It was 1993. After years of dreaming and drawing, I had made the move to New York City to become a comic book artist. Luckily I got work as a penciller for Vortex Comics doing NASCAR autobiographies. It wasn’t DC or Marvel, but at least being a “professional” got me free passes to the comic book conventions. I was beginning to live the dream. What I didn’t realize was how much I would hate it.
I was new to NYC and had no friends, and it took me 1-2 days to finish a comic book page (at $100 per page). I hated the low pay, the isolation of working from home 16 hours a day and the mad rush to meet my deadlines. So when the industry all but collapsed in 1994, I switched to advertising and graphic design which was more collaborative and had more variety in projects. I figured I’d give comic books another shot…someday.
Twenty years went by and aside from getting married and having kids, I learned a lot about advertising, production and computer graphics. I got to teach illustration & design, was active in the Asian American community, started my own design & marketing business and learned to manage people as well as clients. But most importantly, I learned the value of relationships in business and in all other endeavors.
During this time, I also stopped reading comic books in lieu of reading novels, non-fiction books, articles and going to stage productions and lots of movies. Meanwhile, technology was changing the world. Camcorders allowed me to shoot short films, the internet allowed me to outsource work abroad and the computer made it easier to produce work.
All through this time, I’d always found excuses to write. I had a business blog, an online magazine and I wrote a few articles for various publications. Then 2 years ago, I had an idea for a book that I wanted to write, but some close and wise friends suggested I make it into a comic. I thought that was silly at first, but slowly, very slowly, the thought of creating a comic book began to excite me. The time was right in terms of resources and technology, and the itch to tell my stories was impossible to resist. Plus I had turned 46. I was halfway through my life and if I didn’t do my comic books now, when would I ever? So I decided that this was going to be my year of results. Results in my business, in organizing my workshops but most of all, in my first dream of creating comic books on my own terms.
Since that decision, I have rediscovered a passion that I hadn’t felt in a long time. Within two months, I had put my stories to paper, networked with industry professionals, won a comic book drawing competition and commissioned comic book artists to draw my stories. In April, I’m launching a PR and Kickstarter campaign to help fund my first comic book, an anthology with a sci-fi theme, showcasing my writing skills and the drawing talents of mostly Filipino artists. I’m lining up creators with some fame and allied with professionals working in the industry. The plan is to have it ready to show to publishers during the summer season of comic book conventions. The goal being to get publishers and media companies interested in my stories and getting me work as a writer.
This blog will serve as a venue to show my work, spread news and document this new journey.
Twenty years ago, folks I had met like Jim Shooter, Jack Kirby and Neal Pozner had looked at my work and told me “You’re almost there, kid.” It’s been a two decade postponement, but I feel it now. I’m almost there.