Tuesday, December 16, 2008

When I Grow Up, Part One

So, like many other comics fans out here on the good old Internets, I have a not-so-secret goal in life: I want to write comics. Preferably for money. And, hopefully, to some critical success.

Now, as I'm sure some of you reading this may know first-hand, breaking into the comics industry as a creator (and especially as a writer) is not the easiest thing in the world to achieve.

Actually, breaking into well-guarded government agencies may rank as a smidge less difficult than getting actual work from the big comics publishers. And, apparently, throwing one's shoes at the President of the United States is waaaaay easier than breaking into comics.

In any case, I think my experience is a bit different than most, actually. I know several writer buddies who have told me they read comics as kids, and then one day realized that there are actually human beings who write and draw the books. And it was at that point when my writer buddies realized that they'd like to write comics when they grew up.

Since I never really read comics as a kid, and instead started reading them in my early 20's (less than a decade ago), I guess my first reaction was, "I want to do this. I think I can do this. Let's try to do this." So I tried.

To write comics, that is.

Now, I'm not a big "game plan" guy, and I typically don't care what might happen down the road, as long as I have something in front of me that I care about and view as worthwhile.

And, for a little while there, all I cared about was breaking into comics as a writer. So, I wrote.

And I wrote. And I wrote.

And, granted, quite a bit of it was...not...um...good, per se. Actually, a lot of what I wrote a couple of years ago was either plain awful, or, if it had any goodness to it, it was because I was just copying the voice or style of guys that I was reading at the time.

But, I was writing, and I was writing often. And I found that sitting down with the door closed, staring at a computer screen and typing away, was something I really enjoyed.

And to be quite honest, I felt like I got much better as time went by and I kept on plugging away. As I kept seeing some improvement in my writing, my confidence grew, and then, ultimately, my ego grew, and I became more than a little obsessed with getting published and hired by either Marvel or DC Comics.

Obsessed is a bit of an understatement, actually. I lost sleep thinking about it, and more than once (I promise this is true), I had dreams about being a professional comics writer.

To say that it occupied my time is quite the understatement. Now, at that point I was just finishing up school, and I had plenty of time to write as I put off sending out resumes to companies that weren't related to the comics industry.

I so vehemently opposed getting a desk job because, as I said, my mind was made up and I knew (I knew) that I'd be writing comics for a living. It just seemed to make so much sense to me. It was so clear.

As I continued to put off getting a job, I decided to enroll in a couple of Post-Graduate courses at my University and give them a few hundred more of my Dollars. The classes I took were specifically designed for comics and graphic novel writers, taught by industry professionals.

It was in one of those classes where my already crystal-clear vision of my future became even more clear, as I sat down to write my first assignment.

It was a Spider-Man story, a two-parter, and I put quite a bit of everything I had into that bad boy. I wrote it in a flurry over the course of a couple of hours, I read it back until I couldn't stare at the words anymore, and I came to a decision.

I liked it.

I thought it was a nice, little Spidey tale, one worthy of telling, at the very least. So I decided to run with it. At the next class meeting, I passed it out to the others and they were to take it home, read it, and come back with their evaluations.

I went home and not-so-patiently awaited the next class. As time crawled past, I became more and more aware of mistakes in the script and I started having doubts about my work. But I figured that was only a normal reaction, and I passed the remaining time by writing another script. And by waiting some more.

Then, finally, as time tends to do, it passed all well and good and whatever, and the evaluation day came. And, since time is passing (right now!) and I have real, desk job work that needs to be done...

As much as I hate to do this, we'll have to get into the evaluation day next time! Be here, Exfanding Fanatics!

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