Comic book writer Eliot Rahal starts new hybrid stand-up comedy show

The show, called “New Comic Book Day,” will include live sketches, faux comic reviews and interviews with fake superheroes.

Comic book writer Eliot Rahal poses in his office in front of his published comic books at his home in Minneapolis on Monday, Nov. 28, 2016.

Easton Green

Comic book writer Eliot Rahal poses in his office in front of his published comic books at his home in Minneapolis on Monday, Nov. 28, 2016.

Joe Cristo

Comic book giants like Marvel and DC no longer supply a fringe hobby for a youth subculture.

Instead, connoisseurs are turning to the flourishing independent comic book market, and writer Eliot Rahal is at the scene’s forefront.

“Making or starting things independently is the best way to start a project,” Rahal said. “I love writing for other people’s properties, but I also know that these things take time, so I need to start the work myself.”

In the comic book world, there are two types of intellectual properties — the famous ones that Marvel owns, like Spider-Man and X-Men, and the independent underground comic book circuit created by young up-and-coming writers and illustrators.

Rahal worked on Marvel’s Spider-Man and Daredevil franchises as an editorial intern. The internship took him to New York City, where he was able to learn how a successful comic operates.

“I started submitting my own work to smaller properties,” Rahal said. “I sent Dark Horse [Comics] one of my stories and it was printed alongside other artists’ work.”

As a kid, Rahal was interested in science fiction and fantasy writers like J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis. This love of all things fantasy eventually blossomed into a love of comics and the fantastical freedom the medium offers.

“Comics allow for the suspension of disbelief,” Rahal said. “There are no rules, really. And compared to other science fiction, it’s a lot more absurd and magical.”

Rahal’s duties are far-reaching. He’s a writer, producer and marketer. He usually starts a new story idea by creating a one-page outline.

The outline eventually turns into a script of five to 10 pages that he uses to find an artist or illustrator to collaborate with. He then spends the rest of his time putting the work together and pitching it to companies and distributors.

“It can take anywhere from three months to five years,” Rahal said. “My goal is to finish three to four projects a year. But once the project gets picked up, it gets much longer, and the story gets fleshed out.”

The process can be excruciating, but Rahal knows that there are only two options.

“It’s publish or perish. Feast or famine.”

Later this year, Rahal will announce two more projects that will begin production and distribution. He can’t say much about them right now.

Along with his up-and-coming work, Rahal is starting a comic and comedy hybrid showcase. The show, called “New Comic Book Day,” will include live sketches, faux comic reviews and interviews with fake superheroes.

“I always see stand-up comedy as running on a treadmill,” Rahal said. “You never really end up anywhere, but you are building yourself up. Comics are a little different. You finish something and then you’re done. When you mix the two, you can get the best of both.”

New Comic Book Day will be held every Wednesday at 8 p.m. starting Dec. 7 at Day Block Brewery. The show is free.