While many of us love comic books, and some dream of creating them, only a select few have the drive and desire to actually do so. Establishing oneself in a crowded and ever-changing medium can be tough, and independent creator David Rondinelli, the man behind Horizon Line Comics and Node, knows firsthand.
“As someone fresh and starting out, people don’t really know who I am,” Rondinelli says. “A lot of marketing isn’t really available to me. But the web and digital publishing have become an independent comic creator’s best friend. If you’re a really smart, dedicated person you can establish your own fan base.” Rondinelli has used the internet to both find talent—“I could post online ads in the forums, explain what I was looking for”—and to reach potential readers. “You’re only one person in one geographical location, but through the internet you can meet a lot of people in a small amount of time,” he enthuses. Rondinelli maintains a presence on Facebook, Twitter, and through his website davidrondinelli.wix.com/horizonlinecomics, where readers can buy digital downloads or print-on-demand issues of Node #1 (#2, which concludes the “Nightmare Bounty” story arc, is coming soon, with a third issue in the works).
Rondinelli’s love of writing and comics both started early. “I still remember the first comic I ever got,” he recalls. “It was Aquaman, and he was blonde like me, and I love to be in the water. So I thought, ‘oh, jeez, they’re just like me.’ So I sorta followed him around for a while and then I got into the Justice League when my brother started collecting [the comics].” Rondinelli soon found that he had a particular affinity for the female characters. “I always admired independents and people who could stand up for themselves,” he says. “It’s sort of like that Ginger Rogers quotation, that she could do everything Fred Astaire could do, but backwards and in heels. … In the 50s and 60s the books usually only had one token female on the team, and she kind of stuck out. Oftentimes she was just as memorable as the male characters, and she always got really interesting powers.” Rondinelli’s interest in writing grew out of boredom. “Growing up on a farm, there’s not a lot to do. In order to kill boredom you can almost get lost in creating your own work, and surprise yourself with where your characters are gonna go. It’s a lot of fun.”
Eventually those passions led Rondinelli to the MoCCA (Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art) in Manhattan and then to indie imprint Pronto Comics, which provided much education and opportunity. “They showed me anything that has to do with comics: how to network, programs, places, and people,” he says. Horizon Line came about as an experiment “to see what it was like to do it strictly on my own. I may never be the CEO of anything again. I played rugby with a teammate who was really into astrology, so I infused astrology with a comic book setting. Even this character Node comes from an astrological place—the nodes of the moon. Horizon Line refers to the stars and skies, the idea that the sky’s the limit on where you can go with your imagination.” Only time will tell what the stars have written for Rondinelli’s brand, but one thing’s for certain: he’s got the right attitude. To find out more, visit davidrondinelli.wix.com/horizonlinecomics or facebook.com/horizonlinecomics.