Sep 16 • 23M

Newsletter #95: The One Where This Becomes an Unboxing Channel

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Hey guys, it’s Scott.

It is Friday, September 16. I can't believe the week has flown by this fast! I don't know what it was like in your household. For us it was like a cyclone of school mishaps from kids re-adjusting to being back in school. It was, “oh my god, the quiz is today and I forgot my study papers.” It was, “I left my gym shoes at home.” It was a lot of that kind of stuff. So I know it sounds like I'm a monster, and I always feel guilty as a parent saying this, but I love every minute of summer. I enjoy it tremendously. And then when school comes, I'm so effing glad sometimes that they go back there. Anyway, I hope I'm not alone in that sentiment.

But next week, we have all kinds of exciting stuff happening. Wednesday, we have our business class, 9:30pm EST live. I'm so thrilled to do this, I have never done one before. Basically, this is a class where you guys get to ask everything that's kind of crass or inappropriate or that's kept out of creative spaces normally. It’s all about how you actually make a living doing comics. So the way I was going to divide up the class is sort of in different tiers. I was going to start with a lot of information that has to do with what it's like coming up. So when you're a brand new creator, what's your starting page rate? How much do you make on an ongoing series? What does it mean when you get approached by an indie company for the first time and they want some portion of your ancillary rights or all your ancillary rights (that's for film and TV), all that kind of stuff. And then we'll do another tier of the class where about a third of the way and I'll start talking about what it's like to be a an established pro, just starting out as an established pro, though, like somebody who's just sort of gotten their foot in the door, you're meeting people, you're deciding whether or not to give up your day job, all of that. And then, if you want, I'll do a final part about being a relatively established pro like me. Hopefully I'm relatively established and my career does not, like, fall out from beneath my feet in a week!

But the idea is, I'll be honest with you about how you make a living from different streams of income as a working writer in comics once you've built up a bit of a library, from simple things like you getting quarterly royalties. So if you have books that were successful at DC and Marvel, you can count on a certain amount of income four times a year. You also have opportunities at conventions that you didn't have when you were still hustling, so all of that stuff! So we’ll divide it up into different sections. I think it's gonna be really fun. You guys have already inundated us with great questions. If you have any other ones, please send them along, we're really thrilled about it.

And then on Thursday, right afterwards, we're going to open up our Black Jackett Club, our Founder’s Tier, for just a couple of weeks. Right now we have about 150 members, that's about all we can handle. And I don't even know if we'll be able to handle that many this time around. Honestly, it's because we wind up giving away a lot of things and it's not cost effective to have like a ton of people in it. Because the truth is, we want it to feel like something special. We want you to feel like you're getting more than your money's worth. That's honestly the way I've tried to approach everything with Best Jackett. I do try and do that in my comics, I swear to you. I want you to always feel like you're getting more than your money's worth. Sometimes I know I can overstuff them to a fault for that reason, and that's on me, but the goal is always to give you the sense that you're getting your money's worth and then some.

And so for the Black Jackett Club, it's essentially, if you don't know, like a VIP membership level and it gives you a lot of access to me. It's like essentially like a SkyMiles club, but for me. So every con I go to, we do a VIP event that's about $150 to $200 to get in and it'll be with a co-creator, usually Greg Capullo or Jock, someone I've worked a long time with. They give away free signed prints, exclusive giveaways, you get a photo, you get a Q&A, and you get all that stuff you will get access to that for free if you're a member. You can go to multiple cons that I go to and get it at each one you want. You also get a dinner either at New York or San Diego. We just did the San Diego one, so for the the New York one we're about to do, if you didn't go to the San Diego and you're an existing member of the Black Jacket Club then please let us know if you're interested, because we're making a guest list as we speak.

But we take you out to a fancy dinner, two drinks on us, too, Dinner is on us, you get to talk to me,I usually bring some special guests, we do some free giveaways raffles, all kinds of fun stuff. So we had a blast in San Diego, we're gonna be doing that again. And also, not only do you get access to everything the paid subscription gives you, all the classes that we've done for Comic Writing 101 archived, all the access to the classes we're about to do, and Comic Writing 102 when we start in October, but you get exclusive covers signed by me and my co-creators that nobody else gets, they're not available in stores. So for current members they got a We Have Demons cover signed by me and Greg Capullo that's not available in stores, you get a Nocterra variant cover on the trade that you can't buy elsewhere, you're getting a Night of the Ghoul #1 black and white signed by me and Francesco, you get Blacktop Bill #1 lenticular signed by me and Tony, so all kinds of fun stuff. For this round, we're going to do Clear #1, we're going to do Nocterra: Val Special #1, we're going to do all kinds of stuff.

