My Life In The Gutters

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Musings on the comic book life from writer Frank J. Barbiere.

March 18, 2013 at 9:07pm

On Making Comics.

So, with the release of Five Ghosts imminent, I figured I’d take a minute to shut up about it and get real:

Making comics is hard.

I don’t mean that it’s hard in the sense of “difficult to find a creative team,” or even “near impossible to break in.”  I’m talking like soul crushingly, bank account draining, dark-night-of-the-soul-totally-bleak-reality-consuming hard.

Now before this turns into some kind of humblebrag I have to say that I recognize I’ve been immensely lucky.  Yes, I like my work and think it deserves a shot, but so does every writer.  And right now I want to talk about a bunch of people who are out there and are hungry and deserve nothing but success.

It’s no secret that my best brothers in comics are a core group of three people: Matthew Rosenberg, Patrick Kindlon, and Nolan T. Jones.  These guys have been with me since I started going to shows; sitting at the same tables; sleeping with me on floors; listening to my maudlin rants about how publishers don’t give a damn and how comics is impossible; and making some of the best damn books you’ve never seen.  These guys work just as hard as I do and know what it takes to make comics.  They work tirelessly, thanklessly, and make comics because they want to make comics.  We all slough through shitty day jobs and deal with people dropping off projects and tons of endless crap just to have artists draw our scripts because it makes us happy.  Their projects—Menu & Twelve Reasons to Die by Matt & Patrick/Colonial Souls, I’ll Make You Remember and tons more by Nolan—are all professional quality books that I would buy right off the stands if I randomly saw them at the shop.  It’s challenging, new, and bold work that is made by people who love the medium.  Yeah, they’re my friends—and I’m proud to say it.

I’ve recently had the privilege of meeting another group of young writers—and guys, I apologize for grouping you all together—who continue to inspire me, challenge me, and show me that there are people out there who don’t give a damn about anything but telling stories with a passion.  These fine folks are Jeremy Holt, Ryan K. Lindsay, Ryan Ferrier, and Paul Allor.  All of them have a few projects in various stages of development at different publishers, and they are the guys (along with the crew I mentioned above) who will be writing the next big books you’ll go crazy over.  Jeremy constantly impresses me with his dedication, passion, and ingenuity.  Ryan L. has incredible heart and gets character better than a lot of “seasoned pros.”  Ryan F. not only creates amazing comics with a fantastic eye for talent, but shows a dynamic range from funny to dead serious—plus he has gone a step further and created an actual community for up and coming creators at Challenger Comics.  I can’t even begin to say how amazing and wonderful this is; I WISH this had been around when I started writing and the level of talent that is present on that website is fucking insane.  And Paul Allor—Paul is a guy who editors ASK to talk about pitching because his short story collection, CLOCKWORK, is the most professional, incredible package I’ve ever seen an “amateur” (please forgive my use of the term, Paul—your work is professional to the bone) writer produce.  I am immensely proud and thankful to have met these guys and can’t wait to see the books they bring to the table in the coming years.

Though he’ll be embarrassed I mentioned him as he loves to write in secret, squirreled away with just his ideas, my friend William Prince has been quietly crafting a masterwork.  His book, The Judas Chronicles, will no doubt end up on everyone’s Best of… lists when he finally brings it to the masses, and I can’t wait to say I told you so.  Will brings a smart, literate and unique voice to comics that is unparalleled; it’s insane to watch someone write so far beyond their weight class with such little effort, and frankly it inspires me that there are people out there who see the world in a beautiful, unique way.  Will’s got a short story he’ll be releasing soon called The Pursuit of Beautiful Things, and I think when everyone sees what he’s been quietly growing, they’ll be hungry for more.

There are lots of other writers out there trying to make a name for themselves, and if I know you and didn’t include you, I’m sorry.  But take this to heart—I know.  I know how hard it is.  I know how thankless it is.  But keep at it—things can happen, things will happen, and things need to happen if this industry wants to survive.  And it will.

Yeah, I hope people pick up my book this week.  But what I hope most of all is that publishers give some of these guys a shot—I think the medium will be better off for it.  We need some new blood, and it’s out there.  All you’ve gotta do is a take a chance.



  1. lordofkobol reblogged this from thespithouse
  2. nocapenomask reblogged this from fjbarb and added:
    this guy’s a class act, well worth following.
  3. nightwing45 reblogged this from ashcanpress
  4. rferrier reblogged this from fjbarb and added:
    I’m completely and totally flattered to be even a blip on the radar of the talent in Frank’s atmosphere. Surely, I can’t...
  5. dan-hill reblogged this from fjbarb and added:
    Great post. Hat tip to Mr Lindsay for reblogging this initially.
  6. nolantjones reblogged this from fjbarb and added:
    I’ve written and unwritten like three things in response to this. The short version: I’ve sold vacuums, timeshares, and...
  7. ashcanpress reblogged this from fjbarb and added:
    Our very close friend and sometimes partner in comic crime, Frank Barbiere, has a new comic on store shelves Wednesday...
  8. ryanklindsay reblogged this from fjbarb and added:
    Yep, hold fast, friends, we are coming.
  9. thespithouse reblogged this from fjbarb
  10. fjbarb posted this