Like most writers, I too dream the unreasonable dream of breaking into comics as a writer.
Who wouldn’t want to correctly and appropriately use the word “Bam!” as part of their daily writing? Nobody.
So while writing short fiction and novels, I continue to do my research and recently stumbled onto the Make Comics Podcast. The format is pretty simple. Each episode, Joey Groah posed a comics-making question, sometimes his own, but more often from the mail bag of listeners. Then, Andy Schmidt, former Marvel and IDW editor, answers. Sometimes they switch it up with special guests.
Now, this isn’t 100% altruistic on their part. They’re obviously promoting classes on making comics for the Comics Experience company. That’s cool though. Power to them. If I was just starting my writing career, it’s just the sort of thing I would have loved to have taken. But with that very minor caveat, these guys are giving out amazing stuff, and needless to say, I listened to a bunch on my commute and took notes.
There’s way too much good stuff in there for me to talk about all of it, so I’ll mention a few high points.
Episode #81 – Leading the Eye Around the Page: I’m not an artist, but this is the sort of thing I definitely wanted to understand about the medium before taking a shot at writing for it. Serial storytelling is a different experience with its own skill sets and this podcast was really insightful for me.
Episode #76 – Interview with Greg Pak and Fred van Lente: So, these are big names in the comics industry and their views on writing, collaborating, and breaking into the industry were really cool. Also, they have a new book out called Make Comics Like the Pros.
Episode #61 – Interview with Peter David: Peter David is another big name known for his 12-year run on the Hulk as well as his work on X-Factor. This interview was really cool and Peter David is funny, frank, slightly irreverent, and self-deprecating, everything you want in a good interviewee.
And of course, pitching. I’ve had a good short fiction career, which involves a total of zero pitches to editors. I’m moving to novels, which means I’m going to have to master this skill, which is three quarters marketing insight. The Make Comics Podcast touched on pitching in a number of episodes, in ways that I found useful. I made my notes.
There are lots of other topics in this podcast series, on writing scope, originality, artist-specific topics, ones for aspiring editors and so on, as well as some throw-away comments about the industry that provide a lot of context.
I highly recommend this podcast series for anyone interested in breaking into comics. See you in two weeks.
Derek Künsken writes science fiction and fantasy and horror in Gatineau, Quebec. You can find out more about him at www.derekkunsken.com or @derekkunsken. His most recent dark fantasy piece, The Dog’s Paw, was selected for reprinting in Ellen Datlow’s Best Horror of the Year #6 and you can listen for free at Pseudopod.