Comics Collections Are Fantastic (for me to edit)

mr. guy zombie hunter get a piece by jayel dracoI just launched a Kickstarter to fund two comics collections from my publishing company, Oneshi Press! I edited both collections. And I’m absolutely glowing about them. I really hope you will be, too, when we get funding! But I know that comics collections aren’t always a sure thing for readers, creators, and publishers. I want to talk about that, and about why I think collections are freaking fantastic. And, thus, why I edit them.

First, let me tell you about the two collections we’re funding right now.

The first is Mr. Guy: Zombie Hunter, and it’s the first in what will be a 3-part graphic novel. We’re calling it an art-thology, because it’s not exactly like most comics anthologies, which are collections of multiple different stories. Mr. Guy is one story, all written by Jayel Draco, that’s being illustrated by four incredible artists. It’s about a half-goblin fuckboy (no, really, he’s a fuckboy) who gets bitten by a zombie. Instead of turning into one, himself, he discovers that his bite wound is haunted by a sassy ghost named Spooky. Together, they go on a quest to save themselves from each other—and to save the world in doing so. It’s hilarious, and packed to the gills with amazing art from some of indie comics’ best: Jayel Draco, Walter Ostlie, Diana Camero, and Jacey Chase.

The second is the tenth comics anthology from Oneshi Press—Origins. Inside, it packs 14 short comics from 27 diverse creators around the world. Exploring themes of beginnings, these folks touch on everything from queer love to creation stories to space vampires to budding superpowers to giants on earth to the need for more that leads to more on-screen sex partners. (Yes, that last one is mine—the first 8 pages of Tracy Queen, V3 are in this anthology!) There are 120 pages in this collection, and every single one of them is freaking gorgeous. I’m so excited to show it to you!

Check out the Kickstarter! It’s live till July 31, and it packs a rewards-heavy punch! Every like, every comment, every share, every pledge helps us reach our goal. And we’ll need all the help we can get! Two huge books cost a lot to produce and print and distribute, so we’ve got a hefty goal this time. Please support in any way you can!

Okay, now on to why collections are amazing…

So, you’re probably aware that I’m not just a writer and blogger. I’m also a professional editor. I do freelance content editing, copy editing, proofreading, and writing coaching. And I’m also the editor-in-chief of Oneshi Press, where I curate, edit, and compile two comics anthologies a year. Mr. Guy will be my first non-anthology collection of comics, but there are more on the way as Oneshi Press begins to publish collections of work from our frequent contributors next year!

I started editing comics collections back in 2017, when we published our first anthology. It was small—just four short comics—and it didn’t have much of a theme. But it set me on a path that I’ve come to enjoy walking. The one where I get to read submissions of short comics from indie creators all over the world. It’s one of the most exciting and gratifying things I’ve ever done—perhaps second only to publishing the short comics that go into our collections!

Because people who make indie comics are brilliant. Not every comic that comes across my desk is perfect for the anthology I’m filling, but most of them are smart or funny or beautiful or heartbreaking or infuriating—or all of the above. The care and skill and talent and passion that goes into every one of them blows my mind. On top of that, most of the people who make them do so out of a love for the medium that’s notorious for not paying very well. It’s astonishing that people are out there, cranking out this much amazing content.

It takes my breath away. It is a privilege and an honor to be able to interact with this much fantastic content on a regular basis, and I take the responsibility of curating, editing, and publishing their work very seriously.

But let’s go back to that whole “doesn’t pay very well” thing…

Here’s the thing about comics collections. Within the comics industry—corporate and indie alike—they are understood as underperformers. For unclear (but often pondered) reasons, the Big Two comics publishers (Marvel and DC) decided they’re anathema. And that decision has trickled down to the rest of the industry. Retailers rarely go near them. And, because they’re unfamiliar to most mainstream comics fans, many readers aren’t interested in them, either. People fear the unknown, and they’re conditioned to see collections and anthologies as exactly that.

So, collections of comics have a bad rap. They’re often seen as a way to “get your work out there” in front of people, but almost nobody expects them to make any money, since they’re so notoriously difficult to sell. As a publisher, I can attest to having a hard time moving the anthologies we so lovingly compile. Readers just aren’t willing to take the chance very often. And it’s a damn shame, because there is so much amazing content in each anthology I edit! I go into utter raptures over how great they are on a regular basis.

And then back to why collections are so great (and you should support them)…

Personally, I can’t fathom why comics collections have such a bad reputation. What’s better than one beautiful volume filled with a rich variety of art and stories? It’s like a buffet of excellence that you don’t even have to do the hard work of curating yourself. It’s all right there for you! If you find yourself turned off by one offering, no problem—just flip a few pages, and you’re on to the next comic!

Plus, collections are a great way to find new writers and artists whose work you can follow and support. A unique voice that really speaks to  you, or an artist whose style grips you. Who you may never have found if you hadn’t picked up this particular collection. Indie artists who are just starting out, or who have been at it for decades. Folks who love their craft. 35 people contributed work to the collections we’re Kickstarting right now. That’s nearly three dozen people who are doing what they love, and whose work might inspire you.

And here’s a great truth: The indie side of the comics industry is a little more receptive to collections. Many small presses and self-publishers create them and fund them using Kickstarter. Just like I’m doing right now! Clearly, that means that there are readers out there who like them. And maybe, just maybe, you’re one of those—even if you don’t know it yet! Why not find out?

How you can help

Not everyone can pledge to a Kickstarter right now. Trust me, I get it. I’ve been there. But money isn’t the only thing we need to achieve our goal! Support comes in many shapes and sizes. Here are a few things you can do to help:

  1. Like” my posts about the campaign on social media, then share them with your circles! (Find my posts on Twitter, Facebook, and Insta, and find Oneshi Press on TwitterFacebook, and Insta, too.)
  2. Comment on those posts on social media and here on my blog! More interaction with any post, anywhere, gives content about the Kickstarter a boost, which helps more people see it!
  3. Share the Kickstarter link on your social media accounts, blog posts, Reddit threads, and anywhere else you can think of! And when you do, tell people about Oneshi Press, about our comics, about our anthologies, and about the 35 people whose work we’re funding with this campaign!
  4. Follow the campaign on Kickstarter! Under the “Back this Project” button on the Kickstarter page, there’s a little button that says Remind Me. Clicking that shows the Kickstarter brass that people are interested in the project and encourages them to show it to more people. And it signs you up to get a notification when the campaign is ending, so you can pledge to it then if you’re able.
  5. Listen to this podcast I’m on (on any of the podcatchers listed) with Jayel Draco, talking about the importance of collaboration in creative work! Then share the link!

Every like, share, follow, comment, and other show of support helps me immensely! Let’s make comics collections cool again! Thanks so much for your support!

Oh, here’s more about both collections, in video form, if you’re curious.

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