This month, Wool Wolf Comics is featuring Vexingly Yours’ comic “Forgotten Roots!” Forgotten Roots’s anniversary is this month, and will turn 4 years old this April!! The comic is a high-fantasy comic about a cast of diverse characters trying to re-unite the world after the fall of the gods. The comic features romance, drama, mystery, and political intrigue! Wool Wolf interviewed Vexingly Yours about their comic, and about their approach to comic promotion- something Vexy has done masterfully over four years with convention appearances and merchandise.
“It’s one thing to advertise, but it’s another thing to actively network and respond to fans and other creators. It’s called “social” media for a reason, so don’t feel like you need to take a lone wolf approach in your path to success! It’s the people who care about and support your work who really push you to the top.”
1. First, can you tell us a bit about your comic, Forgotten Roots- its story and themes?
Forgotten Roots is a comic about five white-haired guys trying to reunite their country after the fall of their Gods that once reigned over it, but failing horribly at it because of their own shortcomings and other antagonistic forces that stand in their way. Currently, the story is following Scaevus, the Fire God, and his assistant Durantes as they work to reunite the sleepy and isolated town of Zenidian with the rest of the country of Tellurius. Forgotten Roots is a fantasy story, packed with drama, romance, and adventure and three themes that means so very much to me: the importance of memories, found family, and diverse characters.
2. How do you try to convey those themes and messages in promotional artwork and material?
Being a hardcore hopeless romantic, I definitely like to play up the romance and fantasy aspects in a lot of my promo art. With the theme of memories in mind, I often do a lot of art involving Scaevus and his husband, Korvin, as he is such an important part of Scaevus’s past. I love tossing a ton of sparkly and high-saturated effects in my art to get it to capture someone’s attention, as my idea of “fantasy” has always been related to something bright and colorful.
For me, promo art doesn’t necessarily have to stop at work used for advertising, but also sketches and short comics that aren’t part of the main storyline are important too. I love to sketch characters interacting outside of the main comic, and sometimes that builds hype for when the characters actually interact with each other in the comic. Drawing Scaevus and Durantes interacting in a cute, familial way is just a nice appetizer for how they really act. It’s a lot of fun to see excitement for certain things that are yet to come.
I have also done a lot of promotional posts during pride months/weeks, like showing a listing of my asexual characters during Asexual Awareness Week and drawing a cute sketch of Amure, one of my nonbinary characters, wearing the colors of the nonbinary pride flag.
3. In your mind, how important is promotional appearances and merchandise to a webcomic's success?
Showing up at conventions with booths is a great way to expose your comics to eyes that might not have seen it otherwise. It’s not mandatory to promote your comic through conventions, but it’s a great way to create connections with not just potential fans, but also networking with potential friends to tag along with you on your webcomic journey. I’ve met so many fellow webcomic artists at conventions and it’s been really great to talk to them and get the mutual support.
Having merchandise related to your comic isn’t something that is necessary for those just starting out on their webcomic adventure, but I won’t deny that it’s a ton of fun to create prints, stickers, and of course, actually having physical copies of your comics in your hands. If you want to create merchandise for your comic, it might be best to start small and consider something that you can create at a lower quantity (stickers, buttons, prints) versus things you might need to mass produce (apparel, character figurines/charms, enamel pins, etc.).
4. What would you say are things to consider when a creator wants to promote their comic?
It’s really important to start small with anything you do, so starting with posting content on social media is a good way to get your feet wet. Posting comic update notifications is great, but post more than that! You don’t have to post super refined drawings, just sketches are fine. Share work-in-progress screenshots to show your hard work in action. But you should also engage with your followers and mutuals to build a community around your comics. If you show your fans active engagement aside from posting art, chances are they’ll become loyal to you and your comics. It’s one thing to advertise, but it’s another thing to actively network and respond to fans and other creators. It’s called “social” media for a reason, so don’t feel like you need to take a lone wolf approach in your path to success! It’s the people who care about and support your work who really push you to the top.
5. Finally, what would you say is the strength of webcomics versus other forms of comics?
Webcomics have a lot more accessibility, not just in terms of the fact that almost everyone can grab an electronic device and read one, but webcomics have made the comic industry more open and for marginalized people to create stories. Having been a reader of webcomics since I was a young child, it’s been really neat to watch the growth of webcomics - at first it was just a fun thing that everyone wanted to do to share their stories, but seeing it grow into an industry that nurses and uplifts the success of Queer artists and artists of color has been something amazing. Webcomics and indie publishing are the future of comics, and to those who don’t take it seriously or think comics as an industry is dying clearly don’t have their eyes focused on the right people. We’re making this happen and we won’t be stopping anytime soon.
Thank you so much for your time and support, Vexy!