Comics have been a hobby, a career and now an ambition for Batavia resident Dan Hosek.
The Long Island native is a former Marvel Comics editor who came to Western New York when his wife started school at SUNY Brockport. He happened to work for a graphics company at the time that had an office in Buffalo. They settled in Batavia, and now Hosek is a free-lance graphic designer.
But he still has a passion for the comic book business, and love that goes back to his childhood and a passion that survived a rocky bankruptcy reorganization by Marvel in the 1990s.
Hosek shared some of his expertise in comic book creation, marketing and distribution with a room of like-minded people at the Richmond Memorial Library on Tuesday night.
His advice: If you want to get published, work at it. Be prepared for long hours and don't be afraid to self-publish -- that can be a road success.
It's certainly a road he and his partners Keith Koppenhoefer and Ryan Gutierrez hope helps propel their series, File 13, to a bigger audience.
The trio hatched the idea for the series a few years ago -- based primarily on a character developed by Hosek when he was 12 years old. A year ago, they raised enough money through a Kickstarter campaign to get the first edition printed.
Without a distributor, however, it's been a lot of work getting the comic book onto store shelves, but they have been making headway and sales.
"The micro-distribution route, that can be a full-time job in itself," Hosek said. "Calling comic shops, visiting comic shops, sending e-mails, and the whole follow-up is a lot of work, but we're getting there. It's growing. We're hoping the numbers get high enough that we can go back to Diamond (the only comic book distributor in the nation) and say 'we've sold this many,' and hopefully they'll look at the numbers and look at what we're doing and decide to distribute it."
The story is about two twin brothers who inherited a company and they have opposing views on the value of science. One brother believes science should only be used for the greater good, while the other believes science should be used in the service of the bottom line of the company they own. One brother is fired from the company, and he steals battle armor developed by the company. This leads to a whole universe of super heros who return to Earth after not being around since the 1980s.
While being both one of the creators and part of the whole marketing and distribution effort is a lot of work, the reception File 13 has received has been worth it, Hosek said.
"When you hold that finished comic book in your hands or somebody tells you how much they enjoyed it, it's a reward, so part of the drive comes from that, hearing from other people that they liked it and that you're producing something other people enjoyed," Hosek said.
You can find out more about the comic book series at www.whatisfile13.com, like the series on Facebook, or purchase editions at Foxprowl Collectables on Ellicott Street, Batavia.