Iceskating Uphill

We all know the line... Let's say it together...
We all know the line… Let’s say it together…

So, this was posted today on one of the many groups I belong to on Facebook:

Why is it so hard to break into the comic book industry?

Here’s my issue with this post: it seems that the poster’s look at the fact that since the “Corporate Two’s” hiring practices are so insular that creators have taken to other avenues or different formats as a bad thing when, as it has been shown with examples (i.e. Harry Potter) the success that creators have found by working outside of the confines of the mainstream.

The climate of the industry today is this: Create your own. That’s not bad at all. More readers are gravitating to work outside of DC and Marvel. In fact, most creatives working at DC or Marvel today are seeing that exposure as a stepping stone for an audience to follow their independent work.

For example, Rick Remender and Mike McKone have stopped taking on work from DC and Marvel to focus on their own work. In addition, with crowdfunding platforms, Print On Demand options and webcomics, we as creators don’t need to work for DC and Marvel for any other reason than just to get a paycheck because the “Corporate Two” is not looking for original IP. They’ve got more than enough characters in their roster.

You won't get this level of satire from the mainstream...
You won’t get this level of satire from the mainstream…

Case in point, Attack on Titan has far outsold the highest-selling DC or Marvel book. Independent books like Saga, Lumberjanes, Low, Velvet, Lazarus and others are selling quite well and are being optioned for film. In all honesty, the creator of today does not need DC or Marvel to get out there.

The fact is that the creator of today has to also be a salesman, marketing and advertising entity, etc. Yes, that’s hard. Yes, we’d all rather just create and have other people take care of the elements of selling our IP that we may not want to make the time for, or have that innate ability to do, but this is the state of the industry today… And, it ain’t bad at all.

My issue is that the feeling that I get from this post is that it seems as if the poster looks at going into trade publishing and adapting a book to a Young Adult format as a some sort of defeat.

Yes, people who only look at DC or Marvel as the end all be all are going to ask where are the new superheroes because, quite simply, they aren’t looking. As it was stated, there are so many more spaces where people can be satisfied and, honestly, many creators have eschewed pursuing work at DC or Marvel because they enjoy the freedom of dictating the direction and potential financial rewards of owing their own IP.

Why follow when you can lead?
Why follow when you can lead?

As a fellow creator of comics and as an owner of my own company as well, I get asked that same question all the time: How do you break into comics? And, the answer is simple:

Create your own.

Now, if people are asking the question, how do I break into DC or Marvel? Again, the answer is simple:

Create your own.

Today, DC and Marvel are looking at what people do on their own, what kind of work they produce, what kind of following are they able to generate and how consistent their output is. In addition, yes you go to the cons and you use social media to foster honest relationships with cats who are working in the “Corporate Two” if you’d like to get a paycheck from them. But, they are not the end-all, be-all of this industry.

It’s like this: you can’t become the next Stan Lee working on Stan Lee’s properties at Stan Lee’s company. The Image cats knew that. The Milestone cats knew that. Independence is the goal, not the consolation prize.

So again, the only issue I take with this post is the perceived pessimism of working independently when, after it’s all said and done, it’s the desire of most people working in the industry, both in the mainstream and independent sphere.

Speaking of…

Support the Complexion of Comics!
Support the Complexion of Comics!

For a pledge of just $5.00, you’re officially a Head Nod and you get The Posse Cut(over and hour of some of the greatest collabos in Hip Hop history) and a digital version of Sequential Graffiti, a 64-Page poster book featuring some of the finest Visual MCs and Literary DJs working in comics today… Support‪ #‎4Pages16Bars‬ project on Indiegogo today… The deadline in August 16, 2015.

Cheers, fam!

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