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Trevor Thompson
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Posted: 12 October 2018 at 4:23am | IP Logged | 1 post reply

From what I've been reading it's near enough impossible to get into comics.

I've heard (from Shooter) that the big companies afraid of being sued but if they wanted to they have enough clout to crush the common man or at least make it too expensive to be worth it. Personally, I feel they just want big names so they can sell their comics because it has a 'star' attached or someone already familiar in the business. They don't want to take risks anymore. Back in the 80s if I wanted to I could submit a script and if I was ready for Prime Time I'd be in.

In all fairness. I wouldn't want to work for Marvel or DC. I don't enjoy anything they do these days (well maybe the odd book). But imprints like Vertigo would interest me. Anyone ever tried to write for a comic book company? What was your experience?
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Gil Dowling
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Posted: 12 October 2018 at 5:39am | IP Logged | 2 post reply

There' s no set way to break into comics . I would say don't try to write for Marvel or DC. Write your own stuff, find an artist to work with, and self-publish or try to publish with Image or one of the other Independents. If you're good, maybe Marvel or DC will seek you out.
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John Byrne
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Posted: 12 October 2018 at 5:52am | IP Logged | 3 post reply

From what I've been reading it's near enough impossible to get into comics.

ēē

That's how it was when I wastrying to break in, yet here I am! (The fact that one "breaks in" should suggest it's not EASY, but also not impossible.)

NO idea what Shooter is talking about!

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Trevor Thompson
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Posted: 12 October 2018 at 6:52am | IP Logged | 4 post reply

Marvel aren't taking submissions - as I've stated before, I wouldn't want to work for them anyway.

Self-publishing seems to be the way. To be fair there is a way in through that avenue but I feel it's a shame that there isn't a way to go straight to the source. If you're good enough they should let you through the door. It used to be the way throughout most publishing companies.

It's not only comics. It's the same for movies / TV and music. Unsolicited scripts are a no no now but  If you get lots of 'hits' on YouTube then all of a sudden they take notice. 

Hopefully this doesn't come as a rant. I honestly find it interesting that those are the most viable avenues now. I have also not done enough to warrant any sort of attention so I'm putting no blame on anyone. I just want to make that very clear.
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Eric Jansen
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Posted: 12 October 2018 at 7:20am | IP Logged | 5 post reply

It's been a while since I tried, but, yes, for writers the best advice seems to be to find an artist and self-publish.  At cons, it's "near impossible" for a writer to get anybody to read their stuff--because a con is crazy busy and no editor wants to sit down and read a typed script, but they might take a published comic.  An artist is luckier at cons because it only takes ten seconds to tell if a page of art is good or not.

At cons, a lot of companies have portfolio reviews sessions for artists, or an editor or publisher might even look at a portfolio at the booth.  DC, makes even artists jump through hoops by attending a "class" (usually early in the morning) before they look at anything or even accept photocopies.

But, if you've got a published comic (of your own characters), you can probably drop off quite a few copies at different booths or even mail them in later.  (If it's published--even a low print run--that seems to assuage their legal fears of reading unsolicited material.)
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Brian Floyd
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Posted: 12 October 2018 at 9:13am | IP Logged | 6 post reply

I would not want to work for Marvel or DC to begin with. Not now, anyway. Their comics clearly are not aimed at kids any more, as they do things in their books that they wouldn't have been able to get away with 20+ years ago. Plus Marvel have messed up their characters to the point I wish they'd consider a reboot or at least a reset (ie, wipe out the last decade and a half of continuity instead of a total restart). DC I wouldn't want to work for, because you never know if/when they'll do yet another frickin' reboot.

Another reason I wouldn't work for either is crossovers.

You'd likely end up with one of these scenarios at some point (the latter with DC, but the first with either):

"Sorry you're in the middle of a 12 part storyline, but we're doing a company-wide crossover, and you have to incorporate it into your next three issues."

Or

"Hey, we're doing a reboot, and you've got about three issues left. Then we're going to put the flavor of the month on your book and move you over to Captain Snazzypants, and want a totally new origin story for him. And instead of a goofy corporate mascot turned robber, we want his enemy Doodlestraw to be a cannibalistic serial killer who pickles his victims' eyes and keeps them in jars in his den. Are you cool with that?"



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John Byrne
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Posted: 12 October 2018 at 9:18am | IP Logged | 7 post reply

Over the years -- all right, decades -- I have noticed one consistent element: there are a lot (a LOT) of fans who think they are good enough to work in comics when they very much are NOT.

This lends to the legend that it is very hard to break in, of course, since such people do not accept that it is the poor quality of their work that is keeping them out.

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Peter Hicks
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Posted: 12 October 2018 at 9:25am | IP Logged | 8 post reply

I believe it was Gail Simone who compared comics to jazz. Both mediums used to be huge and enjoyed by millions of people. But today, the number of followers has shrunk considerably, and most of them are failed creators who could not find paying jobs in the field.
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Brian Floyd
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Posted: 12 October 2018 at 9:32am | IP Logged | 9 post reply

Over the years -- all right, decades -- I have noticed one consistent element: there are a lot (a LOT) of fans who think they are good enough to work in comics when they very much are NOT.

This lends to the legend that it is very hard to break in, of course, since such people do not accept that it is the poor quality of their work that is keeping them out.

++++++++++++++++++++

I know I'm not good enough. I'm better at coming up with characters and plots than at the actual execution of them. I have an idea for an actual book (novel, not comic)....but haven't written a single word since I came up with it a few months ago.

