Never Pitch Your Comic-Book As Commercial or Mainstream

Never Pitch Your Comic-Book As ‘Commercial’ or ‘Mainstream’

I get a lot of people submitting material to me. I’m still new to this whole “publisher/editor” thing, but now that I have some comic books published I have people sending me scripts, comic pages, books and other material seeking my opinion, or looking for help in some way. However, there’s one thing that keeps popping up that bothers me and I’m interested in hearing what other people have to say about it.

It annoys me when people tell me that their story is “very commercial,” or “mainstream” or “will make a lot of money” or any variation of that statement. In my opinion this goes against the entire creative process. Or at least my creative process. I have never written, created or produced anything that began with the desire to make the most “mainstream” or widely popular piece of entertainment that I could. To tell you the truth, it makes me angry when people tell me this about their work.

I’m sure part of an editor’s job is to consider whether or not the material is bankable, but I doubt they’re looking for projects that were started with that intention. If a person begins a project where their sole aim is to make their work mainstream and marketable then the only way they can do that is by imitating other projects that are currently popular. So there’s no chance of making anything different and original. You’ll basically just be an imitation of content that already exists. I hate using the words “sell-out” and “hack” but that’s exactly what you’d be.

The other day a comic book creator emailed me to pitch his latest project. This was somebody I’d never met or spoken to before. He wanted my thoughts on his comic and one of the first things he wrote was “don’t worry, I made it as commercial as possible, so it’s guaranteed to be a big seller.” I politely declined to read it, but it got me thinking – how can a writer, artist or creator think they’re able to predict the success of their project?

I’m interested to know what everyone thinks about this. When starting a project do you consider if it will be “commercial” or not? If you’re an editor, do you look for the pitch to address this issue, or is it something you make your own mind up about?

I’m just curious because the concept of creating something just to make money seems wrong to me. Especially when it comes to writing a book, creating a comic, recording a song etc. There’s nothing wrong with making money off your work. I just don’t think that should be the driving force that gets the project started.

Anyways, I want to know what others think about this and don’t forget to check out my website:

Brandon Rhiness

I'm Brandon Rhiness. I started a self-publishing comic book company called The Higher Universe with co-creator Adam Storoschuk. Our titles include Misfits, Stargirl and Ghoul Squad. I hope to be adding more soon. There are a lot of talented people out there and I like meeting and networking with them.

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