Last October, I had the pleasure of attending an Atlantic Center for the Arts residency with Paul Pope, Craig Thompson and Svetlana Chmakova (see previous ACA posts – part 1, part 2, part 3, & part 4). One afternoon, I went over to see what was going on in the Craig Thompson group studio. There sitting on the table was a stunning new comic page by Craig. It was his introduction to Fabio Moon and Gabriel Ba’s Daytripper trade.
I was utterly enthralled with the piece. First, it was an original piece of Craig Thompson’s art in my hands!! Second, it was such a gorgeous page, I got lost looking at Craig’s lush brushwork, patterns and hand lettering. Third, I found what Craig said in the page to be a very insightful. But more than anything, I was mesmerized by the idea that Craig had done the introduction as a COMIC. Now maybe doing an intro as a comic isn’t a groundbreaking idea to everyone, but it was to me. It hit me hard and I began to think or rethink lots of different possibilities. You could take virtually anything and “do it as a comic”. I was so captivated by the piece, I actually stood there and drew it in my sketchbook (see below) so I could have it for inspiration until the Daytripper trade came out. After I got done staring at the piece for an hour and a half, one of the artists in Craig’s group, the amazing Jake Wyatt, told me that Craig was really worried the introduction wasn’t any good and that he hadn’t actually “said anything” with it.” Over dinner that night, I got a chance to tell Craig how amazing and powerful I thought it was. I worry he was too humble to accept my sincerity.
I was reminded of that Craig Thompson story because I’ve recently seen a couple creators do promos/ads for their projects as a comic instead of just the typical static illustration or poster. And I LOVE that idea of just “doing it as a comic.”
Jay Faerber and artist Simone Guglielmini have a new series coming out from Image Comics called Near Death. To promote the comic, Image did a sweet poster of the cover of issue #1 by Tomm Coker. Doing a cool promo poster is always a good idea (especially when you have someone as amazing as Tomm doing it), but it doesn’t really get the logline of your average series across. So Jay and Simone did a 3-page promo story that spells out the premise of their book. The promo straddles the line and is basically a comic and an ad at the same time. They’ve even managed to work in testimonials from Brian K. Vaughn and John Layman. The idea and execution is absolutely brilliant! And extremely effective as well. I’d be way more inclined to pick up Jay’s book after reading the promo comic than if I’d just seen the cover to #1 (and I don’t mean any offense to Tomm Coker with that remark).
Another example of “doing it as a comic” I’ve seen recently was for Shane and Chris Houghton’s comic Reed Gunther. I think Shane and Chris felt Reed Gunther was being unfairly categorized as an “All-Ages Kids Book”. But instead of just slapping a blurb on their book saying, “A comic for everyone” or something like that, they did 2-page comic explaining the idea instead. And I think it turned out great. It honestly made me take notice of the series more than any of the other promo images they’ve done.
And the last example I thought of is some of the promos that J. Scott Campbell did for Danger Girl and Wildsiderz. The Danger Girl promo was a fun little 2-page comic that not only got the series premise across, but also showcased it’s fun factor and sense of humor. With Wildsiderz, Jeff pushed things quite a bit more and basically did a 10-page comic trailer for the series.
Now I’m sure I’m missing some really obvious ones, so help me out if you guys think of any and mention them in the comments.