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John Byrne
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Posted: 12 October 2018 at 9:47am | IP Logged | 10 post reply

Jazz and comics are both distinctly American inventions ó and both have struggled to gain legitimacy.
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Eric Ladd
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Posted: 12 October 2018 at 10:47am | IP Logged | 11 post reply

 John Byrne wrote:
fans who think they are good enough to work in comics

I've noticed a great many people that think writing in general is simple. A friend summed it up like this, "they know the alphabet and therefore think they can write". Keeping comic stories engaging under the tight constraints of good writing (not relying on gimmicks or writing for a character not in your book) is much harder than it seems and I applaud the writers that kept us engaged issue after issue.
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Rebecca Jansen
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Posted: 12 October 2018 at 11:46am | IP Logged | 12 post reply

I would say be a writer, not specifically a comic book writer (or screenplay writer which seems to be more of a huge committee position really anyway)... a writer. Write. I have sold non-fiction and fiction and even briefly had a Hollywood agent when a short story somehow (nominated for an award mind you) was optioned by a production company I'm not at liberty to divulge. If there's money in it for them you will get an agent. Also song lyrics that have been recorded, performed, played.

Opportunity is a kind of 'build it and they will come' as often as knowing a guy who knows someone. Best advice I ever got was "you're new, you can get away with not knowing how they want things done sometimes"... which is how J.K.Rowling did what you aren't supposed to do and submitted to more than one publisher at a time and got two into a competition for her. Yes, you will have to write a lot to get to that small percentage that isn't derivative crap, yes you will have to read... widely as possible... a lot. But what writer doesn't enjoy reading? Stephen King knows, all writing is like a car engine, to have it work smoothly you have to know the basic parts and how they operate together to reach a destination.

Our educational systems have turned out a lot of writers and artists in the last fifty years, this is why we stoop to robbing third world countries of their most educated for doctors and nurses, so there is growing competition all the time. You will have to go out and make friends with customers and sell to them as well as writing to find/build an audience, at book stores and conventions. If you can't do that you are not going to get far today I don't think and be happy like me with sporadic bits of success and long stretches between opportunities that is not a living. Comic books are always dying, kind of like rock & roll, but that didn't stop some people obviously.

Hmmm. Maybe I know I'm a writer because I am so G-damn wordy! But you do have to trim the fat if you expect to sell, although once you are a name you can demand to leave your fatty bits in there (look at early Heinlein compared to late Heinlein, or the long version Puppet Masters versus the skinny originally published version).


Edited by Rebecca Jansen on 12 October 2018 at 12:16pm
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Rebecca Jansen
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Posted: 12 October 2018 at 12:11pm | IP Logged | 13 post reply

"This lends to the legend that it is very hard to break in, of course, since such people do not accept that it is the poor quality of their work that is keeping them out."

I would expect a "breaking in" is much easier when you are just really really good at the widest range of skills possible... even if you are in some cow town the person signing the paychecks has never heard of before. You have to become your own best critic, right?

I've met a lot of people who simply go bonkers and seem destroyed personally or angry at criticism, which is not helpful to where they say they want to go. Sometimes at least criticism is meant as an act of generosity, especially bluntly put. If you get some this means someone sees enough in your work to take it seriously. If you flip-out that door will be slammed shut and probably forever. I have been subject to editors who I disagreed with but they are who I am writing for (especially when I'm new, I have to get through them to get to anybody else after all), but I kept it private, thanked them and went where they wanted me to go as best I could and made the sale. As an editor I was able a few times to take someone who had something and develop it, to recognize their blind spots and how to work around them perhaps or where to go to build whatever muscles there they needed. I kind of liked the diamond in the rough I could actually help, a few needed no help, and I learned stuff from them sometimes. I won't mention the unhelpables other than to say you are kind and encouraging because they are unhelpable. Once in awhile one might see through all that to demand real help, and I might then see if they could handle it. A good editor I think has to keep a bulk of people who might be customers/readers themselves where they will still think positively of you even though you know privately there's little to no chance you'll ever be buying from them. It's a business, you can't afford to eff up the business side.

So if famous comic writer (same for artist) does tell you what's wrong with your work, that there puts you ahead of a large number of other people who can only cling to "well, I'm better than so-and-so is." Aim for the top not a bottom rung. Who is worth having around that's just going to be a little better than the lousiest person working?

I guess that's all my fifty years of wisdom I have to share. Who do I think I am? Someone who just wants to help as they were helped. It's not about me or even about you; it's about the work you say you want to be able to do. Oh, and one more thing... "I was born to write/draw whatever famous character".... I just don't know about that, and I would keep it to yourself as what is gained by saying such a thing about something that has existed without you up to now? Also, this is where the people stab each other in the back and then it's divided we fall. Not good, not very professional.
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Trevor Thompson
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Posted: 12 October 2018 at 2:58pm | IP Logged | 14 post reply

Brian Floyd. Youíre me. Ha ha. I can come up with ideas and basic plots but Iím not really that good at executing them. Iím definitely not ready for prime time.
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Trevor Thompson
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Posted: 12 October 2018 at 3:02pm | IP Logged | 15 post reply

Rebecca, being a good writer is like anything in life you want to be good at and thatís to write. Iím a better writer than I was at 10 thatís for sure. I doubt any of the so called great writers just woke up and became great writers. 
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Rebecca Jansen
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Posted: 12 October 2018 at 6:57pm | IP Logged | 16 post reply

I like those teachers and professionals who believe that where there's a will there's a way. With a fair bit of sweat and a Strunk & White's by my side I can put something together that is publishable. I may not have all the information, or creative muscles, right this moment, but I can build both, it can be done, it has been done. It's just a matter of time really once the will, the desire, is there.
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Brian Floyd
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Posted: 12 October 2018 at 7:00pm | IP Logged | 17 post reply

I'd also like to add that the aforementioned `cannibal serial killer who likes to pickle victims' eyes and keep them' idea has nothing to do with the novel idea that I have. That was just the stupidist idea I could think of while making that particular post.


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