One question I have been getting a lot lately is “when is the next issue of Nix Comics Quarterly coming out?” The short answer, unsatisfyingly to them and me both is “I dunno.” The long answer is below if you care to take the deep dive with me.
I think the first thing I want to say is something that I thought everybody knew: I’ve taken a bath on every full color, multiple artist comic I put out. (I don't mean a quick dip, neither... We're talking a long soak.) Each time I put out an issue of Nix Comics Quarterly, I spend thousands and make back hundreds. Most of those thousands go to paying the artists, but a good chunk goes to paying for local printing companies, too. I’m not willing to pay those folks less than they deserve, so any such projects wait until I have a big lump of money saved up. a big enough lump that I know I can pay everybody before I ever go to kickstarter or whatever for a pre-sale.
So, that leads to the next thing I want everybody to know: It may be a while, I’ve been under-employed for a couple of years now and am working to pay off some comics making debt. I'm scraping by on part time temp jobs and work at my buddy’s beer and wine carryout. I’ve gone back to school at the ripe old age of 48 to complete a degree in non-profit management. My goal is to come out the other side with a job where I am contributing back to my community in a substantial way as part of my day job. Hopefully that will be specific to the arts community which has been so good to me over the years. Any which way, I’m about two years out from finishing that degree. Once that degree turns into a decent job, I will more regularly put out more of the Nix Comics Quarterly type pubs.
In the meantime, time to focus on the things that usually do make a little money: My own art/writing. I will keep drawing picture sleeves for records and publishing short zines and comics. I’m also working on an illustrated novel that I plan to find an agent for as opposed to self-publishing. I get a lot of positive feedback on that kind of stuff, but I also think it leaves a lot of the fans of the horror and westerns a little nonplussed. (Cue the Blues Brothers sound bite “That ain’t no Hank Williams Song!”) I guess if you fall into the latter category of Nix Comics fan, hang tight for a while and the stuff you like will come back around!
I’m also going to make some changes. The current print runs of Nix Comics Quarterly, Nix Western Comics, and Bela Koe-Krompecher’s Columbus trilogy are going to be the last floppy versions of those books. Once those copies run out, or mostly run out, I will be compiling the stories in to trade paperbacks. That format will be easier to store, easier to lug around/ship and easier to make my money back on thanks to the higher cover price.
Another change coming is just how I go about putting out those bigger more expensive comics. Right now the plan is to retitle and reformat the punk rock horror stories so that they can be packaged with LP compilations. I’ll sell the (approx.) 12x12 books alone for $10 and with the deluxe with record version for $40 or so. That will make it easier to get my money back with fewer sales, in theory. I’ll keep using the Quarterly title and numbering for a zine that will be ad driven for revenue.
There will some changes to my “presence” too. As some of you have noticed, I have been to fewer comics festivals/fairs and Nix Comics is being carried in fewer stores. This is intentional on my part: I’ve started paring out any shows where the costs of participating are close to or over $100, which once you start thinking about travel expenses is most of them. I might do one or two that I can roll into a fun vacation, but it would have to be someplace exotic enough to get my wife to buy in. (Hah!) I’ll always be at SPACE here in Columbus, but other than that, nothing is for sure comic show wise. A lot of record shows and “punk flea market” type things are pretty affordable and I have some success at those places, so I’m going to try and do more of those. As far as shops go, I’m just not going to solicit stores anymore, or at least until I have a plan for making the comics move once they are in the stores. If a store asks for copies of Nix Comics, I’ll do a deal, but they gotta ask.
I’ll still Crowdfund new stuff, though I’ll be watching to see if any more suspicious anti-union behavior from Kickstarter hits the news. Honestly, I keep holding out hope that I can someday get to a point where I don’t need the third-party platforms to sell new stuff, but my pre-orders for “How to Sell Comics the Nix Way” reached a grand total of six copies. If I had run a Kickstarter, I am fairly confident that even with crowdfunding fatigue I could have sold 50 or so. (I’ll admit that may not be an apples to apples comparison… I didn’t do the things I dislike about Kickstarter, set like a hard deadline, set a minimum number of orders or make a video or anything. But the point is that I dislike those things!)
So… Things are changing! Since in some ways I am going outside the box… again… Let’s stay in touch! Here are the ways to keep up with me:
Website: http://nixcomics.com or http://nix-retail.com (Both go to the same place.)
Mail List (Not spammy. 3 to 5 emails a year max.) http://eepurl.com/drjijn
I also keep a separate email list of Columbus Ohio creators and supporters. I only use it occasionally for local specific events and news. Email me to ask to be put on this list.
You can look up my personal accounts on Facebook and MeWe, but just a head's up, I don’t always accept personal friend requests.