As yesterday, February 5th, the Creators Front For Diversity in Comics Facebook page was taken down. Here’s the post that was, well, posted (duh!) in the page a couple of days before:

Hey, guys, my intentions to unify some of the indy pros for this was lofty but I guess naive. I’m gonna delete this page in a couple of days because I’m gonna take a different approach to supporting original material in comics instead of hoping for the support of others. But I don’t want what we started to go to waste. Can I get a volunteer to start and maintain a new page supporting original content for us to talk about books we like and for creators to posts links to their work?

I gotta say, I was incredibly disappointed when reading this and when noticing the original video was as well deleted. Like I mention in my previous post, I was amazingly excited for this, it felt right and aiming the right way.

I think it was abrupt. It lasted like a week or two at most. Maybe give it a little more time? And maybe they expected way too much in way too little time? I dunno. Then again, I DO know what is to deal with several individuals aiming to one goal and half way through everyone is either aiming the wrong way or just not willing to be bothered about it. But it takes some time to see it happening.

Anyway, I thought about some “points” of action we all should take in this chain we call “Comics” (after that, there’s another post from the CFDC Facebook page that says something much similar to what I thought about, I’ll leave both).

Customers/Readers/Audience: Keep buying whatever you regularly buy, that’s great and helps the medium. But if each week that you go into the comic book store you leave with 1 or 2 bucks to spare, save them, and once a month give it a chance to a creator owned comic. Browse around your shop and see what catches your eye. Or ask the retailer, or a good friend who you know reads independents. There’s going to be THAT comic you’ll always love that you might never noticed. Take a chance.

Retailers: It’s sad to know that some retailers just don’t go to the back of the Previews catalogue where all the independents are. They only carry the big ones (and not just refering to the 2 big ones here). Have some independents in stock. Get to know the material AND your customers, and suggest those comics to them as well. It’s your business and you’ll get more sales. Take a chance.

Distributors: Probably speaking to just one here, but, I know you are trying to make a buck, but so are we. The big companies can meet those numbers, how about being reasonable with those who struggle to meet those numbers? Take a chance.

Publishers: Take a chance. I won’t name names, but while doing my rounds with publishers to submit Wyliman to them a couple of years ago, one of them up front asked me:

Publisher: “Do you know what kind of material we publish?”  Me: “Yeah”  P: “If you think your work is similar to what we publish, please, submit it, but if not, it’s better if you don’t waste that submission that could work with another publisher”.

That was the diplomatic way to say “Piss off“, and yeah, my work isn’t in the same exact vein as what they publish, but what about some variety here and there? Who knows? In one of those submissions that you up front completely ignored, might be the next Bone, or the next Mouse Guard, or the next whatever-great-comic. And some creators completely give up after few rejections, so that masterpiece might never see the light of day.

And, us, creators: 3 things: Be constant, have discipline, make an effort. With every month or with every book, we gotta create the best work we have ever done. And when that’s done, do our best in the next one, and so on. If we promise something to be delivered at some point, meet that promise. Please don’t perpetuate the now stereotype that sooner or later, your book will be delayed and delayed. And also, promote and help out fellow cartoonists. You might be THAT star in the medium and you are noticing this comic you love is barely getting noticed. Use that status and direct people’s attention to this other work that is fantastic as well. Take a chance.

And to all of the avobe: How about instead of complaining about the medium, we all do something FOR the medium?

Thanks.

Mario A.~

To everyone who understood the point I was trying to make with the video and has given me words of encouragement, it is really appreciated. Thank you. I mean that deeply from my heart. I put my neck out on the chopping block to try to draw awareness to this issue and I’m glad it didn’t fall on deaf ears. But I’ve had several people contacting me asking what I was going to do for them now because they are creator owned artists.

Ask not what your Front can do for you, ask what you can do for your Front.

I am not a publisher. I am not a distributor. I am a creator. I’m going to continue to make the best comics I can and make satirical videos to draw attention to original creator owned content. What are you gonna do? A movement is not one person. If you want change, you have to help enact it. If we don’t make an overall change to the American comic market, we’re only treading water. Be creative. Be original. Think of positive ways to get the word out for original content.

AREAS TO FOCUS ON:

1. Encourage publishers to produce original content. ALL PUBLISHERS! What people missed in my video is that I NEVER SAID DON’T BUY MARVEL & DC COMICS! I jabbed them. Absolutely. Well deserved. They complain about the shrinking of the industry and then cater to one demographic. But the best way to enact change would be to encourage ALL publisher to make original content. Be vocal. In a positive way. Saying, ” Hey, dicklicker, why don’t you make an original book!”, is not gonna help. Sending email to editors & publishers, going on their message boards telling them you would buy original content if they would make it, would be the way to go.

2. We have to get shops to stock more original content. Encourage (positively) your local shop to diversify. Point out to them that digital media is breathing down their neck and the corporations owning the big 2 are gonna be more worried about their bottom line than the mom & pop comic shop’s. Our country just went through a major “too big to fail” scenario. Well, with control of over 70% of the market, if the big 2 pack it in, the industry topples. We have to make diversified content just as important as the capes.

3. BUY GOOD ORIGINAL BOOKS! It all begins and ends with the readers. If people buy it, shops will stock it. We need better word of mouth for good original books. We need to be more vocal in talking about good original books. We need to build the market. If the superhero companies and the readers who want nothing but super hero books won’t get on board, then screw them. We make our own market. We put good original comics in the hands of people who don’t read comics. Digital or print.

And to close… the last week has been an interesting social experiment for me. I’ve learned a lot. Some positive things. Some negative. Disheartening at moments. But I’ve had extremely positive and uplifting comments from fellow creators that I really respect and one of the best shop owners I know. And because I think this movement is about all people who love the art form of comics and want to see it grow, I’m taking “CREATOR’S” out of the name. It’s just going to be THE FRONT FOR DIVERSITY IN COMICS.

Thanks for your support,

Eric Powell

Creators Front for Diversity in Comics