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Thursday, August 21, 2014

Advice: Breaking into Comics When You're Not in the US?

Thursday, August 21, 2014 Posted by Chris Tung , , , No comments


A while back, a reader in Argentina sent me an email asking how he could break into comics. He was especially concerned about his chances of making it in the ultra-competitive art world, and I thought his question and my response may be helpful for anyone out there who is wondering how to pursue a career in the industry.

Anonymous Asked:
"I'm 25 years old and I live in Argentina...I'm a big comic book fan and as such share the dream of publishing my own work and maybe getting a job in the industry. Truth be told, I like writing and am working on personal projects, but any kind of job would do, I believe. I'd like to get in touch with reality. Of course, this all must seem like a poor kid's dream, considering I'm not even American and live in a Spanish-speaking country...I'd like to know what you think my chances are of getting anywhere with this. Maybe point me out as to where to start.

I'm getting my college degree this semester (Communications and Advertising) and am thinking of moving abroad, possibly to further my studies. The US, of course, is a most viable option (though not my only one). I'm planning to travel to the US next semester and am planning on attending Morrisoncon at Las Vegas and maybe the New York Comic Con...Perhaps my main interest would be meeting aspiring artists who are interested in working together.  
Anyway, I'm looking for any kind of input right now. If you have time and feel like doing it, I'd really appreciate to know what you think about any of this. "

I have received your email, and I'm glad you decided to reach out. I'm always here to help another aspiring comic book creator.

I don't think being from a Spanish-speaking country should have any limitations on your career as long as you understand that the big 2 (Marvel and DC) are catering toward a predominately English-speaking audience. But judging from your English alone, you have a solid grasp of the English language which is something that you should continue to sharpen, but more important than that, is a solid grasp of understanding stories and narratives. I see you're studying Communications and Advertising, which means you're probably gaining an understanding of how to make someone buy a product, which will come in handy in your career. At the same time, I highly recommend that you study all kinds of stories and see what the writers and doing to make you love characters in the same way that you would want someone to fall in love with your ad. In the end, it's knowing what a good story is and how to make it a great one.

Another thing I want to point out is that while interning, one of my bosses was a native German who spoke German, Japanese, and English while another was English who studied Japanese in college. I'm sure there are many other people at Marvel with similar stories, but I'm mentioning these two in particular because I knew them, and I know that it wasn't their command of English that got them where they were (although it obviously helped), but it was the fact that they were brilliant Editors who knew how to create great books.

So my advice to you: before you go to Morrisoncon or NYCC, start building a portfolio of your work. And also, if you want to write or edit comics, start writing them NOW. Get trade paperbacks with full scripts in the back (Absolute Sandman and Avengers: Disassembled were two I studied like crazy) to see how Gaiman and Bendis create their books. Once you study those, write your own. and then find artists that will help you draw them and if you can't find those cold submit your books to companies: dark horse, committed comics, valiant. Just get it out there.

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As always, if you have any questions or want to chat with me about comics or career advice, head over to Contact and shoot me an email!

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