Creator of The Offspring and owner of Correct Handed Productions is here to talk about writing, illustration, comics and more. You can literally AMA.

David Whalen
Jul 13, 2018

As the owner of Correct Handed Production publishing company and the creator of the indie comics The Offspring and Evolution: Utero I enjoy discussing the ups and downs to self-publishing creator-owned comics. What are the struggles we as indie creators face on our uphill battle to stand out and be noticed in a sea of comic content? How do we make our stories and characters feel fresh and exciting and what do we do to attract a fan base and keep them coming back for more? Lastly, how do we as indie creators juggle family, day jobs and paying taxes with finding the time to write, draw, color, letter, and promote our titles? These are topics I have dealt with as an indie creator and hope to produce some insight when you AMA.

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www.amazon.com/Offspring-1-David-Whalen/dp/1985668149/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1531353160&sr=8-2&keywords=offspring+whalen

www.amazon.com/Evolution-Utero-Conception-David-Whalen/dp/1985852209/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1531353200&sr=1-2&keywords=utero+whalen

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How does Correct Handed Productions compete with similar companies in the Indie art world?
Jul 15, 8:30AM EDT0

As a new small press publisher I am very much the underdog. To expect instant success would be ridiculous. I'm playing a long game where I continue to produce content and continue to build a fan base. 

Jul 15, 10:22AM EDT0
When did you found Correct Handed Productions? Is there any significance behind the name?
Jul 15, 2:08AM EDT0

I started CHP about six months ago. I'm left handed and anyone who is left handed will tell you it can sometimes be a struggle in a right handed world. In my teens I started making the joke that it's not right and left handed, it's right and correct handed. The joke stuck and I decided to name my company after that one liner.

Jul 15, 10:18AM EDT0

Why did you found your company instead of getting your own comic published? 

Jul 14, 4:51AM EDT0

I started Correct Handed Publications so I could publish my story. I've found that publishing on my own allows me to work at the pace I set and gives me the freedom to learn and grow and change as an artist and a writer without worrying about other peoples deadlines. Also, it's super fun to build something from scratch and know it's all yours.

Jul 14, 4:35PM EDT0
What is one thing you feel should be in every superhero comic book script?
Jul 13, 1:53PM EDT0

I don't know if there is one thing that needs to be in every superhero script. Most will have action, comedy, strong villians, a solid love interest but as long as you tell a story that you like and you would want to read, that's what matters. That's the great thing, there's an audience for every and any type of story.

Jul 13, 4:24PM EDT0
How do you develop your plot and characters?
Jul 13, 10:55AM EDT0

When I write, it depends on the story. Sometimes I'll start with the character, I'll think of an interesting quirk or angle then wrap a narritive around it. Sometimes I develope the concept of the story first and decide what kinds of characters I would need to help best tell that story. I have an upcoming 100 page graphic novel coming out with Dojo Kun Comics called The Loved Ones that started with concept. once we had the basic story the charaters worked themselves into place.

Jul 13, 12:18PM EDT0
How do you select the names of your characters?
Jul 13, 10:31AM EDT0

It depends. Sometimes I'll use names of fmily members or friends. I'll flip though the phone book (kids ask your parent what that is)from time to time looking for interesting names. Or I might hear a name spoken on the street and right it down or try to remember it. I sometimes also take insperation from classic novels or plays and use a first name of a character as a tribute.

Jul 13, 12:13PM EDT0
Do you believe indie creators can find success within the superhero genre? If so why? If no, why not?
Jul 13, 9:17AM EDT0

I think superheroes for indie creators can be difficult. The industry already has thousands of superheroes each wanting the attention of the reader. I think if you're going to do a superhero as an indie creator you better have a great hook that hasn't been done before and makes your creation stand out from the rest.

Jul 13, 10:19AM EDT0
How often do you write? Do you have any rituals before or after writing?
Jul 13, 7:25AM EDT0

I try to write everyday. The great thing about writing and drawing my own title is the freedom it gives me to change it up. There are times in a story that I may not know exactly what I want a character to say so i'll thumbnail the action draw the page and finish the dialogue when I letter the page. When I write I need silence to think. When I draw I usually put on a pod cast (true crime or comedy) so I can learn or laugh while I work. Also is procratination a ritual?

Jul 13, 10:24AM EDT0
If you were forced to live the rest of your life as one of your characters who would it be and why?
Jul 13, 1:12AM EDT0

I have a character in my four issue mini-series Evolution: Utero named Thomas Anaba aka Apex who has traditional super hero powers: flight, strength and energy beams but I designed him to be the exact opposite of his mother who is selfish and unkind (at first). He's very giving, positive and happy and trusting but not gullible, that people around him will do the right thing. He is what I hope people will be in the future. That sounds pretty good to me.

Jul 13, 10:32AM EDT0
What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?
Jul 13, 1:02AM EDT0

I don't know if it's a quirk but I tend to think alot about if I want the story I'm working on at the time to be a comedy or a tragedy in the traditional sense. Do I want it to end well for my protaganists or end badly. I'm okay with it ending badly, I think that only opens up more possibilities for storytelling.mIn some cases it can make the narrative more realistic.

