Tuesday, July 15, 2014

2002 Captain America mail-in

For years despite wanting to draw comics I never drew comics. I drew sketches and pin-ups, anything but actual comics. I had the idea that how you 'broke into' comics was to mail in samples and keep mailing them in until you proved your desire or fortitude or something. So I put off sending anything off. I felt like once I started sending work in I had send in samples every month and I didn't have that in me, not yet. But the 2002 had changed all that. Meeting C.B. Cebulski and getting good feedback from him had fired me up. It all seemed possible, I could make this happen. C.B. had given me his card and I would make it happen. But I did the worst thing I could possibly do, I didn't follow up with C.B. Oh, I drew pages and sent them off, but I didn't tell him who I was or how we met or anything. I just sent him the same letter I sent every other editor. Dumb move and only a little good luck would fix that. Here's the next sample I sent off. This seems to me to be a step backward from my previous art and I was tempted to switch the two and show I got better and better all the time. But I know this was done later and art isn't digging a ditch, with continual progress. It's something you keep against all opposition even if sometimes the thing holding you back is yourself.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

2002 San Diego Comicon: Thing vs Wrecker

I'll always think of the 2002 San Diego as kind of a turning point for me.

In 2002 the SDCC was a lot smaller then it is now. I went to the con with two friends, Dave Nelson and Richard Jenkins. As an example of how much different the con was, the three of us split a hotel room across from the con (behind the new ballpark) for $69 a night!

This was an amazing time to be attending the San Diego Comicon and I am grateful I was able to attend it before it got huge.

Dave is host of Better Than Fiction, a podcast I cohost and Richard was drawing the comicbook SkyApe. Richard and I both brought art to show to publishers.

If you go to a comic convention now, to get your art looked at by a major publisher you drop copies in a box. They will look through them and pick the people they think are close. These go onto a list and if you're on the list you get a time and you get ushered back in the bowels of the convention center to a one on one meeting with and editor.

In 2002 it didn't work like that. You stood in line or ran to a table to sign a list. Then you got to meet with an editor, sometimes with a huge crowd around you while they talked about what you needed to work on.

I much preferred the old method. Yes, it was a pain and sometimes you stood in a long line, but I got valuable feedback in those days and it felt much more satisfying then just dropping a envelope in a box.

I understand why they do it this way, but I liked the old way.

I had a pro badge based on my work for Acid Jaxx, despite never getting paid or published it qualified me for a SDCC Pro Badge for several years after that. Ironically, I've saved way more in admission to cons from that work then I was ever going to be paid!

Since I had a pro badge I was able to get to the Marvel table and get on the list fairly quickly. Richard and I both signed up for a late afternoon review. At the time Marvel was in or near bankruptcy and so their booth consisted of an 8ft table mixed in with the other small press booths. I don't think they had any sort of banner. It was basically a spot for their talent to do signings and them to look at portfolios.

When we went to our review there was a few people in front of us. C. B. Cebulski was looking at portfolios, which was good because (you may remember) I had gotten a kind note from him for my last mail in submission.

When we went up to the table, C.B. told us he had to leave for a panel and asked if we could come back later in the show.

To make a long story short we went back about 30 minutes before the show closed and he looked at Richards first. I don't know what he said, but I think it was positive. Then it was my turn and he really seemed to like my work. He pointed out some stuff to work on, but he gave me his information and told me to keep in touch!

I guess I thought he was being nice or something so, while I was very happy, I didn't really make much effort to stay in touch after the con. I sent him work, but I just sent him the same form letter I sent everyone else. This was dumb thing to do.

However, the next spring something I never thought would happen  happened and that all changed.