I’d like to produce a book for Free Comic Book day next year.  This obviously sounds ridiculous but, if I can find the money to support a medium sized print run (9000 books or more) – and provide these books in good time to Diamond, they’ll distribute them just like every other free book on the day – and with books in hands, doors will open… right?

What I’m looking for here, are like minded ‘creators’ who’d be interested in splitting the book into shorts, say… 4 or 5 short stories in the same book, all from different creators whom are struggling to get their content out there to potential readers.  It could simply be the strongest portion of your on-going webcomic re-formatted for print OR… it could equally be an introduction to a new story, the moon is our oyster! either way, it should be an exhibition of your talent and should leave readers wanting more.  Is this something you’d  be interested in? are you an aspiring creator?… and would like to publish some work for an extremely high profile event in the industry? please contact me if you are – and we can discuss this crazy idea a little further.

Similarly, if you’re in the comics industry in some way and would like to advertise in a book like this, I’d be interested to hear from you too – tasteful advertising for a minimal fee, simply to help cover the cost of printing 9000 books.   We could also incorporate comic shops/brands into the artwork and have some fun with advertising that way.   A ridiculous idea that could just be genius…? please leave a comment if you’d like to be involved in some way and we can throw some ideas around.

A little about me in the meantime:- I am a creator or, at least I will be when I grow up – my journey has only really just begun and I have an obvious and daunting mountain to climb for sure but, in spite of that… I plan to take it as far as I possibly can, until telling stories is the thing that I do for 8 hours every day, and not just the thing I do between 7 and midnight after ‘work’.

Flashing back… I studied fine art and graphic design in school, I always, always drew and stood out in every class as a talented pencil artist from a very young age, I loved cartoons, movie posters and comics but, the ‘nuts-n-bolts’ of my studies up until the college years were (as mentioned) art and graphic design which then progressed into architecture which, wasn’t quite right for me – and evolved even further into Photography which… still wasn’t quite right for me but, it did open my eyes to sequential art and the value of story inside an image, an image that I had created no less.  I always knew I was an ‘artist’… I just didn’t know exactly what kind of artist I was until much, much later.

Flashback continued… After a brief stint as a studio photographer and paparazzi in London, I eventually had to get a ‘real job’ in the real world in order to stay afloat – and after a few years of plodding along in a job that I hated and basically not enjoying life at all, I realised that I was no longer an artist at all?!  all creativity had completely vanished and I was on a path of doom and gloom forever.  So, having identified the need to be creative and do something I was passionate about…  in one foul swoop, I sold everything I owned, all my cameras, lenses, my car (a beautiful British Open Classic Mini… bad decision) and some other, rather bulky items… I quit my job, moved out of a shared hose and packed my whole life into one small suitcase with room to spare.  The plan was to go to New York City – and be an artist again.  I packed some paints, a sketch book, some basic supplies and off I went.  I managed to get a room in a shared apartment in upper West Manhattan (basically Harlem) with some other creative folk – and so the journey began, It’s 2007.   The art quenching creativity that occurred was actually most un-expected, I wasn’t drawing or painting but, writing.  I began to pen an original story with the intention of illustrating it upon my return home.  So… between selling hotdogs in Giants Stadium and handing out flyers for a locksmith, I was writing my ‘masterpiece’ in the most creative space I’ve ever occupied, researching illustration and re-discovering my beloved comic books in the mystical NYC – and all the time I was planning the best way to get it ‘out there’ when I returned home.  After only 4 months in the big apple, I had a complete story, a grand plan to produce it and a re-invigorated love of comics and illustration in general, a love that I had almost forgotten in the midst of a search for ‘my thing’ back in the architecture years.   Home and dry, I decided to take one small piece of my story (namely:- Chapter 2 Superhero) and self-publish… yes, a first project, ginormously naïve and riddled with poorly composed pages and lazy artwork! never the less, my little ‘print on demand’ book was real and available on Amazon for people to actually buy with money! though, I’d never advise it… there’s barely enough words on each page to actually tell a story, it’s extremely hollow as it’s just one chapter in a larger, 8 piece story, not to mention the appalling artwork!  That said, this little book is my proudest achievement to date – and started the ball rolling on my journey towards being a serious story artist.

WINGS – Chapter 2 Superhero – whom is now known as the Candy Apple Fox by the way – she’ll be back in good time, you can even follow her on Twitter … and no it’s not me that does it).

It was so frustrating for me at the time because WINGS, as a story is genuinely fantastic (if I do say so myself) but my knowledge, skill-level and credibility were so far behind my ideas that, I was un-able to produce the story I knew It could  be in that moment – and so I decided to design a project for myself  in which I could ‘learn my trade’ and gain some much needed skill and knowledge in and about the industry.  My current project was designed for that very purpose… to ‘learn my trade’ and become the story artist I need to be in order tell the story of WINGS exactly how I want it.  Celerity is an ‘epic’ in the new and evolving webcomic world and has taught me a bunch about working for online VS Print, how to tell a story, how to develop characters, how to reveal a plot and share the main idea of the story over time, wording, phrasing, voice, characterisation, order, time, journey, working to a deadline… not to mention the art itself, anatomy, facial expressions, body-language, chemistry, composition, colour, light sources, weight, gravity, sequence, readers eye, symmetry, rewards, wasted space Vs negative space… and also the ways and means to achieve all those things, the places to find inspiration and the tools required.  I’ve come an extremely long way since my first (rather embarrassing) project and want so much to improve to the point of being able to compete with the industries top talent.

So… anyway, if you fancy doing something stupid and collaborating on a compilation book for FCBD next year, drop me your details and we’ll figure it out together.  It’s time.


Danny Champion
Danny Champion

Danny Champion is a freelance writer and artist. Follow CandyAppleFox on Twitter.

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Walter Durajlija
12 years ago

You know established publishers like Dark Horse and Image use multiple property books for FCBD why not a group of independent creators.

What would the ultimate goal?

If lots of people pick a book like this up what happens next? Will there be book available to buy or will driving traffic to your website be enough?

Don’t forget that a shop keep will only invest in giving something away if he or she stands a chance to profit from it later through sales of products that follow.

You must plan for success young man.

Danny Champion
Danny Champion
12 years ago

Thanks for this, Walt. Some perfectly poised and timely wisdom, as ever.

There are some abvious holes in my rather bold and nieve suggestion for sure.

Succsess (in my head) stopped at getting books in hands and driving traffic to a website.
It’s a critical point you raise about the insentive for Shop Keeps to make money down the line.

I guess, a long term strategy would emerge from the group, if a bunch of amateurs were involved together.

A lot of serious planning is required to even begin to achieve a tangible product or goal.

Chin scratch. Back to the drawing board maybe… and literally.