Jul 13, 10:38AM EDT0
How do you collaborate with your art team to bring The Offspring to life?
Jul 12, 9:01PM EDT0

I'm a one man band. I have had the opportunity for colorists for a few title to come in and carry that load for me, and they have always done an amazing job, but usually I'm on my own. I write, draw, color, letter, publish everything on my own. The only exeption is that I will have my wife, who is much smarter then me, edit my pages for spelling errors. Spellcheck is my friend.

Jul 13, 10:42AM EDT0
What challenges are the hardest to face as a self-published creator?
Jul 12, 7:10PM EDT0

For me the hardest part is also the most fun. Trying to wear all the hats that are needed to build content, get a book out and promote it sucessfully. As the writer, artist, colorist (for most the books) and letterer it allows me the freedom to do it the way I want. I set me own pace which can sometimes be difficult as a father with a day job.

Jul 12, 7:37PM EDT0
What is your comic The Offspring about?
Jul 12, 6:29PM EDT0

Growing up I loved two genres: horror and sci-fi, so I combined them.

The Offspring circles around a group of three friends, Sara, Will and Vince, that have led troubled lives. They found themselves in a group home and developed a unique bond. As their connection grew the friends realized they were also developing strange abilities.  It's this connection that awakens a powerful force in the universe and sends our heros on a quest through time and space fighting god-like creatures all trying to steal the power for themselves. 

My goal was to create a unigue concept that would allow me the freedom to write many different genres: horror, fantasy, sci-fi, crime, time travel and still have a solid cohesive story being told. I think The Offspring has a fun unique narritive from beggining to end that will keep the reader guessing and have a great payoff in the end.

Jul 12, 7:55PM EDT0

What are three things you would advice any indie comic creator to do to position their projects for success?

Jul 12, 6:17PM EDT0

1. have the content created. Don't create a cover and then post it all over FB telling eveyone you have a book coming out. Have at least two to three issues completed before you promote. This will give you a little room to make mistakes (I have and will continue to nake them). So the more you have created up front the better off you'll be.

2. Post  regularly on social media. Any SM site you can find create a page and post, post, post. You probable won't find instant success but if you keep at it you'll find a fan base.

3. Have a plan. If you're creating an on-going series make sure you love the concept enough to be in it for the long haul. If your creating a mini-series make the story as tight as you can. If you're creating one-shots make sure your concepts are strong. If you're having fun it will show in the work.

4. BONUS Have your family buy lots of copies.

Jul 12, 8:08PM EDT0
What was the inspiration behind The Offspring? How was the project started?
Jul 12, 6:09PM EDT0

I read a lot of superhero comics growing up but I wanted to create a story with characters that looked more like me and the people I grew up with.  I decided my heroes would not wear costumes or have code names that were said out loud, they're real kids with real problems and happened to also fight monsters. Like so many other creators I came up with the basic concept when I was 16 years old. Heavly influenced by rock and roll, as I grew the story grew. It wasn't untill I was well into my 30s that I felt I could make the story I wanted with the level of excitment, suspence, and emotion that I knew these character deserved.

Jul 12, 8:16PM EDT0
What do you think most characterizes your writing?
Jul 12, 4:12PM EDT0

I like the think my stories focus just as much on the emotions and interactions between the characters as it does on the action and monsters. Trying to find those little moments in the chaos where these characters show their feelings and realisticly react to the events around them. These kids are not perfect. They are highly flaud individuals who make mistakes. It's how they overcome those mistakes that, I think really defines what my story is about. It's not about the monsters, it's about the people and their struggles.

Jul 12, 8:22PM EDT0

Why did you choose to create comics? What drew you to it?

Jul 12, 3:58PM EDT0

I grew up reading comics. I was the wierd artist kid. It seemed like an easy decision. My life is hanging with my children, teaching my students how to draw and creating super sweet comics. What more could anyone ask?

Jul 12, 8:25PM EDT0
What can you do as an indie creator to stand out?
Jul 12, 2:24PM EDT0

What I try to do to stand out is have a unique artistic stlye and a concept that stands out as fresh and worth reading. The time you put into it will equal what you get out of it. What you want to get out of it is up to you.

Jul 12, 8:27PM EDT0
How do you balance your work and personal life?
Jul 12, 1:10PM EDT0

Very carefully. My comic book creator life usually involves me sitting at my drawing table after everyone else has gone to bed and squeezing those few moments during the kids baths and homework time. It can be difficult but luckily I have a wife that supports my comic booking 100% as long as I'm at the dinner table on time.

Jul 12, 8:31PM EDT0
What’s one thing you had to learn the hard way while creating your own projects?
Jul 12, 11:09AM EDT0

When you are starting out with small press companies and they ask you for a short story or a book to publish with them do not give them your dream project. Give them your second or third sidea. Save your dream project you have been creating since you were ten for a time you know it will see the light of day and will continue to be what you invision.

Jul 12, 8:35PM EDT0
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