with Indie Comic Creator Gary Scott Beatty
City: Muskegon, Michigan
Comics: “Indie Comics Magazine” (Editor, Publisher, Contributor), Xeric Grant Winner “Jazz: Cool Birth,” (Writer, Illustrator), “Seductions” with Oz artist Bill Bryan, “Adam Among the Gods” with artist James Lyle
Websites: www.garyscottbeatty.com, indiecomicsmagazine.com, comicartistsdirect.com, www.jazzstylegifts.com, www.dreamstime.com/Garyscottbeatty_portfolio_pg1
QRD – How old were you when you first got into comics & did you always stick with them or did you come back to them?
Gary – The first comic book I read was actually a graphic novel, a beat up old Tin Tin hardcover, in my grade school library some time before the ‘60s Batman craze.
QRD – What was the first comic book you ever bought?
Gary – There were many when I was young. My parents always encouraged reading. I bought everything from Hot Stuff, Casper, & Richie Rich to mid-’60s Marvel & DC.
QRD – How old were you when you put out your first comic?
Gary – The first alternative comic I produced & actually printed (they were called “underground” then) was on my high school’s ditto machine, after hours, without permission.
QRD – What decade do you think produced the best comics?
Gary – I’m pretty partial to the late ‘80s stuff when there was a big enough market to justify companies taking chances on experimental storytelling. But I’ve been reading since the mid ‘60s & there have always been excellent storytellers around.
QRD – Why comics instead of just writing or drawing?
Gary – I do all three. I sell spot illustrations through Dreamstime.com ? http://www.dreamstime.com/Garyscottbeatty_portfolio_pg1 -- write for a monthly, regional magazine I produce, color & letter for the comic book industry, & produce Indie Comics Magazine with a growing group of creative comic book folk.
QRD – Do you see mini-comics & indie comics as paths to mainstream comics or as their own unique media?
Gary – I grew up wanting to work for the big publishers, but I’m probably too much of a control freak for that now. I know quality, I know what I like & couldn’t stand some kid at Marvel telling me what to do!
QRD – How many copies of your comic do you print in your first run?
Gary – Indie Comics Magazine has been successful with a completely different business model. No huge overprint, no digital version & no back issue sales ? Indie Comics Magazine is available ONLY at your local & online comic book shop. ICM#3 will be available for pre-order in August 2011’s Previews under Aazurn Publishing. We print only to fill those orders, a true periodical.
QRD – How much do you think comics should cost?
Gary – This is America, things cost what people are willing to pay for them! Then, like Heidi MacDonald has said over & over, there needs to be a “satisfying chunk of entertainment value.”
QRD – How many books do you produce a year & how many would you like to?
Gary – I work on so many different publications it is hard to say. My regional magazine is monthly. I color & letter on, say, six to 10 publications a year. Indie Comics Magazine is up to three this year & will, most likely, be close to bimonthly in 2012.
QRD – Do you think stories should be serialized or delivered as complete works?
Gary – Stories done in individual books should be self-contained chapters. The rambling, mega-story bores me unless it is done in cohesive chapters. Look at any good novel or TV show.
QRD – How are comic strips different than comic books & which medium do you prefer?
Gary – I’m addicted to the many current hardcover collections of strips. Plus, I subscribed to Comics Review, an excellent, bimonthly collection of strips. The best of those guys really knew structure, really knew how to tell a story. I read comic books, too. & books & magazines. I bore easily & need variety.
QRD – How long is it from when you start a comic until it’s printed?
Gary – Sometimes years. I think too many writers obsess with one project, where the best writers have ideas all the time ? they keep notes, gather references, & write daily.
QRD – What do you do better with your comics now than when you first started?
Gary – Everything.
QRD – At what point in the artistic process do you work digitally?
Gary – I go directly from writing/drawing thumbnails, where I plan out the panels & flow, to drawing in the computer. It sucks; I have no drawn art to sell at conventions.
QRD – What do you think of digital comics & webcomics?
Gary – We have creators in Indie Comics Magazine that are there in print to show the Diamond audience they exist online. We have some who avoid computers. The only thing that matters is the story.
QRD – Do you prefer working in color or black & white?
Gary – Depends on the drawing. The coloring I do for other creators makes their great drawings better, with more punch & clarity. A colorist should never distract from the artwork.
QRD – How do you find collaborators?
Gary – It’s all about relationship building. Go to conventions ? they don’t have to be huge or far away ? & talk to the people behind the artist alley tables. You’ll soon get a feel for what creators need. Don’t be afraid to pay for what you need. I turn down dozens of request a month to work for “future profits.” This is how I feed my family, guys.
QRD – How tight do you think a script should be as far as telling the artist what to draw?
Gary – I’m a big believer of hiring the right artist, writing him a comprehensive feel for the scene, & letting him visualize.
QRD – What comic book person would you be most flattered to be compared to?
Gary – Ambush Bug.
QRD – What do your friends & family think of your comics?
Gary – Most of my family are comic book readers, so they understand. I lettered an Inspector Gadget comic for Viper last month & it’s nice to tell friends I worked on a character they remember.
QRD – What do you think of superheroes?
Gary – The only thing that matters is the story.
QRD – Marvel or DC?
Gary – The only thing that matters is the story.
QRD – What comic characters other than your own would you like to work with?
Gary – I’d love to have a monthly gig coloring & lettering an all ages title, like Uncle Scrooge or Simpsons.
QRD – Ideally would you self-publish?
Gary – Ideally rich publishers would send busty blondes by my house every few days to pour gold down my pants. Self-publishing is a less-than-ideal second to that.
QRD – What conventions do you try to attend & why?
Gary – WHY?!? Have you never been to a convention? They’re a riot. Comic book people are nuts.
QRD – What do you do to promote your books?
Gary – Word of mouth, interested media coverage & targeted ads ? same things they do on TV’s “Mad Men,” different tools in the computer age.
QRD – Do you think your comics are well suited to comic shops or would sell better elsewhere?
Gary – Indie Comics Magazine is available ONLY at your local & online comic book shop. ICM#3 will be available for pre-order in August 2011’s Previews under Aazurn Publishing.
QRD – What other medium would you like to see some of your comics made into (television, film, games, action figures, etc.)?
Gary – The best thing about a Jazz: Cool Birth in another form would be the soundtrack.
QRD – Do you consider yourself a comic collector or a comic reader or both?
Gary – I read everything I buy & I buy too much. Hoarder, maybe?
QRD – What would you like to see more people doing with comics?
Gary – I pass out 250 comics instead of candy on Halloween. You can usually find a pretty good deal at conventions for 250 comics, just make sure they are all ages, like Disney, Archie, or ‘60s Marvel.
QRD – Anything else?
Gary – “The One” with “Adventures of Aaron”
artist Aaron Warner is in the works.