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Secrets of The Sire

I recently mentioned to a friend of mine that I knew quite a few people that either work at or used to work at Marvel Comics in various positions like editor, online, special projects etc. His immediate reaction was “Wow, that would be huge if you could get a job there.”

Except I thought about it for a split second and came back with, “Yeah, but not really…”

Unless I was working strictly creative (writing, coloring etc), the thought of working in a glass box just isn’t appealing to me these days. Part of it is my entrepreneurial spirit, the other part is that I actually worked at Wizard Magazine for a good 5 years and departed right before the bottom started to collapse, so I knew first hand what it’s like to be near something you want so bad and not quite actually have it.

I even got offered an interview to be an editor at Marvel around the same time (of which I regret not at least pursuing, but that’s a story for another time…like Friday with my guest Mike Marts)

But in the back of my mind, working in and around comics just isn’t the same as working ON comics for me. Which is why the notion of the glass box comes to mind. You can look but can’t touch. And in the end, whether good or bad, right or wrong, every decision I’ve made has been with that notion in mind.

Mike Marts Editor After Shock Comics

Wanna know what it’s like to work for the Big Two? What about taking the plunge to help START your own comic book company? Our guest, editor Mike Marts, can clue us in on both as he’s walked both worlds as Executive Editor for the X-Men and Batman lines and has branched out with upstart After Shock Comics.

Get your questions in below and we’ll ask them Friday 11am EST on Talking Alternative. Or log into my Periscope handle @Michael_Dolce to live stream and chat with us then. Catch up on previous shows! Download our podcast on iTunes!

Relive one our most popular and controversial topics! Which new comic book movie in 2016 do you think is poised to become the next Guardians of the Galaxy? If you said the Deadpool movie you are absolutely, 100 percent…wrong!

You can listen above or download us on iTunes or any podcasting app on your iOS or Android phone. Just search “Secrets of the Sire” or “Host Michael Dolce” to find us.

Or you can head to our Soundcloud page and catch up on any podcast you may have missed!

Which new comic book movie in 2016 do you think is poised to become the next Guardians of the Galaxy? If you said the Deadpool movie you are absolutely, 100 percent…wrong!

Wait what?

It’s got all the makings of a sleeper hit: a rabid fanbase, a lesser known character that populates a larger more popular universe, a rabid fanbase, cool special effects and a heavy dose of humor, a rabid fanbase…

If you’re starting to detect a pattern here you’re slicker than Wade Wilson’s trademark sarcasm. The reason the Deadpool movie is going to tank is because of, you guessed it, the rabid fanbase that comes along with it. Even though it’s what got the movie the greenlight to begin with, as detailed by star Ryan Reynolds in an interview with Yahoo Movies, it’s ultimately going to be what brings it down.

Deadpool Movie Is GOing to flop and it's all your fault

Image via Fox Movies

Because unlike Guardians of the Galaxy, which had zero fan base to argue about changes, mythology, camoes etc, the Deadpool movie carries tremendous expectations among it’s hardcore fans. If it doesn’t live up to it on opening night it’s going to spread quickly in this social media age. If it DOES live up to it, there’s a huge chance the general public who are not Deadpool fans will simply not…get it either and will have zero desire to take in the movie in theaters instead of waiting for it on DVD.

Guardians of the galaxy Vol 2.

Image via Film.com

Just ask the folks behind the Entourage movie how well their fan base carried over past opening weekend. Not enough to greenlight a sequel that’s all-but-assured at this point.

And sure maybe tank is too strong a word, considering reports are that Deadpool has a comparatively low budget to other super hero flicks out there, but ultimately, I have the feeling, shy of hard core Deadpool fans, the movie will come and go without so much as a blip on the radar.

And that’s a shame, because quite frankly, I’m a Deadpool fan and would like to see Ryan Reynolds succeed at one of these super hero movies for once. I guess it can’t end up worse than Green Lantern could it?

What do you think? Is the Deadpool movie going to flop? Am I full of poop?

Tune in to TalkingAlternative.com this Friday at 11am EST and let me know what you think! Or place a comment below and I’ll read the best on air.

Our first Secrets of the Sire Podcast available now!

Diversity is a hot button topic in Hollywood – most notably the latest online movement #OscarsSoWhite dominating the entertainment headlines. But are the politics behind the scenes actually taking away from the movies themselves? And is it the moviegoers responsibility to care?

Click here to listen to Secrets of the Sire: Episode 1 below: Episode One

Diversity is a hot button topic in Hollywood – most notably the latest online movement #OscarsSoWhite dominating the entertainment headlines. But are the politics behind the scenes actually taking away from the movies themselves? And is it the moviegoers responsibility to care?

