Saturday, December 22, 2012

[Link] Brutal Tips On Breaking In To Comics

by Gail Simone

All right,  recently, I lost two very dear friends of mine, writers who were intelligent, inspiring and endlessly supportive to me. One was Perry Moore, author of the lgbtq YA superhero novel HERO, and the other was Dwayne McDuffie,  one of the finest writers of comics and animation ever.

These two guys were dissimilar in many ways, but they both had a quality that made them heroes to me, and that is that they spoke truth to power. They loved comics as fiercely as the rest of us, but they were not afraid to point out the blemishes and open wounds, and they addressed those problems in their own work.  And over a period of just a couple weeks, we lost both their voices. They can’t be replaced but others can carry on with that mission.  Maybe you’re one of those people. And that’s why I’m doing this, to potentially help someone who has that goal in mind.

When I am talking to people about breaking in, I am honest, but I try to be kind, and polite, and patient. I try to find positive things to say. The problem is, and I’m sure everyone who has reviewed a portfolio knows what I’m saying, that that’s not what someone who REALLY wants to break in and has the stuff to make it happen needs to hear. They need to hear the truth. So, I’m going to give some truth tonight. A lot of this, you should already know.  I am not going to talk about craft or format or anything like that. That material is out there. If you want to do this right, find it, study it, buy the books, do the research. I’m going to assume for this discussion that you have the baseline talent level required to make it in.  I’m also assuming for this discussion that you want to work at one of the larger publishers.  That may not be the case for you, but it’s what I get asked about the most.

I want to make this very clear…I’m not presenting points for an argument, I’m not offering an opportunity to present excuses. No one can fix whatever roadblocks are in your way but yourself.  Telling me about it doesn’t help anything. If you want my advice, which you are then free to ignore, just listen, let it sink in, and then do with it what you will. I’m trying to help, but how seriously you take it is up to you.

I am going to say some things that will make some aspiring creators unhappy.  It will be uncomfortable.  Again, it’s your choice to listen. If my saying that fanfic can be holding you back makes you feel defensive, I’d stop right here, because it gets a lot worse.

Simply put, there’s a lot of polite stuff out there. There’s a lot of books on craft and blogs with scripts you can study.  Partake of that stuff.

This is more to kick your ass and get you to stop kidding yourself, if that’s what’s holding you back.  It is SOLELY intended to help you get to a position to work on comics. What you make of that chance is up to you entirely.

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