It's been a pretty wacky month, and I'll write again soon about all that's happened, but first, a quick announcement: I'll be doing my last scheduled signing tomorrow, June 27th, at Time Warp Comics in Boulder, CO from 1PM to 3PM.
I'm flying a long way for this one, and we haven't given folks much notice, so any help getting the word out would be most appreciated! Denver people, too! It's not that far, right?
If I may appeal to your self-interest, one thing that I have learned over the last couple of weeks is that first printings of Nonplayer 1 are now selling on Ebay for like a trillion dollars each, and they go for a shmazillion dollars if they're signed. Even second printings are starting to fetch silly sums. Hooray for scarcity! So if you have one of those, bring it by Time Warp to get it signed!
Also, I feel like I'm getting tweeted/emailed a lot by LA folks who want me to do a signing. I would love to come down if a shop invites me, so feel free to bug your favorite shop on my behalf.
Boy, that took a good little bit, but here we are. Nonplayer 2 is on stands today (print version here, digital version here). I feel like I've crested the second of a series of increasingly taller peaks -- there's the peak of #3 poking up out of the mist in the distance, but before I start hiking back down and prepping for the next climb, I'm going to enjoy the view for a second.
I have now drawn two comics! So nice to be able to speak about them in plural. Almost sixty pages. I know that's not a huge accomplishment by professional comic standards, but it was really challenging for me, and I'm happy that I've been able to keep going.
Of course, now that there's a second book out there, I'm getting lots of questions from people who may not have followed this journey from the beginning, so here's an FAQ:
Q: Wait. FOUR YEARS?
A: Yes. This comic took four years to make.
Q: How can I take you seriously when your book takes so long to make?
A: I should not be taken seriously. I have a family and a day job, and I make this book solely between the hours of 3 and 6 AM on weekdays. The book is not, nor has it ever been, financially self-sustaining. I do it because I enjoy doing it.
Q: Uh. Surely you've got the next five issues ready to go, though? There's no way you want me to wait that long for #3!?!
A: I am only now laying out #3. It will not come out quickly. I hope very much that it takes less time than #2, but I have learned to make no promises.
Q: But I heard you got a movie deal after the first issue came out. Aren't you rich now?
A: Nonplayer was optioned by Warner Bros. in 2012. That option paid for repairs to the roof of our house. We ate out more often that year, too. The option has since lapsed. I am not rich. Should renewed Hollywood interest result in some substantial influx of money, that money will be spent finishing Nonplayer #3 much more quickly.
Q: Why don't you just do a Kickstarter for #3?
A: I have not been able to make the math work out. I would need an amount of money similar to what I make in video games, and that amount is probably not achievable through Kickstarter. If I were in this position before getting married and having a child, I would definitely have gone this route and slept on somebody's couch for a year. Alas, I have responsibilities. If anybody has other ideas for funding the book, I am all ears.
Q: The only reason I was into Nonplayer was that I thought Dana was cool. I see that she barely shows up in the second issue. What gives?
A: Dana will continue to be the protagonist, and she will be all over issue 3. Issue 2 sets in motion a lot of machinery that will make more sense when read in the context of the finished collection. This book is all about Dana.
Q: Oh, then I have no further questions, and I support your book wholeheartedly! Where can I buy awesome Nonplayer merchandise?
A: You can find issues of Nonplayer #1 and #2, as well as posters big and small, at the Nonplayer Store. International shipping has been recently fixed, so everybody should be happy forever. If you have questions about shipping stuff, you can contact me directly through the contact link at the store.
Q: Will you be doing any signings?
A: Yes. I will be bringing myself, my comics, and my posters to the following events:
Comics Dungeon, Seattle: Wednesday, June 3 from 4pm to 6pm Arcane Comics, Seattle: Friday, June 5 from 6pm to 9pm Destiny City Comics, Tacoma: Sunday, June 7 from 2pm to 4pm Third Eye Comics, Annapolis: Saturday, June 13 from 11am to 1pm HeroesCon, Charlotte: Friday, June 19 - Sunday, June 21
Thanks for all of your support, guys. I haven't been going about this the normal way, and I know that there's some controversy because of that. It means a lot that you've been so enthusiastic about the book. You are the reason that I haven't yet surrendered to common sense.
Also, I encourage you to start working on your own projects, regardless of their justifiability! We've got a thing called the Holy Order of Viking Draftspeople (#HOVD on Twitter), where we all cheer for one another in the wee hours of the morning. I would love to see more folks suffering with us!
Okay. Sling that backpack, swig from the canteen, and back down the mountain we go. See you at the next peak.
First, to business. I finally got the Nonplayer store back up and running, and there is new stuff! You can now buy signed copies of Nonplayer #1 (3rd printing), as well as the long-in-coming gigantic poster of the two-page spread from issue 1:
That's a whopping 30" x 24" (or 76,2cm x 60.96cm, for you foreign heathens).
