Monday, October 12, 2015

Guest Post: Otis Frampton author of Oddly Normal

I'm  trilled to have author Otis Frampton here today discussing how persistence and hardwork led to the the publishing of his comic book series Oddly Normal.  If you haven't read it yet, you should really check it out.  The artwork is amazing!  

The Walk, 2015 movie poster

“It is impossible. But I will do it.”

Those are the words of Philippe Petit, the most famous high-wire walker in history.

That might seem like a strange bit of notoriety. “Famous high-wire walker.” It’s not like actor, or politician or rock star. Being famous goes with the territory when it comes to those professions. But how does a wire walker become world famous? Well, in 1974 he and a handful of friends snuck into the two towers of the World Trade Center, strung a wire between the north and south towers and then Philippe walked on that wire for 45 minutes in an act of daring, bravado and artfulness.

He was inspired to do this when he saw a drawing of the towers in a French newspaper. They had not even been completed yet, but he saw the images of the 110 story buildings and knew that one day he would achieve his dream of walking on a wire in the void between them.

It was an impossible dream. But he knew that he would do it.

He was compelled to do it. His was a creative life, lived in the pursuit of his chosen art… wire walking. Nothing and no one would stop him from living his dream. His friends and family called him crazy for even thinking that he could do it. But in the end he proved them wrong and made his dream come true. And it was beautiful. No, really, it was.

When people approach me at comic book conventions or book signings and ask me for advice on becoming a comic book artist or graphic novelist, I always have a hard time answering that. They’re really asking me how they can make their dreams come true and no one can answer that question for someone else. These hopeful creators are often looking for a secret pathway to success. I can see it in their eyes; “Please tell me there is a shortcut, a back door or magic path that will make me a comic book creator.”

But there isn’t.

As with any career in the arts, you’ve got to love what you do so much that no amount of work will be a deterrence to making it. You’ve got to want it more than anything. You’ve got to be able to dismiss the naysayers who tell you that you can’t do it, that there are other, safer careers to embark upon (there are safer careers… they’re called All Of Them). You’ve got to be doggedly, even stubbornly persistent. And persistence is so much more important than talent, as Calvin Coolidge kinda sorta maybe said at one point or another.

And besides… shortcuts are boring when it comes to making your dreams come true, am I right (keep telling yourself that, it just might help).

My dream has always been to be a storyteller. Well, actually the dream was to earn a living as a storyteller. Sure, I’d do it even if I wasn’t paid, but being able to pay for things like room and board by using my imagination was definitely my goal.

And there was definitely no shortcut on my path to making that happen. Take my comic book series “Oddly Normal” for example.

“Oddly Normal” began as a webcomic in 2003. It was then published as a four-issue limited series by Viper Comics in 2005. I followed that up with another story in the series that was put out as a short graphic novel. A third book was produced, but due to financial troubles, it was never published and the series was canceled when Viper stopped putting out new material. I felt like it might be the end of the line for “Oddly Normal.”

But I didn’t quit.

I was never really satisfied with my work on that original version of the series and was disappointed that I had to simplify and shorten the story from the longer version I originally had in mind. I decided to view the end of my time at Viper as an opportunity to start again and do an even better job on a rebooted version of my comic book series. So I got got the rights to “Oddly Normal” back and secured the services of a literary agent to try and pitch it to book publishers as a series of longer graphic novels. I was desperate to start over and do the series right this time with all new artwork and an expanded storyline. The prospect of doing the work to redraw pages that I'd already drawn was never a deterrence... I wanted to get it right this time. But after two years of pitching to publishers and working with an editor at a major book publisher, the series failed to attract a buyer and my literary agent eventually stopped representing me and my series. Yeah, that was a bad day.

But I didn’t quit.

