Friday, March 07, 2008

Knight and Day revisited

It's hard to believe that it's been five years since my first comic strip collection came out. Knight and Day is our flagship comic, and still holds it's own with a recent graphic novel sequel, and a host of other projects to stand beside.

Maybe because it was my first book, but it holds a very special place in my heart, and I believe it still holds the most sales. Of course, it's had a head start on the other books, and in retrospect, it is still a very strong book, full of lots of fun, lots of laughs, and lots of life.

"Take Me Away From All This!!" is the story of Steven and Amy (Day) Knight... newlyweds who are learning what it means to share everything with another person, from personal space to finances, to... everything! And they're learning that it is not easy.

Besides being my first "hit", Knight and Day had a lot of firsts for me, and a lot going for it. The comic strip was syndicated across dozens of websites, appeared in a local newspaper, and even appeared at Tribune Media's Comics Edge. This strip was my closest to beign syndicated, as well, and it was nice to receive praise from comic strip Editors... although they eventually passed on the strip. Still, the reason they passed was that it was too similar to other strips out there, in particular strips about newlyweds. Being compared to other strips already syndicated was strong praise indeed, but watching the strips I was compared to eventually end and fade away was just a little frustrating, with me wondering if I had had the chance, would I have 'made it'.

I'm sure I would have. I really wanted it, and still do. Right now, though, I'm enjoying a terrific freelance career, and am taking the time to develop my art and writing. I have a new comic strip in mind, but I won't debut it until it is ready. I learned that lesson with Knight and Day, and my earlier strips.

With Knight and Day I followed the advice of all the greats... I wrote every day, I drew every day, and I did not rush to send strips out to the Editors. I dreew several hundred strips, and even then I only drew the ones that I was absolutely sure about.

Even better, I didn't start the strip until I was ready. I spent 3 months doing nothing but taking notes and making sketches. I worked out all the problems and all the details in the preliminary stages, so that when I started the strip, I knew where I was going with it.

Belive me, if you want to create a comic strip, or similar project, this is some of the best advice anyone can give. I heard it from others, and they heard it from others, but we all pretty much learned it the hard way.

**You cannot rush greatness**

Knight and Day was a hit pretty much from day one (alright, day 6), and it was because I took the time to get it right. I've seen a lot of strips on the web that are not consistent, or have no direction. Some tell stories, which helps keep direction, but Editors are not looking for story strips because they need strips that have easily identifiable characters: strong characters that the reader can identify with, and 'know' in a short time. You simply can't make this stuff up as you go along, or you might get lost. And if you get lost, your reader's are going to get lost... in more ways than one. :0)

The book also has my first travel stories, with the ever popular trip to England, and some greta crossover work with Cartoonist Brian Hughes, and a few other special events in there, including my tributes to some of my favorite Cartoonists at the time.

Check it out at the link below. I'd really appreciate it. :0)

All the best, JOHN :0)

Learn more about this book here, or...

Support independent publishing: buy this book on Lulu.

No comments: