I write and publish independent comics. I’m also the co-founder of the Boston Comics Roundtable, which since 2005 has amassed over 150 members, produced 10 anthologies, and aided and encouraged scores of new comics from individual members. I have been a co-organizer for MICE, the Massachusetts Independent Comics Expo. I’m an occasional public speaker and interview subject on the topic of comics, and even more occasionally I make a really good point.
The Ragbox: A graphic novel series
The Ragbox is a graphic novel series I wrote and produced, published in parts beginning in 2007. Each chapter is illustrated by a different illustrator.
In total, the original script runs many hundreds of pages, with progressively longer and more ambitious chapters. The first five chapters (published in the three books pictured above) have since seen the light of day through collaborations with five incredible, and incredibly different, artists. However, once the fifth chapter was completed, I began to feel the nagging desire to move beyond The Ragbox and work on something new. It was a difficult decision. I felt I owed it to myself and to the artists I’d worked with to-date to complete the task we’d started. But the idea of years additional toil on a script I’d written in my early 20s—full of the words, ideas, and convictions of a man in his earlier 20s—was too much to bear. Maybe I’ll get back to it some day.
That said, I’m extremely proud of these books. I wrote the script, found the artists, lettered the dialogue, laid out and designed the interiors and the covers, worked with the printers, handled distribution and marketing, and traveled to comic shows around the country selling it. In short, I was an indie comics self-publisher, like so many others. We do it because we love it, and we hope you love it too.
READ THE ENTIRE RAGBOX SERIES ONLINE:
Each page of the comic is accompanied by the original script for that page. While I have no doubt that most people will skip this over entirely, I add it mostly as an example for those who wish to try a similar path. The act of writing comics—an inherently visual medium—must be approached as a collaboration and as a process. The script is blueprint that can and should change as the pages are drawn.
The script calls for a character to say, “Let me get the door for you.” But look! When you see the drawn page with the character holding the door open there’s no need for that dialogue. Get rid of it. A comic panel is too small for such redundancies. It’s often said that a film is made three times: on the page, on the set, and in the editing room. My own experience with comics was quite similar: first the script, then the drawn pages, and finally the lettering process. Because I took on the lettering tasks myself, I was able to have a final edit on the story and eliminate much of the overly clever dialogue that I’d stuffed into the script. By comparing the script and the finished pages side-by-side, you can see the differences for yourself.
I’ve wrapped up the script on a new graphic novel and I’m currently looking for an artist. There’s a second graphic novel underway set in turn-of-the-century Cambridge involving obsession, invention, and plumbing. Buy me a beer and I’ll tell you all about it.