You Died: An Anthology of the Afterlife

 

Cover by Nick Robles! Subject to change!

SUBMISSIONS ARE NOW CLOSED. THANK YOU!

WHAT IS THIS?

YOU DIED is for the dreams, stories and fears humanity has surrounding what happens to us after death. Ancient lore of what awaits the dead, personal tales of what people have experienced, our favorite and hoped-for post-life scenarios, the dread of the unknown, and the acceptance of the inevitable. It’s a death-positive examination—and even celebration—of a universal human experience.

WHAT INSPIRED THIS?

Death positivity—the idea of death acceptance and acknowledgement, as well as preparing for it to happen to yourself and the people you love—is a fairly new concept. Death denialism and avoidance is much more common, and often leads to characterizing people who talk frankly about death as morbid.

YOU DIED is our own little contribution to expanding death positivity!

For more info on the concept, check out:

WHAT WE WANT

YOU DIED will be a black-and-white/grayscale, all-comics anthology. Each story will be between 4 and 20 pages in length. The desired contents are:


Fiction!
Your favorite myths and legends about the afterlife, heroic journeys to (and back from!?) the beyond, and singularly memorable attempts to defeat mortality that speak to us all. The category to consider if you’re really into Gilgamesh, or maybe Orpheus, or even Peter Pan. (Yeah, Peter. He’s a psychopomp. Google it.) Heck, why not just make up Your Perfect Heaven?


Non-Fiction!
Got a favorite tomb? Really into Catholic reliquaries, Resurrection Men, and mummies? Got some pent-up sass about cheesy celebrity-at-Heaven’s-Gates political cartoons? Secretly yearning for a Tibetan-style sky burial? Can’t go an entire house party without telling everyone about the wetsuit holding the corpse of Lenin together? Or maybe just… still kinda scared of dying and wanna talk about that? Then this is your jam.


Biographies and Autobiographies!
Did anyone else draw up plans for the massive, marble crypts, festooned with angels, they hoped to be buried in as a kid?


No? Just me? C’moooon, can’t be just me.


When did you go to your first funeral? What happened? How did it make you feel?
Do you think you’ll go to Heaven? Do you think there even IS a Heaven? What about Hell?
Do you belong to a minority religion with beliefs about the postmortem experience that differ from most of those around you? What’s THAT been like?
Do you remember the day you accepted your own mortality? How do you feel about folks that don’t? Let’s hear it.


In short: we want stories about What Happens After Death.

WHAT WE DON’T WANT

Submissions from creators under the age of 18.

Pin-ups and prose submissions. This anthology will exclusively feature comics.

Excessively graphic content. Submissions to the anthology must be equivalent to a PG-13 movie rating. No “hard” profanity, nudity, or erotica will be accepted.

Proposals from incomplete creative teams. If you’re an artist without a writer, or a writer without an artist, please find a partner before submitting your proposal. Iron Circus Comics can’t play matchmaker. (Single-creator submissions are fine. We don’t prefer multi-person teams over single creators, or vice-versa.)

Fanfic, fan art, or pastiche. Please don’t submit stories using intellectual property you don’t own, or stories that are clearly referential of such work/take place in the same universe or reality.

Serial killer/violent criminal/violent crime worship, fandom, or biographies.

Proselytizing, religious recruitment attempts, or specific pronouncements of the damnation or salvation or actual, real people.

True Crime-style recounting of specific terrible or notorious murders or suicides.

Work that encourages people to die or hurt themselves, or gives them instructions how.

Horror, gore, or stories explicitly about awful ways to die.

Purposely disrespectful material concerning anyone’s religious beliefs, or lack of them.

PAYMENT

YOU DIED 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 for all contributors if the Kickstarter campaign meets stretch goals.

CREATOR’S RIGHTS


Creators submit stories to YOU DIED 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 or concepts, just your comics.

PRODUCTION

  • Submissions open February 1st.
  • Submissions close February 28th.
  • Successful applicants will be announced March 15th.
  • Final art will be due June 15th.
  • Book is scheduled to ship October 15th.

If your submission is accepted, the final art must be designed to fit standard American graphic novel dimensions: 6.625″ × 10.25″. What this means for your production process depends on your choice of medium, but the following guides may be useful.


For more information, consult Blambot’s page on the subject.

FAQ


What material will we need to submit for consideration?

When submissions open February 1st, it will be in the format of a Google form. Prospective participants will be required to provide:

  • The names and emails of all creators involved in the story
  • The title of the proposed story
  • A summary of the proposed story, which includes the beginning, the middle, and the end
  • A predicted page count (estimates are fine)
  • Portfolio links for the proposed participants, which may also include any preparatory sketches done for the proposal, although this is not required.


Each participant will also acknowledge and agree to a release, which will be part of the Google form.

What level of ability will you be looking for in submissions?

This is a professional publishing project. Writing and art will have to meet our standards of quality. Please browse our previous anthology efforts to get an idea of what we consider acceptable.

I’m not American. Can I still submit to this anthology?

Sure!

Can I submit more than one proposal? I have multiple good ideas!

Yes, but please, no more than three per creator/creative team. We want your best ideas, not every idea you have.

I have an already-finished comic that fits this prompt perfectly. Would you be willing to consider it?

Only so long as it truly fits the original prompt, follows the stated guidelines, and has never been physically published before. (online publication as a webcomic or portfolio piece is fine.)

What age group will this anthology be meant for?

Middle grade and up. “Hard” swears (F***, C***) and nudity won’t be permitted.

Is the page rate per comic, or per team member?

Per comic. If the anthology finishes its Kickstarter with a $100 page rate, that page rate will be universal, regardless of the size of the creative teams. A comic with three contributing creators won’t make $300 per page.

What about intellectual property rights? Are you buying those from selected stories?

No. Participation in YOU DIED cedes universal first publication rights to Iron Circus for a period of one year, and general publication rights in perpetuity.

What that means in practice is that only ICC and no one else will be permitted to sell your story in the agreed format (as part of an anthology) for one calendar year, and will be permitted to continue to sell your story in that format until the heat death of the universe non-exclusively. After that initial year concludes, you can put your submission on Gumroad, sell it to a different anthology, stick it up on itch.io with pay-what-you-want pricing, print it as a mini for cons, anything you like.

And ICC is not purchasing intellectual property rights. If Guillermo del Toro decides he needs to make a movie out of a story we’ve published in YOU DIED, he’ll have to go to you, not us. ICC exclusively publishes creator-owned comics.

CONTACT US

If you have any questions about this project which have not been addressed here or in the FAQ, you can contact the coordinators at andrea@ironcircus.com. Please read this page, and the FAQ, in its entirety before emailing.