I spent the next couple of years working to improve as an artist, taking on paying work via commissions and work-for-hire. And during that time I created a successful Kickstarter campaign to help me reboot “Oddly Normal.” I didn’t have an agent or a publisher, but I was going to get Oddly back up on her feet no matter what. I would create the comic and worry about how I would get it into people’s hands later.

I had an embarrassing setback during the initial production of the new series when I lost a large number of finished pages to a hard drive failure. I was stupid and I had forgotten to backup my files for longer than I would care to admit (I am Mr. Backup now, trust me). It was devastating. I felt like I had been dealt a huge blow to my inertia.

But I didn’t quit.

Luckily, the files were recoverable and I was soon back on track creating the series. And when I had a couple of issues worth of material completed, I decided to print them up (using Ka-Blam comic book printing) and send them out as submissions to seven comic book publishers that I thought might be interested in my series. I had no contacts in the industry, no connections to people behind the scenes… my submissions were arrows in the dark.

And within two months I heard back with offers from my top two publishers.

One of them was Image Comics, the company I most wanted to work with. Image was my first choice, but it was also the biggest long-shot of any of the submissions that I sent out because “Oddly Normal” is an all-ages series and Image is not really known for that kind of comic series. It was a dream come true to have my comic book series published by Image Comics. But that dream was only realized through hard work and persistence, even in the face of what could only be considered galactically huge failures on my part.

So… you want to create comics for a living?

Start now. Write a story. Draw a page. Then another. And another. Until you have enough to make an issue.

And then do it again.

Never stop. Never quit. There will be setbacks. There always are in life. You’ll stumble, fall, split your lip and fall into open sewers. You’ll fail. I repeat… YOU WILL FAIL. Learn from those failures. Get up, brush off the dirt and start over. And never, ever let anyone (especially yourself) tell you that what you want to do is something not worth doing.

It is.

So find your buildings. Stretch out your wire. Make your walk.

It’s going to be beautiful. All dreams are when they are realized.

It’s impossible. But you will do it.

-Otis Frampton

P.S. You can see the story of Philip Petite in a documentary called “Man On Wire” which is streaming on Netflix or in the movie “The Walk” which is currently in theaters. “The Walk” is my favorite film of 2015 so far and well worth seeing if you plan to attempt the impossible task of living a creative life. 

    Philippe Petit walks between the World Trade Centre's
 Twin Towers, 7 August 1974. Photograph: Alan Welner/AP

Don’t forget to check out the rest of the Oddly Normal Blog Tour Stops 

October 12th – Guest postLog Cabin Library
October 13th – Interview and review, Kdub's Geekspot
October 14th – Guest post and giveaway, A Library Mama
October 15th – Interview, review and giveaway, The Book Monsters
October 16th – Interview, Outright Geekery
October 17th – Review and giveaway, Charlotte's Library

 Meet Oddly Normal, a ten-year-old girl with pointed ears and green hair—a half-witch who will be the first to tell you that having a mother from a magical land called Fignation and a father from Earth doesn't make it easy to make friends at school! On her tenth birthday, she blows out her cake's candles and makes a disastrous wish. Now, Oddly must travel to Fignation to uncover the mystery of her parents' disappearance. Join Oddly as she navigates a strange new school, monstrous bullies, and Evil itself on an unforgettable fantasy adventure through the vibrant world of Fignation in     Oddly Normal 

                        Goodreads / Amazon B&N / Indiebound/ Image Comics

Author Bio

"Otis Frampton is a comic book writer/artist and animator. He is the creator of Oddly Normal, published by Image Comics. He is one of the two artists on the popular animated web series How It Should Have Ended. He is also the creator of ABCDEFGeek, a geek-alphabet cartoon series that can bee seen at, the How It Should Have Ended YouTube channel and on TeeFury."


  1. This sounds cute. I would love to read it... :D

    1. It is, and the artwork really makes the story pop.

  2. The covers for both books are awesome and I am so curious about the books! I love the message in the post- don't quit. So true! What a wonderful post and great advice. Wishing Otis all the best!