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The Wannabe Pirates Comic Book


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#1 largento

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Posted 16 July 2011 - 08:42 AM

I am having so much fun with this!

The Wannabe Pirates comic book!

cover_001r_01.jpg

Issue #1 is already available here.

I'm working on issue #2 which will come out in August. Here's the cover:

cover_002_01.jpg

I love doing these old-style comic book covers with dialogue on them.

#2 mouseman

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Posted 16 July 2011 - 10:53 AM

They look both bright and clean!
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#3 Rodney

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Posted 16 July 2011 - 01:35 PM

Very reasonable price... very much appreciated Mark. Ordered! :)

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#4 TheSpleen

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Posted 16 July 2011 - 03:13 PM

ordered
"To be honest....I animate and design to make myself laugh. And if I accomplish that then I have succeeded!
And in turn others as well will laugh too."

#5 largento

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Posted 16 July 2011 - 05:59 PM

Thanks, guys! I really appreciate it!

#6 TheSpleen

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Posted 25 July 2011 - 12:28 PM

Recieved mine! Great paperstock, sturdy pages with great printing. a fun romp throughout the strip. love the humor. Well done! Gene
"To be honest....I animate and design to make myself laugh. And if I accomplish that then I have succeeded!
And in turn others as well will laugh too."

#7 largento

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Posted 25 July 2011 - 03:09 PM

Cool, Gene and thanks! I've been very pleased with the job they do printing them. Can't wait until I start getting into the double-digits and have a whole bunch of issues. I'd love to distribute them to the comics shops, but with the way distribution is these days, that's not likely. Not that I could afford it, either. I can't even afford to get bar codes so that the printer can distribute them. :-)

#8 TheSpleen

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Posted 25 July 2011 - 03:24 PM

Cool, Gene and thanks! I've been very pleased with the job they do printing them.

Can't wait until I start getting into the double-digits and have a whole bunch of issues. I'd love to distribute them to the comics shops, but with the way distribution is these days, that's not likely. Not that I could afford it, either. I can't even afford to get bar codes so that the printer can distribute them. :-)


just keep doing it.
The rest will work out.
It's a solid product.
"To be honest....I animate and design to make myself laugh. And if I accomplish that then I have succeeded!
And in turn others as well will laugh too."

#9 Gerry

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Posted 28 July 2011 - 07:58 AM

Hey Mark, what content management tool do you use for the website for updating strips, having that cool calendar grid, having comments etc. I want to do a website for Goo and Roo with those features.
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#10 largento

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Posted 28 July 2011 - 08:41 AM

It's a plug-in for Wordpress called ComicPress. There are others out there, but I'd hazard that the majority of webcomics use it. It's relatively easy to set up and has several nice features.

I seem to recall reading that active development of it has stopped. They just update it to work with new releases of Wordpress. One of the developers has been working on a ComicPress 3.0 and I want to say that there's going to be a cost involved with it.

#11 Gerry

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Posted 28 July 2011 - 12:03 PM

I did find that after I'd posted my query. What I don't quite understand is that with my Network Solutions account, our WordPress blogs were free, included in our base web-hosting deal. But when I visited NS today, there's a fee by the WP info, like $3.95/mo., but it def used to be free. That's not even including the ComicPress plugin/template. It's still not a bad deal, but I guess a lot of "free" stuff will slowly be going away.
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#12 largento

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Posted 28 July 2011 - 01:42 PM

That's weird. I don't understand how they can charge for Wordpress. It's free, after all. Incidentally, so is ComicPress. It's only that 3.0 that is supposed to have a price tag. Just looking at the FAQ, it looks like the Network Solutions fee includes a domain name, so that's not a terrible deal.

#13 Walter Baker

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Posted 13 August 2011 - 02:42 AM

Got mine this past week, Thanks! Great job.
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#14 largento

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Posted 13 August 2011 - 03:06 PM

Thanks, Walter!

#15 largento

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Posted 29 August 2011 - 11:36 AM

Yay! The second issue of The Wannabe Pirates comic book is now available! Go here to get it! Makes great gifts for kids you know!

#16 Rodney

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Posted 31 August 2011 - 11:14 PM

Mark! I just returned home from traveling to find my copies of Wannabe Pirates #1 waiting for me. To put it mildly, it was a great read. You've got skills my friend. I am impressed with the cover price given the full color and level of quality. Thanks for keeping that price low for the fans. Do you have any plans for a Wannabe Pirates CG Primer or Sketchbook in the far flung future? You've already got the makings of a 'making of' Wannabe Pirates series that'd I'd love to collect. :) P.S. Second issue ordered!

