I’ve talked a little about my association with ComixTribe here a few times. First off, go check out their website www.comixtribe.com. Do that now. I’ll wait here.
Good? Okay. So ComixTribe is a website/publisher with a pretty simple mandate: “Creators helping creators make better comics.”
CT is the brainchild of Steven Forbes and Tyler James, two guys I’ve known for a while. The three of us, along with fellow writers Barry Hutchinson and Mark Cooper, were part of an informal writers group, which (I think) ultimately led Steven and Tyler to create the seed of what would eventually become ComixTribe.
Steven Forbes was the first guy to ever make me feel like shit about my writing, and I can never thank him enough for that. This was fairly early on in my comic-writing career (if I can call it that), and I had written the first 8 pages of Ghost Lines. I wrote it, read it over, thought it was brilliant, and decided to post it up on the Writer’s Forum at www.digitalwebbing.com (which is where I met all of these guys in the first place.)
And Steven read it and said “That’s it? Is this the best you can do?”
Oh man, was I hot. I was convinced every word I typed on the page was solid gold. And here was this guy telling me it’s not good? Or at least, not good enough? Man. I decided I was going to show him. I re-wrote it. And re-worked it. And hit him back with the new version of the pages (which, incidentally, are the first 8 pages of Ghost Lines issue 1, and they still stand the exact same way), and waited.
And Steven read it and said “Much better. Why didn’t you do that in the first place?”
That’s when it dawned on me. I could write a script, yes. I could take the idea from my head and type it out and be done with it. But I don’t think I ever took that next step before then, the next step in turning a script from good to great. And I realize I still had a lot of work to do. I think that even now. And every time I write something, I run it through my own personal Forbes edit: Is this really good? Or is it just good enough?
Steven made me realize I really do need an editor sometimes. Most times. Probably all the time. I’ll be the first to admit I get lazy. I sometimes phone it in. This will eventually get caught and corrected, but yeah, sometimes when I’m a couple pages away from that mythical 22nd page and I just want to finish the damn thing, I’ll bang out something less than stellar just to say “it’s done”. One of these days I’m going to have Steven edit something of mine for real. I’m already psyching myself up for it. Steven also runs The Proving Grounds, where hopeful comic writers come to have their dreams destroyed (I kid, I kid, this is an invaluable resource for the beginning writer). He also writes the column Bolts ‘N Nuts, another incredible resource for the burgeoning comic creator.
Tyler James is probably the hardest-working creator I know. He writes a number of columns at ComixTribe, he writes his own books, and ran a super-successful Kickstarter campaign for the “Oxymoron” (that I was lucky enough to be involved in) that probably gave him more than a few sleepless nights. He’s established a large network of retailers that will carry ComixTribe books. He’s extremely active on Twitter, engaging in discussions of the comic marketplace and the intricacies of navigating the comic book industry. He writes the weekly CT column Comix Counsel which looks at trends in the industry with a very keen eye.
Yannick Morin writes the Points of Impact column there, which is always full of useful information and in-depth reviews.
On top of all that, ComixTribe also publishes some stellar books. And I don’t say that just because these guys are my friends. I say that because I love good comics, and they publish good comics. Comics like The Standard by John Lees and Jonathan Rector. John Lees also does double-duty at CT with The Creator-Owned Zone where he reviews comics (including some by yours truly, ahem, ahem, nudge, nudge). The Standard is pretty amazing superhero comics with some fantastic art. Also look at The Red Ten by Tyler James himself with Cesar Feliciano. And SCAM by Joe Mulvey, which is my kind of superhero-with-a-twist comic. Some really incredible work coming out by these guys, by the whole ComixTribe crew.
And you know what? They’re there to help you. You want to create comics? Go to ComixTribe and start looking around. See what they have to offer, because it’s a lot. And it’s all worth your time.
Follow ComixTribe on twitter @ComixTribe. Follow Tyler James @TylerJamesComic. Follow Steven Forbes @stevedforbes. There’s always information flowing from these guys, information you’d do well to absorb and put into practice.
Also follow John Lees @johnlees927 and Yannick Morin @moryannick and Joe Mulvey @joemulv. Good stuff there, daily.
Do yourself a favor and go listen to “The Good, The Bad, and the Queen”, the self-titled album. Damon Albarn and Paul Simonon together? Yes please.