Almost There!

Lucha Comics is coming along nicely; I am happy to announce that we should have our first creator owned content in a matter of days! This is an exciting time, and honestly I am a bit nervous since I really don’t know much about the comic book industry 🙂 However, I do know business and have had the pleasure of doing a few different thing which I think have led me here, and that hopefully will allow Lucha Comics to grow into a successful comic book publisher. Here’s a brief rundown of numerous jobs that I have held over the years:

1. Helping my dad at this farm with their computer systems
(This job happened sporadically and really is still kind of on-going)
I have never been handy or good with anything farm related, but I took to PCs quite young. When I first got serious about working on them for other people, my dad took me to the farm where he still works, and I would do some training, troubleshooting, and trying to implement the vision that he had (which was way ahead of its time for the Canadian Dairy Industry). To give you an idea, I still remember paper spreadsheets when I first arrived, moving to Lotus 1-2-3 (for MS-DOS of course!) and finally getting to the promised land of Excel. Since then, I have helped troubleshoot automated milking systems and a Bluetooth Milk Tank. My how things have changed 🙂 Lesson learned: adopt technology or stay behind.

2. Paperboy
I found that working at a young age was very helpful; it builds work ethic, and if framed correctly work can be kind of fun. This didn’t last long, but it did allow me to re-connect with my grade 5 teacher (thanks Mrs. Matthews for all of your hard work!) and taught me the value of being on-time. Lesson learned: get your customers to pay – ontime!

3. Carwasher/Book Keeper/Bartender
After Grade 9, I moved to Mexico for 2 years with my family. My father’s cattle exporting business need the chance to grow, so we moved. I remember crying, wanting to stay. Looking back I am grateful that my father gave me this opportunity. I brushed up my (at that point) almost non-existent Spanish, re-connected with family there, and got to spend more time with my Dad. I got to learn more about his business by travelling with him to client meetings, and got involved in his car repair shop. I washed cars, and when money went missing I learned how to book keep. It took years for me to realize the amount of trust that was placed in me, and the accounting was kind of fun. I did manage to find significant amounts of missing cash. Later, at the age of 15 and part of a highschool co-op, I bartended. Not legal to drink, I was pouring drinks all day long. Leaving Mexico was bittersweet, although driving back with my father was a fantastic experience; seeing the transition from a suburb of Mexico City, to the US/Mexican border at Nuevo Laredo, to the farmlands of the Southern US, and back to St. Thomas, Ontario (a city of 25,000 vs. Mexico City’s 25,000,000) was mind-blowing. Lessons learned: way too many, but trust that if you have a family that loves you, they’ll be around longer then some of your highschool buddies.

4. Tobacco Farm-hand
This job was BRUTAL. For the first month, I would wake up at 4:30 AM, get to the farm for 6:00AM, work until about 2, come home and be asleep by about 5:00PM. Yeah, seriously. Dinner at 4PM. Heatstroke, having chunks of my finger tips just kind of torn-off/disappear with no real bleeding (still trying to figure that out). Jumping off a 12 foot drop that my buddy swore to me was only 2 feet, getting pesticide sprayed in my eyes by the machine we rode to pick on, and having to learn to work fast, efficiently, in a team, and basically try to become twice as strong in a matter of weeks (bags of wet tobacco leaves are heavy!). This was a test of my endurance, and one that I like to think I passed. Overall, it was fun. Lesson learned; hard work builds character and tests your limits.

5. Working at a Compost Site
So, who would take a job working in a warehouse full of smelly compost that needs to be kept at 45° in the middle of summer? This guy 🙂 I worked with some interesting characters, amongst them a super-serious boss who could not change his facial expression or show any real emotion, was super efficient, worked like a robot, yet could not seem to show up to work in a T-Shirt that was not Rage Against the Machine, Metallica, etc.. I also had the chance to meet a cool individual from Africa, a gentleman by the name of Ring, who told me something that I had a hard time understanding: he had not seen a movie before the age of 15 or so. The movie? Kevin Costner’s Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves. It really puts things into perspective, like the things we take for granted. I’ll go home and watch Netflix, while many people on this planet have never used a telephone in their lives. Lesson Learned: if you have the ability to read this, you are probably lucky.

