Thursday, December 18, 2008

When I Grow Up, Part Three

Today, I'd like to share Part Three of my long-winded (but hopefully at least somewhat-entertaining!) post on my own, um, experiences in the comics industry (sure, that works).

If you've missed the first two parts, you can check out Part One here and Part Two here.

As for Part Three, well, that's right here:

So, I was on my way home from my Post Grad comics writing class where my Spider-Man script was very well-received, but instead of feeling encouraged by the reception, I was angry.

I mean, sure, part of me was quite relieved to know that maybe, just maybe I had the ability within me to communicate entertainingly through written words, but, mostly, I was just angry.

And not even at the world, in general, but at the comics industry, specifically. And mostly at Marvel and DC, and then mostly at Top Cow and Image, and then mostly at myself, for not doing more to get noticed by the publishers.

And then I got mad at the publishers again, and, finally, I got home. It was an exciting drive back, let me tell you. But I think my emotions were well-placed, and fairly justified. As many of you may know, getting noticed by any of the comics publishers (yes, even the "small press" houses) is nearly impossible if all you have are written scripts.

Which I would learn in the weeks that followed my Evaluation Day. Soon after, I started searching the Internet and the book store shelves for any and all "how-to" information that was available about getting into comics as a writer, and I did come across some useful stuff. The one thing that I read over and over and over again was something akin to the following:

"Do it yourself. Publish your own stuff."

And I thought, huh, well that makes a whole lotta sense. So I decided to go and do just that.

Self-publish, that is.

So, knowing that I couldn't self-publish a story with licensed characters, I created my own thing. I shut the door, typed away, and over the course of a weekend I had created a four-issue mini-series starring characters hatched from my own, somewhat twisted mind scape.

And I was happy with what I had, and I was excited that now all I had to do was draw this bad boy.

And then I remembered, oh, right, I can't even draw stick figures. So, I decided to look for an artist. Unfortunately, I didn't know any artists at the time, so the search through practical venues was pretty short and pathetic.

The next step was to advertise online, or so said all them book-thingies I was a-readin' at the time. So, I did that, too. I posted an ad on a well-known creator site (offering to pay a paltry $10 bucks a page) to any and all comic book artists that were interested in making my words into pretty (and sometimes scary) pictures.

Figuring this was a shot in the dark, as no one in their right mind would ever accept $10 dollars to pencil, ink, and letter a single page (let alone repeat that process over the course of four twenty-two-page books), I clicked "send" and the ad went "boop" and then it disappeared from my screen.

And I thought, eh, that'll be that.

But I guess I simply underestimated how "in their right mind" comics artists aren't, as my inbox was almost immediately flooded with responses and art samples. Some were good, some weren't, some of the artists wrote emails in languages I didn't understand, but, over the course of a day or two, I received at the very least 35 emails.

I sifted through everything, excitedly at first, but as I clicked each new message, I started to realize something. This wasn't going to work. Almost all of the responses were from artists who lived in other countries, which I didn't think would be a problem at all, but as I replied to one after the other, I began to realize that their grasp of the language was poor, at best.

This would make my script directions, and communication in general, difficult. And I started to get really discouraged and frustrated and whatever, and then I kind of came to a decision.

Looking back on it now, maybe I should have just said, well, whatever, I'll find a way to make it work, but this is a true story...mistakes and all.

Maybe it was because I just really didn't want it bad enough at that moment, or maybe it was because I was enjoying wallowing in my own self-pity. But, for whatever reason, I started to get really depressed about the whole making comics thing, and I responded to every single artist, telling them what I liked about their stuff, and thanking them for their response, and wishing them luck in the future.

But I said no to each of them, making up something about having it drawn by an artist friend who just freed up and would now have the time to draw my book. I couldn't bring myself to reject the artists wholesale, as the publishers had done to me in the past. But, still, I said no...a lot.

This was the emotional equivalent of accidentally kicking myself in the groin (which is quite difficult without Sin City-style special effects, mind you), so I decided to get a real job. A desk job. A nine-to-five-just-like-everyone-else job. So I interviewed locally, and I landed a job. And I started work as an editor. Not as an editor of comics, mind you, but still, in my head I thought, this is going to look great on a resume for DC and Marvel!

Now, instead of sending writing samples, I'll apply to their open editorial positions, and that's how I'll break in! It's a no-brainer! I can't lose! tune in next time, to Part Four, to see just how off my perception of the comics industry was back then.

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