One thing I’ve always admired about my Dad is his ability to hustle. Whenever we have an art event or exhibit my Dad will get on the phone and call up 10, 20, or 30 people and personally invite them to it. This strategy has worked time and again for him and is one of the reasons we have the audience that we do. It’s an underdog approach that professionals in the comic book industry should make note of.
For those of you that don’t know, there’s currently a de facto monopoly in comic book distribution these days. Diamond Distributors, the company that runs the show, won’t even list comic books that don’t meet a minimum number of orders by retailers. That means it’s incredibly difficult for new and independent comic book creators to get their work onto store shelves or anywhere else.
That’s why I’m fascinated by the approach that actor/singer Tyrese Gibson has taken to promoting his new comic book Mayhem!. He’s bypassed the usual routes of promotion in the industry and gone completely grassroots.
According to this post at Comic Book Club:
Fans of Tyrese have been hitting up his Twitter feed (@Tyrese4ReaL) all day long, after the star has urged his 155,096 followers to call their local comic book shop, and order the book. Here’s the kicker: if the fans call the shop, and the shop says they haven’t ordered the book, they’ve been tweeting back Tyrese with the shops’ phone numbers… At which point the star has called the shops himself to ask them to order the book.
What I admire about Tyrese doing this is that it extends beyond a celebrity using their fame as a means to an end. This is someone committed enough to a project to use his contacts and every opportunity to spread the word about his work and shamelessly calling strangers to advocate for it. That’s above and beyond the efforts of almost anyone else in the comic book industry and something that’s sorely missing.
As for Mayhem! itself, it will be interesting to see if the hype sustains after the first issue. I do plan on picking the book up when it comes out and will be reporting back on it as soon as I finish reading it. I haven’t read a straight up action comic on a regular basis in years and this will give me a good chance to get my feet wet again.
The concept and artwork is definitely a throwback to the mid-90’s and that’s a risk to be sure. I’m a little lukewarm on the artwork of Tone Rodriguez and his design of Mayhem! seems suspiciously like a restrained version of 90’s era cheeseball Image classic Bloodstrike. Just sayin’.
I want to wish Tyrese the best of luck with his endeavors and his unique approach to promoting his comics. You can order Mayhem! right now from http://www.buymayhem.com/.