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#17 largento

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Posted 01 September 2011 - 04:00 AM

Big thanks, Rodney!

Right now future plans for The Wannabe Pirates are iffy. I hate to even think about it, but it's very likely that this current story will be the last.

It's just not finding an audience and there's an ENORMOUS prejudice against CG comics. I read it in every place that mentions them. People basically say they won't even look at a comic that is CG. I honestly thought that doing The Wannabe Pirates in CG would make it stand out from the crowd. I wasn't expecting it to make it stand out because it's a leper! :-)

I'm not saying there aren't any terrible CG webcomics out there, because there are. The stereotype is that a CG comic is done by someone not talented enough to draw their comic on their own, so they turn to Poser and the result is amateurish and primitive. Additionally, I can't recommend ever doing a Google image search for "3D comics" with your Safe Search setting off. What comes up is a sea of pornographic Poser comics.

I wouldn't be surprised if there are family filters out there that just block "3D comics" altogether!

What's really frustrating is the vast majority of webcomics are extremely poorly drawn and even many of the big comics are doing a kind of limited animation thing where they reuse drawings over and over again.

I can't tell you what a let down it is to know that a giant percentage of comics readers won't even give The Wannabe Pirates a chance. I mean, the comic was featured in an article on MTV.com and only got one click! And that person only looked at one page!

Then there's the terrible irony I've found that many people who do encounter the comic assume that it is done by a studio full of people and assume that I'm massively successful. So, where many comics are able to generate a fan base that supports the little guy, The Wannabe Pirates is assumed to be a corporate/commercial product.

The question is, do I want to get out there and try to fight this prejudice and likely get my nose bloodied and have to be "that guy with a cause" or just move onto something else?

After all, it was four years ago TODAY that I started The Wannabe Pirates thread and began working on modeling Flemm. That's the longest I've ever worked on a single project and will there really be any difference to a future employer whether I've done 300 pages or 400 pages? They are only going to want to look at one or two of them.

Then there's the fact that comics are for all real purposes a dead medium. I've been circling around an animated project and I honestly think I'd be better served pursuing it.

Of course, this isn't the first time I've had the thought just to toss it all and go do something else and I haven't done it yet, so who knows... :-)

#18 Rodney

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Posted 01 September 2011 - 04:57 AM

Well since you paint such a gloomy picture of comics future there is only one thing to do... damn those torpedos... full speed ahead! :)

The question is, do I want to get out there and try to fight this prejudice and likely get my nose bloodied and have to be "that guy with a cause" or just move onto something else?


Yes, (unfortunately) you do. Heroes are born of great causes they can't escape even if they wanted to.

There was a time that comic books were special. Now they are mostly private and personal.
They certainly aren't very profitable.
But... neither is independent animation!

If you want to be rich become a doctor.
If you want to be an artist... you really really really should be a doctor.

As far as CG comic books go... perhaps the stars just haven't aligned right yet for it.
Comics have always been kicked in the dirt, devalued and poo-poo upon.
But if folks think you are a corporation perhaps you could make that work for you.
If you've got an animated story worth chasing perhaps you should pursue that.
But even then, don't even think about quitting your day (Wannabe) job. Keep it going in one capacity or another (License it for a community project or something).

The only real question worth pursuing is: "Given a perfect world... with no obstacles... what do you want to do?"

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#19 Rodney

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Posted 01 September 2011 - 05:21 AM

Something to consider as well is that the term "3D" applies more to images popping out of a screen at us these days than it does 'computer animation' so the term 3D doesn't work too well. Not that his is the model to follow but Scott Christian Sava still seems to be doing pretty good with his CG comic effort. Apparently he raised some $11K+ for the fifth book in his series (133% funded on Kickstarter with 6 days left to invest) Granted, Dreamland Chronicles is not a one-man production.

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#20 largento

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Posted 02 September 2011 - 07:47 AM

Thanks for the comments, Rodney!

I've given it a lot of thought and at this point, it's really a post-mortem examination. :-)

• As you indicated, comics today are very indy/alternative. I can't tell you how many more readers I'd have if I introduced a lesbian into the strip. :-) Face it, though, the indy/alternative *is* the mainstream. I'm not hip nor can I access any hipness. :-) I'm reminded of my first semester as an art major in college. I had started wearing those knit ties of the day. Most of my heroes were stand-up comedians and stand-ups wore ties back then ...at least when they appeared on TV. So, I'm sitting in my freehand drawing class surrounded by classmates in tie-die shirts with the big rips in the knees of their jeans and being told how I'm such a conformist. And I'm laughing at them, saying I'm the only guy in this room that is dressed differently. :-) My sophomore year, I switched my major to broadcast journalism.

