Lately I’ve been pondering some new things I can do in the way of art pieces I can offer up for sale. I now have over 40 hand-drawn pieces up in the Etsy and Big Cartel stores, but I think I really want to put together a short sketch book and offer it as a PDF download.
So naturally, the main issue is that almost all my pieces are considered “fan art” and are licensed properties I can’t sell in a book, printed or electronic. I still haven’t developed any original characters so it would take some time to build up enough to fill even a modest number of pages.
So to test the waters, here’s what I’m planning on doing. But first a little back story. WAY back in 1988, while I was a sophomore in high school, I created a superhero character called “Thundermutt”. It started off very cartoony, and then evolved into a Punisher-esque vigilante character. The premise, flimsy as it was, was that Thundermutt was the by-product of government experiments to create a sort of super soldier, which had the sight, hearing and instincts of canines. Of course, something always goes wrong.
I messed around with the character, sketching him in study hall and what-not. Then I ended up writing a serial story for him that spanned several issues of the school newspaper. After I graduated, I kind of abandoned him.
Then in 1996, I got a wild hair to create my first comic book, and Thundermutt resurfaced. I wrote, penciled and inked the 16-page book in about 5 weeks and “self-published” it, which at the time meant photocopying and binding it myself at the local copy shop. I made about 200 copies and sold them in a local comic shop for a buck apiece. They all sold and I had to do another short printing.
I’d proven to myself I could finish a book, and at the time, I thought it was pretty decent. Reading it now, it’s pretty damn rough, but I’m still proud of what I accomplished, especially not even having a computer at the time.
So in this first ebook, I’m going to take high-res scans of the original photocopied issue, clean them up and possibly re-letter them. I’ll also write a more detailed piece on how I came up with the character and how it has literally followed me around over the last 20+ years. In addition, I’ll also include some other artwork I was drawing at the time (Fall 1996).
On top of all that, there will be brand new sketches, including re-imaginings of Thundermutt and some concepts I might use in a new book featuring the furry avenger. So it’ll really be a mix of (really) old and new artwork, really putting in perspective how my skills have evolved since I was a 24-year-old, Todd-MacFarlane-worshiping employee at Wal-Mart.
The real question is, will anyone be interested? The plan is to sell the eBook for a dollar and see how it goes. It’ll also be something I can print a few copies of for when I’m ready to hit small comic cons. I figure this is a low-risk way to enter the realm of creator-owned books, so time to take a deep breath and jump right in!