Monday, May 11, 2009

Rambling, hard decisions, and Faction news...

Today’s one of those days you don’t know whether to clam up or shout at the world. Over the last few days, I’ve had to do quite a bit of thinking in regards to “the comic book thing” and make some hard decisions and react to what has been thrown my direction. It made me start thinking about hard decisions in general and when you need to finally make those decisions.

The easy decision was deciding to pursue comic books with the further I put into my day to day job. I consider it easy now, but at the time I was afraid that by putting my work ethic into it, my creative passion would dwindle and die. I know I’ve mentioned that before, bit it was a valid consideration I had at the time. Looking back on it, though, I think it was just an excuse not to jump in for fear of rejection or something ridiculous like that. If you have a dream, don’t let something silly stop you from going for it. The only difference pre-decision and post-decision is that I became more determined and actually came up with more ideas! I dedicate time more often to writing, fighting the urge to fall asleep on the train or on my break sitting in my car (really hard on a sunny day with a nice breeze). “No,” I yell at myself, “you’re supposed to be writing!” I get ticked at my cars now when they give me grief, causing me to drive home from Irvine or to Irvine from home because it takes away from my “train time” to write, which seems to be my most productive. So I guess my point here is that if it’s your dream, it SHOULD be an easy decision. There are absolutely no guarantees that you will “make it” to whatever capacity you have decided for yourself. As I mention in another post a while back, I want to tell my stories… If it means a large indie or DC/Marvel, great, but I’m perfectly content to self publish if that’s what lies in store for me. In fact, there are some things I bet would be better if I DO self publish. Don’t consider self publishing to be a last resort… I’ll say it a billion times, every copy out there in the world of your book, physical or electronic, is a circulating resume. So what if you don’t sell 100k copies… You only need to sell one to the right person.

Picking an artist for a project… I rambled about this the other day, but it is a hard decision and I respect any writer who has to go through the difficult process of finding the “right” artist for a project. When you write a script, do you have a specific style in mind or do you just envision the characters as real people conversing in the real world with any changes required to make it however fantastical the world in the book is? That’s how I do it… I don’t, however, limit myself to using “realistic” artists… Every book has a personality of sorts, just like an artist’s style. The trick is matching up the two. Do you go for hyper-realistic or loose and abstract? All things you need to consider. When I use the steps I talk about to create a world, characters, situations, etc, the only place I really start thinking about art style is when I’m creating the characters because they’re more important than anything else. It’s kind of like an actor in a movie. A line is only as good as the actor reading it, right? What makes a good character and a good book is the right mixture of writing and artistic style. Would Powers work with another writer and artist? Well…. Maybe with another writer, but the world really fits with Oeming’s style. No discredit to Mr. Bendis, though, my point is just that his world has been created so if someone else played in it, there would be a different flavor perhaps, but not a bad thing. Would you put Jim Lee in charge of art for Powers, though? Heck no! You would need to find someone else with a “different” style that would fit it well. Anyway, point here is that you need to find the right style and “feel” for the book and a critical element of that is the right artist. Clean or dirty, realistic or cartoony, etc…

Finding the right time to say goodbye… Probably the hardest thing I’ve had to do over the last six months or so is decide when it’s time to say goodbye to someone on my creative team. Considering not a single book has been published yet, it’s kind of funny for me to say that, but it applies anyway. Take the example of my fantasy book, for instance… I have discussed with probably seven artists over the last few months working on the book and none have panned out, mostly because I didn’t feel they were right for the book for whatever reason. Writers are artists, too, though they may not have the skill to put it into form, they can into words, which means they envision something. If an artist brings something different to the table, the writer has to decide how to make it work or decide that the artist is wrong for the project. With other projects, it was something else missing that was making the partnership “not work”. In other cases, it’s a simple matter of time. An artist’s worst enemy is time, especially if they are working on multiple projects, have a full time job, etc… Sometimes in the end things work out and sometimes they don’t. How do you decide when it has reached that point? This is something I’ve discussed with my wife in several instances and look to others for counsel and guidance. In the end, I have to make that decision, but it’s never something done lightly.

In regards to changes and such, I do have an announcement to make in regards to Faction. KT and I had a heart to heart this weekend and because of added responsibilities at work and his push to make a career change very shortly, there’s a change in the works. Arnie Gordon, another amazing artist in San Diego County, has agreed to take the artist’s helm and steer Faction through Rounds 3, 4 (crossing fingers), and beyond if that’s where we are guided by your support and votes. This is a mixed blessing for obvious reasons. KT is an amazing artist and is very familiar with the Faction world from our countless emails over the last few months. Arnie, however, is amazing as well and ready to show us what he can do… I’ve seen examples of his sequential work and I’m blown away by it. I’m confident that although this brings turbulence to the path Faction has taken, steady thus far, the book will be stronger for it. I thank KT for all of the work he has done so far to help get Faction to the point it is today and wish him luck on his desired career path… With his skills, I’m confident he will do well. As for Arnie, everyone please help me to welcome him into the Faction family… I believe whole heartedly that you will be stunned by what’s in store for Round 3 and beyond. Both Arnie and I share a passion for the comic book medium, which I have met in very few since I got started down this path.

Thanks to all again for the support and to quote Arnie, “peace out.”
Erik Hendrix
Writer – Faction and some obscene of other things I’m cooking up…

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