'Warrior 27' Writer Gives Advice on Starting Your Own Comic Book
A bounty hunter leaves his worried wife and two kids to do one last job. A young woman plunges to her death, dissatisfied with her uncaring boyfriend. A sexy librarian seduces a clueless victim into bed.
Starting your own comic book takes more than ink and paper, but it's not always easy to get your feet off the ground and start the collaborative effort of comic book making.
Chris Beckett, the co-creator of "Warrior 27," a collection of comic books, short stories and interviews, says to just dive in head-first.
"I think the hardest part is just starting," says Beckett, who worked with a handful of writers and artists within eight months to get the anthology ready to be printed.
Beckett, whose first taste of comic books came with the 26th issue of "G.I. Joe," grew up in Maine and went throughout his life without taking writing seriously. But it wasn't until he spent two years teaching that he made it a habit.
He wrote before he went to sleep and in the early hours of dawn. He eventually decided to team with his friends to make a comic book.
And by 2005, he did just that and helped make "Warrior 27," named after a comic book magazine from the United Kingdom.
"Warrior 27" is filled with comics, many of which fall within six to nine pages, detailing stories fit for a more mature crowd. Whether they deal with real life situations such as infidelity or murder, the stories sometimes end with seemingly eerie twists, illustrated by artists from Argentina, Canada, Tanzania and the Philippines.
And since making a comic book requires collaboration between writers and artists, Beckett recommends a few websites to get in touch with potential talents:
But like any early draft, the first version of the book wasn't close to making it to print.
"That first issue is pretty awful and terribly uneven," Beckett says.
But in order to get their project rolling, Beckett and another major contributing writer-artist, Dan Fleming, decided to give themselves a deadline. What better way than to sign up for a table at Chicago's Wizard World Convention, essentially forcing them to have the book ready by then.
Without a deadline set for their comic book debut at the convention, it wasn't certain if they would have finished the book, Beckett says.
But through trial and error, they were able to push through and deliver the final product in time, and he credits their efforts on just going for it.
"The best way for me to learn is to fail and take away whatever lessons I can from that failure," Beckett says.
About 15 finished comic books appear in the manga-sized anthology, as well as six short stories and six comics in development, presented with unfinished artwork and scripts to the stories. There is also an interviews section that includes questions and answers from comic book editors Joe Quesada and Gary Groth.
Beckett and Fleming are currently working on a second book.
"The trick is getting noticed because the field is expanding quickly," Beckett says. "It’s fairly easy to fall between the cracks."
Beckett expects one of his short stories to be published in the fall at Pendragonpress.net.