I used to teach a class on comic book art at the local Pacific Northwest College of Art (one of my former “students” is a top animator at Pixar, so there) and a regular comment from my students was that they had ideas for a comic character or series but they were afraid to submit it to any publishers because they didn’t want their ideas to get stolen. I used to laugh and say, most publishers would just as soon hire you to do your series as steal it and then hire someone else to do it. Besides the alternative is keeping your ideas hidden in a file cabinet and never sharing it with anyone and that’s not a very productive or lucrative way to express your creativity. However, I have come to learn that you can always sue someone for stealing your idea but it is the person or company that has the most money that wins the lawsuit not the person or company in the right. That being said, I still think that getting your ideas out there is the only way you can have even the remote possibility of success with it and it’s certainly worth the risk of getting plagiarized.
I myself have a ton of fully developed ideas sitting in folders in a file cabinet out in my garage. (I like to write out my ideas on paper before typing them up on a computer screen. It’s just a more natural way for me to get my ideas down… and a lot of my ideas were created…ahem…before the mass advent of computer technology) I’m digressing. One might say, I have my own “universe” of characters hidden in my file cabinet.
As I have moved along in life and am now in all likely-hood closer to death than birth, I have realized that I am running out of time to get my ideas out there and published. What have I been waiting for? Maybe fear of failure, It’s hard to say but I do know that working to pay bills and taking care of your family becomes such a priority that doing “your own thing” often times takes a back seat or just gets plain forgotten.
I took the first step over 6 years ago when I came to DC from Marvel. I requested an opportunity to do some writing/drawing and Dan Didio accommodated me. In an attempt to fill a need in the DCU I created Garbage Man. (if you haven’t heard of it or read it yet, dig up the two DC mini-series Weird Worlds #1-6 and My Greatest Adventure #1-6 and hopefully a trade paperback before the end of time) So my first creator owned project was out there and published and part of the DCU! And they didn’t steal it from me!
About a year ago I started to realize that at some point the comic industry would be finished with me and I would have nothing to show for it except 30-40 years of work for hire and maybe a small pittance of cash in my bank account. I needed to get properties out in the market place that I owned. So finally I decided to crack open my file cabinet. The first idea out was Atomic Toybox. I felt compelled to pursue publishling this series idea first because way back in 1999 I did publish one issue through Image Comics but sales were too low on issue #2 to continue it. So the great people that actually bought that comic have been left hanging for 15 years and I have felt guilty the whole time.
So earlier this year I reached an agreement with Dark Horse Comics to publish Atomic Toybox as a mini-series! So the “box” will be back in 2014. I just completed writing the 4-issue mini-series and have plans to begin drawing it before Christmas. I will warn you I have changed the title of the book to more accurately reflect the content of the story. I now call it….JOHN CARTER! But seriously folks, it does have a new name which I will release once I get the logo designed and copyright protected (we don’t want any unscrupulous publishers stealing it).
All images from Atomic Toybox are copyright 2013 Aaron A. Lopresti, all rights reserved.
What does it all mean? The Lopresti-verse will continue to expand in coming months and years as I simultaneously continue to pay my bills working for DC and others.
After the re-named Atomic Toybox? Probably Kit Carter Galactic Ranger or possibly some other idea I created while in middle school. Time will tell but I do know that time is running out!