Thursday, July 10, 2008

Public Service Announcement: Want to Write Comics?

Comics is a freakin' hard business to break into. One writer famously (to certain circles...of extreme geeks) compared breaking into the comics industry to breaking into a fortified medieval castle. As soon as one person finds a way to break in, the people at the castle say, "Well, shit, this is obviously waaaaay too easy" and they seal that entrance off. What the person was trying to say was, everyone has to find their own way in, because there is no surefire way to get in aside from, of course, being personal friends with Joe Quesada or Dan Didio.

Now, there are a lot of things you can do. There's the "Keep plugging away at it and hope you get it right some time" approach, and I suppose if it works for sex, it could work here, too. It's tough, but if you get published in a variety of places and occasionally drop your name in the right circles, you could get an invite to pitch a story, or you could just get a pitch accepted at certain publishers.

There's the contest route - that's more for artists, though. Writers rarely get contests (though the Shadowline segment of Image comics deserves a MASSIVE heaping of respect for their recent writing contest - "Who Wants to Create a Super-Heroine?" Look it up.) so that's unreliable.

There is always, of course, showing up to conventions and praying. Wouldn't recommend it, but it's worked before.

The point is, there are plenty of ways. That's not what this post, which shall be quite brief, is for. This post is for one thing: to begin to compile a list of comics companies that accept blind or relatively blind submissions. If you want to write comics but aren't confident in your networking skills, these guys are your best bets to get that foot in the door. This list is pretty small right now, but as I do more research, I'll update this occasionally.

Avatar Press
Avatar Press has recently begun to make a pretty sizable splash in the comics world, getting a number of projects from creators like Warren Ellis. Books like Anna Mercury, Gravel, and Doktor Sleepless are all published by Avatar, as well as a number of other projects. Avatar also accepts submissions from unknown writers AND writers pitching projects with no artist attached - a relative rarity, it seems.

There are problems, of course: one thing Avatar wants is an 8-12 page story featuring a character they own, but as you peruse the website, you may realize that it's rather difficult, or potentially impossible, to find a list of characters they own. That's just one small problem with the whole process, but they're still a good potential publisher for you. Violence, sex, and language all seem to be acceptable, and their content ranges from spandex to occult murder mysteries.

Dark Horse
Dark Horse seems to accept blind submissions as well. Their guidelines for submissions are clearly spelled out. They don't seem to accept e-mail submissions, which is honestly a little bit disappointing, but totally understandable. Dark Horse is probably a more recognizable name to you than Avatar Press, so you may want to give them a shot.

Finally (for tonight), a surprise...

Marvel Comics, as one of the big two - as, perhaps, the bigger of the big two - is something of a shocker. But they do accept 'blind' submissions. Their process, however, is notably more rigorous. Before you get to pitch your series "Gambit and the Sex Hounds of the Bayou", you first need to send an inquiry listing your writing experience. Then, that on file, they'll contact you if they want to hear from you. It's at that time it seems you can make your pitch. So, not quite blind acceptance, but it's pretty damn close to accepting unsolicited submissions.

Ultimately, with hard work, you can probably break in. I wish any of you trying luck, and I'll talk to you all later. Hopefully about VS. It's hard to talk VS when you don't have anyone to play with, but I'm trying to teach my girlfriend how to play. I don't think it's going well.

Ah, oh well. Enjoy your reading, your writing, and your gaming, in whatever order you most enjoy reading, writing, and gaming, and I'll be posting again semi-soon.

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