INDIE SPOTLIGHT ON Andrew Goletz

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The Grayhaven Comics Staff Spotlight

We’ll spend the next few weeks featuring some of our incredible staff members who volunteer their time and energy into putting together GrayHaven’s comic line. As a group we’re from assorted backgrounds and even different parts of the world, but we share a passion for creating comics and helping others to bring their comics dreams to life!

This week we talk to our publisher, Andrew Goletz

How did you come to be involved with GrayHaven Comics?

I’ve wanted to make comics since I could first read them and make my own crudely drawn and written stories. As I got older the desire only increased. My art never got better, my writing only slightly such but I still liked the idea of making comics. I’d done some stories from other self published anthologies and after seeing one too many of those books fall apart figured I might be crazy enough to see a book through to completion if I took complete control over it. In the winter of 2009 I put the word out to friends and creators on an old message board I frequented that I was going to do a self published anthology and the response was greater than I expected. In the Fall of 2010 after a few delays and a tremendous learning curve, The Gathering: Hope anthology was released.

We all wear many hats at GrayHaven. Of the jobs you have to do, what do you find most rewarding?


Getting feedback from people who always wanted to make a comic or tell a story and didn’t know how to do it finally seeing their work in print. I remember how amazing it felt when those boxes of comics finally arrived and seeing months of work and a lifetime dream finally come to fruition. Each time a new book of ours comes out there’s someone who’s getting to experience that dream come true and I love that. We’ve started to focus a bit more on self contained books but the Gathering anthologies will always be a part of the publishing plan for that very reason.


We’ve all made appearances at different conventions. What is your favorite part of the convention experience? Your least favorite part?


My favorite part is getting to spend time with the people who work on the comics. We’re scattered throughout the globe and typically only get facetime with each other at con season. It’s great to spend time with them and attempt to brainstorm new ideas. I also love getting to talk to people directly about our comics and what we’re trying to accomplish with GrayHaven.

The least favorite part is when we end up at conventions whose focus are everything but comics. The big shows are more about what Marvel and DC films or casting will be announced or what comes after Secret Wars or Convergence. The smaller shows focus mainly on former child actors, local wrestling celebrities and so forth. It’s tough enough to try and sell an unknown commodity to comic fans who are looking for indie books. It’s impossible when the con (and con goers) aren’t even there for comics.

Of what GrayHaven projects are you most proud? Why?

You Are Not Alone. That anti bullying anthology came as a result of me being incredibly depressed and feeling hopeless over the massacre at Sandy Hook. I remember talking to the other editors trying to determine what we could do to help. A tribute book seemed in poor taste but we could still maybe help by offering something that young readers could have as a guide for dealing with the horrible things they go through on a daily basis: violence, bullying, racism, depression, etc. Along with stories aimed at those ages we included the chapter breaks with information on where to go if you needed help and I just thought it came together wonderfully. The response was beyond my wildest expectations with everyone from schools to libraries and law enforcement agencies asking for copies to use.  I don’t think I’ve ever been prouder of a project and probably never will be.

Are there any other works – be they comics, literary, or art related – that you’re working on?

This year has been about getting the company back on track and refocused. We were a bit too aggressive in the past with our schedule so the first 6 months was pulling back and now we’re in the process of releasing some great new books. LI’L KAIJU, a full color all ages book is out now. DOBER-MAN 2, the sequel to one of our most ‘acclaimed’ comics ever will be out next month. YOU ARE NOT ALONE 3 is just around the corner this Fall along with new issues of THE GATHERING (Sci Fi 3) and this winter should see the release of TITANIUM STAR by Victor Gischler and Patrick Macchi and maybe some more teases about the ‘EVENT’.  It was very hard to slow things down but it was done by design for a reason and I think the books will be better because of it and creators will also benefit from it.

Doberman issue 2 cover

 

What kinds of comics do you enjoy reading and why?

As Marvel and DC continue to outdo each other with big events where everything changes in an order to stake out market share I find myself for the first time in 30 years losing interest in their entire lines which is a shame because both companies are doing some very interesting things within their lines. My focus tends to be more Indie and Self Published books now and my Image pull list is larger than my Marvel and DC combined now. I think Boom is putting out some great books as well. One the more indie/self pub front both Tribal Comix and Inverse press do great work

What are you current top five books to pick up?

