What is the publishing plan for RUNNERS?

Several years ago, I did the first and second volumes, but I then got sidetracked with freelance work. But during that hiatus, I also took the time to really plan out the entirety of the series, so I now have the full 10-volume story figured out, including all the major plot turns and character arcs. With that in mind, I am jumping back in and planning to tell the rest of the story without any more major breaks.

The series will post here on RunnersUniverse for free and will also post on other sites online. As each volume finishes, I will run a crowdfunding campaign to cover the costs of printing the physical graphic novel (and various rewards and bonus content). Those books should then be available through online stores and your local comic shop.

There may be some short breaks between volumes, since I’ll need that time to script and concept design each new story after the previous one finishes. But I hope to build in enough buffer time so that the breaks are as minimal as possible.

RUNNERS Story Wall for Volumes 3-10

Where can I read the series?

There are many ways to read RUNNERS, each with their own cool features!

  • RunnersUniverse Webcomic: New episodes post each week with bonus creator commentary that covers behind-the-scenes trivia, notes, and concepts. And you can chime in with Discussion comments.
  • Patreon: Backers get access to finished pages early and at higher resolution. Bonus content includes penciled and inked art and sketchbook pages with commentary.
  • RunnersUniverse Store: You can get physical books with free signatures and head sketches. Digital PDF versions also available.
  • Comic Stores: Support your local stores! Diamond codes:
    – JAN201968 – RUNNERS TP VOL 01 BAD GOODS COLOR ED ($19.95, Serve Man Press)
    – JAN201969 – RUNNERS TP VOL 02 BIG SNOW JOB ($19.95, Serve Man Press).
  • Webtoon Canvas: Read for free with Webtoon’s unique vertical scrolling format that focuses on each panel individually, heightening dramatic and comedic beats.
  • ComiXology: With the Unlimited program subscription, you can read the series for free. You can also buy the digital graphic novels or try the series first with a special 2-chapter FREE PREVIEW issue! All come with ComiXology’s Guided View feature.
  • Amazon: Kindle and physical editions. Unfortunately, for physical books, they give the main buy box to second-hand dealers, so you have to find me (“Sean Wang – Art”) under other sellers. Lame.

For those who like to read the series here on RunnersUniverse but prefer to read it in larger chunks like a regular comic book, you can sign up for my Mailing List. As each chapter finishes posting, I’ll send out a newsletter update so you’ll know that a new chapter is available in its entirety. I may also try to offer each finished chapter as a single “comic issue” on ComiXology.

How do you work? What tools do you use?

Writing wise, I always have the entire volume scripted completely before drawing anything. They are written in screenplay format but not broken down specifically into pages and panels. I figure that out later.

Each page always starts the traditional way, on paper! I use mechanical pencils with Pentel blue lead to pencil each page on smooth bristol board. I then ink over the blue pencils, using Microns of varying sizes for mechanical items (IE backgrounds, guns, ships) and disposable Japanese brush pens for organic items (IE characters). I especially like the double-tipped brush pens with thick and thin nibs on opposite ends.

I scan the inked page and do the coloring digitally in Photoshop. These days I work with a colorist who does most of the coloring, while I just do a final pass of tweaking. Finally I do the lettering in Photoshop using a professional font that I bought and custom made word balloon shapes.

For interested parties, on Patreon, you can get access to my scripts, pencils, and inks, to see the page production in its various steps.

What are your influences?

Obviously, the original STAR WARS trilogy was a big influence as an amazing space opera that focused less on hard-sci-fi concepts and more on action, adventure, and cool visuals and characters. THE LORD OF THE RINGS and STAR TREK: DEEP SPACE NINE were huge influences for their epic war stories, much of which dealt with great world-building and complex relationships and politicking between different factions. Of the less obvious influences, there are THE GODFATHER movies (for the underworld power struggles and mob politics), MIDNIGHT RUN (since bounty hunters are awesome), and THE UNFORGIVEN (for its complex and blurred depictions of “good” and “evil”).

I’m sure some will see a strong similarity to FIREFLY/SERENITY, but in all honestly, I developed my series and first story arc long before Joss Whedon’s show premiered (which should also give you an idea how long it’s been percolating in my head!). So while I loved that show, I can’t say it was a direct influence. It did pretty much achieve everything I hoped to with RUNNERS in having great characters, fun banter, interesting relationships, drama balanced with comedy, and smugglers dealing with ethical dilemmas.

More recently, GAME OF THRONES has been a huge influence. Not for all the crazy death scenes (which in many other series I find to just be a cheap ploy for shock value), but for the sprawling cast of characters, each of whom is unique, engaging, and has a specific and compelling arc. The series also has an amazing degree of causality, where an action ripples outward, affecting other events and characters in a constant chain of cause-and-effect dominoes, which has always been something I wanted to do in RUNNERS.

What other projects have you worked on?

I worked on The Tick for New England Comics and Meltdown for Image in the early days. More recently, I’ve done LEGO Scholastic reader books in both the City and DC Superheroes lines. You can see samples of everything, including random illustrations, prints, and freelance work, at www.seanwang.com.

How can I support RUNNERS?

Creating the series has been a long-standing passion project of mine and a LOT of work, factoring in the plotting, scripting, concept designs, pencils, inks, colors, lettering, formatting for different media/sites, and promotion/marketing. It’s grueling but rewarding as I genuinely think it’s a story worth telling.

Finding an audience is always hard, so if you enjoy the series, please help me spread the word. Talk it up to your friends and comic store, share posts and images on social media, and like and subscribe where you can to bump up my stats.

While you can certainly read the series for free online, buying the digital and physical books helps a lot. When I run a crowdfunding campaign, please consider backing it to help fund the printing of the books. And of course, Patreon is currently the best way to show continuing support for the series. The monthly pledges will increasingly be what I count on to pay the bills so I can continue to work on RUNNERS while keeping freelance work (and its effect on my RUNNERS production schedule) to a minimum.

And of course, please stop by my table at a comic-con and tell me that you like the series. You’d be surprised how encouraging that is for a creator to hear.

Thanks for supporting the series in whatever way you choose! And enjoy RUNNERS!!