While covering Emerald City Comicon 2017 (ECCC), PopCultHQ had the fortunate opportunity to meet up with Team AfterShock. Representing the near two-year old publishing company at this year’s event was Lee Kramer, Joe Pruett, Mike Marts, Lisa Wu, and Stephan Nilson. One thing I mentioned to everyone on hand was my desire to give readers, fans, and future AfterShock Army members, a look at the people behind the scenes of indie publishers. You know the comic books which they release. You likely know some, many, or even all of the creators who’ve signed on with the label. But what about the people responsible for finding new talent, who shares the company’s news and review copies with media sites, that is responsible for AfterShock’s social media activity, who are out there many weekends each year attending the cons to share each series they’ve released as well as meet with everyone: the fans, the readers, the collectors. These are the people we want to spotlight and share with you these often unsung heroes keeping the company moving all while remaining grounded. The crew at AfterShock Comics was more than willing and happy to oblige, so that’s pretty dope in itself.
One of our interviews was with Lisa Y. Wu, who had been promoted to Retailer/Fan Relations Manager just a few days prior to the event. Her role involves promoting through the publisher’s various social media outlets. Her role also involves engaging with the creators, the retailers, and the fans. From organizing in-store events and signings, to working with retailers to ensure their needs are net, even interacting with fans online or in person, Lisa has shown (and proven) herself to be the epitome of what it means to be an outgoing people-person and a model of customer service excellence.
Upon transcribing my audio interview with Lisa, I realized how much of a moron I sounded so if that comes across in the interview, just shake your head and think to yourself, “Dumbass,” and just keep reading. Lisa’s stuff is good. I promise.
Lisa Wu: Thank you! I am the Retailer/Fan Relations Manager.
PCHQ: Awesome. So what exactly does that role with the company entail?
Wu: I work with the creators and talk to the retailers about their books. I get to read their scripts, talk to the creators, how they want to market it, how they want to present the book to the retailers and the fans. I work on almost like customer service. On social media…I still run the social media, so Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook, and Instagram. When people message me, I message them back right away. We want to make sure to always be accessible to the fans and the retailers. Whatever they need, we’re here for them. We don’t want them to have to wait a day or to be confused or wait. We want to respond as soon as we can. Usually I’m on social media, which is probably the best way to contact me because I’m on there 24/7 and I’ve got the alert on. So the only time I not on social media is probably when I sleep. <laughs> I’m on there all the time.
PCHQ: I completely understand, I get up at 2am every morning myself. And you’re out on the east coast, correct?
Wu: Yeah, if I wake up, I check my Twitter.
PCHQ: Yeah I’ve noticed often on social media you “Like” or “Share” something online and then almost immediately AfterShock does, so I kinda made that connection.
Wu: Oh yeah <chuckles>. I [also] do retailer calls. I make sure that they understand what’s coming out, if they need anything, store variants or whatever, forward them over to the team.
PCHQ: Sort of the middle person between AfterShock and the retailers and fans. You’re forming that partnership or relationship?
Wu: Yes! Absolutely.
PCHQ: Wonderful. So what’s it been like, how has it been working with AfterShock? In about two years time, you’ve just blown up with such amazing creators, books that have taken off in such a short amount of time. There are publishers [who have been around longer] that don’t seem to have the recognition that your name has already brought.
Wu: Well, we have great people on our team. We’re all comic book fans and most have worked in the industry over 20 years. Not me, I wasn’t lucky enough to do that. Joe Pruett, the guy who actually found me on Facebook, he offered me a job. He’s been in comics for over 25 years, which is the same for Mike Marts, so they know a lot of people that they’ve worked with. Everybody we work with are friends with us. We’re friends with these guys first, so we already have that working relationship and that they trust us. That’s the main thing with creator-owned comics is they need to have a publisher that they trust. For example, David Hine. He did Second Sight for us and he was holding on to that story for over 20 years. He brought it to other publishers and stuff like that, but he [ultimately] brought it to us to finally, actually publish it. That’s a great honor, I think. We have these amazing creators that want to bring their most precious ideas to us.
PCHQ: Even multiple ones.
Wu: Yes, multiple ones!
Wu: …like Garth Ennis. Yeah.
PCHQ: Yes. And Adam [Glass]…it’s like everyone is feeling the AfterShock!
Wu: Yeah, definitely. The team is just amazing. We’re all family and we treat our creators like family.
