Masters of the Universe Mini Comic Collection

Leanne and I were hard at work in early 2015 for Dark Horse comics on the hardcover He-Man and the Masters of the Universe Minicomic Collection
which was released on November 5, 2015.

For anyone who grew up with the Masters of the Universe toys, this is a great coffee table book collecting all the mini-comics that came packaged with every action figure. Not only is it a complete set of all the Masters of the Universe comics, but it also includes She-Ra: Princess of Power, and the New Adventures of He-Man comics that followed. Leanne and I individually scanned nearly every page from original copies, then we spent hours on every issue retouching the art, and entirely re-lettering every word balloon. It was a monumental scale project and you can read about our experiences, and those of the others involved in the making of this book by going to the interviews here, and part 2 here.

We felt very privileged to be involved in this project and do our part to preserve a piece of childhood for so many people.

The restoration team was made up of the husband and wife duo Rod and Leanne Hannah, plus Jon Kallis, Rachel Crockett as well as Val Staples. When it came to the work, Rod Hannah revealed, “This was a huge project. It involved scanning every page from all the minicomics, repairing damage, sharpening up the images, eliminating the print showing through from the opposite pages, and restoring the word balloons. In some cases, small segments of artwork had to be recreated where the glue had stuck pages together. Comparing multiple copies of each minicomic and trying to find pieces that made perfect art was near impossible. A lot of time went into getting this book ready, but everyone who was involved was a fan and we all knew what we were doing was for the preservation of our childhoods and a piece of pop culture history.”

Leanne Hannah went on to say, “I put in a lot of long, long hours on scanning and restoration solidly over the course of a few months. Some of the work could be insanely challenging depending on the quality of the comics themselves and how much work was involved in repairing damaged pages and art, but it was fun at the same time and in the end it really paid off. A lot went into making sure that the art and color in the digital files matched what readers saw on the original printed pages to give fans the best experience possible.”

Read the full behind the scenes interviews here, and part 2 here.

Baltimore Sun Darkroom interview


Baltimore Comic Con 2013 was our most successful show to date. Although we weren’t pushing Once Upon a Caper, when I did get talking to attendees about the comic almost all that I spoke to were very interested and asked to buy a copy. Almost a sell out with no real promotion! The encouragement that experiences like this bring is heartening and lets both Leanne and myself leave the show inspired and eager to get back to work.

I was interviewed by the Baltimore Sun’s Darkroom contributor, Carrie Wood. You can read the interview and see a couple of photos of ourselves, the table and our fellow creators in the Baltimore region.

Making Comics – Part 5 – Comic Conventions

Comic Conventions

Want to sit behind a table and promote your book to the foot traffic in Artist Alley? Artist Alley is the name for the section of a comic convention dedicated to lower cost tables for artists and writers to sell copies of the books, prints and merchandise. The price of a table is usually a lot less than an exhibitor booth, but the larger the convention the more they charge for a table. Small local shows are your best bet when you are starting out and learning what works and how to make the most of your investment. You need to consider your audience before jumping into a table registration.

Anime conventions work pretty much the same way as comic conventions, though you’ll find the attendees are much more open to independent comics. That is the drawback to comic conventions, the audience is a mix of families, teen geeks and older generation geeks, usually with a heavy investment in the Marvel and DC super hero universes. Few independent comics command the sort of loyalty from these readers of major titles like Batman, X-Men and so forth. If these readers have to make cuts to their comic book store pull list, then they are most likely going to prioritize their monthly fix of core Marvel and DC titles. Indie comics just don’t get as much engagement from this audience as they deserve. That’s why Anime cons are such a revelation for creators like Adam Whithers and Comfort Love, creators of Rainbow in the Dark and the Uniques. They were overwhelmed by the enthusiasm and interest of attendees at these shows.

