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Archive for the ‘breaking in’ Category

Marvel posted a list of tips for breaking into comics pulled from C.B. Cebuski’s twitter feed. I’m quoting from the article:

Want to make comics? Get tips from Marvel talent manager C.B. Cebulski to help YOU at San Diego Comic-Con and beyond.

Pulled from CB Cebulski’ Twitter feed (@CBCebulski) and organized by topic, these tips, tweets and missives may help YOU get into the comic book biz at the San Diego Comic-Con 2010 or beyond!

My favorite is “Never underestimate the power of the mini-comic. Make them. Distribute them. Buy them. Enjoy them.” But by all means, read the whole thing.

There’s been a few interesting footnotes on breaking in or what not…

Transcript from a recent ‘Breaking In’ panel with CB Cebulski.

How to write for comics (per Anthony Johnston)

How to not write for comics (per Sara Ryan)

Overwhelmingly the best tip, is to be easy going and a slave to the board. Interesting footnote from C.B. is that he wants to see a complete story. He’s also hired an assload of new talent. All styles, which I find refreshing. Preferably not involving Marvel characters, which makes sense for legal reasons. (for both writers and artists)

CB Cebulski made a comment that’s interesting: Marvel’s track record of hiring cold submissions through the mail is ‘zero’. More than not, it’s through word of mouth and I guess schmoosing /meeting people at cons. For those still interested in breaking into work-for-hire, there you go. He’s been spreading little nuggets of helpful info on his twitter feed this weekend.

Illustration/freelancing is not your traditional path to getting a gig. Nobody breaks in the same way. There’s no real pat answer to that. So I’d like to pass along some helpful words of wisdom before the convention season really kicks off…

  • Do some research before you go to a con, portfolio in hand. Know your publishers before you go bopping in. With the internet, there’s pictures of the editors out there. Some of them have blogs. It’s like stalking sort of but this way you know exactly who to look for at a con. I’ve seriously had people come up to me at cons asking me if I was hiring. I’ll look at your book but clearly I’m not a publisher.
  • DO NOT BRING ORIGINALS TO SHOW. Bring copies. It’s personally annoying for me, but whipping up specific samples of each company’s characters is recommended. Have a mix of talking heads and action sequences. Make a portfolio with leave behinds, or simply have leave behinds. It doesn’t have to be fancy, but on each sample I’d put your email, website and phone number on there. I stuff them in a big mailing envelope then make a color label with your art on it. It’s a hook, trust me.
  • Pitches. I haven’t done much of this but I have looked at a few. Don’t pitch it like a tv show for crying out loud. Don’t make wild claims about how it’s going to make that publisher a crapload of money. Shut the hell up and keep it to the story you’re trying to tell. Write up a short synapsis, and 5 to 10 sample pages. Maybe throw in some character outlines. If a company says they’re not looking at any pitches, it’s just to slow the flood. The lovely *Jen De Guzman’s slushpile thread is full of many ways not to pitch a story.

Lastly, there’s no such thing as an aspiring cartoonist or artist. Either you’re doing it or you’re not. With Diamond’s wack new minimum policies, it’s rough out there. Indy publishers have all but put a kabosh on the serial comic. It’s all about the OGN (original graphic novel). Some well before these policies happened. If I were a comic shop, I’d be worried about POD, downloads, and web to print. Diamond’s encouraging it and I think it’s going to kill them off faster. In my opinion, it’s been that way for the past 3 or 5 years. The economy’s bad out there, but at the same time everyone cutting back on spending is only going to make it worse. Now go out there and break a leg.

For Christ’s sake, buy something!

*I hope I spelled her name right. If I haven’t, sorry Jen.

Straight from the horse’s mouth, the horse in this case being DC Universe Executive Editor Dan Didio:

What’s the process for finding new talent to bring in to DC these days? With Marvel, the line seems pretty clear – they seem to be pulling a lot from accomplished independent creators as well as screenwriters that are part of the extended Marvel “circle.” With DC, how do you go about that?

DD: I receive over 300 comics a month, so I’m flipping through those, hearing what and who’s getting buzz, I’m getting e-mails on a consistent basis. The bottom line is that I don’t take unsolicited material. I only look at published materially, really, to see whether or not there’s strength there. And also – most importantly – to think that it’s just me, that is erroneous. I have a full editorial staff who are constantly out there looking for new talent. Every one of our editors is empowered, and makes it a priority in their job to go out there and find new talent to bring into the mix. We’re always trying to freshen the pot while also trying to keep our strong producers producing.

The hard part is really the venues where we can try them out. That’s what’s so wonderful about our Holiday Specials or our one shots or miniseries tied to events, because they allow us to get new faces into the mix where there may not be an opening in the line otherwise. Don’t get me wrong – we do a lot of inventory material as well, but if you have faith in someone, you want to throw them into the deep end of the pool as quickly as possible. Case in point – Andrew Krysberg. He did a great job for us on Justice League Classified, a great job on Batman: Confidential, so now he’s the writer on Green Arrow/Black Canary and from there, Superman: World of New Krypton.”

It’s question #5 here.

Raina posted a link to her dude’s illustration tips. Their good tips and a nice refresher in today’s marketplace for those wanting to break in. I don’t know how well the ‘booking reviews while on vacation’ bit will play out with your significant other. I think mine would go back home if I decided to schedule a visit to Rolling Stone’s office.. since we’re there.

Jennifer de Guzman posts some helpful tips on submitting to Slave Labor. A big pet peeve is referencing tv shows or a movie in your pitch. I think that’s a good rule of thumb all around. I get irritated reading scripts that reference tv shows. I sigh, because I may have to work double time to make it read.. as a comic! Not a frigging episode of 24. Unless it’s actually a comic based on the show 24.


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