With a whopping three cents per book in royalties and a national publishing credit under his belt, USM alumnus Michael Connor is riding high. “I’m just sort of floating-in very positive circumstances,” said the Portland artist in an interview Tuesday evening. Recently, Connor’s work was one of only 24 pieces chosen out of hundreds of submissions for the national compilation “24 Hour Comics Day Highlights 2004,” published by About Comics. Since being selected for the publication, Connor has had media attention from the Portland Press Herald, been featured as Artist of the Month in the Windham Independent and has become embroiled in his very own publishing scandal.
Due to a printing error, “24 Hour Comic Day” is missing page seven of Connor’s story. Though the missing page is available on the web, Connor says he is still “kind of making a big deal about it. I don’t want to have people have to look my stuff up online.” The Maine native continued with a mischievous smile, “I don’t want my stuff pixilated.” There will be an as-yet unscheduled signing this fall at Casablanca Comics; Connor says he will have photocopies of the missing page available there. The page is also included in issue six of Connor’s seasonal ‘zine, “Coelacanthus.”
The 24-hour comic is the brainchild of comic book icon Scott McCloud. The idea is to spend 24 hours straight completing a comic, from concept to final edit. Connor, who graduated from USM in 2001, participated in the event hosted by Casablanca Comics this past April along with about 20 other artists and illustrators of all ages. The experience itself was rewarding, according to Connor, but also somewhat trying. Said Connor, “twenty-four hours in a room with anybody would drive you nuts.” Despite the challenges, the artist persevered. The result is a quirky, illustrated commentary on the nature of the American work ethic featuring what the 24-hour comics’ website refers to as “rather abstract creatures.”
Connor will continue to reap the financial rewards of his endeavor for as long as “24 Hour Comics” is on store shelves. With royalties of approximately 80 cents per book, divided among 24 contributing artists, Connor doesn’t expect his newfound riches to make any significant change in his lifestyle. “It works out to about three cents a book,” he explained. Not quite enough for an early retirement, but it’s a start.
“24 Hour Comics Day Highlights 2004” was released for sale in comic book stores nationwide in July. It will be available in bookstores in September.