But now, ATT U-Verse (yup, I was just as surprised that it came from them as you are) has released a documentary that follows the lives and struggles of the guys at RAID Studios. RAID stands for the Royal Academy of Illustration and Design, and houses some of the best comic creators in the business including Francis Manapaul (The Flash and Detective Comics) and Ramón Pérez (Tales of Sand and The Amazing Spider-Man).
In the documentary, we learn that, in order to make it, you have to spend almost every waking hour working on your craft. It's incredibly taxing on your relationships with your loved ones, and most people will never understand what it is you do. In the end, you hope that it's all worth it, and you can make your readers happy. However, given the relationship that readers have with comic industry, often times good work goes unnoticed and bad work is torn apart.
But one thing that all of these creators reveal is that if you love what you do, you're able to surround yourself with a strong group of friends that will support you, and you focus on the good moments, then this can be one of the best jobs in the world. After all, you're able to tell fantastic stories that you hope will inspire readers to do great things.
I think the best moment that sums up the documentary's message and why people are inspired by heroes and comic creators is the moment when Francis Manapaul explains how a young Filipino reader inspired him (at around the 12:45 mark):
Francis Manapaul: I was having a tough time with my schedule, and Anthony Falcone, studio member and friend, he said "Look I'm going to tell you a story that will inspire you."
I think he was walking down the street and he saw this little Filipino kid wearing a Flash t-shirt. So he turns to him and he says "You like The Flash?" and he said "Yeah! I love him!" And Anthony told him "You know that the guy that writes and draws The Flash is Filipino." Anthony asks him, "What do you like about him" and he says "I love that he can run really fast". And Anthony says "What else do you like about him" and he said "I love that he always tries."
That Filipino kid inspires me.
Comics and their creators remind us that we don't have to give up on our dreams--that if we keep trying and keep working toward our goals we can accomplish anything. So if you've ever want to make it in the comic book industry, watch this documentary and get inspired to start trying.