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Sunday, May 27, 2012

Advice: Breaking Into Comics

Sunday, May 27, 2012 Posted by Unknown , , , , 2 comments

Image from CBR

I always like when people email me questions about breaking into comics. Below, I've posted an email I received recently from a college graduate.

I also want to say that these are just my thoughts on a potential way to break into comics. Keep in mind that I didn't even "break in" so my advice might not be the best. Please take it with a grain of salt.

But the important takeaway is that if you want to break into comics--or get any job, for that matter--you need a combination of connections and experience. However, connections can't be made without getting your foot in the door, and the easiest way to get the door open is to learn as much as you can and find opportunities to increase your skill set. If that means writing a blog, posting art on Deviantart, or picking up odd jobs, do it! Do everything you can right now to grow because, when the job opening becomes available, you don't want to be the candidate with a dream and no experience.
Q: I am a recent college graduate and have begun looking for a job. I have come to realize that finding a good job it truly is all about who you know. I have always wanted to work for Marvel and sadly was not able to intern for them during me college years. I was just wondering if you had any suggestions as to what my approach to getting a job at Marvel Comics.

A: As for your statement about "who you know", you are definitely right. Connections are so important especially in publishing...depending on what department you are interested in (Art Production, Editorial, Marketing, etc.), I recommend you gain as much experience as you can at a smaller fish company, make connections through work and at conventions, and continue to apply at Marvel.

Another thing is that getting a job in publishing is one of those places where you need experience to get the job, but you won't get experience without actually getting a job in the first place. So if you want to edit, prove your chops by writing first. I know every editor reads everything comic book related so if you can make your name on CBR, ComicsAlliance, or even make your own blog and make it the next big blog, you'll get their attention and that's how you can break in. Even being an assistant on a small magazine will give you more experience than college could've given you and makes you more primed to be a better candidate when the time comes.

I think Kevin Smith (Note: This statement should actually be attributed to Mark Waid)said it best that breaking into comics is like breaking out of jail. Once someone does it, that hole closes and you'll have to find a new way out of prison.


jeremy said...

Pure luck!

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Chris Tung said...

Hey Jeremy!
In regards to your comment on luck, I think a lot can be said about work, preparation, and making opportunities rather than only attributing achievements to luck: