Greetings everyone,

blows dust off blog site Well, it’s been awhile hasn’t it. Apologies for failing to update what we’ve been up to, but to say that we’ve been busy is… a bit of an understatement. Thankfully, the other business I’m involved with has been continuously busy. While that’s fortuitous, it’s also meant that any spare time I’ve had I’ve had to be judicious with it.

However, Odd Truth itself has been very busy as of late. Let’s go over a brief status report and mention some of the things we’ve been doing while dust was gathering on this blog.

  • Over Christmas and into the early months of 2015, we developed two short series based on Nikola Tesla and Emma as an educational project for a company. That was a lot of work, and a lot of fun where we were able to collaborate with our old pal Dennis Calero. It had a turnaround of a couple of weeks from design to delivery, with continuous iterations after the initial colored pages were delivered. It was a bit unusual, and it’s a shame that it’ll be a while before the series are seen by the public, but I can safely say we’re still excited about the overall project (and it sucks that we really have to be hush-hush about it).
  • While the other company had a project with a carbonated beverage company, we were gearing up for C2E2 and Phoenix ComicCon, eager to apply the lessons we learned from last year. We got volume 0.75 ready for C2E2, and prepared for an expanded version of the Oculus demo setup we had in NYCC 2014. Given our dedication to VR, we had a booth for the first time at C2E2, and it was successful in many ways, and very encouraging for the most part.
  • We also met fans at Phoenix ComicCon, which was a great boost to us at that convention, and visited old friends of ours at HeroesCon. And, I also went to GenCon for the first time as an attendee, which was an interesting and enlightening experience on its own.
  • Our friends at Transparent Frog Films will debut their short film “A Bad Luck Guy in a Bad Luck Town” on September 19th at Arts at the Armory in Somerville, MA. Details at https://www.facebook.com/events/2103855209753393/ . This is a fantastic short that we were fortunate to help produce and we’re very excited to see Transparent Frog Films kick ass at the film’s debut. We wish we could attend, however we are unable to because…
  • Yeah, so we’ve been working on our own VR game based on Torchbearer called “Torchbearer: Ground Support”. It’s a on-rails shooter akin to House of the Dead or Star Wars Trilogy Arcade . In fact, Star Wars Trilogy Arcade has served as the inspiration and blueprint of the game. In the game, the player is part of the ground support troops that provide cover fire, shooting drones and other forms of assistance to Cayoti and the main Torchbearer troops across different mission. For NYCC, we are working hard to get a demo of one of the level, the Nova Ilios campaign (issue 8), and our goal would be to have 4 levels, each with three stages, and some extra stages that would be unlocked through gameplay (very, very similar to Star Wars Trilogy Arcade). So, given that the only developer that we have in-house happens to be, by some strange coincidence, the author of our current flagship series, and overall lead sales guy and overall gofer, he is going to be very busy until NYCC and until then, probably won’t see daylight unless he’s on loan to that other company.

So, yes, a little busy. The majority of our efforts right now are geared towards Torchbearer 13 and 14, making sure publication of Torchbearer Vol 0.99 (issues 10 – 12) is ready for NYCC, setting up our VR demo at NYCC and other things pertinent to NYCC. Unfortunately, this means that posts will be seldom until then (a post and a page update to our NYCC page will happen in a few weeks). Given all we have to finish, we want ensure that we’re ready for our fans at NYCC this year.

Even so, I still want to share where we are and what we’re planning for Odd Truth. Well, share as much as I can, as there’s a lot of things still under NDA that can’t be shared.

First off, we are working hard to get Torchbearer into your local comic book store. We feel that with all 12 issues combined into one book, along with some revisions, it’ll be accepted by Diamond and available at your local comic book store, along with all future issues. However, this really won’t be happening until mid-2016, given the time we need to make some revisions, Diamond’s vetting process, having to advertise the comic in Diamond Previews, preparing and fulfilling the orders of the same. And even so, it’s not a guarantee for a number of reasons that others have explained better. It also means that, as planned, all current printed copies of Torchbearer are limited edition, and won’t exist in their current format ever again.

Second, we are expanding our comic book series. While we are not ready right now to have an open submission policy (as we want to ensure we have a good distribution system in place beforehand), we are right now working through a number of proposals for upcoming series, including a few not written by me. Which, to us, is very exciting as it gets us one step closer to transforming Odd Truth into a true comic book publisher.

Third, we have other projects that we’ve started production. We know that Torchbearer will have it’s own VR game, but did you know that it will also have its own podcast? We’re right now fleshing out the details on this podcast, but it’ll most likely be centered around the KGC Broadcast group that have appeared since Issue 7, bringing news and other stories from a long, long time from now in a galaxy far, far away. Own very own production manager, Victoria, will spearhead this project and it’ll likely resume production in November-December after NYCC.

Speaking of other projects, did we mention that we’re also starting our animation endeavors? You may have seen the script we wrote called Dr. Feeny and Jade (add link here), but we’re actually in pre-production now, working towards realizing that script. Should be fun!

Fifth, we realize our site sucks. Yes, it does. It’s too slow and it’s outdated. While we can’t do much about it now (see wall of text above), we are actually going to completely revamp our site. Not only will we be focusing on speed, but we will also work towards supporting all of these different projects, especially as we are building our own mobile app.

Oh, yeah, we’ve already built it. As part of our arrangement in January, we acquired the basics of a mobile platform project, so we’ll be expanding on it and making it our own. At this time, we really are not looking to compete with Comixology or any other comic book digital marketplace. Instead, the Odd Truth app will serve mainly as a gateway for all of our different projects. We’re working towards making sure that, if you bought our books, you can see the comics for free through our comics (because that’s really how things should be, no?). We’ll focus on rolling that out first before enabling digital purchases of any of our books. Also, the app most likely will include a store where you can buy merch that you can customize from pages of Torchbearer, or our other projects.

In short, we’ll be expanding our efforts here at Odd Truth. Our primary focus is and will be comics, and those stories that are told well through the comic book medium. In another sense, comics will become a testing ground of sorts, testing to see if there are other related stories we can tell through other mediums, with particular emphasis on Virtual Reality and Animation in general. Once we solve our distribution problem (one I’m convinced will be tackled, mastered and subjugated by early 2016), we can then expand further and start bringing other professionals and new talent on board.

But, that’s all days, weeks and months ahead. And nothing can get done without doing the work necessary in the here and now. So, with that, dear reader, I leave you. I can hear the subconscious whips now, beckoning me to stop writing this blog post and get back to writing code.

Until next time.

Best,

-Nick D.


Greetings everyone,

 

As most of you know by now, last year was really the first year we went all out in our strategy to maximize our presence at comic-cons throughout the US. We actually tried to use the data that we’ve gathered over the past years to see how we could be really effective whenever we travelled to a comic-con.

With that said, we’ve attached the normalized graphs of how well (or not so well) we did in 2013 and 2014. Bear in mind, actual amounts won’t be shown, and the images themselves are somewhat small as they’re screenshots from the summary information that Square provides. Also, aside from NYCC, for which we used had a booth in the same location, we were at the convention’s artist alley for all of the other convention. Which means that we had no say on our placement within the convention, a variable that affects how much traffic can pass by one’s table.

Oh, and before we forget, all times reported were in EST.

Baltimore Comic Con 2013

Saturday

BaltimoreComicCon2013Sat

Sunday

BaltimoreComicCon2013Sun

NYCC 2013

Thursday

NYCC2013Th

Friday

NYCC2013Fri

Saturday

NYCC2013Sat

Sunday

NYCC2013Sun

Asbury Park 2014 (now East Coast Comic Con since 2015)

Saturday

AsburyParkComicCon

 

Sunday

AsburyParkComicConSun

Long Beach Comic Expo 2014

 

 

Saturday

LongBeachComicExpoSat

Sunday

LongBeachComicExpoSun

Phoenix Comic Con 2014

Friday

PhoenixComicConFri

Saturday

PhoenixComicConSat

Sunday

PhoenixComicConSun

NY Comic Fest 2014 (no longer exists, part of East Coast Comic-Con)

Saturday

NYComicFest

HeroesCon

Friday

HeroesConFri

Saturday

HeroesConSat

Sunday

No graph. After the first 3 hours of not making a sale, I packed up and hung out with friends there. Sometimes, you have to know when to relax, enjoy the moment, and say “f*&^ it.”

Boston Comic Con 2014

Friday

BostonComicConFri

Saturday

BostonComicConSat

Sunday

BostonComicConSun

Baltimore Comic Con 2014

Friday

BaltimoreComicCon2014Fri

Saturday

BaltimoreComicCon2014Sat

Sunday

BaltimoreComicCon2014Sun

NYCC 2014

Thursday

NYCC2014Th

Friday

NYCC2014Fri

Saturday

NYCC2014Sat

Sunday

NYCC2014Sun

Barring NYCC (which we’ll discuss separately in a moment), what are some quick lessons that we can learn?

  • The first few hours matter. And, truth be told, it makes sense. In the first few hours is when customers have the most amounts of cash on hand. It stands to reason that these are the hours they’re most likely to spend money. Therefore, it’s important that you can drive the most traffic to your table or booth during this time, as it increases the likelihood of someone buying your comic (or other wares that you sell).
  • Conventions follow the laws of traffic, for the most part. And traffic can be modeled using something called a Poisson Distribution. To over it briefly, a Poisson distribution expresses the likelihood that a given number of events (in this case, a sale) will occur in a fixed time and/or space given that these events have a known average rate (which could be your sales process) and are independent of the time since the last event (ie, the last sale). For the most part, our graphs correspond to a Poisson distribution, though I’ve yet to calculate the actual parameters of it. I did qualify that statement because at a convention traffic is not steady or continuous. Rather, it sometimes can drop off completely due to a high-profile event like, say, a panel with a famous celebrity. If the convention is small enough (and small here I would define as less than 60K attendees), it can affect traffic significantly, skewing all probabilistic distributions.
  • Be mindful of events and where you are on the floor. Knowing how far away you are from the closest restroom, the entrance/exit, and when certain “must-see” events occur will affect the traffic around your table, which in turn will affect how likely you’ll be able to sell your things. And while, yes, you will get some traffic from those who will were not able to go to the event, if the convention’s small enough the traffic is small enough that that lunch break will serve you better than feeling depressed on your booth because no one is coming by to buy your labor of joy and you simply don’t understand why.
  • Have something that can divert traffic to you. It’s an unfortunate reality, but we as humans are not always the most accepting of species when it comes to trying new things or embracing change. This also applies to media in general and comics in particular. Which means that, as the creator of said new media, you must entice and capture your audience’s attention enough for them to come by and see what you’ve created. Now, this can be as simple as saying to a passerby: “Hello, would you like to see what I’ve made?” If you’re an artist, you can also have your own interpretation of a famous character, game, scene, etc. on display, that’ll capture a lot of attention, part of which will be receptive to other things you’ve made. As a writer, it’s trickier. What I’ve seen successfully done by Erica Schultz is to have a number of works made that cater to different audiences. For example, say you like a time traveling doctor with a surprisingly persistent accent from the British Isles, you might be the sort of person who enjoys a time travelling Winston Churchill as you talk to them about your main body of work.
  • At the end of the day, this is a business. Yes, it’s amazing art and fantastic stories, and it’s the product of your blood, sweat and tears. But if you’re not actively out there, promoting what you’ve done, politely reaching out to people and encouraging them to give you a shot, no one will. Stop sulking on your table, stop waiting for people to come to you, go to them.

 

But, what about NYCC? Well, that’s entirely different for us. First off, we have a booth, which already changes the interaction between customer and seller, as those on the main floor may not be as interested on artwork or comics as those in Artist Alley. Second, in 2013, we were sharing the booth with Red Stylo, and as such we had a greater catalogue of merchandise to sell, while in 2014 we had the Oculus Rift, which completely demanded the customer’s attention on its own (here’s a recap of that)  . With that said, don’t trust the graphs of NYCC unless you’re thinking of exhibiting on the main floor.

That’s it for now. We’ll (hopefully) do a breakdown on how we fared in 2015 and see how well (or how poorly) we’ve applied the lessons learned here.

Until next time.

Best,

-Nick D.


Greetings everyone,

We interrupt our regularly scheduled silence to bring you some more news regarding Torchbearer.

To say that we’ve had a bit of a delay is a bit of an understatement. Truth be told, it’s been a series of unfortunate events, tragedy and just bad timing overall that has delayed Torchbearer #7. Nevertheless, onwards and upwards.

We’ve finished inking issue 7! Here’s some preview pages!

We’ve also updated the project page for Torchbearer #7, reflecting both the current status and the teaser storyline. We also have a new regular artist, Mr. Kenneth Branch, who’ll be working with us with Torchbearer. In fact, you can see his work above as he’s inked over the pencils of Don Walker, the artist for issue 7.

Also, given our delays, we’re actually going to be producing issues #8 and #9 at the same time, as issue #7 is being colored and lettered. For issue #8, we have Mike Lilly, another pro who’s worked in a lot of project for Marvel and DC. He’ll be spearheading the art on issue #8, as Ken takes over the art duties for issue 9.

All in all, we’re quite, quite excited to be moving forward with Torchbearer. We’re 3 issues away (or another quarter-volume) from completing the first year storyline (12 issues!).

That’s all for now. We’ve been really busy with a bunch of projects we’re not at liberty to discuss. But rest assured, as soon as we’re able, we’ll spread the good word about them.

Until next time.

Best,

-Nick D.

 


Greetings everyone,

Another year, another New York Comic Con has come and gone. We’ve recovered from the exhaustion of setting up, running and breaking down the booth that we are, once again, ready to come back to the air.

As some of you may have seen, we decided to shake things up for this year’s NYCC . While we stayed at the same location as last year, we decided to buy a web banner ad that ran on NYCC’s website, with the belief that it would help promote our presence at the exhibition floor, and thus perhaps lead to more sales opportunities. To compliment the ad, we also had a specific landing page for the ad, providing readers with what we offered, where we were, to ad us to their agendas, as well as other tidbits of information.

We knew from last year that, if we were to stay in the area, we had to do two things: provide an enticing booth display and also provide an overall experience that you can capitalize either on its own for financial purposes, or as a means of driving traffic to your wares (and as such increasing your sales opportunities). Unlike in previous years, we did not want to share our booth: rather, we wanted to use every space available to provide an Odd Truth experience.

First, based on a number of sources that we read, we believed that an open layout would be best. We wanted our booth to be approachable, and really tried to do our best to model our booth experience to that of an Apple Store. Or, as close as possible as we could afford, given our limited (read: VERY LIMITED) budget. Furthermore, aside from our books, we wanted something else, something very tech driven, that could both be tied to Torchbearer AND provide a secondary, somewhat passive, source of income. We spent months going through different ideas (I think at one point we thought about setting up 3D scanners and providing people with 3D printed copies of themselves) and, at the last minute, we settled on integrating a Virtual Reality experience.

For the actual booth display, we took inspiration from Press BoundFawnsberg and Megan Auman’s Designing an MBA in their portable booth displays and ideas. However, somewhere in the deep recesses of our mind, we mixed up the materials and support structures used by the different websites, and ended up building a booth out of foldable plywood (note to future booth designers: NEVER BUILD SOMETHING PORTABLE OUT OF PLYWOOD. IT’S TOO HEAVY). In the end, thanks to the brilliance of both Victoria Rodriguez, our production designer, and Reid Beaman, one of our booth volunteers, we resorted to using our Plan C: a cloth wall with our posters hanging from them.

Here’s how it looked like as we were building version 1 of the Plan C booth display, and the final iteration of this version.

The idea behind this L-shaped layout was to capitalize on an open layout where people could walk in and be approached and feel comfortable inside the booth. We (the booth volunteers) could then approach potential customers and just engage with them, eventually converting them to Torchbearer customers (similar to how Apple Store employees work). To further entice attendees, we had both a trailer we made for Torchbearer, as well as a connection to the Oculus Rift demo/experience (seen here on the right, where you see the Macbook Air). We thought that we would switch between the Oculus Rift and the trailer, using both to drive more and more attention to the booth. Eventually, we were thinking of adding a live video feed from one of our drones, but alas, one of the propellers was damaged and we were unable to find a replacement in time.

So, how did this booth fare at NYCC?

Thursday

We had a lot of foot traffic at our booth, something that was unusual to us (unless we were giving away T-shirts). Needless to say, we were quite excited. Furthermore, we thought we had fair and adequate price points for the Oculus experience (5 mins for 5 dollars, 10 minutes for $8.00, 15 minutes for $12.00). And everyone loved it. However, we soon realized two things: 1) selling time is a limited resource, one that has a fixed amount of return per day and 2) we believed our current layout cannibalized our book sales. As for the latter, we realized this was the case as everyone asked about the Oculus, but were hesitant to even hear about Torchbearer when approached. Overall, our goal for the booth was changed from how to drive traffic into our booth into how we could increase our book sales, given the traffic we’re getting?

Friday (and onwards)

We changed the booth to what I call an “inverted-L” design, with a kind of table facing one of the aisles, open space in the middle, two chairs at the opposite end of the booth where people could sit and wait in line, and the TV with the Oculus hardware. Why did we do this? Well, the table facing the aisle provided some division to the booth, as well as a platform where I could approach and pitch the booth to people without them necessarily being aware of the Oculus demo. I knew, based on the previous day’s feedback, that the Oculus would attract attention on its own. As long as the remaining volunteers could handle the traffic and ensure that there was a steady queue, I could be left alone to pitch and sell Torchbearer (a significant shift from our efforts of previous years) to passerby’s.

The first few hours on Friday caused us to stumble a little bit, as we were really trying to push the purchase of an Oculus experience that coincidentally included a book (cause, let’s be honest, we knew what really drove traffic at that point). Upon further experimentation, and some quick-thinking math, we then decided to separate the Oculus experience from the book: each would stand on its own and not drive traffic to one another. This also led to a different time and price point. Once we realized this, the Oculus experience was a well-oiled machine throughout the rest of the weekend.

And needless to say, we were quite, quite happy about it 🙂

Lessons learned

Honestly, this year’s NYCC partly affirmed our hypothesis from last year: it’s all about the experience. More importantly, for us at least, people reacted VERY positively to the VR experience. As this is in line with Odd Truth’s desires and experiences, we will seek to capitalize on this insight for future comic-cons (how exactly, it’s still to be determined). Overall, this year was probably the smoothest NYCC experience we have had so far, even despite all of the complications we had. Our staff this year was stellar, our location was great (for what we were offering. Had we been offering only books, I personally think we would have been screwed) and our traffic was consistent.

We look forward to more NYCC’s like this one 🙂

We’ll have more notes on our NYCC strategies and sales, along with notes from most of our comic-cons of 2014, in the coming weeks. We’re just about done with gathering our data. We are about to start processing it and, well, writing our analyses down.

Well, that’s it for now.

Until next week.

Best,

-Nick D.


Greetings everyone,

Pardon our silence, but it’s been some very interesting months, gearing up to our last, but certainly not least comic-con at New York Comic Con. To say that we’re excited is, well… putting it mildly. Scared might be more appropriate, but we’re sticking with excited 🙂 We’re doing our best to make our showing at NYCC 2014 is both memorable and kicks ass, while at the same time brings in a taste of the world of Torchbearer.

We also have finalized the signing schedule for both Michael Montenat and Dennis Calero, and we’re so excited about it! The schedule is as follows

  • Dennis Calero

    • Friday: 12 pm – 2 pm
  • Michael Montenat

    • Saturday: 4:00pm – 5:00pm
    • Sunday: 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm

Aside from the schedule, we’re focusing most of our attention to our booth. Why? Well, suffice to say that an LED video display takes time to build. Combine that with a modular, open layout booth, a remote video streaming source and some VR demos on the Oculus Rift*, and you’ll see why we’re so (freaking out right now) super excited for this year NYCC!

*(We're working hard to get the Oculus Rift demos in place. We can't guarantee it, however. Sorry!)

And now, updates.

First off, we’re excited to announce that we’ve partnered with Transparent Frog Films  in their latest short, “A Bad Luck Guy in a Bad Luck Town“. We’re serving as associate producers and we are loving it. We met Kyle Johannessen, the film’s writer and director, over at Boston Comic Con, and his drive, ethics and most important, the story, compelled us to financially contribute to this project. We highly recommend you head over to their Facebook page for further updates.

It’s actually very interesting to see how Transparent Frog Films has ran their media campaign for A Bad Luck Guy. There’s plenty for us (and everyone) to learn from it. For us (and me personally), it provides us with another stepping stone further into the entertainment industry, and one from which we can learn without necessarily going through the whole process of creating a media property.

Still, we’re beaming with excitement over here!

Second, Torchbearer updates.

We’re done with pencils for Torchbearer #7. Here’s some previews of them!

We’re proud to have Don Walker take over the pencils for issue 7! His style, we feel, complements the issue greatly and I think all of you will appreciate it once you have the issue in your hands.

Now, we know we have slacked on our schedule, and I do have to apologize for that. However, we’re reworking things such that we will stay on schedule for our December book release. This will, however, affect our digital release schedule (most likely 7 will be released first, followed by 8 and 9 at the same time). We’re almost through the end of the first year in Torchbearer. I have to say, it’s been a hell of a ride, but once we reach issue 12 we’re reconsidering our strategy. We CANNOT proceed as things have gone right now. Our output has been too inconsistent, and it’s just not right to everyone involved. If the full trade (issues 1-12) is well received, we’ll certainly make arrangements so that we can release on a monthly schedule. But that’s a conversation to shelve until May of next year.

In any case, Torchbearer #8 is being edited as we speak and about to start production, Torchbearer #9 is outlined and we’re about to start writing the script, and Torchbearer #10 and #11 are a two-part story, so that’ll be interesting.

We do not speak about issue #12, not until it’s time.

That’s all for now. We’re going to be working completely on NYCC until next week, which means we won’t be around for another 2 weeks. Yes, I still have a blog post due about the financials of comic-cons, and given the recent outcry over how comic-cons haven’t been profitable for an number of reasons, I think it’ll be appreciated.

Hope to see as many of you at NYCC ! Come by, grab a book, take a picture!

See you next week (in person) and if not, until next time.

Best,

-Nick D.


Greetings everyone,

We’re back from our month-long trip across the US, going from coast-to-coast at different comic-cons, getting people interested in Torchbearer and Odd Truth in general. With the traveling and some of the work our lead guy has been doing on the side , it’s been hard to find the time to update everyone on our latest comings and goings. So, without further ado, here are some updates.

First, Torchbearer #7 is in the editing stages and will be starting pencils very shortly. Needless to say, we’re super excited to continue work on our saga, and so far the feedback we’ve been getting has been largely positive. At this time, we’ve sold over 400 copies of both Torchbearer v.0.25 and v.0.5 combined. Which, if you’ve ever tried selling your comics on your own at comic-cons, you’ll realize getting to this number is an impressive feat on its own (and to give you an idea of the time frames involved, it took us 10 months and 7 comic-cons to get this far). But we’re not done yet. We still have Boston Comic Con, BaltimoreCon and our big one, New York Comic Con, to look forward to.

Second, you may have noticed throughout the weeks that we have a new project in store. It’s a new animation series called “Dr. Feeny and Jade“. It’s a short created for Comics Experience’s Introduction to Animation course. We’re quite proud of it and are gathering the necessary resources to get started on it. The script is up and you’re more than welcome to read it.

Starting this month-long trek, we’ve had a marvelous time traveling across the nation. First up, we went to Long Beach, CA and had a blast at Long Beach Comic Expo. We met up with Chris Callahan at the comic con itself, and commiserated on the trials and tribulations of creating our own comic books. Here’s some of the few pics we were able to capture from our table:

We also had an opportunity to meet up with one of our own, Dave Lanphear, with whom we had a marvelous time in LA. As to Long Beach Comic Expo itself, while we had a marvelous time, there are a couple of factors we, as well as anyone else, have to consider before coming back to Long Beach. The first is the timing of the comic-con and the second is the costs to get there and back. In the case of the former, next year Long Beach Comic Expo is going to be too early for us to consider it. As to the latter, we have to say that, if we were local to LA, we would definitely return, as it is a fantastic comic-con through which one can start the comic con season, and try out new things before heading to the big ones. But, such as it is, we are still looking forward to another year where we can return to Long Beach.

Now, here’s hoping that by then there’s a frozen banana stand at the boardwalk by then 😉

PhoenixCon was another blast. We had amazing neighbors in Vanquish Studios, from whom we had an amazing Darth Vader commission made that hangs proudly on our offices. PhoenixCon was a blast and we think we made a lot of new Torchbearer fans. Thankfully, this was one of the few cons where we were able to take pictures, so here they are:

 

Yep. That last one is a picture of John Barrowman holding his own copies of Torchbearer. Needless to say, we were more than glad to furnish him with his own copies 🙂

I think it’s safe to say we’ll be returning to PhoenixCon. The question now is whether to return for an artist alley table or maybe go for something bigger. There are pros and cons we have to consider, so there’s some number crunching and planning before we can finalize on a decision. Even so, we have fallen in love with Phoenix and plan to return.

From here, we went back close to our home turf in Westchester, NY at NY Comic Fest . Though the comic con was our shortest one yet (it was only for a day), it was phenomenal. Our new friends and con neighbors Wayward Raven were amazing at the con, and I’m sure they’ll be the very first to tell you that they enjoyed our rendition of I’m Gonna Be . We also met up with both Christina Blanch and Mark from Alter Ego Comics, who were very kind to us and humored us in resolving a small bet between Wayward Raven and Odd Truth regarding the power of one’s will.

Finally, we ended up at HeroesCon, where we met up with some old pals and made some new ones. Aside from getting Torchbearer out there in North Carolina, and meeting up with amazing creators, one of the highlights was certainly seeing life through someone who has Google Glass. A friend of ours is a bona-fide early adopter of Google Glass, and while we believe the technology powering Google Glass will be commonplace in the future (I mean, our Collectors in Torchbearer wear shades that are, in effect, Google Glass V100.3 or so), it was enlightening to see people react to it. Most of the time, Glass was treated as an object of curiosity. There was an instance at a bar where an individual was somewhat aggressive towards our  friend, but thankfully the alcohol reduced his attention span and moved on to other things. I will say this though, it was nice to capture some moments from a first-person perspective, and can only hope that as we iterate through the technology, it becomes more stylish and accepted (yes, there are huge privacy implications to consider. We all should have an ongoing discussion about it because,  whether we like it or not, the technology is coming and it will become mainstream).

All in all, it was a fantastic month, but we’re kind of glad to be back home and working on our projects. Throughout the month of July, we’ll be working on our exhibits for both Boston Comic Con and NYCC, which (if all goes as expected) will yield some pleasant surprises.

In the next two weeks, we’ll have a pair of blog posts regarding some of the financials of comic-cons, some more tips we’ve learned. It’ll have graphics and charts and as much data as we can share! Hopefully it’ll help other creators have a better comic cons.

Until next time.

Best,

-Nick D.


Greetings everyone,

We’ve been busy these past few weeks. First, we’ve finished publishing our second trade, Vol 0.5, of Torchbearer. It comprises issues 4 through 6 of Torchbearer. Needless to say, we’re quite excited about it! We hope you will be too, when you grab your copy at one of the comic cons we’ll be attending. Or, if you’re either in the NYC area or West Berlin, NJ, you can grab copies of both Torchbearer trades from Carmine Street Comics or Stormwatch Comics!

Our comic-con season started this year with Asbury Park Comic Con in Asbury Park, NJ. Here’s a quick look at our table.

Torchbearer table setup at Asbury Park Comic Con

Torchbearer table setup at Asbury Park Comic Con

While it was a smaller affair than what we’re used to, it was nevertheless great fun! We saw probably one of the best Hunter S. Thompson cosplays we’ve seen in quite some time. (BTW, did we mention we have a Vine account? We have a Vine account. We’ll be updating it more often as we create more interesting clips to share). We were glad to see our friends from The Only Living BoyBrainJunk Tees and  Laura Guzzo, as well as made some new ones in Frank Barbiere, our comic-con neighbors. It’s a shame we weren’t able to really capture the awesomeness of Asbury Park Comic Con in pictures, but just trust us: it was a great first con of the season.

Now, C2E2 was another affair entirely. This year, Red Stylo represented us on the main floor, freeing us to attend the con as audience members for the first time in years (though, to be fair, we also went as professionals for the first time, which was a great boon for us!). First off, here are some pictures that highlight just how much C2E2 has grown this year.

The panel selection was amazing this year as well (though, truth be told, it’s been good every year so far that I’ve gone. Thankfully, I was able to go to them this time around). We saw panels from our friends at Comics Experience, Amy Chu, Jimmy Palmiotti, and we saw a fantastic panel hosted by Geeks Out featuring gay characters and creators in mainstream comics. That last panel mentioned was of interest to us specifically, due to some of the projects we have lined up. Needless to say, we were reaffirmed that we were headed in the right direction 🙂

Aside from meeting fantastic friends and colleagues, as well as new creators who have some amazing projects in the pipeline (special shoutout to Donny Cates, writer of Ghost Fleet, a comic series I’ll be sure to keep an eye out), C2E2 served to remind us why we write and create what we create. Given the circumstances we’ve lived through in the past few months, it’s moments like these that strengthen our resolve to withstand any and all difficulties that stand in our way. As creators in this day and age (and one can argue since the very beginning), we’re always tested to conform, to just get by and do what others deem is expected from us. Unfortunately, that’s not in our cards, as our spirit has this yearning to build, to strive, to express itself in some way, manner or form. We’d be fools to ignore it and fools to just think that this is a need that we can assuage at a later time.

I didn’t mean to philosophize there, dear reader. But rather I wished to express a truth that I came to embrace some time ago. While one can do one’s best to plan for the future, and even when one thinks they know the future, the destiny that lies in front of them, one will find themselves more often in the wrong. While some things may indeed be set in stone, ours lives are constantly in flux. The best we can hope to achieve is to be true to ourselves and do our best with the circumstances and tools given to us.

OK, I’m going to stop before I get carried away 🙂

Until next time.

Best,

-Nick D.


Greetings everyone,

Last week, a couple of things happened which prompted the impetus to write this post. First, I saw an advanced screening of Oculus thanks to the Reddit team at Relativity Media, who were kind to invite the reddit community to a screening in NY after Karen Gillan’s iAmA. Second, How I Met Your Mother ended last week, to reactions from the fan community that were… nonplussed, to say the least. Lastly, I received an interesting e-mail.

What do they all have in common?

Criticism.

It’s a fact that we, as creators, are subject to criticism the moment we create something. And that both a good thing and a bad thing. We, as creators, cannot create in a vacuum, and must appreciate when others point out our virtues and our faults. It’s the only way we can really grow. The alternative is either not creating or surrounding yourself with Yes men who’ll agree to anything then act completely shocked when the product you’ve made is well… crap (*cough* Jar-Jar Binks *cough*).

But when is it appropriate to incorporate the criticisms and when is it alright to stick to your vision, regardless of the audience’s reaction?

Let me explain why I pose this question. At the Oculus screening (which, BTW, if you are a fan of horror movies, I HIGHLY RECOMMEND going to see it this weekend), the audience were disgruntled by certain aspects of the movie. And were quite, quite vocal about it. While I disagreed with the criticism (again, I thought it was a great movie), I wondered how, if the studio listened to them, it would affect the movie. Would it change how it’s marketed? Perhaps limit its release? Maybe *gulp* force scene reshoots? Unlikely outcomes, yes, but it’s not like it’s unheard of. Will Smith’s movie “I Am Legend” ‘s ending was reshot after an early screening, which in my opinion was a disservice to the movie. If you doubt the power of the vocal criticism, take a look at How I Met Your Mother’s season finale. Yes, its ending had been planned almost a decade in advance, but enough people were dissatisfied that an alternate ending is being released on the DVD box set, as a gesture to appease said disgruntled fans.

So, when all’s said and done (and collated and analyzed with spreadsheets, no less), what are we to do? Naturally, there’s no straightforward answer, but the best I can offer is for you, fellow creator, is some advice. Have the strength to believe in yourself and your vision, regardless of the obstacles and nay-sayers you face, while at the same time have the confidence in yourself to embrace that which will help you and lead you to become better (and consequently create a better product). A creator’s role undoubtedly forces one to reevaluate oneself, hopefully leading to a true self-assessment of one’s virtues and faults. Without it, we risk inviting hubris or paralyzing timidity into our soul, neither of which are good for us.

But please, at the end of the day, if ten people are telling you that the road ends at the top of the cliff, don’t go driving off thinking there’s more road ahead. At the very least, stop the car and check the path, ok?

Oh, what was that last thing I mentioned? Ah yes, the email I got. I was very fortunate to have gotten an email from an individual at Dark Horse who read Torchbearer and gave me some constructive feedback. I don’t really care to name names, as that’s not important. What is important is that Torchbearer was praised as a work of professional grade.

Not bad for our first series. 🙂

And yes, we’ve had our own fair share of bad reviews. Here’s my favorite “bad” review. And another one. Whenever I start getting too grandiose in my self-confidence, I look up these reviews to bring me down to earth. Conversely, when I feel like shit, there are a couple of emails I’ve received that pep me up and remind me that this is all worthwhile. It’s important to acknowledge both the great reviews and the not-so great. In the end, if what you make is good, it’ll withstand those who don’t “get it”. Even a classic like “The Usual Suspects” got a poor review. From Roger Ebert, no less.

So, with that, dear reader, I hope it helps you in appreciating criticism and helping you react to it. Hopefully, it brings you that much closer to getting your work out there for others to read and enjoy.

Until next time.

Best,

-Nick D.


Greetings everyone,

To say that things have been quiet on this site would be an understatement, I think. Our silence hasn’t been due to a lack of information, but rather the convergence of circumstances starting out with my other business interfering with Odd Truth as a result of a client’s failure to pay his debt for services that were rendered and culminating with me personally feeling like shit after several months of just frankly feeling like a failure. And while I promise you, dear reader, that one day I’ll go over in detail what exactly transpired and how I “got myself out of the gutter”, as it were, at this time it’s best to press on forward.

After all, stories need to be told, pages need to get produced and life goes on.

So, updates.

First, we finally have our second trade ready!!!

Here’s the cover:

Torchbearer Vol. 0.50: Foundations and Appearances

Torchbearer Vol. 0.50: Foundations and Appearances

Gorgeous, isn’t it?

Both Michael Montenat and Ron Riley, the artists for both the cover and issues 4-6, have done an amazing job bringing to life these issues of Torchbearer.

To us, this second trade is the realization of a methodical plan. Our first volume of Torchbearer is designed to encompass the first complete storyline of Torchbearer, conveniently designed around 12 issues (or, a year as I like to call it). While it’d be great to have the rich, detailed storyline immediately available at once, it’s financially impossible at this time to do so. Thus, we here at Odd Truth came up with a compromise: produce the issues and, for the first year, release them as four volumes, each with three issues + additional information. That way, we can provide a fulfilling story with (we hope) a rich experience while being able to afford doing what we love. After all, why else would we have such a weird numbering system like 0.25 for our volume, right?

In any case, this reality means two things:

  1. Once issue 12 is published, all issues 1-12 will henceforth be sold  as one volume.
  2. There will only ever be 2,500 copies of each quarter volume. Period. Full stop. No reprints once we sell out of them. We’ll only reprint full volumes.

But really, amidst all these facts and figures, there’s one little tidbit in the trades that our printers, Keness, executed flawlessly.

Let me show you:

photo-bindings

See, that little slab of an image at the end of the binding that never quite made sense on our first published volume. And that’s because it really is just a slice of a greater whole, an image that our readers of issues 4 and 5 will recognize as the banner of our namesake resistance movement, The Torchbearers. Only once you have that second trade do you realize what’s really going on (an apt metaphor for the series, we think, as well).

