Thursday, January 24, 2008

What the hell am I doing?

Whilst nine people from the internet do love me. It seems that those who publish comics don't.
Or rather they like me, but feel as though my work is not right for them.

"It's a rambling mess of fun. It's not something we could publish" was one reply to the comic below.

"A rambling mess of fun." Yeah, i'll accept that. A nice quote for the back of the book perhaps?

It's all there for a reason, even the spanking. He's doing it because he's pissed off with himself/wife/kids ect
She's into it so it doesn't end up being a domestic violence thing. "Take that womankind !?"

All of which is pointless if you have to explain it.

Did you get it? It's not just jokes is it?

I feel as though i'm at a crossroads or something. I need to change tak or I don't know what. I wouldn't give a crap if I became a success or not, if it weren't for the fact that I really could do with earning a bit of extra cash some how, because my job doesn't seem to pull in enough to cover things.

I don't want to "sell out" and be rich and famous but I thought that I could do something that would do something.

maybe not.

I see alot of stuff in the comic shops that is great and should be there on the shelves. but a couple of things I've seen in the past have made me thing I can do better.

Is it just the comedy?

If I did a story about a man who was unhappy and frustrated at home, So he got in to a sado-masochistic relationship with a stranger, and then over time came to realise that this was a mistake and the problem wasn't his wife or children it's him.
Pretty much the same story but without the laughs. Would that stand a better chance?

I could go darker.

Or is it all the fucking swearing?


Anonymous said...

Rambling is not necessarily a bad thing, and I think that this comic does ramble a bit--in a good way. Sure, you could economise the story by leaving out details, but then it wouldn't be as interesting. Not all stories involve the barebones, simplest plot detail possible (look at Dickens, Tolstoy, Dostoyevsky...). So, fuck 'em.

Be patient, get a bigger fan base as word spreads, and you won't need the publishing companies.

Terry said...

I really like your work Spleenal, it's one of the very few blogs I check on a daily basis.

If it's really a part of you to do this work, then you'll do it anyway. In the meantime, keep approaching different people. All you need is one person at a publishing house who believes in you. You just have to find that one person.

BenefitScroungingScum said...

I really like your stuff as you know, but I'm not in to comics usually. I like it because it's about people. Yes it worked and I got it (maybe not so much p2-5) but probably cos I don't read comics, it was very clear it was all there for a reason though.

I think the other commentors are right, keep going, the site will get more popular (don't forget us then!)

I don't think you need to in any way, but I'd like to see some slightly darker stuff, more cos I think you could write/draw it and it would be good.

Bendy Girl x

LFW said...

look, I personally think it was brilliant, once again...IS THIS ALL BASED ON REAL LIFE STUFF!?!!OMG! I HAVE TO MOVE TO ENGLAND FOR ADVENTURES!!! if it is you are my new god, definitely.

I dunno about doing it darker, I think how it is is just fine. Everyone ends up "going darker" because they think that's what they have to do. I like it where it is, it's not too dark, not too light, very hilarious. Maybe work on the layout of the scenes a bit, that's my only critique, really, one artist to another.

shit, i'm going to have to do some fan art or something, fuck.

I wanna see another one of these, you said it was just the first part, I want to read the second part now. I'm usually very picky about my art and normally I would turn my nose up at something like this, but there is something about it that has me hooked, jeezus!

okay, that's enough


your fan


LFW said...

also, if it isn't actually based on stuff you've experienced, please don't tell me, totally tell me lies. I need to believe that these things can happen so I can strive to have a more eventful life and finally grab life by the balls, my life is so boring and mundane and lacking in poon-tang, it's sad.


I'll shut up now


F!NCH said...

It's the spelling.

soulbrew said...

As someone else commented, if it's 'in you' (and it seems it is) then you'll keep on making it, regardless of knockbacks or whatever. Anyway, seems like you HAVE to do this judging by how autobiographical/fantastical/plain freudian it appears to be. (Blimey, what does your missus make of it! :-)) Not the best critic on comics (I'm a paint and canvas man) but by and large the timing and space in general is spot on (the 'Shag Me' guy with the loudspeaker and 'TV Remote' dude had comic timing down to a tee) Keep it up neighbour.

spleenal said...

thanks to everyone. specail mentsun goes too flinch.
i prefer to think thats its the speling.
my hand leterd stuff has no spel check and i went to school at the SCHOOL OF ROCK! so please forgive me.

bittersweet me said...

well, it spoke to me, 'cos it is what i am doing, with some gender swop thing, and the laughs .. well, you need to laugh, or cry.

go dark .. be proud. I thought it was brilliant, and spot-on, and - what the Fuck Happens In The End??????

Anonymous said...

I'm convinced a lot of success in art is less to do with talent (which you obviously have) than getting your stuff in front of the right face.

How else can you explain David Shrigley or Hanna Melin coining it in when they have the talent of the average bored 9-year old kid?

You just need to find the right face!

Ian Mayor said...

I'd be interested to hear who you pitched it too, Spleen.

As for whether there's a market for this, well, I'd say 'probably' but it's a hard sell for a number of reasons.

It's dark, but I've read darker (but rarely as pollished), your format changes constantly (outside the long form stuff) and you're frequently 'uncomfortable' to read (but therein lies the edge, and the fun).

I think the formula is right, but it's certainly 'niche' (and a lot of indie publishers have that niche filled)

If published, print stuff, is your goal then there's probably a couple of things you could do.