I don’t think there’s ever been a better time to be a comic book fan. As much as some of the non stop events Marvel and DC do grates on me they have some fantastic creators working for them and their lines are as diverse and interesting as ever. Larger indie companies like Image, Boom and IDW are gaining market share and taking risks and readers are being rewarded with amazing books. And there is a plethora of up and coming smaller press companies and self pubs putting out great work. If you are interested in a topic, any topic, odds are there’s a comic about it. And if there isn’t, it’s never been easier to do one yourself.

This is just a long winded way for me to say my tastes are constantly changing and with so much great stuff out there it’s hard to narrow to just 5 but I will do my best

GOD HATES ASTRONAUTS (Image)- I discovered this webcomic turned Kickstart OGN turned Image series through the Kickstarter and it’s the most insane, creative, laugh out loud comic I’ve read in years.

FIVE GHOSTS (Image)- Forget the licensed pulp stuff other companies are doing, one of the coolest action adventure series in the vein of Indiana Jones and Tales of the Gold Monkey is Five Ghosts. Amazing concept. Great art. Just love it!

STRAY BULLETS (Image)- I enjoyed this series when Laphum was self publishing and was cautiously optimistic when he brought it back through Image. He never missed a step and if anything the book is even better than it was before. This is the greatest crime comic ever done and new issues are still coming out so there are no excuses not to read it!

DEADLY CLASS (Image)- While Remender’s Marvel stuff leaves me cold I’m a huge fan of his creator owned work and while Black Science is pretty amazing, Deadly Class may be my favorite thing he’s ever done. It’s harsh, real and pulls no punches.

ALEX + ADA just ended (boooooo) so I’ll have to pick something else. WALKING DEAD has been on a creative resurgence lately and the past year the book has taken some wonderful new turns that have made it a favorite must read again and Brubaker is killing it with THE FADE OUT and VELVET but I think I have to go with LAZARUS by Rucka and Lark. 

 

How were you first introduced to the comics medium?

I remember reading random issues of Iron Man, Batman and Spider-Man picked up by family members when I was 5 or 6 years old, probably just to pacify me while I was acting up in a store. I became hooked on comics back in the early 80s when Roger Stern began his Spider-Man run. That’s when I made it a point to find a new issue every month and ultimately led my parents to find a comic store where I could be assured of not missing an issue, unlike the grocery store or 7-11 where it was hit or miss. A store that only sold comics? What the what!?! Ever since that day I’ve been a weekly habitual user and never looked back.

Do you have aspirations to be a professional in the comics industry?

I feel like I’m already there and have been for over 5 years. The desire I had at 8 years old to write Spider-Man and Batman has diminished greatly (although I would still love to do a Wild Dog story, DC). I’m not going to pretend that getting to work on legendary creations like that wouldn’t be a hell of a thing to do but I don’t know what I could add to those characters whereas what I’m doing now lets me create things I want to read

I may not act like a professional, but heck from concepts to editing and publishing and marketing I feel like I’m getting to experience all the industry has to offer.

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What is the fundamental advice you’d like to give to all up-and-coming comics creators?

You don’t have to ask for advice but if you do, take it seriously. Too often, creators will ask for opinions on their work and not like what they have to hear. Constructive criticism isn’t a slight against you as a human being, it’s designed to help make you improve as an artist or writer. And if you take criticism poorly, it really makes people reluctant to want to work with you

You need an editor. You don’t think you need one, but you do. And while they may not make your book perfect, it will be much better than it was before they got to it.

Rejection isn’t the end. If at first you don’t succeed, keep trying. If you keep trying and keep getting rejected are you doing steps one and two? Are you doing everything and still getting rejected? Then do it yourself. It doesn’t have to be a print comic, though with print on demand those can be done affordable.

Don’t disrespect the medium. Not everyone can read 50 comics a month but when I hear people say they haven’t read a comic in years or only read one type of book it turns me off of reading their ideas. Know what’s out there and learn from it.

Follow instructions. If submissions call for 2 paragraphs, write two paragraphs. Not one, not three. If you’re trying to get people hooked on an idea spoilers are encouraged. Nothing is worse (well maybe not following instructions is worse) than people’s pitches ending in ‘and if you want to know how the story ends, take my story’.  That’s not how it works. We judge the complete story, not the teaser trailer.

Above all, be someone that people would want to work with. Talent’s great. Connections are awesome. But if you’re someone who can’t get along with anyone and makes it a chore to get through even the shortest of stories it’s going to be an uphill battle.

 

One Response to INDIE SPOTLIGHT ON Andrew Goletz

  1. John Peter September 20, 2015 at 1:21 pm #

    Thank you for your time. Interested in working on Small Press Indy Comics. Sincerely, John Peter

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