And on the subject of foreign heathens... After much hand-wringing, I've decided that I can't ship things USPS First Class International anymore. That shipping method involves me carrying a bunch of shipping tubes to the post office, filling out individual customs forms for every one of them, and then getting sneered at both by the mail clerk and the fifty people in line behind me for the thirty minutes it takes to process all the packages. Now that I've got a kid, I just don't have an extra hour a day to devote to this. If any kind reader has advice to give on the international shipping conundrum, I am all ears!
For now, I'm just offering Priority International shipping, which is crazy, crazy expensive. So you oil barons and oligarchs can go ahead and pay fifty bucks for shipping if you simply must decorate your yacht with Nonplayer posters. For the rest of you, I apologize for the inconvenience and earnestly hope that there's a home-printed shipping solution waiting out there for me. Again, if any of you have solved this problem, I would love to hear how you did it.
The third printing of Nonplayer #1 is now on stands, and I'm enjoying getting feedback about the book again after all these years. There's the added benefit that #2 is coming out on June 3, which will create the illusion that this is a monthly comic. Should be lots of fun in July when folks start tweeting at me, wondering where issue 3 went. In case it's not obvious, I do not think this will be fun at all.
The ramp-up to the #2 release was hectic (who knew prepping pages for digital would be so complicated?), but now that all the preparations are complete, there is only the sound of waves breaking against the front of our landing craft as we approach Omaha Beach. It's difficult to get a read on how things will go when that door drops open. I've shown the book to friends, who say that it's good. But they're friends. What are they going to say, "dude, you gave up four years of sleep for nothing. This is total garbage. I no longer wish to be affiliated with you in any way."
I also sent a PDF of the second issue to retailers, who also seem bullish on the book. That's probably a good sign, though I think they too are taking a wait-and-see approach. If folks like the book, I think it'll go fairly quickly to a second printing, which would be wonderful. If you guys like it, I hope you'll share your happy thoughts on Reddit and Twitter and stuff, because the bottleneck on this book has always been awareness. I feel like there are probably people who would like it if they knew it existed, but it's quite difficult to be heard amongst the general promotional din.
Thanks for your support, guys. I am excited to finally be working on #3, and I hope things shake out so that I'm able to get it out sooner than the last one.
Oh, before I forget, here is the current signing schedule for next month:
Comics Dungeon, Seattle: Wednesday, June 3 from 4pm to 6pm
Arcane Comics, Seattle: Friday, June 5 from 6pm to 8pm
Destiny City Comics, Tacoma: Sunday, June 7 from 2pm to 4pm
Third Eye Comics, Annapolis: Saturday, June 13 from 11am to 1pm
HeroesCon, Charlotte: Friday, June 19 - Sunday, June 21
The third printing of Nonplayer #1 hits stands today, so if you're one of those people who missed out the first two times, there are lots of new copies in the wild now. This blog's readership probably already has a copy, but it's never too late to introduce a friend to the pleasures of reading a comic that comes out once per presidential election!
Today's reprint has three new pinups, and they're brilliant. All three were drawn by friends I made when I worked at PopCap. That place, especially at that time, attracted ridiculous talent from every corner of the globe.
Cory apologized for drawing empanadas instead of tamales falling out of Dana's delivery box. I'm glad he said sorry, because I was going to just throw it away otherwise. Ooh, I just noticed that the shadow hints at Dana's Lifeskin appearance. Cool! I love everything about this drawing. Those hands! That color!
Cory and I have been quietly working on a new project together -- one that may one day help me shift into a full-time career in comics. But since I can't show that off yet, I'll just show you a couple of his stupendously cool drawings:
It makes me mad when radness takes so little effort for somebody. But Cory is cool, so he gets a pass.
Mike had a very specific notion about how players in Warriors of Jarvath would go about purchasing their steeds. If you look closely, you'll see Pookie hanging from the ceiling at upper left. I don't really think there are words I can say about this that could enhance it in any way. It makes its own gravy. There's a giant velociraptor with a turret. And a dude with tiny birds nesting in his beard. I'm not sure there is a way this could be more rad. Oh, well, I guess he could have also drawn a giant robot. Oh wait, he did.
Here's a wedding announcement he made for a friend:
And here's a little thing he made that I've always loved:
Anyway, these guys all took time out of their crazy schedules to make me pretty art, so if you happen across one of them on the street, give them a big, wet kiss for me.
All four of us will be attending the Nonplayer #2 signing at Arcane Comics in Ballard (evening of Friday, June 5), so if you want to get every pinup signed, that's just about your only choice short of stalking us individually. Which for some of us might actually be kinda cool, but Mike Bear already has so many stalkers, you might find it difficult to get a good view of him.
I'll post again as we get closer to the Nonplayer #2 release. Gonna be a busy summer!
Wow, it's been a busy month. Okay, what do we talk about first?
Let's start with the boring stuff. That's always a good policy, right? We have dates and Diamond codes for both the issue 1 reprint and the issue 2 release. #1 is back out on April 1 and final order cutoff is this coming Monday, March 9. The code for that is JAN158233.#2 is on shelves on June 3 and the code for that is APR150542.Please do encourage your local comic shop proprietor to order lots of #1 reprints so that we don't run out of copies again and then you get #2 and you're all like "I don't remember what happened in #1, and now I have to pay 30 bucks for a copy on Ebay."