1. Bite the bullet and self publish, sell a kidney or maybe your first born. This probably won't be financially successful in the first instance, but that's not the point (see 3.)

2. Print on demand. Agin, Don't know how 'successful' this could be, but what it would give you is...

3. A book people can hold in their hands. People, even very creative people, lack imagination in seeing what a thing 'could' be. A two colour, nicely printed, A5 format book with a gag on the front (for instance), that you can personally 'give' to potentially interested parties, demonstrates exactly what a Spleenal 'book' could be.

Just some ideas...

Ash Collins said...

problematic. on the one hand, you draw the stuff you like, which also happens to be bloody good (In my opinion). on the other hand, it may not be something suitable for publication.... but then Viz is till published innit?

as far as that big story goes, its bang on, and you accomplished what you set out to do as well! okay so i didnt read all the videogames pages. maybe it was too long, maybe i was too tired (it was like 1am bangkok time)

to conclude, yer big comic was awesome. you could always change styles if that was an easier way to make money, but i would hope that you could keep doing this brilliance too!

spleenal said...

thanks for the advice and encouragement everyone.

Ian, I did only show it to a hand full of publishers because I don't have a printer at the moment so only those who say they'll look at something on line got to see it. When I get the chance I will send out real copies

Ash I've decided not to change. Yes I need money but I don't feel as though I have it in me to alter it to fit.

I'm just going to keep banging my head against the wall instead. Who knows I may knock it down.

Anonymous said...

I think you need to talk to Chris Staros of Top Shelf ( - and when I say talk, I mena, stand inf ront of and give him samples fo yur stuff, printed out, with lots of calling cards and contact details. He will almost certainly be at the Bristol comics festival this May.

James Kochalka does a roaring trade (through Top Shelf) in stuff not too removed from your own - he pretty much draws what's happening at home in a simple clear style (except he draws himself as a buck-toothed elf).

soulbrew said...

Want anything printing let me know - colour inkjet or laserjet (b&w) both here so can knock up copies no worries

butterfly said...

a) they are wrong, their loss. keep tryin' different folks, eventually you'll find the right match -- someone who "gets it". Look at Paul Potts -- he was a cell phone salesman -- now he is as happy as a pig in shit, singin' his little operatic heart out. It could happen to you. Not the singin' on Britain's Got Talent part, but you get the idea. ;-)

b) dark is good. for those of us living in the real world, life can be pretty dark on a regular basis -- the fact that you can portray the humor in those low moments (that we all feel some form of) is something that I love about your work. Some of your darkest things are the funniest...because we all can might make us uncomfortable, but that's the sharp edge where great things happen in comedy. I envision you becoming a huge underground sensation -- with a subversive group of loyal followers who will smack their lips waiting for the latest scraps of spleenal to come flying out the back door every month and pouncing on the bits like a bunch of rabid zombies on a brains-jones. And if you don't know about spleenal, you are just not down with the shit, man. That's what I'd like to see for you.

c) And, the cursing? It is an adult comic -- why shouldn't there be cursing? You think Lenny Bruce gave a shit what people thought of his dirty mouth? NO! and neither should you. I'm a grown up and if you want to say ass-fucker, cock-sucker, cunt-whore-bitch, and spank a submissive slut, then go ahead! I'll laugh at it -- because it is fuckin' funny, plain and simple. It's not TV or radio, it's the printed/illustrated word, and last I checked, cursing in a book or adult comics is a-ok -- so why shouldn't your stuff work in a book? And if Charles Bukowski were still alive, I'm sure he'd encourage you in your dark, depressive and dirty-style too. A brilliant writer, albeit not a funny one, but can you imagine how miserable he must have been as a postal worker, struggling to get published? Life is gritty and often shitty. Don't be afraid to say it.

d) Spelling, but that's where an editor comes in handy -- a minor problem -- the big things are comedic talent and drawing skills -- of which you've got a-plenty.

e) I'm wondering if perhaps you have a presentation terms of what you are selecting to show?...maybe work on pulling together some of your tightest small pieces into cohesive little groupings based on themes, and saving the longer more extended "rambly" pieces for showing when someone has not been frightened off. If people can see clearer "stories" developing among a grouping of smaller pieces (which are easier to digest on first meeting), it might be easier to envision the grouping as potential book themes. I don't mean your actual stories aren't clear -- I mean stories in the visual merchandising and display way -- a grouping based on similar theme and purpose. As in "the wife story", "the frustrated artist story", "the kids", "the work", etc. I'm sure your readers could help narrow down your "best of..." selections if you wanted us to. Or maybe I am full of shite and should shut up now...

;-D V

Anonymous said...

What do I say?

The truth:
My beloved dog died last week from cancer. My old man's lying in bed suffering from a hernia operation. I am so unhappy in life. I came here today 'cause like Terry this is one of the few sites I check regularily. It feels like finding the hidden treasure when a new post is up. It inspires me to honour my deviant side. This will enable our survival. Thank you.

Leonie said...

Syrtis is right, hunt down Chris Staros, but present him with a professional looking sample. Remember I introduced you to him before when we went to Bristol? He seemed pretty keen back then. It's definitely better to do it face to face, you'll get a better response.

Rob Bodnar said...

Keep going. Check out

Don't stop.

spleeness said...

seems more than just 9 people that love your stuff... me included.

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some sort of artist or something. with problems and issues. I draw stuff
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