October and November are going to be busy months for me. This past weekend, I attended Supermegafest, which is a comic con held in Massachusetts. I went there with the sole purpose of selling books and learning more about comics and graphic novels. I know nothing about comics. The only comics I recall reading when I was younger were Archie comics. I later read Heavy Metal and Judge Dredd. I’m not into Marvel or D. C. Comics at all. Superheroes don’t do a thing for me.
That said, I’ve long wondered what some of my stories would look like in comic book form. In particular, I’d like to turn my work-in-progress collection of erotic retellings of fairy tales into comic books. This print book is going to be called Happily Ever After: A Collection Of Erotic Fairy Tales. I’d like to release several of the individual short stories as comic books. The problem is I have absolutely no idea where to begin to accomplish this feat.
One panel at Supermegafest helped a great deal. It was a beginners guide to making comics and graphic novels. I’m off to a good start since I have written most of the stories in my collection. I’ve written erotic retellings of the following fairy tales:
Little Red Riding Hood
Puss In Boots
The Shoemaker and the Elves
The Three Billy Goats Gruff
Thumbling (aka Thumbelina)
Mud Licker (based on a creature from Japanese folklore called an akaname.)
The Pied Piper
The Little Mermaid
Sweet Spot (based on an Irish legend)
Other fairy tales I’m considering are as follows:
The Boy Who Drew Cats
The Magic Paint Brush
The Mirror of Matsumaya
The Old Woman In The Wood
The Poor Millers Boy and the Cat
The Golden Goose
The Fox and the Cat
The Thief and his Master
The Girl Without Hands
Eroticism in comics is already a thing. You’ll find adult content in comics like Preacher, Sin City, Ironwood, and that aforementioned old classic Heavy Metal.
I have an advantage in that I have several stories that are very visual that lend themselves easily to a comic format. The first ones I’d like to tackle are Cinderella , Mud Licker, and The Shoemaker and the Elves. Some stories are meant only to be read while others work in an artistic viewing.
The challenge for me is finding an artist. Do I want to pay an artist up front for artwork at a flat fee per page or do I want more of a partnership/collaboration where we are both paid via royalties alone? What can I afford? How do I raise money to fund the projects? Pen and ink comics may start at about $75 per page. Color and dialogue will add to the price per page. I would like a more realistic and dark-themed artist to work with. I’m aware of some artists whose style resembles anime but I don’t think that style would work well with my stories. Maybe I could start with black and white pen and ink comics and as I make money upgrade to full color.
How to find artists? There are many ways. Network on Facebook and Twitter to talk to artists who are interested in creating erotic retellings of fairy tales. Go to conventions that feature artists and talk to the ones whose work I like the most. Look to Craigslist and Deviant Art. Set up a GoFundMe or Kickstarter to raise money to pay an artist. I’m not sure the last would work for me since I’m unknown and I’ve never done such a project before.
I majored in art in college so I could possibly create the comic books myself, but I’m not sure I have the proper skill set to pull it off. Pen and ink, maybe. Color, definitely not. I need to purchase comics in the styles I like to see how it’s done. I already own some comics including Tomb Raider, Ruse, Dawn, and The League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen. I bought some comic books at Supermegafest. They are L. I. S. (Lesbians In Space), Awake: Volume 1, Gremon’s Wrath, Rapid City: Objects At Rest, and The Séance Room. All are in color except for Rapid City, which is pen and ink.
According to The 8-Step Guide To Creating And Publishing Your Own Comic Book, the first thing you need is the idea. I have that. The second thing you need is a script. While my stories are already written, I need to rewrite them in a script format that works with comics. That means designing each page with the relevant material from the stories – breaking them down into pages and blocks. Each page should inspire the reader to turn to the next page. One suggestion is to end each page on a cliffhanger. Create thumbnails, which are similar to storyboards. That way, I can see how the story progresses from block to block and page to page.
Next is to create the comic by drawing it. Some do it by hand and others use a program like Manga Studio Ex. It doesn’t have to be perfect. Worry about perfecting it later when it’s time for pen and ink.
The next step is inking and coloring. Create depth and perfect the comic at this stage.
When lettering, choosing a font is important. If the reader is unable to read your comic, it obviously won’t sell. Blambot is the biggest collection of comic fonts out there. You may find free and paid fonts at Blambot. Use fonts that are easy to read and fit the mood of your comic.
Finally, there is marketing, the bane of existence for many writers. Marketing is much the same for comic books as it is for fiction writers. Know your audience. Use social media like Facebook and Twitter to promote your project. Advertise in appropriate locations. I plan to ask Long and Short Reviews, Manic Readers, and Night Owl Reviews if they would take advertising for erotic comic books.
I have a lot of work ahead of me, but it will be fun. First, I want to finish my collection of erotic retellings of fairy tales and self-publish it at Amazon. I plan to release it in 2018. I’ve self-published two erotic fairy tale novellas a few years ago and they sold well. They are Trouble In Thigh High Boots (Puss In Boots) and Climbing Her Tower (Rapunzel). I would like to release the comic book versions of some of those tales a few months after the collection is published. This is going to be an adventure that I’m looking forward to.