Many people attending San Diego Comic Con want to work in comics. Who wouldn’t? It’s comics! Getting to exist in the same universe as Spider-Man or Captain America sounds like the stuff dreams are made of!
Plenty of these folks believe it’s a mythic occupation that only the lucky few are allowed to partake in. They flock to meet their favorite creators and inspirations, some of them hoping they’ll get a job on the spot, just for simply existing. As Marvel’s Breaking Into Comics panel proved, it’s not so much you have to be lucky, but you have to be willing to sacrifice sweat, blood, and tears into achieving even a sliver of recognition.
People go in with unrealistic expectations and don’t realize that a job at Marvel, and comics in general, no matter how glamorous it might appear, is still just a job.
The panel itself, while it might not have included any groundbreaking news on how to get into comics, featured Marvel talent scout Rickey Purdin as the moderator, with the guests consisting of Matthew Rosenberg, Ken Lashley, David F. Walker, Donny Cates, and Erica Henderson.
As the panel began, the creators, consisting of writers and artists, explored their origins and how they got in to the comic book industry. Ultimately, they concluded that everyone has their own unique way of breaking in. It’s never a matter of simply being lucky, but rather tolling over one’s craft for untold hours; working crummy day jobs on the side while they worked to fulfill their dreams.
They talked how they had to hustle to try and break in, and David Walker stressed to the audience that “breaking in” and “making it” are two very different things; just because you’re writing comics, the life of a freelance writer is tenuous as you never known when your next paycheck is coming.
Additionally, if you’re looking to work in comics, then you have to be careful about what you say to folks. This is especially true on social media like Twitter; while’s it’s important to have a strong social media presence, you have to choose your words carefully. When you insult one person, you’re also insulting everyone they work with, so be careful next time you rant about your favorite comic.
At the end of the day, like with any job, you have to be ready to do the work. You have to understand deadlines and you have to realize that it won’t always be sunshine and roses. If you want to work in comics, then go work in comics. With all the tools out there, there’s really no excuse for you not to follow your dreams.