Monday, August 25, 2014

A New Direction, And Saturday Morning Anime For Grown Up Kids

I've been doing a good deal of thinking lately, about what I want to do creatively. I have spent the last two months or so working almost non-stop on the fourth issue of Nova Phase, which I think looks and reads pretty damn awesome, but it's made me question certain hopes and beliefs I had held on to. For the longest time, I thought that getting a comic published would change everything for me. I thought that someday I would get this big break, and suddenly my career would be awesome. I've been working on Nova Phase for quite some time now, and although the initial high of positive reviews and long awaited validation was nice, it has since given way to the very real feeling that, in many ways, this is getting me nowhere.

Nova Phase is a very time consuming project. I draft, draw, color, shade, and letter the entire thing myself. It's very difficult to work quickly, because the precise placement of every pixel is very important to the look of the finished product, and the scale of the art is literally hundreds of times larger than any traditional pixel art project really should be. There are probably a billion more pixels in a single issue of Nova Phase than in any one real 8-bit game game, and despite the scale, I still chip away at it zoomed in so close that it's like painting with your face an inch away from the canvas.

It also makes me absolutely zero money. I have never made a cent from Nova Phase, and probably never will. To produce Nova Phase in a remotely timely manner would require me to work on it like a full time job, which would mean I wouldn't have time for a full time job, which would mean that I would not ever make any money. I don't even have time to find commission work, let alone work on any commission that I did find. As an adult with very adult sized bills, this makes life very difficult, as I never have any money.

So here I am, almost a year after my big dream of professional comic artistry came true, and very little has changed. I'm still nobody, and I'm still basically poor.

So like I said, I've been thinking. After years of casual research, I have determined that there exists no existing publisher that deals in the type of content I'm interested in creating. Every major and minor publishing house is either too schlocky, too artsy, or too impenetrable to present a good match for what I want to do. There just isn't an environment for what I want to do. But what do I want to do exactly? I thought long and hard about that, but after analyzing the ideas I am most enamored with, I think I have more or less nailed it down.

I want to make Saturday Morning Anime For Grown Up Kids. I want to make the kind of stupid, D-list, hastily dubbed by Fox Kids without watching the whole thing to compete with Pokemon, Saturday morning anime, but with the added benefit of absolute self awareness. I want to write comics that know exactly why they are stupid, and then go absolutely off the wall. I want to deconstruct the kind of crazy crap I watched as a kid, but without losing the colorful fun or frantic energy that made those shows so hypnotic. I've tossed around a few names for this subgenre that I am trying to pioneer. A Self-Abridging Series could be one description, but I think  Saturday Morning Anime For Grown Up Kids is a bit more catchy. There are, I think, a few shows out there that might fit into this subgenre, though perhaps unknowingly. Black Dynamite, Gintama, and to some extent Steven Universe are good examples of what I'm after.

Also, I don't want to sell anything. I have no means of distribution, and no interest in seeking a partnership or deal with any existing entity that could handle such a thing, so I'm just gonna give this crap away for free. I want my online presence to be a constant stream of maddening content, available to anyone and everyone, completely free of charge. I'm gonna be poor either way, so I'd rather be poor and have people enjoying my work than not, so I think this is the best way.

Finally, I need to split up my blogs. Although I have long populated Doki Doki Arcade with whatever I damn well felt like, I think the time has come to focus. Doki Doki Arcade will remain focused on video game related musings, of which I will probably still have many. I'm planning an exhaustive article on Time Stalkers once I manage to get some momentum going, so never fear. I also finally got a scanner again, so getting quick art up here will be much easier. In fact, the illustration at the top of this page will have been done in like, 25 minutes as soon as I am done writing this. I can't want to see how it turns out.

ANYWAY, Doki Doki Arcade will continue to focus on video games, while my original comic creations will get a new home, probably called Saturday Morning Anime For Grown Up Kids, but I haven't decided yet. We shall see. Original creations that take the form of games, like Bird Force, I will play by ear. They will probably be represented on both sites, or maybe I'll make a development blog.

In the past, I was too shy and ashamed of self promotion to bother caring how many people looked at my work, but things are different now. For my work to matter at all, people need to see it, and for that to happen, I need to get out there. Nova Phase made me recede into a quiet place of non-stop work, but I need to get out of that place and back to interacting. Nobody else is going to make an environment in which my work will thrive, so I need to try to make one myself. That's what I'm gonna do.

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