• I am not going to win any friends or enjoy my life any better by being the jerk posting on every forum about how CG comics deserve a chance and having to defend every other CG comic out there just to champion the cause. They are mostly right. The vast vast vast majority of the CG comics being produced are horrible. There are a lot of people who are interested in doing CG not as an art form, but as a replacement for art.

Personally, I see it as a valid art form. Others don't. It's their loss that their vision is so narrow. The vast vast vast majority of drawn comics out there are horrible, too. :-)

• I'm ready to move on. As much as the comic strip version has been fun to do, I sort of fell into doing it. It was never my plan. I was vigorously against it! :-) Whatever the case, I feel like I've done it. I've checked it off of the list.

• As you mention, Dreamland Chronicles is a success, but at a significant cost upfront. Sava had an enormous amount of capital to invest in paying people to produce the assets for the series and it wasn't that many years ago that it *wasn't* a success. In 2008, I took part in a discussion of 3D comics with Sava on a webcomics forum. At that time, I still believed that doing 3D comics was just too much effort and felt the Wannabe Pirates should stay 2D. Sava was very candid and estimated that up to that point the comic had cost him "over $150,000 in modeling, designs, rigging environments and props." His answer to the direct question of "Would I do it again?": "Not unless I win the lottery." Three years later, I'm sure that expense has grown even larger. Even now, with his large audience, I suspect that he may not have made back his initial investment. But, Sava hasn't just done Dreamland Chronicles during this time. He's branched out and written other series and books and has been actively pursuing movie deals. Before beginning DC, he worked in CG in movies.

Me, I'm unemployed, homeless and running out of options. :-)

The plan (unless it changes) is this:

I'm going to continue the webcomic until the end of this story, which will probably get close to the end of the year or barely into next year.

I'm going to change the comic book to bi-monthly, so that 6 issues will come out each year. With this new schedule, the webcomics content will end in issue #20 which will come out in August of 2014. At that point, I'm going to do the "BIG" Wannabe Pirates story as a comic book only (freeing me from the format of the webcomic) that will run probably another 10 issues. It will be both a continuation of the story, as well as a stand-alone story. I'm going to basically treat it as The Wannabe Pirates movie. That will get me into 2016. Further than that, I don't know. I may continue the comic book with new stories or stop it and have three graphic novels and 30 issues of comics to show for it. The comics will be made available digitally as well as print on demand. By 2014, I'll have been able to write the ten issues completely and may even have them already finished.

More importantly, I'll be free to pursue other avenues of creativity. I'm circling around an idea for doing an animated series that I think would have more potential for creativity and audience.


RE: The licensing it to the community idea. I love these characters and have spent the better part of four years now having them running around my head. I feel the same way I'm sure a parent would feel at the suggestion of giving away their children.

#21 KenH

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Posted 02 September 2011 - 10:10 AM

Sad to hear, but inevitable given the response. It's definitely something for your CV and who knows what lies down the road. Good luck!
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#22 robcat2075

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Posted 02 September 2011 - 11:01 AM

It's just not finding an audience and there's an ENORMOUS prejudice against CG comics. I read it in every place that mentions them. People basically say they won't even look at a comic that is CG.


I think those people are conveniently sidestepping the problem that most hand drawn web comics are pretty ghastly too.



apropo, regarding the plight of comics in general...

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#23 largento

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Posted 02 September 2011 - 12:19 PM

Thanks, Ken. I really want to do something different and fun with this next project and I think it will have a better chance of gaining an audience. I'm excited about it. Plus, I'm thinking in the interim, I can go back and look at the Wannabe Pirates models and improve upon them. Make that last story really look snazzy.

Robert, that comic's about the current battle line between syndicated cartoonists (who fancy themselves anointed as true cartoonists by the syndicate Gods) and webcomics. The tired line is that webcomics creators are all just wannabes who give away their comics for free and make money from selling T-shirts. What they fail to take into account is that most folks never considered buying a newspaper as paying for comics. In effect, people already thought of comic strips as being free. Sure they did get paid by the distributors, but the truly wealthy cartoonists made their wealth by merchandising their characters.

Dave Kellet has a documentary coming out about the effect of the the newspaper's demise is having on cartoonists. You can see a trailer for it on his Kickstarter page.




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