How “Be My Clementine” Came To Be

I wrote a comic this year.

It’s the first comic I’ve written, outside of some stuff for class involving biology when I was in high school, and it is also the first time I’ve ever been published, outside of the local newspaper when I was nine. It was a part of a comic anthology and it couldn’t have been more appropriate for me, since it’s a comic book anthology based on the works of Queen.

“How, Ashley,” you ask me, “did you even get into an anthology? How did it work? How much work did it involve?”

Well, I’m about to answer all of your questions now, my friend. Though, spoiler alert: the answer to that the third one is “a lot.”

Getting In

Back in January, I saw a post on Jeremy Whitley’s blog that was calling for submissions for “Killer Queen,” a new anthology from Red Stylo Media based on the works of Queen. Whitley had previously written for Red Stylo before starting work on Princeless over at Action Lab Comics. Since this was after the first of the year, I figured “What the hell?” and submitted my information to be invited to pitch.

Yeah, I had to be invited to pitch before I could actually pitch.

It was a little nervewracking since a lot of my public work online isn’t fictional and I didn’t have a comic in there to submit, but editor Enrica Jang liked my Nerdophiles work, which certainly helped me to the next step. I then submitted my pitches and I was off to the races…

Over and Over Again

Starting from the pitches, I should have known that this was going to be some of the hardest work I had done in a while. Not that it wasn’t rewarding, but my story, “Be My Clementine” (based on ‘Seaside Rendezvous’ and ‘Good Old Fashioned Lover Boy’), went through at least four drafts before I finally got the green light to go to the next step of artist solicitation. For part of that period, while working on the final drafts, I had strep throat, but I rallied and got it done by the end of March. I give some of that credit to Kelly Sue Deconnick’s “Bitches Get Shit Done” texts.

Never let anyone tell you writing comics is easy. “Be My Clementine” changed so much from pitch to what you see on the page thanks to editors notes and then going back to the drawing board. If I had 16 pages, I might have gotten that original pitch story out. Instead, I had eight and as a first time comic writer, you learn quickly how challenging that can be.

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The Waiting Is The Hardest Part

Most of my work on “Be My Clementine” was done by the end of March 2014. For the rest of the period between then and when it came out, it was waiting on my artist, when I could make announcements about my involvement, and the release date in October. Jarrod Perez was added onto the project on May 30 (which happens to be my birthday), which allowed me to breathe a sigh of relief. Especially since I could actually talk about being involved by then.

Looking Back

“Be My Clementine” was a lot of hard work that I was happy to do. It challenged me to look at the way I wrote, both technically and plot wise, and what I want to do with my life. It’s fair to say I have more comics to write in me. What kind of stories though? Well, I guess you’ll just have to wait and see.

Do you want to read “Be My Clementine?” You can check out the story on Red Stylo Media’s website as well as on Drive Thru Comics. It will also be up on Comixology sometime in the future, though I’m not 100% certain when. You can also buy the full anthology from Red Stylo or on Amazon or even back Red Stylo on Patreon for as little as $4 a month.

You might also want to check back to Nerdophiles soon. A little birdy told me there might be a giveaway for the holidays soon…