The Sleep of Reason is a black-and-white horror comics anthology set to debut in the summer of 2013. We are no longer accepting proposals for submissions.

If your submission is accepted, you should read the guidelines below.

Participants

The following creators are slated to appear in The Sleep of Reason.

Basic information

Payment

Sleep of Reason will pay a $50 page rate, plus ten contributor's copies per creator and the perpetual right to buy copies of the anthology for 50% off the cover price for as long as the comic is in print. There will also be a bonus upon publication and completion of any obligations creators might have to the project, such as signing bookplates.

Creators' rights

Creators submit stories to The Sleep of Reason with the understanding that, if accepted, they are ceding exclusive first worldwide rights to the story for a full calendar year from the date of publication, and non-exclusive worldwide reprint rights in perpetuity. Intellectual property rights will remain in the hands of the creator. We don't want your characters, just your comics.

Content guidelines

The Sleep of Reason will be a showcase for modern comic horror; in short, scary stories. That's what we want. Your best attempts to fill us with unease, fear, and dread.

Please limit your story to between 3 and 20 black-and-white pages. You must be over 18 years of age and able to write English fluently.

Examples

People have been asking what kind of story proposals Sleep of Reason is looking for. The following comics echo the sort of mood and storytelling style we're interested in featuring. We recommend checking them out.

Things to avoid

There are also stories and concepts we're keenly interested in avoiding.

Familiar horrors

Standard "scary" cliches have become expected and uninteresting through overuse, so stories relying upon them will really have to impress us. Zombies have suffered the worst from this sort of overexposure in the past few years, so a zombie story would have a really hard time making the cut.

You can submit a story with a vampire or werewolf or some other well-known creature to The Sleep of Reason. But it had better be something special. Really special. "The one zombie that's still got her conscious mind," "the vegan vampire," or "it's me, I was the werewolf all along" won't be enough.

Lovecraft mythos or Edgar Allen Poe references

Unlike zombies, there's no wiggle room on this one. We won't accept any. That would be fan fiction, and this anthology is meant to feature wholly original work.

Non-horror stories

We're not looking for action, romance, or comedy with a veneer of horror or horror décor. This includes things like badass monster hunters, monster schoolgirls, sexy vampire boyfriends, and deconstructionist satire. You can certainly try your luck with a submission like this, but it had better be unusually impressive.

Excessively graphic content

We're not looking for gore porn, torture porn, or porn porn. The first two because we're not interested in them, and the third because we've got another anthology for that.

Pin-ups and prose submissions

This anthology will exclusively feature comics. Sequential art. Words and pictures, not one or the other. If you don't write or you don't draw, you'll need to find yourself a writer or artist to collaborate with.

Technical guidelines

Color

The Sleep of Reason will be a black-and-white book, but grayscale shading will work fine. No need to do screentones or anything like that, unless you really want to.

Production size

The book is going to be standard American graphic novel size—6.625" × 10.25"—but of course you'll want to work at a larger size than the actual print dimensions. Drawing your originals at about 150% of the final size is a pretty good standard—making 11" × 17" a pretty good paper size to work with, if natural media is your thing—but do whatever works for you, as long as your art fits the size requirements below when you're done. You can download this template and resize it to match whatever kind of media you're using in order to figure out how to draw up your panel borders and whatnot.

Final art size

There are some important measurements you should know about when producing, scanning, and prepping art for this anthology. Forgive us for explaining some things you probably already know.

Resolution: At least 300 pixels per inch

Higher resolutions are fine (in fact, you might want to go up to 600 if you're using aliased art), but please don't go any smaller.

Page size: 6.625" × 10.25"

This is the final, trimmed size of the actual book.

Bleed size: 6.875" × 10.5"

If your art is going to go all the way to the edge of the page, without a border or whatnot, it has to actually go past the edge. About 0.125" past is a good amount. So this bleed size—6.875" × 10.5"—should probably be the actual size of your files.

Live area: 6" × 9"

This is just kind of a safe zone for the stuff you really don't want to get cropped into by a sloppy trim job at the printers: word balloons and that kind of thing. Honestly, this probably isn't something you have to worry a whole hell of a lot about. Just don't put your dialog on the edge of the page, and you'll be fine.

Borders: solid black, 0.25" on top and sides, 0.5" on bottom

If you don't want to do a bleed on a given page, naturally it's got to have some borders, and we'd like to keep them uniform.

Note that the measurements above are coming in from the edge of the final page, not the edge of the bleed area. If your file is bleed-sized (6.875" × 10.5"), then your border thickness should be 0.375" on the top and sides, 0.625" on the bottom.

So why is the bottom border thicker? To make room for the page numbers! (Don't add page numbers yourself, though. We'll handle that.)

File formats and naming conventions

TIFF (with compression!) is a great file format for comic art, but 24-bit PNGs are also cool. Please, no JPGs, GIFs, or PDFs.

Each image file should include your name, the story title, and the page number, like this:

Gertrude Smith - I Saw a Ghost One Day - 04.tiff

This just makes things a lot easier when putting the whole book together.

Sending us your stuff

We'll set up a Google Drive folder to receive your art. It can handle much larger files than email, and is a lot less hassle than FTP.

Contacting us

If you have any questions about this project which have not been addressed here, you can contact us at ironcircus@gmail.com.