria, I sit creating comics almost daily. However lately I have been in a funk. I don't want this to be a downer post, but it just might be (sorry ahead of time).
- -- Convention season is drawing to a close. I have one more show that I'm going to as a fan, but I'm done tabling for the year. I have a great time going to all these shows and talking comics with people. But as I look back at this year, I'm a little disappointed. I make comics, that is what I want to make, nothing more and nothing less. This year though it seemed people did not want comics. I had moved the smallest amount of comics since I started making book again 8 years ago. Not sure what has changed, but something has. I do not make comics to make money with my comics (just break even at shows), I make comics because I love them and have to, to help me stay sane. So now it's time to come up with some new ideas of how to get the stories I create into people's hands, for them to enjoy. I have a few ideas. (That's wasn't as bad as I was expecting.)
A big plus at the last show I did was that a few seasoned professionals had some nice things to say about my work and even bought a couple books. This gives me some hope for the future and makes me want to push forward. Also I won a little award at the Constant Con awards during the Tucson Comic Con, no matter how silly it might seem, this award meant a lot to me.
- -- Right now I'm wrapping up the first Space Monstas comic book. I have about 2 pages to draw and some letting, then all the design work then the book will be done. I'm planning on printing it Golden Age comic size. Planning a Kickstarter for early 2017. Super excited about the future of these characters. (Above is an unlettered page from the back-up story for this issue.

- -- I will also be putting the finishing touches on Cousin Harold 11. Also hard at work on Cousin Harold 12 (big changes planned for Harold and friends starting with this issues and the 2017 webcomic).

- -- Oh and I plan on starting Jenny Spookawski Loves History the first weekend of December. This is a story that I did layouts for over a year ago and just have not been able to schedule the time to work on it.

- -- Finding the energy to work on these project has been rough due to the lack of interest at conventions. Some how though I keep moving and creating. Maybe it has to do with the fact that I have to for my own sanity.
- -- Comic of the week, Mother Panic #1 - WOW! DC's Young Animal imprint is GOOD! All of these books have been excellent. I suggest you check them out. You do not have to read them all, but you might want to. I know I do.

Take care of yourself,

-denny!