Back from Puerto Vallarta where we spent the last days of 2019 unwinding on hot beaches and self-baptizing in violent oceans. And we also got to see whales, which is really a very exhilarating experience. I will never read Moby Dick the same way again.
Back in good ol’ Houston now, which Hunter S. Thompson described as
a cruel, crazy town on a filthy river in East Texas with no zoning laws and a culture of sex, money and violence. It's a shabby, sprawling metropolis ruled by brazen women, crooked cops and super-rich pansexual cowboys who live by the code of the West.
Which isn’t far from the truth, and I’m all for it.
So much that the wife and I are closing on a small townhouse in a week from now. If you’d asked us a year ago whether or not we saw ourselves buying a house in Houston Texas anytime soon, we would’ve thought that to be the most random thing you could possibly ask us, but here we are.
It wouldn’t be the weirdest curve ball life has thrown at me, and this is one I’m more than ready to catch. A place to call home? A stable place? Where I can properly nest without having to worry about the next impending uproot? Yes please.
And besides, shabby sprawling metropolises I'm used to. Brazen women? Fuck yeah. Crooked cops? Coped with them my entire life. Super-rich pansexual cowboys? Maybe not, but hey, at least they’re pansexual.
A 90-page publication, 3 times a year.
That's what I seem to be honing in on right now. It would include:
52 pages of comix:
- 36 constituting one act of a single feature
- 12 constituting a self-contained backup story (which I think works better than four 3-page self contained comix as suggested in Comix Engine #1)
48 pages of prose:
- 16 constituting one short story
- 16 constituting four 4-page micro stories
- 14 constituting four 4-page essays
I'm starting to wonder though whether that much prose would be seen as a plus or minus? Is it better to include something other than prose in those 48 pages?
As far as the comix component is concerned, there's no way to go above the 52 pages, at least not at my current drawing pace.
Funding-wise, I've discussed in Comix Engine #1 how a minimum of $68,000 U.S. in the bank would be wise before even attempting to put pen to paper.
My initial estimate for retail price was $10, but it now looks like going below $15 would be difficult. And I'm not entiiiiirely sure 15 bucks for a 90-page black and white publication is something potential readers would be interested in (help?).
My dilapidated mathematics tell me I'd need a minimum of 3,800 regular readers for this to be a sustainable endeavor. Which in principle isn't an outrageous goal, but is considered rather ambitious in the current climate of independent comicbook publishing.
Allow me to clarify: The latest TANK GIRL (published by Titan) sold about 3,856 units. Todd McFarlane's SPAWN sold a meager 2,996 units. Even Marvel's GHOST RIDER has fallen well below 2000 units (as has their CAPTAIN MARVEL). Titan, McFarlane, and Marvel are all heavyweights who have way better resources and distribution pull than I'll ever manage. So, the numbers just aren't looking very optimistic.
(But then again, Michel Fiffe's COPRA moved 4,594 units!)
(This was Comix Engine #4)
January is already kind of botched, because within days of moving to our new house, I’ll be on a plane to DC to join Ramy Essam on tour. From there we ride to Philadelphia followed by Pittsburgh and ending in New York, which shall bear witness to our finale:
Tickets can be scored at National Sawdust. For the New York event that is. I’ll have deets for the others by next week’s newsletter (it’s all happening awfully fast).
By the by, the figure in the bottom right corner of the poster? Well that’s actually based on Frederic Bartholdi’s original sketch for the Statue of Liberty, which was dubbed “Egypt (or Progress) Bringing Light To Asia” and intended for the then hyped and soon to be inaugurated Suez Canal, a lost history not many Americans know about.
Oh and FYI, it is my understanding that a set of limited edition screenprints of the above pictured poster will be made available at National Sawdust the day of the event!
Dominic Boyer is a professor of Anthropology at Rice University.
So. If the anthropologists are saying THE SOLAR GRID is realistic, well then…
January 4, 2020