Okay, that wasn't so bad. Now for the fun stuff.
It is confirmed that I'll be doing a signing at Third Eye Comics in Annapolis from 11 AM to 1 PM on June 13. For those of you who know Steve, you won't be surprised to hear that he's been just about the coolest guy ever during the planning of this thing. I liked him so much, I agreed to do a variant #1 cover just for his shop. This event is going to be off the hook, and there will probably be like strobe lights and dubstep and people dancing in cages that are hanging from the ceiling. That's how off the hook it will be.
Anyway, here is the variant cover. Does anybody want a poster of this? I really don't know if it's poster-worthy. Comment or Tweet me if you think this should be a thing:
For those of you who are unable to pick up this 'sclusie, you'll be happy to hear that both versions of the reprint also contain three completely astonishing new pinups from game art aces David Ryan Paul, Cory Allemeier, and Mike Bear, which I will tease here:
Man, I love those guys.
I will also be doing a signing at Comics Dungeon in Seattle on the day that issue 2 comes out --Wednesday, June 3 from 4 to 6 PM. I hope to see all my hometown friends there. If you are my friend, you WILL be there. This is how I will know who my real friends are.
Next! I am also confirmed as a guest at HeroesCon in Charlotte, NC from June 19 to June 21. I'll be at Indie Island, which despite sounding remote and forbidding, is actually where all the cool kids will be hanging out. There will probably be dubstep and people dancing in cages.
I'll have as many copies of #1 and #2 that I can carry, and I'll also be selling several new posters, including this 30" x 24" behemoth:
Which in case you can't see it due to the blinding radiance of my visage, looks like this from the front:
And of course all of this stuff will be available for order at nonplayer.storenvy.com just as soon as I get my shipping tubes delivered.
What else, what else? Maybe that's everything for now. Oop. I think Ian is waking up. Okay, I'm off. See you in Charlotte!
First, an announcement: I am officially going to be at HeroesCon in beautiful Charlotte, NC from June 19-21. This will be my only convention appearance in support of Nonplayer 2, and I'm very excited about it. I got a table and everything, just like a real grown-up comic book artist.
The guy Rico who works over at Heroes is especially cool. If you meet him, give him a vigorous handshake on my behalf and maybe let it linger just a little too long. Let him be the one to disengage. Or if he rides it out, just hang on until the sweat from both your palms makes it impossible to maintain a firm grip.
This week, I pulled the dusty sheet off of the old Nonplayer promotional machinery and started contacting retailers to tell them about the reprint of #1 and the release of #2 (which, I should add, has been delayed until June -- the #1 reprint is still in April).
I don't know how effective my pitch is -- I am offering a free signed poster and a preview PDF of Nonplayer #2 to any retailer who gets in touch with me, and I've now gotten a fair number of replies. So good old email seems to work okay. But my contact list is now three years old, and sadly, a lot of comic shops have disappeared over the years. And of course new ones have popped up, but I have no contact info for most of them.
Since I'm hip to the jive and into what the kids are doing, I attempted to augment the email campaign with some tweeting. Gotta say, not really sure what I'm doing there. There seem to be times of day when people are reading, but the only way to guarantee visibility is to kinda spam everybody all day. Which feels super gross and annoying. That said, I added maybe half a dozen new shops to my contact list this way, and that's not nothing!
By the way, if you happen to know a retailer who wants in on this free signed poster/early access PDF deal, feel free to forward the official Nonplayer email address to them (nonplayercomic at that one really huge company that starts with a G). Especially if you know of any new shops, please send them my way. I have no way of knowing about Annie's Boutique Comics and Artisanal Tart Hut in Boise unless you tell me about it.
Thankfully, the retailers that have gotten back to me have all been super nice and supportive. I had assumed kind of a defensive crouch after hitting send on that first email, but I have at time of writing not received a single disgruntled reply. I'd have expected retailers, of all people, to be exasperated by the delay, but they all seemed to be aware of the various setbacks I went through and excited that there was finally something new on the horizon.
So comics retailers are actually not like Comic Book Guy at all. They all LOOK like him, but they're quite nice, personality-wise.
What else? Oh yeah! Posters!
First, I'm printing up a new 11"x17" poster for Nonplayer 2, which I'll be selling at HeroesCon, as well as though my online store (which will be back online soon). This is also the poster I'm sending to retailers:
I also bit the bullet and did a run of BIG (30"x24") posters that look like this:
I hope they sell, because dang, they weren't cheap to print. I will also be selling these at HeroesCon and maybe through my online store, if I can figure out an economical way of shipping something so huge. I am nervous about how much I've spent to print these, so if you want to give me something really nice this year, buy a big poster. It's for a good cause, which is the cause of me not being broke and not having a garage full of gigantic posters.