Anyway, I’m personally gushing with pride, as you can tell. 🙂

I’m also very proud to say that our second trade will make its debut at Asbury Park Comic Con this weekend, kicking off the start of our convention season! This year, we’re being a tad bit aggressive with our comic con attendances . We have 10 in total, 8 confirmed as exhibitors, 1 as a plain ol’ pro, and we’ll be going from coast to coast. As always, our events page will have up-to-date information on all of the comic cons and events we’ll be attending.

So, that’s it for now, everyone. There’ll be another post tomorrow regarding criticism and how to react to defeat and insurmountable odds. Next week we’ll talk about Asbury Park and, well… something else. I don’t know what yet, but it’ll be something interesting, I’m sure.

Until then.

Best,

-Nick D.


Greetings everyone,

As you’ve noticed, we’ve recently had to scale back on the frequency of updates regarding the latest happenings here at Odd Truth. To be honest, the main reason has been because of my day job. We’re about to deploy an app I’ve been redesigning for the past few months, so for the past few weeks it’s been nothing but working on this. Thankfully, the deadline is coming up soon and things will return to normal after that.

Surprisingly, that doesn’t mean work has stopped to a halt: just updates about our work. 😉 We’re right now halfway through coloring issue 6, and I’m right now deciding on covers for the second trade, which will go on sale first at Asbury Park Comic Con. The script for issue 7 is settled on, though I’m diverting attention from it to finish the script for my first graphic novel, tentatively titled “Alex and Veronica”. I’ve been talking about it openly since BaltimoreCon and recently I’ve decided to finally finish it, with the hopes that it’ll be ready for NYCC 2014.

Aside from that, if you follow me on the Comics Experience forums, you’ll notice that I’ve recently started a topic on making comics during harsh economic times (like the Great Recession we’re living through). It all stemmed from this article that pointed out how the business world is reacting to the dwindling of the middle class. I was (and still am) under the impression that, in the US, reading comics is mostly done by children and members of the middle class. At the time I started the forum post, I didn’t have data to back this up: only childhood impressions and a gut feeling. Getting readership data is tricky in the comics industry, as most companies are adverse to share their market analysis data. Comixology has done a good job at publishing some of their data. Even so, I’ve managed to get more data pointing to the fact that lower income children are more likely to watch TV than read, as well as that, at least for DC comics New 52 readers, they tend to earn 60K or less a year. Conclusive data? Not even remotely, but it does point to the fact that reading comics is common among the middle class. Which would mean that, taking the NYTimes article at face value, the comic book reading market is slowly dwindling as the middle class shrinks.

Not good news, I thought.

I understand that, as indy creators, we tend to favor passionate, personal projects over those that are inherently commercial ventures, but we must never forget that, at the end of the day, we are still an industry and cannot be blind to the market realities. Though we can’t control them, we can control how we react to them. That fact was pointed out in the NY Times article and we should take heed of it as well.

Which begs the ultimate question: what can we do, both individually and as an industry?

I think the first course of action is to try to use the market available to us right now: whether it’s the local comic book stores, comic cons and what have you, and build up our connections. This is pretty standard advice and in any business it needs to be done. Aside from that, perhaps it would be advantageous to start expanding outside of the US. If we take Comixology’s audience infographic at face value, then it’s advantageous to target markets outside of the US. Admittedly, this is sound advice regardless of the current economic environment. After all, increasing one’s market is always good, right?

We may also consider targeting the affluent by creating more high-value items, like leather bound copies of our books, or by creating high-value experiences based off of our intellectual property. The “experience” angle comes due to my realization that, as comic cons become more pop-cultural events and less about comic books, the audience at the comic con will look more for experiences they can enjoy at the moment. As such, we should meet those needs and find a way people can enjoy the experience of our books immediately, thus enticing them to know more and (hopefully) procure a copy.

Two points were brought up at the Comics Experience forum: the first is perhaps the need to factor crowdsourcing. Personally, I’m more adverse to crowdsourcing as a crowdsourcing campaign can be just as time-consuming as freelance contracting for me. However, it’s undeniable that many have had success through crowdsourcing. More importantly, it provides you with access to an audience known to be dedicated to the projects they sponsor, which is the best audience one can find. As Gannon Beck of Space Corps pointed out, we’re really at the infancy of online crowdsourcing, and other models like Patreon (where one acts as a patron of a creator) or Pave (where one can directly fund someone’s project or pay off their student debt) can provide alternatives to Kickstarter and Indiegogo. 

Another point is to pursue another business model, akin to Netflix. While it sounds appealing from a customer’s perspective, to be frank it would suck as a creator. Paraphrasing the link from a netflix-like service, Comics Fix, you make money based off of how many pages of your content is seen in a quarter compared to all pages available, after the company takes off all operations costs out of its gross sales. I would be surprised if other competing services don’t follow a similar model. Naturally, if your comic is popular, you have nothing to worry about. If it’s not, it’s potentially a pretty raw deal. :-/

The truth is, no one knows what the answers are, or how we must react. Even the big 2 learn every day how to react to the market. What we must appreciate is that the facts are there and we must plan ahead in whatever fashion we realize is best to our long-term growth.

And with that, I leave you to hide back in my cave for another week or so as I finish this project.

Until next time,

-Nick D.

PS. Did I mention that all copies of Torchbearer are 99 cents now on Comixology for the next month? You should grab a copy now (and rate them please!) before they come back up in price!