PCHQ: So that’s very important to you guys is to have that personal connection?
Wu: Yeah, absolutely. Whatever they need, we’re here for them. We really take care of our creators like family, without dysfunction. <laughs>
Wu: And it’s amazing because like immediately with these guys, I feel like they’re my second family. The fact that I feel this week makes me pretty sure everyone else feels as well.
PCHQ: That’s what I have noticed so far too.
Wu: And I think that’s why we’ve taken off so much. Because we take care of each other, we all work very hard. I mean, these are stories that we all love. Love, love, love. So we won’t publish anything that we wouldn’t, as fans, enjoy.
PCHQ: That’s great! Backing up just a bit. So when Joe found you on Facebook, was it your activity on there or across social media?
Wu: Yeah! Somehow we became Facebook friends through mutual Facebook friends, I guess. Apparently I kept popping up on his feed. And he was like, “This girl knows her social media stuff!” So he messaged me, we started talking, and within less than a month I was flying to Atlanta to meet him, see the offices there, meet Paul Jenkins, Brian Stelfreeze, things like that. All of these greats that…a lot of people are like die-hard fans of them and I was lucky enough to meet in person. These are rock stars, gods, that people in my town would never imagine to meet let alone have their phone numbers to talk to and joke around with, so it was a big deal.
PCHQ: So do you still have moments…where you fangirl out?
Wu: I don’t usually fangirl out when I meet them initially because I don’t know who they are. What I mean is that with the creators, you never see their face. That’s why I’m so happy that all of our comics have the faces of the creators [inside] so that people can recognize them. This way they’re not just names on a page, they’re actual people. So I don’t fangirl so much because I might have already talked with them on Twitter of Facebook. They’re just like regular people.
PCHQ: Totally get that.
Wu: Yeah. You know I have passed by Stan Lee. But if I ever met him or got to talk to him, or sit around and have a beer with him? Yeah. Sometimes I’m almost shocked that I can go to the hotel room and hang out with Garth Ennis and some other people and just drink a beer. It’s just amazing.
PCHQ: It’s a little surreal.
Wu: It is. It really is.
PCHQ: That’s wonderful. Let me ask, what is it that you love about Emerald City Comicon?
Wu: The fans. I love fangoers that recognize AfterShock. But I also get excited by the people who just walk by our booth, just looking around, and I just say “Hello” to them. I start talking with them and they get excited about our books, you know because I’m so excited about it. I tell them about our amazing series and then they’re like, “Ooh, I want to get it!”
PCHQ: So people who weren’t aware, or familiar with AfterShock?
Wu: Yeah, they had never heard of AfterShock before and they were just walking by. I think that’s what I’m most excited about all the cons I go to. When people just walk by, they glance, I say hello, they come to the table and give us a chance. Then they go off excited about AfterShock. Like today, because I run social media, these two people came by and I talked to them about the books and they immediately liked AfterShock on Facebook and also on Twitter, and I’m like, “Yes!” Then they bought two of our books, Black Eyed Kids and Animosity, so that was pretty cool!
PCHQ: I would imagine you’ve invested the time to understand the dynamics and intricacies of social media, different platforms, and how to optimize each. Do you find you have different strategies when using different social media networks in how you promote?
Wu: Yeah, absolutely. Every type of social media is a little different, the audience is different. Facebook is more business-like. I love to get people engaged as much as possible, so I love it when people comment on our page and I’ll ‘Like’ it or comment back. I love talking to our fans. Twitter is a great place where we can let our humor, the fun side of AfterShock kind of shine a little bit more, become more engaged with our audience, joke around.
PCHQ: So there, it’s not so much “business”?
Wu: Yeah, it’s letting people know who we are, which I think is very important. Yesterday I tweeted out or posted on Facebook a picture of us just goofing around at the booth. I want people to know that, yeah we know all of these famous creators and we do all this stuff like make books, but we still have fun, goof around, we’re still fanboy/fangirl.
A very special thanks to Lisa for taking the time out to speak with us at ECCC 2017.
If you would like to keep up on Lisa’s announcements for AfterShock and all things The Wu Report, be sure to follow her online and social media. Links can be found below.
Be sure to watch for PopCultHQ’s next “Get to Know AfterShock Comics” interview conducted at ECCC 2017 with Editor-in-Chief Mike Marts!
AfterShock Comics’ Retailer/Fan Relations Manager – Lisa Y. Wu