So it was two months ago when my Dad and I made our ritualistic trip to see the new James Bond movie Spectre. It was a tradition that formed organically when Casino Royale first hit theaters back in 2006 and became an enjoyable way for father and son to spend some quality time together in our advancing years (I’m in my 30’s now…it sucks.)

Nostalgia aside, a strange thing happened to me during the show, both before the movie and during the film itself. First, after months of withholding myself from reading, seeing or breathing anything Star Wars, there appeared onscreen the trailer for Episode VII in all its big, bright digital glory. No amount of holding my ears and singing “La La La” was going to prevent me from soaking in the THX quality sound reverberating the theater complex. So I let it soak in. I let myself enjoy my first (and only) preview of the new Star Wars movie.

Finn Kylo Ren Episode VII

Image via YouTube

And a funny thing happened when Finn picked up the light saber in that snowy woods in the trailer…I kind of did a double take.  Like whoa, this feels different. Good different but still…Before I knew it, I let the politics of diversity creep its way into my viewing experience. It was all I could think about.

And it didn’t stop there. Fast forward to Spectre itself…and suddenly I felt guilty for watching a misogynistic white guy beat up other white guys while seducing gorgeous women who fawn at his every move. Instead of enjoying James Bond the way i had in the past, I was cringing at how…antiquated it all felt.

And at the end of the day…that really kind of sucks!

I want to know what you think. Can we just enjoy the movie anymore or is it our job to mentally police the films we watch for ethnicity, gender and sexual orientation?

I’ll tell you what I think Friday at 11am EST on talkradio.nyc. Plus, I’ll give you my take on the whole #OscarsSoWhite debate going on. And I’ll play my interview with Soundgarden legend Chris Cornell. Who had a lot of things to say…about music, cuz he’s, you know, a rock star.

The number to call in is (877) 480 – 4120 or simply comment below and I’ll read the best responses on air Friday at 11am EST on talkradio.nyc.

How are South Park and Sonic Highways

South Park Asks: Are artists relevant anymore? Or are they just conversation pieces?

Anyone still watching South Park? Twenty years in and it’s they’re still spot on. From the latest episode #REHASH the villain tells Lorde (aka Randy Marsh) the following:

“An artist nowadays is a conversation piece. Just something for people 2 comment on. We’re not making money selling records, we’re making money selling tweets”

To which Randy replies:”Who will make the content?”

Villainous record producer responds: “Commentary IS the content.”

So are they right? The obvious answer is “No, of course not, you’re crazy.” But think about it. THINK about it.

I’ve been watching Dave Grohl’s amazing documentary Sonic Highways on HBO recently. And it gets me SO passionate to create. Even though the doc is a music based documentary, it makes me want to write, draw, play, whatever.

Dave Grohl's Sonic Highways

But it had me thinking…is music ever going to be as powerful as it was? Not because there aren’t creative people, but moreso because the world has gotten smaller and smaller thanks to the internet. There are no “scenes” anymore. There are no movements. Because everything is online now. Everything is viral. Everything is tweeted and commented on to death.

So I ask again, is South Park right? Do artists even matter anymore? Because in a way, the obvious answer is “Yes, of course,” but if you think about the world and where it is heading, the scary answer is…no, not like they used to.

What do you think? Chime in and let me know. I sense a healthy discussion ahead.

So you want to launch a successful Kickstarter do you? Well, having just completed my second successful campaign in one year, I’m happy to share what I learned. Here are a few of the ‘Goods’ I picked up during this experience:

1) Kickstarter Is The New Diamond
Sorry Diamond, you FINALLY have some real competition out there. For many years, indie creators had to enter Diamond’s doors for an inkling of a chance of being successful. And even then,your chances were dicey at best. But you’ve got to get into stores to be seen, right? Nope, not the case any longer.

Kickstarters are truly a way to reach a new audience with your book. Of the 167 backers for my project, The Undone, more than half were backers I had had zero previous contact with before in my life. Sure, I had some friends and family that wanted to support me, but overall, the response I got was from real comic book readers interested in seeing my vision come to life.

And with that said, the other, most important fact I’ve learned having waded through the crowd funding waters is this:

2) Kickstarter Will Save Printed Comics
Kickstarter may not save comic books stores out there (or maybe they will – more on that in a moment) but they will indeed save the printed comic book as an art form. I offered digital rewards across the board, and they were definitely met with backers looking for a way to read the story and not put down an arm and a leg.

