PLB Comics Alright. I know what some people might say about independent comic books. 'Nah! Not my type of thing' they'd say. Whilst they continuously moan about what the major companies are doing with their heavy hitters. But hey! Do you know what I'd say to these people, folks? 'Wake up' I'd say. 'Check out something different, imaginative, and with feeling'. You know. Something created by my mate James and his pals over at PLB Comics. Go on. Check out this interview I did with him only the other day, whilst moaning about hitting major companies with a pointed-stick.

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1) What are your own origins, James? Plus what path did you take in life before you got to where you are today?   I didn't like to read when I was very young, and my father, being an extremely bright guy, and a bit of a comic book fan himself, plunked down a stack of comics in front of me one day and said “try these”.

Well, it worked. Within six months I was reading voraciously. But my first and greatest love has always been comics. Later in life I worked in graphics as well as marketing and PR, which inadvertently let me into working with PLB Comics.

2) In roll-call fashion, can you tell us about some of the comic’s you publish? Plus if ‘PLB Comics’ has any publishing affiliations?   Right now we have two mainline titles: 'The Fall: Vengeance & Justice', as well as 'Gideon and Sebastian: Predators and Prey'. We also publish a yearly Halloween special. 

'The Fall' is a vigilante title packed with action, gunplay, and some truly demented and sometimes amusing villains. 

The Team At PLB Comics
'Gideon and Sebastian' is our vampire title. I will say this in not your little sister’s vampires, however, you won't find any high school students or sparkling here. We like to say it is our buddy cop, action, vampire slayer, and comedy book. It’s a mouthful -- I know -- but it covers it pretty well. 

As far as publishing goes, it’s all us. We are completely self-published. We do everything ourselves. From creation, to distribution and marketing, it’s just us along with our truly talented contributing artists.

3) How did you meet up with your collaborators, Mathew and Josh Shockley?   As I stated up above it was my history with PR and Marketing that really got me involved with PLB. Mathew and Josh were publishing their books locally, back then it was the now discontinued ;PLB Comics Presents'. I enjoyed the books, but saw that they had no real buzz to speak of. They were putting out a fantastic product that no one knew about essentially.

We live in a small area, so we knew a lot of the same people and showed up at a lot of the same events, and one day I just approached them. I asked if they needed a little marketing help, and the answer was 'yes'. From there I just started collecting more hats so to speak. Now I’m doing the PR stuff, but also editing both graphics and copy, lettering, writing, and doing all the digital press things along with the website.

Bruce Willis
Oh! And I take out the trash too. I also want to say that we have a LOT of outside contributors as well. We have been extremely fortunate to have an entire host of endlessly talented artists who have lent their unique styles to our books. We could never have done it without them, and we are just eternally grateful to have such amazing artists feel that we are worth their precious time.

4) Who comes up with the most ideas? And was there anything you just has to dismiss?   It really is collaboration at every turn with us. I would say that Josh usually offers up the most original ideas lately, but by the time Mathew and I get to them, and we all sit down and talk them through, they are always very different from what they were when we started.

It’s a process that I really enjoy. I think working within 'team model' makes everything better and gives everyone a sense of ownership and investment in the project. That said, oh yes, we toss out some ideas. Really we toss about fifty percent of them. But even in those ideas that don't grow wings and fly, we often find something in them that will bring us to the next idea that does take off.

5) If you could get a celebrity – either living or dead – to promote your wares, who would you choose, and why would you want to choose this particular person?   I think Bruce Willis. We all enjoy action movies maybe a little too much, and we all love the snappy dialog in Bruce’s movies specifically. We might all have our own personal picks, but as far as a group thing, Bruce is the one.

6) What have you learnt about yourself through this endeavor?   A lot! I just had a review come back today, and they hated my story in the Halloween special specifically. I think having any sort of creative endeavor out there means you better learn to take criticism well. It’s something that can weigh heavily on you if you let it, but I just take the good with the bad and try to learn from it instead of dwelling on it.

PLB Comics Presents GrimRascal
Also, you learn pretty quickly that the myth of the “rock star” comic creator is just that: a myth. If you are doing anything creative at all, you better be doing it because that is something you are passionate about, not because you think there is some sort of great reward awaiting you. The work is the reward. If you are fortunate enough to be doing something you love, you should count yourself among the lucky.

And lastly, but perhaps most importantly, collaboration is key. Working in a vacuum gives you absolutely no feedback, and no sense of balance in what you are doing.
7) What were the main obstacles you had to contend with?  Time. We all have full time day jobs and family, and trying to get books out, working to promote those books, and doing events on top of all that can be really difficult. And as with any independent publisher of any stripe, funds.

We're doing okay now. The company is not only paying for itself, but we are making just a little extra, enough to grow in small but measurable ways all the time. Bear in mind that nobody at PLB comics takes any pay at all. But if we continue on this slow climb, I think the day will come where everyone involved, from us to our contributors (who will be the very first to be compensated, well before Mathew, Josh and myself) will start to see a paycheck. But honestly, if that day never comes, so be it. Again the good fortune to do what you love, and to have others enjoy it too is something you can’t put a price tag on.

8) If ‘PLB’ had a motto, what do you think it would be?   'Quit waiting for someone else and do it yourself!'. We're constantly being asked about how to get into comics, and that is the answer. There are thousands of very talented people out there and only a few spots per year open to those people at any sort of “major” comic company.

You can shoot for that goal, but while you are waiting to be in the bullpen of whatever company you happen to be eyeing up, why not publish your own work? These days, that is a very doable thing. With computerized tools that are inexpensive, and often free (and legal) if you know where to look, there is no reason to not get started.

PLB Comics
You don't even need to print your work, though we always will. The internet has opened a way for people to self publish at almost no cost whatsoever, so that barrier is gone. If you do want to have a print book, there are a bunch of small press printers out there and they are affordable and have low or even no minimum order. The only thing standing between you and putting together your dream comic book is the blood, sweat, and tears, required to do the work.

That’s it. No one is standing in your way, so get to it!

Also, since Comic Book and Movie Reviews is a British website, I’d like to give a special shout out to one of our contributing artist from your side of the pond, Grim Rascal. Please check out his work as well at GrimRascal

I'm sure my readers will do just that, buddy James. Just as I'm sure they will also click on over to www.plbcomics.com, as well as follow your wares on facebook. Go on. Click-Click. You know you want to.

PLB COMICS - PUBLISHING WITH A PASSION PLB COMICS - PUBLISHING WITH A PASSION Reviewed by David Andrews on September 27, 2013 Rating: 5
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