AMBER LOVE 30-AUG-2012 Today’s episode of VODKA O’CLOCK goes in depth to learn about the comic titles at 215ink and their unique marketing strategies for independent publishing with my guest Mike Perkins. Their motto is: FUN IS THE NEW COOL. Have fun with comics. Be excited about the comics you make.
Mike Perkins and his brother Will Perkins are the creators of BEWARE, one of the 215ink titles discussed in this episode. We dive into the aspects of being part of a creative team in making decisions for tone and texture. It’s important to hire people whose work you respect enough to give them freedom. Mike modestly claims his brother was born with all the talent in the family.
The first 215ink we get into is COBBLE HILL, a mystery with elements of horror. It’s about a young wealthy heiress who lives in a mysterious house set in a coastal town. This title is slated to be released in October, perfectly timed for the eeriness of autumn. The preview pages showcase a mood dressed in blue and grey tones. Created by Jeremy Holt who is known as The David Lynch of Comics.
“We think we can stray away further away from the Disney world of animated furniture. No Be Our Guest.” ~MP on COBBLEHILL
DEADHORSE is a visual delight with striking colors David Halvorson that really sell the presentation of the compelling mystery story.
“That one wasn’t a very hard decision to make to be honest. We were pretty enthralled with it from the moment we saw what they were putting together there.” ~MP on DEADHORSE
“It’s gonna be a helluva an adventure story here. That, honestly for me, that’s what’s missing a lot in comics, is that sense of adventure and fun and this one’s got it.” ~MP on DEADHORSE
The model at 215ink is primarily mini- or maxiseries. JESUS HATES ZOMBIES has been long-running and TRANSMEET is likely to be a substantial set as well. The rest of the titles tend to be comprehensive story arcs contained within under 8 issues.
LOVE MONSTER is like if John Hughes directed SIXTEEN CANDLES WITH ZOMBIES. You don’t normally think about zombies with romance stories considering the fan insanity over sexy werewolves and vampires. It’s going to be a fun sitcom style story with honest relationship issues but with some characters that aren’t exactly human.
I asked Mike how it was possible for 215ink to find success without capes and spandex. While the publisher isn’t rejecting any pitches of it, Mike finds that it’s a “like attracts like” bringing supernatural and sci-fi/fantasy titles to their line. He explained how any creator can make a difference in a market flooded with superheroes and zombies:
“It really comes down to the passion of the creator.You know, if the creator has that passion, that love for their project, they’re going to put in the effort to make it a success. They’re gonna be getting out there to meet people and get that book into as many hands as possible. They’re gonna talk about it. They’re gonna do their own work at trying to promote it online. What we try to do is take those projects that we know the creators have that passion for and those are the ones that we’re gonna highlight and that we’re going to try to get in front of people’s eyes as well.” ~MP
Marketing and distribution for 215ink titles is more unique than any other publisher today. The most innovative tactic is that they offer a 7″ fully functional Android© tablet with a full Play Market and their entire collection for $99. The first launch sold out and they are getting more. This 215ink tablet will be available at comics cons as well as online orders. They also sell through Liber Distro at the consumer and retailer levels like other great indies like FUBAR and Action Lab Entertainment.
“Have fun and think about your reader.” ~MP
One of the admirable qualities of 215ink is how the creators and the executives work together to promote each other’s works. Recently the comic industry was plagued by unfortunate vitriol on Twitter and Facebook consisting of creators and publishers casting insults without regard for their own image and presence. That animosity is not something seen at this small press publisher. Lastly, as soon as I come up with something appropriate, there will be a VIC BOONE inspired cocktail in VODKA O’CLOCK: THE BOOK.
“Comics are the only medium I know of that is really actively effectively bridging the gap between both typographic and visual culture.” ~MP