6. Working at a Poolstore
This was a bit odd, as I actually got to work with the father of one of my best friends from elementary school. Suddenly I was working with “Dave” instead of “Mr. O’Grady”. It’s funny how we drill into kids that Mr. & Mrs. are forms of respect, yet the act of being allowed to be on a first-name business with Dave really earned him points in my eyes (of course I respected him before; he is one of the nicest people you will ever meet, a life-long learner, and just all around bright). I learned a lot about warehouse type stuff, and to never, ever mix muriatic acid and chlorine. A fun summer gig, but one that I had to let go because of a spinal cord injury. Lesson learned: respect is earned, and can be earned easier then you think.

7. Warehouse Worker/Proof Reading
Municipal World is a very interesting business – it is a publication for municipal governments, and they also handle materials for municipal elections. It was there that I met my buddy Craig (who is a fellow wrestling fanatic), as we did warehouse type work. Our bosses were super-cool, and I feel that I learned a lot. Beside the warehouse and election components, Municipal World also helps to draft municipal law, and I was allowed to assist in proof reading, and reviewing some French content. It was just a really unique experience. I’ll never forget the interview process – “Yeah looks good. Can you start right now?”. Lesson learned: you can learn some cool stuff at jobs that might otherwise seem crappy.

8. Exporter, Wholesale PC Equipment
This was a job that just felt a bit over my head. Fresh out of school, I worked for straight commission. My job? To export refurbished/off-lease PC equipment to Latin America in wholesale quantities – i.e. in 20 and 40 foot containers. This is where I learned about NAFTA, how it prevented the importing of used PCs into mexico (my homeland and the largest target market in Latin American for us at the time), and trying to do business with Cuba. I made virtually 0 dollars, but had a delegation from Cuba come to visit where I leanred the ropes of translation. I did speak Spanish, but never really had played translator before. Our delegates didn’t just want our hardware; they also wanted to tour a manufacturer of water treatment equipment, a health software development firm, and a few other places. I learned and had to translate stuff related to a bunch of industries on the fly. It all went well, but unfortunately a greedy boss threw it all away. Lesson learned: take control where you can, because one bad apple can piss away a great deal. I did get a chance to make some great friends though.

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Ok, so I’ve just realized that I’ve had a ton of jobs. I’m going to break this up here, and hopefully you’ll find this interesting enough that you’ll want to read part 2 of Almost There!

Rodolfo Martinez
Jack-of-all Trades, Lucha Comics

So, how did I launch a Comic Book Publisher?

So, how did I launch a Comic Book Publisher?

If you read my last blog post, you’ve basically surmised that someone who reads lots of comics and can’t draw worth anything has decided to enter the business. Yeah, seriously. So, I have the ambition, some business background and tons and TONS of comics in my basement that my wife keeps threatening to get rid of, or worse yet, put into the hands of two toddlers. I’m sure that’s exactly who Stan Lee and Bob Kane got their starts.

To be fair, she has been quite supportive, but as a young family with a limited budget, I decided that if I really wanted to do this, I was going to make some sacrifices to get this thing going. This meant it was time to go into the basement and sell some of my coveted Walking Dead books. I’ve told myself that if I make a go of this thing, I’m going on eBay and buying myself a nice copy of a #1, even if I pay some ridiculously inflated price. Anyway, without any further ado, here are the sacrificial lambs that made Lucha Comics a reality:

Sacrifice #1: The Walking Dead #10 & #11

The Walking Dead Issue 10

The Walking Dead Issue 11

I picked these up off of eBay awhile ago. I made a bit of money off of them, but not a ton. While profit is nice, I told myself if I can turn some books into cash, it can help me to get things going. Parting with these hurt a bit, but not as bad as the next one…

