Don’t Mess with Frenchy!
This week’s comic strip features Frenchy being that strong, stand-up-for-yourself character we all wish we could be. You can see why Frenchy is so popular with my readers. She is that brave soul we all aspire to be. You mess with Frenchy and you are going to “get yours”!
HEROES…. we all need heroes.
Heroes can be mutated beings with amazing powers or they can be an artist you admire… or that aunt or uncle you love so much. A hero is someone you admire and aspire to be or whom you just wish you could be. We are naturally drawn to be fans of the people we share aspirations with.
Everyone needs a hero and I dare say that everyone, deep down inside, eyes someone they perceive as their hero. Even the heroes we look to all have heroes of their own. For me and many other cartoonists, Charles M Schulz is the hero of the cartooning world. The Peanuts creator took the daily cartooning industry and molded it into the most astounding daily read for generations of comics fans. Charles M. Schulz took story writing to the next level influencing Berke Breathed, Jim Davis, Stephen Pastis and many other legends.
As all powerful and mighty as Charles M. Schulz was, even HE had a hero. The Charles M Schutz Museum shares that Milton Caniff was a major influence on the legend who influenced the legends who followed. Milton was the brilliant cartoonist behind Terry and the Pirates and Steve Canyon.
The daily comic strip industry was booming when I was a kid. I read the comics section every single day. Sadly, those days have grinded to a halt. My new mission is to return the excitement, the originality, and the fervor which once coursed through my being.
What is missing in comic strips these days?
I truly believe the comic strips today are all very good. So what is missing? The answer for me is quite simple. The industry needs a fresh, zany, WOW-FACTOR with a classic feel. There are several undiscovered comic strips out there who fit that bill, including my comic strip Charmy’s Army.
The problem today revolves around the syndicates. They are not willing to invest in promoting a new comic strip. I cannot blame them. With newspapers going out of business and most of which are shrinking their comic section, it makes no sense for a syndicate to take on a new comic strip. It is just too risky.
Times are changing… and so are the opportunities. The challenge is identifying new money-making opportunities. They are out there but you have to work very hard to succeed. Over the past 5 years I have tried all sorts of avenues for success and found all these roads to be deadends… until lately.
Hitting comic cons and booking tables in Artist Alley has been very expensive. You do not make any money the first three years. I do not care what people tell you, there is no money until you build an audience and a fan base. After 4 years, I have built a small fan base who support me show after show… yet they only make up funding to cover part of my table cost. Hotels and gas are up in the air so shows are still a huge risk even after 4 years. I am hoping this year will continue to see that fan base grow. I see a lot of cartoonists, who have been doing these shows for a decade or more, making descent money at these shows… but they all have day jobs.
For me, success comes by multiple efforts. On top of my show appearances in Artist’s Alley, I am now working on a series of digital comic books which will hopefully launch mid-summer. I am also going to begin producing more videos, Interactivity with your readers is key. Chatting and listening to your fans is very important. They know what they like, so listening to them discuss what they love about your strip…. or find confusing with your strip, is very important.
Consumers buy products when advertisers pitch the consumer as the hero of their story. I am the product being sold…. it is not my comic strip. My goal for 2019 is to pitch myself to my readers so THEY feel like the hero. Stay TOON’ed to my blog and watch the changes I am making… and watch my success blow up!
#comics #charmysarmy #comicstrips