by Jarrod Jones. To the surprise of no one/the delight of everyone who’s ever loved a comic book, Shelly Bond is yet again on a mission.

Following the astounding performance of her last Kickstarted project, the comics anthology Femme Magnifique, Bond has set her eagle-eyed sights on expanding one of Black Crown’s more inventive and indelible features: “Hey, Amateur!”

Yes, the title is talking to you.

It was the high-profile spotlight of Black Crown Quarterly, where only the finest creators congregated to share exclusive tips on how to do… well… anything. That’s the scope of Hey, Amateur!: creator-crafted advice to those who dare to dream. Shelly puts it another way.

“In essence, the idea [behind Hey, Amateur!] was to sate the booming DIY economy and create the comic-book alternative; avoid the boring, pedantic textbook tutorial and offer up inventive, personal tricks of the trade and secret skillsets within the parameters of the one page, 9-panel comic.”

In this, the final week of the Hey, Amateur! Kickstarter, Bond took time out of her insane schedule to talk with DoomRocket about her latest anthology ambitions, the astounding creator roster promised in this project, and what incentive rewards await those brave few who dream of going pro.

1. If you would, please share with us how ‘Hey, Amateur!’ went from one-sheets in ‘Black Crown Quarterly’ to your latest anthology ambition.

Shelly Bond: Mass public interest and potential worldwide consumption. In essence, the idea was to sate the booming DIY economy and create the comic-book alternative; avoid the boring, pedantic textbook tutorial and offer up inventive, personal tricks of the trade and secret skillsets within the parameters of the one page, 9-panel comic.

Where did the idea for ‘Hey, Amateur!’ come from originally? I miss seeing more comics one-pagers out in the wild. 

An old comic-book editing trick. Comics pros are always way too busy to commit to anything of length. Offer up a short commitment with a reasonable deadline, a decent page rate, and a hard-to-resist concept. The best editors always ask the right questions., i.e. What’s your favorite tip of the trade? What’s a secret hobby that gives you immense pleasure? Would you hate me if I suggest you share your secret skillset in a massive tome? Finally, call it an all-night rave and let them loose to mingle with over 50 of their favorite friends and colleagues. Where else can you peer into the keen minds of Delilah S. Dawson and dANI! to make cheap horror makeup at home? Couple this with Jill Thompson’s “How to carve a pumpkin” and you have no excuse but to live by the song and proclaim that everyday is Halloween.

2. You’ve assembled quite the armada of talent for ‘Hey, Amateur!’ How did you land on this particular crew of creators? A simple roll of the Rolodex? 

Rumors of old debts to be paid, arrest warrants to recuse and exposure of secret love children to the national press are completely unfounded. I just brushed my teeth and asked nicely.  

How has it felt reconnecting with some of these Vertigo vets for this project? 

It’s made me feel old but wiser. How I’ve missed some of these annoyingly talented people—style ambassadors like Paul Pope and his yoga instructor Neha Sharma teaming up for “How to be a Warrior” and horror novelist Lauren Beukes and Tegan Phillips breaking the nervous banter with “How to talk to a Celebrity.”

Promotional image from the ‘Hey, Amateur!’ Kickstarter/Black Crown

3. If you would, please share with us what is entailed with curating and editing a project such as ‘Hey, Amateur!’ 

Fancy footwork. The notion of building a comic book of any size is always predicated on the forward imperative—keeping all the parts in motion; doing the immediate task at hand while keeping sight of the goalpost. It helps to grow an extra pair of arms and have the entire Roxy Music catalogue within earshot, too. Did I mention that if I survive this daily grind, I’m headed to see Bryan Ferry  perform the “Avalon” album tour next week? If not, I’ll keep mentioning it.

How the heck do you balance working on a project of this sizewith this many creators and moving partsand keep promotion for the Kickstarter so prominent on a daily basis? 

See above.

4. Is there life after Kickstarter for ‘Hey, Amateur!’? Will we see more one-sheets appear in future Black Crown titles? 

That’s the plan. Since we announced the Kickstarter I’ve received dozens of ideas from industry pros and newcomers who clearly want in on it. The subject possibilities are endless for this mercurial take on the formulaic “how-to.” Stories range from the practical, like “How to use and ask for pronouns” by Casey Gilly and Jen Hickman and “How to excel at public speaking” via Marguerite Bennett and Alabaster Pizzo, to the pet-specific, like Emi Lenox’s “How to train your dog with a bell” and “How to clip the claws of an unruly cat” by Marley Zarcone and her newborn son, Jack. Add “How to Make the Perfect Burrito” by Gilbert Hernandez and you’ve got a swaddle festival at Marley’s house. 

Promotional image from the ‘Hey, Amateur!’ Kickstarter/Black Crown

It needs to be mentioned that we have so many exclusive backer-level reward tiers, including 12 x 18 art prints of Gilbert’s page and others by John Allison, Paulina Ganucheau, Mark Buckingham and more. We’re also offering the same size art print of the phenomenal cover by Michael and Laura Allred. And we have a sketch lottery too that involves our Amateur HQ monkey intern, Tork. 50 artists will sketch their own version of Tork and we’ll include one at random with the hardcover and your name in the book for $75.00 with free worldwide shipping.  

5. You’ve already shared one of your early amateur moves in your professional life on Twitter. Do you have any great Shelly Bond amateur stories from early ventures into your personal hobbies? In tap dancing, perhaps?

Adventures in tap dancing started when I discovered that you could actually play a musical instrument with your feet. And while I still tap twice a week, I also consider myself an amateur bear maker. If we hit the 100 story/100K mark, I just might teach you how to make a teddy bear family if you’re into that kind of thing… if not, I can definitely show you how to be uncool at a Bryan Ferry concert.

The ‘Hey, Amateur!’ Kickstarter is in full effect now. Click here for details and to contribute funds!

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