By Beau Smith
Put Your Mail Where Your Mouth Is
As you may or may not know, I got into the comic book business as a writer by being a letter writer, a letter hack, whatever term you’re most fond of. At least that’s the door I stuck my boot in to get to the high level of fame, money and easy women that I have today.
In the last few weeks here at Busted Knuckles I’ve been doin’ my best to empower you readers to reach out and grab the publishers by the short hairs and get them to listen to ya. Like I said before, sometimes I feel like Cyrus, in the movie The Warriors, who tried to unite the gangs. I really feel that the publishers will prosper so much by really listenin’ to the readers and start a department to really seek out their buying habits and put that information to good use.
Something that I suggested has really seemed to work for a lot of readers as of late. It’s pure, simple and kinda old school, but they are getting’ results.
With the internet bein’ the rage in the last few years less and less people have written letters? real letters to the editor as well as the publishers themselves. A lot quit when publishers stopped printing letters in the comics. Getting’ printed was always an incentive in a comic book world where there was no internet, message boards and chat rooms.
Getting’ back on track, I suggested to some readers that they do the old Beau thing and write a real letter every week when they read their new comics. Let’s face a stone cold fact. Editors and publishers don’t read the message boards. Worst of it is that the guys that they have run the boards on their own sites can’t even get the editors and publisher’s ear with the info they get from the readers.
Beau Knows. Art by Enrique Villagran and Todd Fox
But, when ya send em’ a letter in the mail they do pay attention to that. A handful of readers told me that after they did that they even got letters/emails back from the editors. When was the last time that happened to you? Granted, most you’ll never hear from, but they will open it and they will read it. They don’t get that many letters anymore. It’ll stand out like me on that terrible TV show The View.
Take me serious on this, amigos. I really think it works. Don’t be lazy. Be manly and try it. Hell, I got into the business by doin’ it. They haven’t found a way to get rid of me yet. Get em’ to know your name on sight. Don’t go pushin’ a pitch on em’. Then they’ll learn to ignore ya really fast. Grow on em’. Make em’ need ya. Be a snake charmer and seduce em’ to your ways. You ladies out there don’t take that too literal. I don’t wanna get ya in trouble.
A simple one page letter will do it. Type it. Tell em’ what you liked or didn’t like about the issue. Make sure you put your contact info in there as well. It’s pretty simple. Don’t be a bitch and say rude things. Show em’ you’re smart and ya know how to use a knife and fork. Ya get better results that way.
Again, I’m serious about ya tryin’ this. Just remember to be manly.
I used to draw. Most of it went on from when I was a little kid until 9th grade. It was then that I realized that I wasn’t getting’ any better. Sure, I could look at something and copy it pretty good, but when left to my own devices I just couldn’t cut it. That’s why I’ve always held guys and girls that can draw in such high esteem. I have my favorites of course, but when it comes down to it I admire most anybody that can tell a story with just pictures. Granted, that may not always get ya work in comics, but at least you’re trying.
This week I’m gonna shove a couple of my current favorites in your face so that you’ll also have as much manly taste as me. After all, being like me is the goal, right?
Colin Wilson is a manly artist. No doubt about it. The stuff he does is testosterone filled and always delivers. You may know him from his more recent work at Wildstorm called Point Blank. He did this with nice guy writer, Ed Brubaker. Point Blank is a great showcase on how ya do action and do it in a way that looks like it should be on the movie screen. Wilson is a true storyteller. You don’t even need word balloons to let ya know what’s goin’ on in the story. I’ve dog-eared the Point Blank trade paperback so much I might have to get another copy.
Art by Colin Wilson
Colin has been around for a while. Some of ya may know him from his work on Judge Dredd, 2000 AD, Tex, The Losers, and one of my favorites, Blueberry. If ever there was a guy born to do manly action/adventure?and a western it’s Colin Wilson. As a writer, I’d give my left one to work with this guy. For those of you worried that I’d be less manly without a left one, fear not. One of mine is still more manly than a dozen of the general population.
Art by Colin Wilson
I hope that folks appreciate what a guy like Colin can do. He is a true craftsman with story telling and style. His eye is like that of a really good director that knows the angles and shadows that make a good scene and gets the most of the emotion. He knows his reference. Check out what he draws and you can lay odds it’s correct. For all your young artists out there, if ya wanna see how it’s done, then check out Colin Wilson. He has the “Real Man” stamp of approval.
Art by Colin Wilson
There’s a real nice article on Colin that y’all should check out when ya get the chance I highly recommend it. Just click here. http://www.comics.org.nz/features/colinwilson.html
For many years I have admired the work of Kevin Maguire. I met once for about 30 second at Chicago Con/Wizard World when DC Comics Bob Greenberger and I were havin’ lunch. Ya’d think as many years as both of us have been doin’ comics we’d met more than once. I guess we run in different circles. That’s a good thing for him. It means he doesn’t run with murderers and thieves.
Kevin is one of those artists that has his own style. He’s not a third level copy of Art Adams or J. Scott Campbell. He does his own thing and he does it very well. Kevin is well known for his use of expressions with characters, but I think a lot of folks miss out on his use of body language and pacing. Like Phil Jimenez and George Perez, Kevin is able to cram wonderful detail into most every scene without it becomin’ confusing and hard to look at. It’s obvious he works well with his writers. The bond that he has with Keith Giffen and J.M. DeMatteis really stands out with everything they do together. Their work on Formerly Known As The Justice League and the JLA has proven it every time. Young artist wantin’ to learn about how to do the movement and expressions of the human face and body should really bone up on Kevin’s work. Kevin is another artist I’d love to work with when he reaches the bottom of the barrel and feels like slummin’ with a writer like me.
Manly Comic Of The Week
There was once a time when testosterone based comics were everywhere. They didn’t depend on the perversion of a long standin’ comic book character by a British or tv/movie writer. They didn’t rely on a variant cover that no one wanted anyway. Most of all you could use your plastic army men and your Horrible Hamilton Invaders to play out what you just read in the comics.
One of these comics was called M.A.R.S. Patrol-Total War (Marine Attack Rescue Service). It came out in 1966 from Gold Key Comics. They had beautiful painted covers and interior art by the great Wally Wood. There were these creepy bald headed aliens that dressed in purple and were destroyin’ things on Earth like it they had a right to. There were tanks, machine guns, bazookas, missiles bein’ fired from jets, choppers, torpedoes, and manly fistfights. It had it all and then some.
The painted covers alone were worth the price of the comic book. I was one of those kids that tore off the back cover pin-up of the cover and stuck it on my wall. Gold key didn’t care if ya collected the comic. They wanted ya to do the manly thing? read it, rip off the cover and stab it to your wall! I bet ya don’t see people doin’ that to their Space Ghost #1 Alex Ross covers.
Dark Horse Comics has recently collected the first three Wally Wood issues into a really nice trade paperback. Now all you can find out what a manly comic book is all about. I suggest that ya force your local retailer to sell ya one today. You’ll be a better person for it. It’ll also help ya fight off the “Baldies” when they come to take over your town.
Manly Trails To You
That about wraps things up for this week. I’ve been pretty busy getting’ offers from the UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship) to do a Super Fight between me and Scot Eaton in a match of comic book creators. I’m waitin’ for em’ to offer up a British writer or maybe one of those Hollywood Nancy Boys. Might as well have a little fun if you’re gonna beat a man into submission.
I wanna thank my best friend, Ray Crabtree for comin’ up with a name for all my regular readers of Busted Knuckles. So from now on if you are a regular reader or a member of Beau Nation in good standing you can now consider yourself a? “Knucklehead.” Proud to have ya on board!
Keep those emails a comin’ in. I try and answer all of em’. I also wanna thank all of you that have been sendin’ me the comics that you’ve had published. I appreciate it and hope to mention them here in Busted Knuckles real soon.
Until then, Keep your friends close and your enemies? well? from breathin’.
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