Utilizing Your Space

The table is usually about 6′ ft long and bringing a table throw is a simple way to improve the presentation of your work and improve your table’s appearance. It’s a good idea to raise the eye-line a little, for example with a display stand for your books, or signage on table stands. You can also buy a vertical scroll banner, or create a PVC tube display stand to hang your banner or display your prints. I personally think artists at anime shows get a little too carried away creating a wall of their prints to hide behind. Much better to have a table that stands out from the rest than tries to hard and just becomes a blur of color.

My advice, don’t stand there yelling at passersby like you’re some mad circus ringmaster. There’s nothing more annoying than a loud mouth salesman trying to rope you into some sort of purchase or forced conversation. Let your signage and display catch their interest (put in the effort in your presentation) and if they make eye contact with you, then engage them with a smile and greeting and gesture at your work on the table with a wave of a hand. No pressure, just a friendly and quiet offer for them to check out your table on their own terms. Sometimes its good to look busy, sort through your supplies under the table or talk to your neighbors. This also seems to help attract passersby to take a peek without the threat of an immediate sales pitch. In fact, try not to be a salesman at all. Instead engage attendees at your table in friendly conversation about whereabouts they’re from and whether they are interested in your genre. No one wants to talk to an asshole or an uber-nerd, so as Han Solo would say: “I don’t know… Fly casual.”

Cons have hidden expenses. Food, travel costs, hotel costs, merchandise costs. It can be hard to make your money back at a larger show. Sometimes it might be better to think of such shows purely as a marketing / promotional investment. Your job is to get your name and your comic out there. Free flyers or promocards from are one way to do that. There’s usually a table near the entrance where people can leave business cards, flyers and promo cards. Keep an eye on that table through the day as others will dump their cards over-the-top of yours as the table becomes full. You can correct this and makes sure yours are still visible by checking once or twice a day.

Hopefully, those people you meet will tell their friends and you will have tuned more people into your project for future online sales. Make sure you include your web address on everything.


After the show is over is often the best time to chat to fellow comic creators at the hotel bar or at dinner. It helps to get to know your table neighbors as well as other creators going through many of the same experiences as yourself. You can learn a lot and find ways to help each other. I usually like to get to the show to set up early and then have a quick wander through artist alley to see who else is there and what work they’ve brought with them. You usually get at least an hour or so to set up before the doors are opened to the general public. As for networking during the show, if you have a trusted friend who can watch your table for a short time (30 minutes to 1 hour) then you can scope out some of your fellow creator’s work and pick up a copy to support them.

Try not to leave your table for too long though. That one person who came to the show just to see you might miss you, plus it doesn’t look that great to leave your table unattended.

Survival Techniques

An easy way of transporting your gear (displays, table throw, art supplies, prints, books) from the car or hotel to the convention hall table is a wheeled-suitcase. However, as you become more experienced and ambitious you can buy a hand truck to wheel your supplies to and fro. If you have a table throw then you can hide the hand truck under the table when you’re done unloading. This is now just about the only way I can transport everything due to my spine issues.

Among those supplies, buy a six-pack, or larger, of bottled water. Also, bring snacks like crackers and cheese dip, cereal bars or sandwiches if possible. Convention catering is EXPENSIVE and usually not the best. Finding time to leave your table and run out to buy the food can also be difficult. Unless you have friends helping out, you may have to endure a very long day without a proper meal until dinner, so make sure you have those snacks.

Convention flu is real and often unavoidable around so many people. Let’s be honest, some of the attendees are going to have really poor hygiene and you just shook their hand. You can bring antibacterial hand soap along or just remember to wash your hands regularly. I know it sounds weird having to point this out, since most people seem to think they are immune, but having come back home with con flu in the past, you either heed the warning or learn it the hard way.

Part 1 – Introduction
Part 2 – The Harsh Realities
Part 3 – Making Webcomics
Part 4 – Promotion

I will be more than happy to answer any questions and ammend this article to help flesh out areas where I have been too brief. So feel free to comment or email me.

Making Comics – Part 4 – Promotion


Your work isn’t going to sell itself unless people know it exists. Promotion is hard work and usually not as much fun as creating and telling your stories. I usually find it frustrating to be pulled away from working on more story, however sometimes promoting the work can actually be fun.

