I recently read a quick article fowarded to me, in which the author's recommendation for budding cartoonists (still sounds relatively applicable to budding comic book artitsts) was to forego large projects at the beginning, to focus on small projects and set goals. It seems like sound advice that I intend to take.
It is rather unfortunate as I was in the midst of a large project, that I will now lay aside for awhile. But I do have smaller projects in mind, so I am not at a loss. Plus I will post those pages of the large project on my website.
I also recently read Ditko, etc..... This comic offered me two insights that I was suspicious of, but being an amateur, I assumed I was paranoid about.
One of them is the immoral, or at least unethical, actions of large comic book companies. When people speak of comics, most will think of Spider-Man, Batman, Superman, the Hulk, the X-Men or they will think of Marvel and D.C. They have been around for forever; they have integrated into our lives. Even when we hear about the unethical treatment of artists in the '90's by Marvel (which spawned Image) or when we hear (and see) the complete bastardization of Alan Moore's stories by DC films, we can not bring ourselves to boycott either of them (they hold us by the nuts). Reading, hearing, seeing these travesties to creators and art are still not first hand; some doubt must exist, as we do not witness these events first hand. Yet here marks another explosion against these "would-be gods". Steve Ditko (co-created Spider-Man with Stan Lee, the iconic cover of Spider-Man swinging while holding a guy in his arms from Amazing Fantasy #15 - that's him) has been in the comic book industry for decades. He has worked with both Marvel and D.C. He is uniquely qualified to criticize the comic book industry. He does so in Ditko, etc...., viciously. This has re-affirmed my suspicions and reluctance to accept or even consider working with large comic companies (assuming an offer ever appeared).
The other insight was specifically in regards to the art. Ditko, etc.... is a black and white comic, which appears to be inked (probably from pencils?), but with no graytones added. It is at it's foundation what every comic art is BEFORE... What do I mean by BEFORE? When one reads a mainstream comic, they have seperate inkers, they have colorists, sometimes there are companies that do the lettering. There is much production value to make the comic look flashy and inviting. But here Steve Ditko makes a far superior artistic comic with just ink. It was because all this flash and snazziness was gone that I was able to accurately compare my current artistic skill to a seasoned professional. I mean, I'm not even in the same league, but I am better than I thought I was.
Both these insights have convinced me to pursue an independent comic career, as opposed to trying to impress DC or Marvel for a full-time steady job.