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Writer Eric Hobbs made his bones last year with The Broadcast, a graphic novel about neighbors gripped by the panic caused by Orson Welles’ War of the Worlds broadcast. This week sees the release of a new graphic novel, Awakenings, penciled by Gabe Pena. Awakenings is a supernatural cop story set in a future version of New York City and featuring a cop who is accused of murdering his own son. Hobbs self-published Awakenings as a black-and-white comic before it was picked up by Arcana, so I asked him to tell me a bit about his experience with self-publishing and the evolution of the story.
Brigid: The Broadcast was my introduction to your work, but I know you actually wrote Awakenings first, and actually self-published it with black-and-white art. Can you tell me the story of how that happened and how it worked?
Eric: Awakenings has been a long, long time coming. I think I wrote Awakenings about a year before Broadcast so it’s kind of crazy to see it hitting stands a year after Broadcast was released.
Basically, Awakenings came into existence because a friend introduced me to comics and I quickly decided I wanted to get involved as a creator. Most people are shocked to hear this, but I started writing Awakenings about a month after picking up my first comic. I fell in love with the medium that quickly and wanted to do something right away.
Anyway my friend and I were going to do it together but that fell through so I started looking online for an artist to bring on board. I eventually found an incredibly talented penciller in Gabe Pena, and the thing just kind of took off from there. I brought on an inker and a letterer and just slowly started to teach myself the business of comics publishing.
Unfortunately, my enthusiasm for the project wasn’t nearly enough to make up for the fact that I didn’t have a clue what I was doing as a publisher. Even though we had a book that was getting great reviews and moving a good number of units each month—I was barely making enough to pay the print bill let alone everyone I had promised page rates to. We put out four great issues, but I put myself in so much debt I had to shut down production. I had to move back in with my parents. It was … it was kind of a crazy time.