Monday, August 25, 2014

September is "Laugh at the Odds" Independent Comics Awareness Month!

Yes, that's right, my friends! I am officially declaring September to be "Laugh at the Odds" Independent Comics Awareness Month (LatOICAM)!  I hope to make this an annual event, because independent comic creators need your love!  I've developed what I hope will be a great way to raise awareness of independent comics and their creators, but more on that in a moment. 

First, let me explain how I came up with the idea of LatOICAM.  Recently on a Facebook group that I belong to named Creators United, the subject of independent comics came up and what each individual creator does to promote their respective works.  The commentator related the difficulty of bringing about awareness given the amount of indie comics out there, and the odds of success (that is, profitability) given that most indie creators work by themselves with limited funding and limited exposure.  My response was most brutal, especially giving that I usually try to stay positive when discussing the efforts of independent comic creators (especially the one I work for!). 

Here basically is what I said: "When you get down to it; when you take into consideration all that needs to happen in order for your dream to become something profitable, then the odds are overwhelmingly against you.  The odds are so bad that failure is virtually guaranteed.  The vast majority of you will never get out of the red and you will fail, with debt as the only thing that you have to look forward to.  As brutal and ugly as this sounds, you might as well face it, here and now.  If you venture into this, then do it with your eyes open and your mind aware that failure is what awaits you.  I'm saying all this not so much to discourage you, but so that you will go into it with no delusions; face the facts with the full knowledge that the odds are that you aren't going to make it, and that you will leave this experience with your dream unfulfilled."

Pretty depressing, huh?  And yet, if you're going to pursue your dream of creating an independent comic to the point of profitability, then you will first have to face this most important fact of your odds, which are slim to none, and leaning heavily towards none. And yet.

And yet.

What are your odds of success if you DON'T try at all?  NONE.  Zero, zip, nada.  If you never try, you will never find out if your comic is one of the ones that beats the odds and becomes an actual profit venture for you.  And most importantly, by trying you will be saving yourself a lifetime of "What if I had tried?"  By trying - even by trying and failing - you will have at least answered that all-important question.  So what if you failed?  At least you ventured out, and even though the following is a small comfort, at least you will have plenty of company of those who likewise ventured out in pursuit of their dream and met a mound of debt rather than success.  

“A coward dies a thousand times before his death, but the valiant taste of death but once. It seems to me most strange that men should fear, seeing that death, a necessary end, will come when it will come.” - William Shakespeare 
Okay, enough of the inspirational yet still depressing talk!  LOL

So the odds are against you.  So what?  I say, "eff" the odds! 

Now we come to the whole point of LatOICAM.  :-)

For the entire month of September, I invite all independent comic creators to make a video of themselves wearing a Robin Hood hat, state that they are participating in the "Laugh at the Odds Independent Comic Creators" event, and that they will continue pursuing their dream of making a comic, despite the odds.  They will then place their hands on their hips, throw their heads back, and let out a hearty laugh!  And then they will invite other independent comic creators to join along with them.  After that, they will encourage their fans to also make videos of themselves wearing a Robin Hood hat and to laugh at the odds!

If all goes as I hope, then videos of independent comic creators laughing at the odds (as well as their fans joining them in laughing at the odds) will crop up like those "ice bucket challenges" did in August. So if you are interested in participating in LatOICAM, here are your instructions:

Independent Comic Creators:
* Mention your name and your work, and then state that you are participating in the Laugh at the Odds Independent Comics Awareness event to help bring awareness to the independent comics industry, which needs your help and your love.  Then state that you encourage other independent creators to do the same.  You can mention specific creators and their works, or you can speak in general, but it would mean more if you could mention other creators specifically, because you guys all need each other.  And then encourage your fans to join in the event to show their support for the independent comics industry.  Finally, finish by saying something like, "So join me in laughing at the odds!"  At this point, you will put your hands on your hips and let out a hearty laugh like in the old Errol Flynn "Robin Hood" movies!

Fans of independent comic creators:

* Your job is just as important, maybe even more important, because you are showing your favorite independent creators your love for their works!  Just remember, you AREN'T showing your love for the characters of the major comic companies, because they get plenty of love!  It's the the indies that need you, so show them your love!  What you will do is wear a Robin Hood hat, state that you are showing your love for your favorite creator and his or her work by participating in the "Laugh at the Odds Independent Comics Awareness event" and joining them in laughing at the odds.  Then say something like, "(Creator), I love you!  Keep on keeping on, and I'll be right there with you!  Keep the faith!  I believe in you!"  Then at this point, say "I join you in laughing at the odds!"  Then put your hands on your hips, throw your head back, and let out a hearty laugh!


* Yes, I am including cosplayers, because they show their love for comics in a different way!  So if you're a professional, semiprofessional, or even a casual cosplayer working your way up, then this event is for you!  You might even take advantage of this event by dressing even more in the Robin Hood look!  Bring it on, Sunshine, and show your stuff!  For you, when you make your video, say something along the lines of "My name is (real name or cosplay name), and I join my brothers and sisters in the independent comics industry by showing my support for their works!"  If you have specific creators to mention, do so here.  Then continue with, "I too, understand what it means to labor for your love and for your dream, so I stand with you by participating in the Laugh at the Odds Independent Comics Awareness event by uniting my laughter with yours!  Let our laughter be heard around the world!"  Then end with your hands on your hips, throwing your head back, and letting out a hearty laugh!  If you wish, you can challenge your fellow cosplayers to do the same, and ask your fans to show their love for you and their support for the LatOICAM event.

Fans of cosplayers:

* You'll be doing basically the same as the fans of indie creators, but mentioning your favorite cosplayers instead.  Just make sure when you make the video to wear the Robin Hood hat, mention "Laugh at the Odds Independent Comics Awareness Month" somewhere in your video, and then finish by putting your hands on your hips, throwing your head back, and let out a hearty laugh.

So there you have it, friends!  It all begins on September 1st, and it will go on for the whole month!  That means that you have a whole month to make your video awesome, so take your time!  Also, feel free to make more than one video.  Like I said, if this works, then we can try to make this an anuual event, because indie comic creators need your love for more than just one month!  :-D

An independent comic creator named Scott Markley (Time for Hugs) once stated something in regards to indie comic creators working together that I think will be a great motto for this event:  "Alone we create worlds.  Together we are a universe."

Let's do that.  Let's make a universe together, and let our laughter at the odds be heard around the world.

Well?!? Why are you still  just sitting there?  Go out there and get that hat and make that video, because it all starts on September 1st!  There's independent comic creators out there waiting to feel your love! 

Here's the url to this blog post with all the info on LatOICAM:

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