Vegas Seven: Comic Book Writing

There’s a longer story behind my article in this week’s Vegas Seven, “Conventional Approach,” which explores the challenges of becoming a professional comic book writer from a somewhat personal perspective. First, you should go read it (in HTML or Flash), and linger over the nifty sequential illustration my man Hernan Valencia (he of Utopian cover fame) did to accompany it.

This piece started back in March as a vague assignment from the A&E editor (and good friend) at Seven, Cindi Reed, when I went to Seattle for Emerald City Comic-Con. She basically told me, “If you have something interesting to write about, send it to me.” But I don’t think I did. Or, at least, I didn’t at the time. I sent a sort-of rushed, half-assed 500 words to her, nothing worth reproducing here, and the response was something to the effect of “maybe something more than a blog post?”

I decided it wasn’t really worth revising. But then something struck me as spring wore on: What about a feature about the struggles of becoming a comic writer tied into San Diego Comic-Con, littered with suggestions and stories from those who’ve endured such struggles? I pitched it, Cindi liked it, gave me twice the space, and off I went. I talked to a number of writers and editors of all levels, put together a nice piece, turned it in way early, and … now I had gone too far from the “blog post,” completely cutting out the personal.

So the piece you now have the pleasure of reading is the hybrid of my own experiences and those of others, compressed into about 1100 words. Sadly, due to the revisions, some folks I interviewed had all their quotes cut. Those folks interviewed, by the way, include writers Steve Horton, Paul Tobin and Brandon Jerwa and editor Jill Beaton, all of whom are awesome people who deserve your money or cupcakes. I’m thinking about revisiting the more objective approach and beefing it up with the massive amount of unused interview material for a longer piece to pitch to a more writing-specific outlet.

You know, when I’m not spending time making comics.

p.s. You should check out the cover story by pal and Seven music columnist Jarret Keene about artist John Bell, because John Bell is awesome and I think you should buy me one of his paintings for Christmas.

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