This isn’t just the beginning of a New Year, it’s the 5th anniversary of GrayHaven Comics and the beginning of a new era for the company.
Joey Heflich (web design) and Matt Krotzer (graphics) have helped fine tune this website into something a bit more modern and sleek with a better user interface and more simplistic design and huge thanks to them for coming in after numerous false starts to get this ready for the New Year. First order of business will be catching up on some of the orders that were missed or lost with the old system. From here on things should have a much smoother ride.
For the past 5 years we have been honored to feature to work of more than 300 writers and artists, most of whom had their first every comic work published in the pages of The Gathering anthology. Along with these talented new creators, we have to thank the established pro creators such as Sterling Gates, Victor Gischler, Glenn Greenberg, Raven Gregory, Colin Lorimer, John Jackson Miller, Pat Shand, Gail Simone, and Len Wallace who took time out to contribute shorts or art to our books.
5 years and over 70 different comics published. That’s a rate of one comic a month for the past 5 years. Over 30 issues of The Gathering anthology, 7 Young Reader comics, 3 OGNs and nearly a dozen self contained works.
I’m extremely proud of the work the was put into all of these books. Yeah, I will look back on some early issues (and unfortunately some not so early issues) and cringe at some of the choices made or mistakes missed but all the passion that went into these projects can not be discounted and I can’t look at even some of those misfires with too critical an eye.
We’ve always been aggressive and I love that but it’s time to shake things up a bit and take a small step back in order to really accomplish what we all want. With a publishing schedule that had us putting out over two dozen books a year and everyone from editorial and production to freelancers having full time jobs elsewhere, mistakes were being missed, books were starting to get rushed and too much product was being put out at one time.
Let’s be realistic. Small press (strike one) black and white (strike two) anthologies (strike three) don’t exactly set the sales charts ablaze and while we’ve had our share of successes a lot of the newer work was getting lost in the shuffle and there were some quality books not getting the audience they deserved because to anyone looking from the outside in it was just ‘release 18 of 24′ for the year and it’s too much for a casual fan, especially in an era where comic books are achieving such a diverse and high level of content across the board.
In 2015 and beyond there will be a greater emphasis on self contained stories. According to our sales and reviews you liked books like Dober Man, Mother and Son, My Geek Family and Sparks and we’ll be doing more of these types of books. The anthologies are great and they’re fun to do but when people see several dozen anthologies on a con table their eyes gloss over and there’s a reluctance to pay for a book of a dozen short stories of varying quality. And that is not a knock on the quality of the stories at all. The Gathering was always meant to allow newer creators to get their feet wet and that is part of the charm when someone is told about it for the first time. People like giving fresh talent a shot. They like the idea behind it and want to support it. But it’s not the type of book that can sustain itself with a dozen different volumes a year. The result is a loss of what makes that book special and so the first order of business is returning The Gathering anthology into a book that’s special. We’ll be doing just two volumes of The Gathering per year. When we have our open submission period (August-September) for new creators we want that to return to being the type of event people look forward to and when the books come out that will also be something special as they won’t be lost in the shuffle of a dozen different anthologies being released.
As far as the self contained books go, not only will you see new issues of books like My Geek Family, Dober-Man and Sparks but we’ll be unveiling new one shots and limited series throughout the year.
Jared Moore’s one shot as winner of GrayHaven Apprentice will see the light of day. And look for a new season of GHA in the Spring.
We are also going to be doing a special event in the late Fall/Winter that will probably be the riskiest and most complex project we’ve put together. It’s something that we’ve been working on for nearly a year and have just begin artwork on. Without giving away too much just imagine this as our Secret Wars/Convergence.
(Not actual art from the mystery book)
2015 will be a year of transition as we wrap old projects and set forth on the exciting releases of Titanium Star, Secret Event and sequels to Dober-Man and My Geek Family, along with a couple of other projects and moving into 2016 and beyond you’ll start to see the new phase of GrayHaven Comics start to take shape a little more.
(Our first reboot? What could this be?)
We will, of course, also be continuing the YOU ARE NOT ALONE series. Copies of the 2nd editions should start going out to our Kickstarter backers in January and we will make the book available for sale once the rewards and comps have gone out. I have never been more proud of a project than I have been with YOU ARE NOT ALONE . Our goal will be to continue to make these books while a need exists and unfortunately if you watch the news any day of the week the need definitely still exists. We’ll experiment with the format somewhat. It is my hope to complete at least one volume of the book that is written by the very young people affected by abuse and bullying and violence that we hope to help.
One final and very important thing we’re all very excited about here is the permanent addition of the ‘Indie Spotlight’ feature. Throughout the past year Glenn Matchett and Erica Heflin have talked to other small press creators about their upcoming books, crowd funding campaigns and anything else they wanted to promote and we were able to hopefully shine a spotlight on some other awesome creator owned work out there.
We want GrayHaven to be a comfortable place for any indie creator to come by and talk about their own projects or discuss the current market climate or anything else. The Indie Spotlight is YOUR area and consider this an open invitation to any creator who wants to share their work, hopes, dreams or concerns with our audience. There are so many wonderful small press companies out there with talented creators and brilliant ideas and we believe that strength in numbers and mutual promotion will help everyone reach a larger audience than before.
On that same note, within the next month we’ll be updating our Submission Process for anyone who is interested in bringing their completed project to GrayHaven. You’ll be able to pitch your projects direct to us. You’ve asked for this for years and now it’s becoming a reality.
As we turn the page, celebrating how much we accomplished, anxious for what is to come I need to also acknowledge those who helped us get to this point right now, past and present…
Editors Ray Goldfield, Doug Hahner, Erica Heflin, Sean Leonard, Marc Lombardi, Glenn Matchett, James O’Callaghan, Erich Schoeneweiss and Jason Snyder
Art Directors Aaron Bir, Chris Chamberlain and John Coker
Creators Victor Gischler and Gail Simone who went above and beyond the call of duty in volunteering their time and talents to our pages
Retail Shops The Comic Book Shop DE and Golden Eagle Comics for being quick to help spread the word and never wavering in that support
Comic Reporters/Bloggers Trisha Barr (Fangirl Blog), Mary Brickthrower (Geekadelphia), Albert Ching (Newsarama, CBR) , Forrest Helvie (Newsarama), Corrina Lawson (Geek Mom), Matt Meylikov (Multiversity), Matt O’Keefe (The Beat), Brett Schenker (Graphic Policy), Eric Smith (Geekadelphia), Brian Thomer (PA Comic Examiner) and ‘oh God I’m going to forget someone please don’t hate me’ for giving attention to small press creators and books with so many other choices and projects to cover.
And finally a HUGE thank you and my extreme appreciation to all of the fans who supported our crowd funding campaigns, purchased our books, retweeted and shared our links and just supported us with your dollar or your time. We wouldn’t be here without you and it is because of you that we are ready to take it to the next level and usher in a great new era for GrayHaven
Thank you for 5 terrific years. The best is yet to come!