Keeping up with the Jones’ will drive you absolutely crazy when applied to your comic book career.
The first question to ask is simple: who are your Jones’?
They are your peers, and sometimes, they are your contemporaries.
I guess I should define who your peers and contemporaries are, first.
Your peer is someone who is on your same level. Joe Blow from Kokomo? If he’s putting out about the same body of work as you, getting into smaller companies, working to get their name out there, then Joe is your peer. Joe is doing the same thing you are—hustling to get noticed by fans in order to build a base and make some money.
Your contemporaries are those luminaries who are doing the work at the same time as you, but who are at a higher level. Any creator you can name doing medium-to-high profile work at a medium-to-large company are your contemporaries.
These are the definitions I use. You may disagree.
Now, seeing people you know get coverage with comic news sources (such as they are) for their projects while you have projects you believe are just as good (if not better) and aren’t getting any coverage at all can be frustrating. Or you help a friend in some way that was crucial to the book they put out, and they don’t even give you a name-drop when they do an interview…maddening.
These things happen a lot more often than you realize. That, and more. But you can’t rely on someone else to get your name out there. You have to do your part. You have to get your own name out there. You have to put in your own work in order to get your name out there.
This is the best way to keep up with the Jones’.
That’s if you’re in a “competition.” Believe you me, this is in your own mind. You should be working harder on your own stuff instead of trying to either stay even or get ahead of your peers. Put them out of your mind and do your own work. Comics is not a zero-sum game, and there is no “winner.” (And interestingly enough, thinking there’s a winner will ensure that you lose…)