From time to time, Archway Publishing turns over its blog to its authors, giving them the opportunity to share stories and perspectives about their individual self-publishing journeys. The following are the words of Arlen Schumer, author of The Silver Age of Comic Book Art. In the near future, this blog will feature a pictorial of selected images from this unique collection.
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Back in 2003 when the original edition of The Silver Age of Comic Book Art came out, Facebook wasn’t around, and the Marvel movies had just kicked off the decade (The X-Men and the first Sam Raimi-directed Spider-Man film). My book, published by a mom-and-pop publisher in Oregon, came and went, with no major promotion or publicity. Though it received great reviews, and was blurbed by the likes of Will Eisner and Alan Moore—and won the Independent Publishers Award for Best Popular Culture Book of 2003—the general comic book audience, nor the larger pop culture audience, never even heard of it.
So when the publisher went belly up in ’05, and rights to reprint reverted back to me, I was determined to bring my book back into print ever since. Though I was without an agent, and therefore had difficulty getting to a lot of publishers, the many rejections I did get over the past 8 years was offset by my belief that there was a brand NEW audience interested in comics history (and specifically The Silver Age) because of specific developments in the past decade: the boffo box office of the Marvel movies, all based on characters from The Silver Age; the growth of Facebook, creating many comic-centric groups; and the proliferation of hardcover, archival collections of comic book & comic strip history, like the IDW Artist Editions—enough to warrant a double-page spread in The New York Times a couple of years ago!
When I decided to fully participate in Facebook as my social media of choice a couple of years ago, I was able to begin two comics history groups of my own—one based around my Silver Age book and the era, the other devoted to the career of Neal Adams (whose art graces the title page of my book as well as its final, concluding chapter), both with over 2500 members each—and found out that I had a following that I never had before, and a community I could get my work directly to. So along with the growth in self-publishing at the same time as Facebook’s rise, it made me realize last year that I don’t have to wait for a “real” publisher to come along and pat me on the head. I could do it myself!
After some research, I decided to go with Archway Publishing, the “assisted publishing” division of Simon & Schuster; they’ve done a BEAUTIFUL job on the printing of the book—it truly is “new, improved”! My original edition was beautifully printed, but Archway went above and beyond it: they gave me a truly-silver dust jacket this time (vs. a four-color approximation of silver on my original), as well as a matte-finish case wrap illustration (under the dust jacket) that is worth the price of admission (if I do say so myself!) I was also able to revise ALL the typography in the book, because I was only happy with about 60% of it the first time around, as well as throwing in a few new graphics throughout the book for sharp-eyed owners of my original edition!
Like The Silver Age of Comic Book Art by Arlen Schumer Facebook Page and read his nine-part series on the silver age of comic book art.
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