For a quick word on getting your finished comic distributed to comic stores, I highly recommend Tyler James’ blog with Tips for Submitting to Diamond.

Social Media

I’ve talked a little about social media in the previous articles in this series, but there are many tricks to getting it right. Of all social media sites, Facebook is by far the largest and it has great tools to help you promote your posts and get exposure. I recommend setting up a Fan Page with Facebook for your comic.

Don’t swamp people with posts telling them to buy your comic. In fact, don’t swamp people with posts all day long either. The social media audience is fickle and selfish and most people don’t like to be drowned with your every whim and thought. Be just a little conservative. Instead engage them with trivia, competitions and content that you make exclusively for those followers. This applies to Twitter, Tumblr and any other social media network. Facebook allows you to SHARE posts by others, and if you can get your followers (all those fans that clicked LIKE) to share some of your posts promoting the comic then you are reaching a much larger audience. It’s the same concept with Twitter, only your goal is to post things that other people will want to RETWEET to their own followers.

Twitter uses hashtags to filter tweets by subject matter, allowing people who search for that subject the chance of discovering your tweet and FOLLOWING you. For example, #StarWars. You can tag other Twitter uses into your tweets by preceding their name with the “@” sign. This makes your tweet show up in their feed as someone who has mentioned you. Perhaps they will retrweet you to their own followers?

Facebook has a similar concept, you can tag friends and fan pages into your post by typing the “@” symbol followed by the name. So, I could be making a post about something to do with the Star Wars bounty hunters and tag the @Star Wars: Bounty Hunter fan page into my post. This alerts the admins of that page and lets them see your update. They can then share your post if they think their audience will enjoy it.

Although Reddit is relatively popular, I have heard so many complaints about the elitist culture there that you may want focus your promotional activities elsewhere.

Getting Listed

The more places you sign up to list your comic project with, the more notice your comic is going to get online. For example, if you print an on-demand comic with Ka-Blam, they have their own store, Indy Planet through which you can choose to list your comic for sale. There really is no good reason not to list your comic there unless, for some reason, you do not want to sell it right away. There’s also a number of comic book directories and comic book forums where you can either list your comic or consider banner exchanges or advertising.


You don’t have to spend money, but it helps. Things you can do for free are identify online communities with an interest in the genre of your book and find ways to reach out to them, even to help them. By building a good relationship with online communities you can go a long way in promoting your work without having to necessarily spend a single dollar.

Think before you spend. You want to make sure that any ad you might place online or in another publication is going to get seen by the type of person likely to be interested in your book. You can pay to promote your Facebook posts, but it is relatively expensive considering that it is hard to nail down a geek audience when you’re putting your trust in the automated filters you select. It is probably a lot better to pay to advertise on websites related to your comic’s genre. Think about the sort of ads you see online that actually interest you enough to click on them. They probably had something in common with the site where they appeared. It seems obvious, but it is very easy to chew up some money in the wrong places when trying to promote your comic.

For Webcomics you can do free banner exchanges via InkOutBreak , certainly the most innovative community in the medium. I also recommend trying to advertise on sites like Top Web Comics and The Web Comics List. These places have massive visitor traffic and I’ve had a big boost in website statistics whenever I’ve run an ad. Keep in mind that a lot of people want to advertise and only so many ads are allowed to run each month to ensure that everyone gets a fair share of exposure. This means that although you might want to advertise right away, you will find you are on a waiting list that can take up to 6 weeks before your first ad starts appearing!

Probably the smartest place to advertise in print for comics is comic convention programs / souvenir books. This costs a lot more money, but it is cheaper than most magazines and it is super targeted. Consider that everyone who attends gets a copy and almost all of them like comics. Makes sure your website address is included in the ad or I’ll hit you!

Part 1 – Introduction
Part 2 – The Harsh Realities
Part 3 – Making Webcomics
Part 5 – Comic Conventions