I’ve got a love/hate relationship with comics on television.
There are a lot of properties, new, old, and upcoming, that are on television. I love seeing them there, because I love comic books. I remember being in the single digits and watching the live-action Spider-Man on television, and wanting to be him. I’d sit on my parents bed and watch Spidey, and afterward, I’d go play with my toys (fly-away Superman and Batman, and I had a Batman and Robin lamp based on the 60s show that I used as Batman’s base) and make up adventures for them. Life was good.
Life is even better for creators, with comics being made into tv and films. What’s not to love about seeing characters come to life on the large and small screen? And what’s not to love about the opportunities this presents for all creators.
The problem (as I see it) is that new creators see what’s happening, and think they can replicate that success without putting in any hard work. I’ve seen more than my fair share of ads for work, saying that it’s just a stepping stone to film and television.
You don’t have to love the medium for itself. It can be used as a stepping stone. However, at least have a plan in place for success on the merits of the medium you’ve chosen to create in, not just as a backdoor to something else.
When we launched Scam, ComixTribe did something unusual: we paid for a billboard on the Sunset Strip. (Scam is a superpowered heist story that takes place in Vegas, which you can buy right here.) That led to some buzz and some moderate success for us…as well as a call from Robert Rodriguez’ production company. While exciting, nothing ever really moved forward with it. There was also some talk about The Standard, but nothing moved with that, either.
I co-wrote a book called Fallen Justice (which you can also buy), and it was picked up by a director who identified strongly with the title character. He tried to get it produced, going so far (and to some, so low) as to try to get it produced on Crackle.com.
So I’ve had brushes with success. (Another comic I’ve worked on is currently in talks to be produced as a series.) Do I let that go to my head and think I can make a comic that will automagically be turned into a show or film? Not at all.
Dreams are fine. Just don’t let those dreams lead you to unrealistic expectations. It takes a lot of luck to make it from idea to the masses as either a show or film. You have to have not only someone believe in and champion your idea as though it was their idea, but they have to then get people with money to be willing to take the risk on the idea, and then it has to turn a profit. (These people don’t want to break even. Breaking even is a failure to them.)
Do your projects, but try to respect the medium you choose while you’re doing it.