My first sale ever

My adventure into the comic book realm started very early in my childhood. I was seven or eight, it’s been awhile so give me some leeway there. One of my major sources of entertainment was comics so it was only natural that I would begin developing an interest in how they were made. Comics have mastered the art of serialized storytelling, something that even television has only recently began experimenting with. For me, this was a massive strength of the medium and I wanted to see if I had what it took to spread out a story over several issues. So, my work began, like all creative types, with the planning stage.

Selfie with the past

Selfie with the past

I had an ending in mind. A big climatic moment and I wanted to see what it would look like when brought to life via the traditional storytelling methods. So, I wrote out an outline, detailing all the major events of my story from beginning, middle, and end. The story, as you would expect from a seven-year-old, was gloriously over the top but so much fun. A squirrel who was also a detective, because what isn’t cooler than that? Said squirrel was on the hunt for a missing treasure in some city that I made up. It was a fun adventure much like the comics I was reading at the time.

Even as a kid, I was very business oriented. I knew what I wanted to do, and I was going to do it, one way or the other. So, I looked around for a way to print cheaply and efferently my comic idea. This is where I began to figure out how to format my pages. The easiest way to print was to use one piece of printing paper, which was subdivided in rows that were no larger than three centimetres wide. The page was then divided in half horizontally with just enough space to bind the comic together. The next step was to draw my story in accordance to this setup.

The Italian grid

The Italian grid

I had not been exposed to comics from outside Italy at this point in my life. So, I formatted my comic like Italian comics. This means it was setup on a 2x3 grid with between one to six panels on each page. Seeing as the paper I was printing it out on was divided into columns, I put three panels on each column. Once I had finished my drawings, I proceeded to copy the comic on the only photocopier in my home town. I had already selected my target audience, which was my classmates, so I printed out just enough for all of them.

My setup

My setup

Once they had been printed out, it was time to assemble the issue itself. In order to save money, I cut each page out myself, and then used glue as the binding agent to form the comic. Much like many comic book publishers, I didn’t want the story to be the only thing my fellow classmates got from being this issue. I wanted more bang for their buck, so to speak. The issue contained a fully drawn cover by myself, the story that written and drawn by me, roughly two to five pages of handwritten notes about comics I was reading at the time, several games including crosswords or connect the dots, and finally a preview for the following issue.

The only two copies that survived long enough for me to take a picture of them

The only two copies that survived long enough for me to take a picture of them

Once everything was put together, I took them with me to school to sell. Where most kids set up a lemonade stand in order to get money for whatever interest they have, I made my interest the same thing that was making me money. The cover price for this comic was one euro, which was a full ten times the amount that it cost for me to print them.

I would continue to do this for quite some time. I sadly don’t remember the total amount of issues I produced, but it was somewhere between three and seven. I have only recently rediscovered this priceless artefact from my youth. Most of the issues as well as my outline were lost to time. However, it was fun taking a trip down memory lane with this comic as it’s hard to believe that as much as changed somethings stay the same. Now, I’m a freelance artist who draws comics for a living. If I had a time machine and went back to my seven or eight-year-old self, I’m sure he would be surprised that his strange idea would actually pay off. This goes to show you that you can do anything as long as you put in the effort.

Written by Kyle Scher
kyle.j.scher@gmail.com