So you get plenty of exclusive number ones on many of the series that we're doing that you can't get elsewhere and all of that. So it is a big, fun, exclusive membership that gets you VIP access to me. And any con that you're at, that I'm at, you get into the VIP event free. And we're trying to set something up to where you can do a meet up with me and my co-creators beforehand in addition to that, so we'll have that set up soon. And you get all the other perks, obviously. You get to skip the line as a paid members. Just a reminder, every con on that all year long, there'll be one signing a day where there's a portion at the beginning that's just for you guys, you can skip the line. And at some of these cons like New York, the lines are quite monstrous and difficult to deal with. So I won't go on and on about it. Tyler is going to make a graphic and gonna make an ad.

To be totally honest, we got a lot of people that were disappointed that they couldn't get in last time, so I just want you to get your trigger fingers ready. Yes, not even a week away, on the 20th, it opens. It will only be open for a brief period of time, we can't handle that many people. So if you're interested, please do it.

Okay, so into our free post. Right after this, I'm going to do a post about networking for paid subscribers. So you'll have access to that if you're on the paid tier. For free subscribers, I wanted to do something about letting go a little bit. This is a moment when we're taking out Night of the Ghoul, like I said, for TV and film. We’re getting people pitching versions of it back to us that are different, some of them really similar to the comic, some of them really a stretch from what we did in the comic, all of them really exciting. But it got me thinking about the idea of letting go, and how important that is in comics like on every level as a creator. It’s letting go when you write a script so that your artist has enough room to really shine and make it their own, a lesson I learned I'm Batman as I've told you many times. Then as you become established, characters that you create, letting go of those characters a little bit so other people can use them and tell new stories.

Like, look what happened with Hush. Hush is a seminal book, right? But then Hush took on a whole second life, the character Tommy Elliott, in Paul Dini and Dustin Nguyen’s Heart of Hush and all of that stuff. Look at Deadpool. Deadpool started out one way and then developed all kinds of layers along the way, too, from the creators that took on that character and that Rob encouraged to evolve him. Same here, the fact that the Court of Owls has taken on so many different iterations, James Jr. has taking on different iterations, Batman Who Laughs is in Fortnite, all of that stuff.

When you give people room to take the material that you created and make it their own, you're gonna get back something that A) inspires you B) drives people back to that source material. And I'll tell you this—when I came to DC at the beginning of the New 52, there were some established creators and editors and people there who held on very, very tight to characters that they had been working with, and were very controlling about the ways in which they wanted those characters handled. And sometimes they wouldn't let them be in certain books, all that kind of stuff. It always winds up hurting you in the end. It winds up making the character feel smaller, it winds up making the character siloed, it winds up making people feel like they can only exist in your stuff, and ultimately, that winds up hurting you. So I also say this because I got this incredible statue sent to me by the kind people at Prime 1 Studio who do the most amazing statues in the world. They're, like, the highest end, the most detailed, most incredible. So I'm going to do an quick unboxing video, which we’ll post in the middle of this. But I can't believe it, they were so amazing to send me this thing:

But I've been so lucky in my career to have created things that other people want to take and make their own. So my advice to you is, if you want to work in comics or even if you're working in any creative field, but especially comics, which is hyper-collaborative, as you come in, try and think of your creations as something you get to make in your own way as you're developing them. But ultimately, once they start to become material, like, once they become a comic, you're sharing them. You're sharing them with your co-creator, with your artist, then you're sharing them with other creators that want to use those characters in their books, when you spin stuff out, when you do events, when you are working on a licensed character, a villain that you've made up that then other people want to use, all that stuff. And then when you get to the level of, like, video games and toys and all of that, and especially when it comes to film and TV, you've got to let go a little bit. The best stuff that I've seen come back to me that I haven't worked on myself, like Wytches I'm doing myself with Jock for TV stuff, but the best stuff I've seen come back to me is when you give people room and elasticity to make something that they feel passionate about with your stuff. As long as it's true to core, as long as the DNA is there and it's about the same things and it doesn't deviate from, like, those elemental, primal aspects, those definitive aspects of what you intended with that creation, you're good to go. So share, let go, and thank you guys!

So now one more thing before we jump over to the paid part of the post, two dear friends who've just joined Substack Pro, Joshua Williamson and Matt Rosenberg. They're incredible creators and they're wonderful people and they have fantastic stuff planned, so I hope you'll please, please go sign up for their Substacks, it will be well worth your time:

And again, if you're a free subscriber and you want to jump over and do the paid subscription for $7 a month (or the annual tier for $75), please do you get everything else that comes with it. And I'll stop shelling, but we'd love for you to join the fun!

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