We Need to Support Black Creators Working in Comics

Y’all. I wanted to make a blog post about my favorite comics by black creators. Until I realized I know so few of them.

First, I’ll say that C. Spike Trotman and Taneka Stotts are my favorite black creators who have edited for the Beyond anthologies and My Monster Boyfriend (among other works). And yes, both ladies have written and drawn great comics of their own!

But very few comics I read are written and illustrated by black creators.

At least, not artists working recently.

I have a soft spot in my heart for Jackie Ormes and Richard “Grass” Green. Look up their work, they are AWESOME.

That said, I can do better to support black comics creators working today. I will do my part to seek them out and read their work. (I think I’ll start with Prince of Cats by Ronald Wimberly, because I follow him on Instagram.) (And also this list from Book Riot.)

Part of the reason why I think it’s hard to find comics by black creators is because…well…

Here’s the Secret.

It’s an uphill battle to HAVE black creators working in comics, particularly “mainstream” comics. They want to work, but industry leaders and execs will not hire them. This prejudice in hiring practices is so intense that CB and I wrote about it in Validation a long while ago, and the topics discussed in that arc are STILL relevant today. (The strips at the top of this post are some highlights from that arc.)

There are more black creators in indie comics because until recently, no one in “mainstream” comics wanted to hire them. Often for not-great reasons.

But then, I’ve never been a big supporter of “mainstream” comics. It was an all-white-boys club in the 80s and 90s, and in so many ways, it still is. “Mainstream” comics regard minority groups as subject matter to highlight their “otherness,” not as a target audience to make comics for.

I know that opinion is contentious. But I’ve come to this conclusion after making comics and attending conventions over the last 7 years. I’ve seen and heard the arguments all around. And I could write a whole other blog post about “the industry,” but that’s for another day.

Long story short: “mainstream” comics has a representation problem with hiring black creators. So much so that many black creators go indie and have immense success on KickStarter.

Am I going to let “mainstream” comics’ allergies to hiring black creators get in the way of seeking them out? No. I will go find a creator on KickStarter, do my research, and if their story tickles my fancy, SUPPORT THEM. And I hope you do the same.

And if you missed it, here’s a list of some of my favorite black creators. Some of them DO make comics in the indie sphere.

That’s all for now. Thank you for reading!

You. Are. Awesome.

May’s Massive Moving Sale

may's massive moving sale on kelci d crawford's storenvy store

I had the idea to post this in the Adventures in Moving slot on Tuesday – but I want to make this announcement SOONER. The announcement being: I’m running a MASSIVE Moving Sale for the month of May.

If you’ve been reading Adventures in Moving, you know by now that I’m preparing to move. However, I still have a LOT of my own products sitting around not being sold, because COVID-19 cancelled convention season.

The thing is, I don’t want to pack all of it. Because I’d rather see that a good chunk of this go to new homes. That way, you get comics to read and art to oggle, and I lighten my load for the move. Wins all around!

So I’m running a MASSIVE moving sale over on Storenvy.

You may remember my price changes from the last few weeks – on things like Johnson & Sir, Charlie & Clow: The Bonus Arc, and Dragons: A Sketchbook. Those sales prices will stay (for now).

ALL of the following sales prices are now on Storenvy:

These price are good UNTIL MAY 22.

So be sure to jump on these soon – the things you want may go out of stock sooner rather than later.

After May 22, the Storenvy shop will temporarily pause until I move into my new apartment.

IF YOU ARE BROKE – share this sale with friends who like indie artists! Make sure your friend give you a shout-out in the memo section of their order. That way, the two of you are entered to win a FREE commission from me! Two winners will be picked on May 24.

TL;DR. I’m running a sale on on Storenvy until May 22. If you’re broke, share the sale with your friends. Have your friend say “(Your name) sent me!” in the memo of the order. The both of you will be entered into a giveaway to win a FREE commission! Two winners will be selected May 24.

Questions? Leave them in the comments below.

That’s all for now. Thank you for reading!

You. Are. Awesome.

Throwback Thursday – Phoenix

x-men phoenix marker and ink sketch from 2013

Today’s Throwback Thursday is going to reveal how much of an absolute hipster I am. Because here’s why I drew Phoenix from X-Men:

I’ve never read the comics that featured Phoenix. I only ever saw X-Men 3 for context for who Phoenix is. (And looking back on it, X-Men 3 wasn’t that good).

I drew Phoenix because of the aesthetic.

I wanted to play around with shadows and light on a superhero figure, and this sketch was the result. This was drawn back in 2013, so I’ve improved since then.

But yep – I’m a freakin’ hipster. Only hipsters would draw a character because they looked cool, not because of anything actually pertaining to the character.

So please forgive 2013 me.

Still, I wanted to share this so a) you could learn from my mistake, and b) because I’m actually pretty pleased with how this sketch came out.

If I ever do a redraw of this, I would change the character to someone whom I actually know and like.

How I’m Preparing to Freelance Full-Time (Again)

preparing to freelance full time image post of author appearance artist alley table setup

If you’re a patron on Patreon, you know this already, but I turned in my two week notice at the local gas station I work at part-time. I’m now preparing to freelance with a more open schedule than ever before.

For the last year or so, this has been the situation: because of the part-time gas station gig (with indeterminate hours from week to week), there were times that making comics had to go from a full-time job to a part-time one. Then right back to full-time. It was a strain on my energy AND the energy of my clients.

Now that I’m leaving that station job, I’m freelancing more fully again.

So what am I doing to prepare myself?

Well, first thing’s first, I turned in my two week notice at the gas station, rather than just walking out or saying, “I QUIT.” This is not just to protect my ass just in case I need to get the job again. It’s also more professional of you to turn in a notice, instead of leaving at the last minute.

For the last week and a half to two weeks, I’ve been analyzing my income streams, which are these:

  1. Patreon (this includes producing The Legend of Jamie Roberts). It’s a weird day when you realize your passion project is paying for your groceries. A weird day, but a GREAT day.
  2. Making comics for clients. I have one dedicated client whom I’ve been working with for years. I have two whom I work with when they have work for me (which is intermittent at times). And I’m hoping to get more clients to draw/write/letter/design for.
  3. Commissions, which encompasses anytime someone wants me to draw their D&D characters or even family members or pets. This is usually through KickStarter, but I get occasional odd requests.
  4. DoorDash and/or other labor. However, I live in the middle of nowhere, so DoorDash isn’t as lucrative as it would be in a major city.
  5. Ko-Fi. This is still new, so I’m not sure how much this will bring in. But I’m keeping it in the income stream lineup.
  6. Consignment Deals. This one I only have to check in once every 3 to 6 months. So the income is not as regular as the other streams. But it pays out once a quarter, so it works.

KickStarters WOULD make the list, but they are exceptionally situational. Also sporadic.

I’m looking into other income streams. I’m considering going back to Gumroad to sell ebooks through (I want to avoid Amazon as much as I can). Otherwise I’m looking for new clients to fill out the gaps.

I’m also looking to launch a new KickStarter campaign. But you should sign up for the (free) email newsletter for more details on that. I’ll talk about it with subscribers in their inboxes tomorrow.

If there’s an idea that you think is worth considering, make a suggestion below. I’ll look into it.

Thank you for reading!

You. Are. Awesome.