Sacrifice #2: The Walking Dead #27

The Walking Dead Issue 27
I’m not going to lie – this one hurt (Especially since I scored this at a local shop’s back issue bin for cover price less than 2 years ago – this was an absolute STEAL). Yes, besides The Walking Dead 1 and 19, this has got to be the most sought after issue. Before this, the world knew not of how awesome and sadistic the Governor was. Despite the fact that I have more valuable comics in my collection, this was probably one of the hottest books that I had. Letting it go wasn’t easy, but I had a goal to reach, and while I could have saved over a few paycheques to make this happen, I really wanted to see if my comic book collection could spawn a comic book business.

Other Sacrifices:

Other sacrifices included The Walking Dead #20, #42, #61,63, #85-91 and the variant of #75, and some DC New 52 stuff. So, what did this leave me with?

Enough funds to get my friend Emilio (the most talented visualizer I have ever met) to come up with an awesome logo for my brand, and a new website design that will be rolling out here soon. It also covered some web hosting costs, and, in case if I ever learn to draw or can find an intern, a Bamboo tablet. While this doesn’t sound like much, it’s more then enough to get me going. Now I just need to finalize some content deals and get some cool stuff out there…

So, I’m Launching a Comic Book Publisher …

So, I’m Launching a Comic Book Publisher

I expect that of the millions, and millions (read: If I’m lucky, the dozens, and dozens) that read this blog post don’t really know much about me, or Lucha Comics. So, before really getting into things, I just wanted to talk about it and fill you in about why I am launching this project.

I have loved comics for quite some time; for nearly 30 years I have been collecting them (mainly Batman, but I love my Punisher books amongst others). When my children arrived, I did take about a 5 year hiatus from reading them, but now I am back at it full force, and what a great time to be a fan! Marvel is doing some awesome stuff thanks to Jonathan Hickman, Matt Fraction, and a bunch of other talented individuals. I believe that DC has done amazing stuff with their New 52, although lately they do seem a bit greedy to me (52 covers for a B team JLA book?). Image is really kicking ass, and capturing a nice market share from the big two thanks to The Walking Dead, Saga, and some other really good titles. Apart from that, digital has exploded thanks to these guys, levelling the playing field for a lot of independents. I know find myself reading as many Monkeybrain titles as I do DC!

So, what does this really mean? It means that despite having a day job as a Project Manager, I know see that I finally have a chance to be a part of an industry that I have loved nearly as long as I have been alive. Using some of my professional experience in the business world, I have decided to launch Lucha Comics, my own digital publisher. I’m not expecting to get my hands on the next big thing and make millions, but I feel that the tools that the Internet offers us now can allow me to finally participate in the industry.

What? Yes, someone who could maybe write a comic book, and who cannot draw anything decent (and I mean anything) is launching a comic book publisher. I am lifelong fan, and am fascinated by the industry, so I figured, how hard can it be?

Well, like any new business or project, these things do take time and money. First, I decided that this new venture should be sustainable. That is, it should be able to pay for itself year after year, otherwise it would not be much of a business. So, what about start-up costs?

After speaking to my wife (who despite hating comic books and complaining that I spend too much money on them) it became clear that she was fully supportive, and probably would have used our family savings to help fund the kick off. While we could have afforded it, having 2 young children makes you think. That is when I decided that my comic books should sustain my dreams of launching a comic book publisher.  That’s when I went into the basement, started rifling through the longboxes, and picked which comics would be sold in order to fund the dream. I suppose that if one could pick a favourite child, the conversation would go like this: “sorry sweetie, but daddy can get a good price for you because you’re pretty popular right now”

Desire and the willingness to give up some pretty cool comics are not enough to launch a publisher; fortunately, I have had the privilege of coming across some very cool content, and I am hoping to work with some talented creators to bring it to all of you very soon. Who knows, this thing might just take off. I really hope that you’ll check back frequently, to see where this experiment goes.

Sincerely,
Rodolfo Martinez
Editor/Project Manager/One-man Show at Lucha Comics