Whether you’re a CREATOR looking to get your work out there and cultivate a dedicated fan base of your own, a COLLECTOR with a passion for exclusives and supporting artists directly, or a comic COMPANY looking to connect, collaborate and engage directly with an ever growing arsenal of artists, writers and CREATORS, I think JUST MAKE COMICS is for you.
FOR THE CREATOR...
JMC is a way to directly connect with YOUR fans - not the whole “World Wide Web”, but those particular fans of YOU - the COLLECTORS - and supporters of your work who want see you succeed. The COLLECTORS are here for YOU, they’re the fans that can make it possible for you to JUST MAKE COMICS. They love to see what you’re creating, and hope to help you to keep on creating it.
Once you sign up, you’ll be given your very own CREATOR “TABLE”. A dedicated chat thread with your name right on it, where you can show and sell your work as often as you’d like without worry of spamming the feed - it’s YOUR TABLE, your direct connection to YOUR FANS - The COLLECTORS…
FOR THE COLLECTOR...
JMC is a place to have real conversations and get to know the CREATORS behind the comics you love, as well as meet other like minded fans. No longer limited to a “like” or single comment reply, you can ask as many questions as you want - there’s no one in line behind you anymore. Let CREATORS know what it is you love about their work, and what you’d like to see more of. Elevate them, lift them up to that next level of their career - support the arts - but also build a killer collection, and some real friendships along the way.
FOR THE COMPANY...
JMC is a one stop shop for not only finding your next variant cover artist, but an avenue for selling directly to their fanbase. It’s a place to promote your next event or big release. And just as it is for the CREATOR or the COLLECTOR it’s access to a growing community - your comic community made up of customers, collaborators and connections for whatever you’ve got coming next.
READY TO CHECK IT OUT?
IF YOU WANT TO MAKE COMICS, WHY DON'T YOU...
WHO AM I, & WHY AM I DOING THIS?
I’m Ben Bishop and I’m a comic CREATOR.
When I was 11 I decided that all I ever wanted to do was JUST MAKE COMICS. So I wrote to MARVEL asking for a job… They actually wrote me back. They didn’t let me draw Spider-Man, but they told me it was possible someday if I kept “sharpening my skills” - and maybe got a little bit older first.
If only it were that simple.
I moved to MAINE in 2004 to go to MAINE COLLEGE OF ART (MECA), get that degree and become a real deal licensed illustrator… That didn’t work out. About a week into my sophomore year of school I was called down to the financial aid office and told I could no longer attend my classes because my loans hadn’t gone through… And I didn’t have a co-signer.
That morning I was in art college, on track to becoming a comic artist - and that afternoon I was just another guy in town working at a coffee shop and a lobster shack (there’s more of that guy here in Maine than you might think).
One particular day, I ran into an old teacher of mine from MECA. She heard what happened and knew I was trying to decide what to do now… Then she asked me a question that probably changed my life.
If you want to make comics, why don’t you just make comics?
So I did. I spent the next 4 years I would have been in school, behind a desk, finishing my book.
In 2008 I quit all my “real jobs” and self published my first graphic novel, the 300 page NATHAN THE CAVEMAN. I was 22. It’s the story of the world’s first artist, and that of a modern day painter named Nathan who lives in Portland Maine. It tries to answer the question of, why cavemen painted on walls? Surely they had more important things to do to survive? What about Nathan? Why does he spend every waking moment painting paintings no one ever sees? Why did I decide when I was 11 that this is all I ever wanted to do, and refuse to let anything stop me? Because I had to. Because deep down, just like Nathan, just like the Caveman - I JUST had to… It’s why I’m here.
Maybe it’s why you’re here too.
Not giving up when college fell through, creating a new plan, finishing that book and getting it out into the world has, in one way or another, lead to every opportunity I’ve ever had since. The important part was that I got it done. I made something. Something that would lead to the next thing, and the next… and the next. Something that could begin a career in comics.
I want to try to help facilitate that opportunity to as many other creators as I can by helping them connect directly with their supporters, build that fan base, tell those stories and ultimately spend as much of their time as they can, JUST making COMICS.
I know every CREATOR’S situation is different... Maybe you have a big family and a job you can’t just quit to chase your dream of making comics. When I jumped off the cliff I was only 20 something years old, it wasn’t a very high cliff, and I had the luxury of living broke, surviving off toast and coffee and only worrying about myself. Maybe you're unable to afford the time, travel and table costs to attend dozens of shows a year. Why should that mean your work and talent go unseen - and your stories go untold? I've been tabling at comic conventions for over 14 years, and only until recently, it's almost always been at a loss. A good show oftentimes meant I maybe met or connected with someone who might maybe want to work together someday… maybe.
Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE going to shows! Conventions are awesome! But they shouldn’t, and no longer need to be a rite of passage to get work and break into comics. For me, conventions were a means to an end. A place to find work, connect with the community and build my fan base - hopefully enabling me to continue to JUST MAKE COMICS as a full time, self employed CREATOR. Comic conventions were the best way to show those COMPANIES and fans - that you were indeed doing the WORK. You’re putting in the face time, attending the shows, shaking all the hands (getting ALL the GERMS), making connections, lugging your luggage, spending your money on travel and tables, and all the while… you’re not actually making any new comics.
What if there was a way - a good way - to do both? Make comics and connect directly with the people who want your work, and the people you want to work with.
I found a way.
Around 2016 I had the wild idea to start a fan club - the BISHART KIDS CLUB (it’s actually mostly grown adult “kids” born out of the 80’s). Today we’ve got over 300 members. I found a way to bring all my fans together by creating a space where they’d have around the clock access to me and whatever I was working on. This wasn’t like IG or FB where I needed to be mindful of how often I was posting, or had to limit my interactions to “likes” or replying to single comments. This was a place where I could get to know these people, and they could really get to know me and my work - a big change from our once a year convention high five “how you doing?”.
One of the greatest unintended consequences of the BKC was how members yearned to help support each other as well - in any way they could - through whatever dreams they were chasing, art they might be selling or hard times they might be going through. Many members now have full on businesses, or were able to quit their day jobs in part due to the support and connections they made within the club.
This was eye opening for me…
What could a group like the BKC do for someone else?
What if every CREATOR had a group of supporters like this?
What if every COLLECTOR had a front row seat to see how the comics they loved were being made, as well as the opportunity to really connect with the people making them?
What if COMPANIES looking to hire their next creator had a portfolio of talent right in their pocket, and all they had to do was click around to see who was available and looking for work?
How many other CREATORS are there out there like me, Nathan and the Caveman, who would love nothing more than to create as often as possible - who need to create - they just have to.
So this is my next big idea…
I’ve seen it work for myself over the last 7 years of the BISHART KIDS CLUB and I want to see it work for as many others as possible.
I want to see what JUST MAKE COMICS can do for you, for the community, and how far comics and CREATORS can go when they’re backed directly by the support of those COLLECTORS and fans who want to support them in the first place - who want to help them make the time and the space to JUST MAKE COMICS.