20141108101106-TheUndone-pg1

But overall, the most excitement I got were for people who liked printed comics, something tangible to hold in their hands. HEck, for my Sire #9 Kickstarter that just recently wrapped, I offered readers different rewards that included combinations of single issues and the trade paperback. Overwhelmingly, the majority of folks wanted the single issues. These are the same single issues (minus the 1st) I almost NEVER sell when I’m at my convention table year in and year out.

Again, these are comic book fans looking for comic books. Digital has proven to be great on the secondary market for me and a lot of creators out there. But with limited print runs being so affordable, this keeps the COLLECTIBLE aspect of comics alive and well.

Now let’s come full circle with my last “Good” from this experience:

3) Kickstarter Is The New Model
I kind of touched on this in Good #1, but Kickstarter is now the new model for releasing indie comics. I launched The Sire a way back in 2006 and it had a modestly successful run in Diamond (over 1700+ copies sold of issue #1, approximately 6,500 total across issues 1-6 plus the TPB). But following volume 1, my numbers just weren’t enough for Diamond to sustain me in their catalog. Thus the long gap between issues 6+7 (about 4 years)

Once digital entered the game, however, I saw a renewed interest in my character. But without Diamond how was I going to justify the cost for continuing this concept going forward? Enter Kickstarter. I’ll admit I was heistatnt at first because I don’t like asking my friends and family for money. But once I got past that misguided stigma of what Kickstarter I thought it was, I began to realize what it actually is: essentially a pre-order for the new issue and a way to reach a new audience.

20141020021056-SIRE_9_C1

Not that money is the end all, be all, but the money i raised on The Sire #9 is the equivilant of what I made on most single issues through Diamond. And we’re talking GROSS, not NET (ie: i lost a ton of money on issues 4-6). Subtract the modest printing cost and financially speaking, the Sire #9 is one of the most successful issues of The Sire to date! How about that, huh?

I could go on an on but I think everyone gets the point. Kickstarter is one of the coolest developments to hit our generation in a long time. But that doesn’t mean it’s all fun and games. Next week, I’ll tackle the “Bads” endured while putting on these campaigns. They include promotion, preparation and oh-those-pesky deadlines.

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So as I’m writing this I’m back from Honeymoon. Married my best friend and all is as it should be 🙂

Now that of course counts as one of those BIG things in life that we look back on with joy and inspiration. A couple LITTLE things happened recently that have helped motivate me ARTISTICALLY:

1) The Most Dangerous Game Kickstarter has been funded! While I did not create this book, my participation was the cover art that James Mascia enlisted me to draw. First and foremost, it’s a piece of art that i’m actually really PROUD of. There are some flaws, but ultimately, it came out pretty fricken sweet and I’m happy! And apparently so is one of our backers who bought it as soon as the package became available online. Like i said small verification that has boosted my confidence as an artist for sure

2) Got some tweets from folks that discovered The Sire on Comicsfix.com. They loved it and wanted to know when more was coming. Again, a two second tweet of support that has me energized to keep making the book I love, even though it isn’t exactly supporting me these days. But who knows right? Through that my art will get better. The story will continue folks will read it and maybe continue enjoying it enough to purchase it every month and from there…

Bottom line? It’s been a really solid month for me. Ok, back to the drawing table i go! More to come soon!

I’ll see YOU at Comic-Con…next year.

Yep, that’s right. Another San Diego Comic-Con is upon us and for the second year in a row, I’ll be missing out. Bummer. But San Diego Comic-Con is so friggin huge – Really. Friggin. Huge – that to be honest, the only way if anyone would know if you were there is to thru social media.

1) Hashtag the s*** out of your tweets.
Twitter will be the driving force at the show and the hastag #SDCC is the number one means of keeping track

“Re-read all my copies of Guardians of the Galaxy from the 70s #SDCC”

“Cleaned up some dog poop #SDCC”

“Painted my living room. Threw my back out climbing a ladder #SDCC”

2) Copy other people’s tweets and pretend you wrote ’em.

Did they just show awesome footage from the new Star Wars film? Did Walking Dead’s Norman Reedus get hounded by fans? Join the wave of tweeters out there and

3) Cry

Seriously folks, you know it’s true. It’s good for you. It keeps you (or for this metaphor your career) healthy and sustained. It also gets overlooked when you get super busy.

BLOG-GYM-WRITING

That’s me right now. And though it’s all good stuff: Undone Comic Book, Freelance Writing for amNew York & Inquistr.com, Sire #9…it still gets frustrating when you realize you’ve been awful quiet. Because at the end of the day, your fan base hasn’t heard from you. And they’re waiting. And wondering.

So here’s to making blogging part of my weekly regiment. And some cool things on the horizon to be sure.