Sunday, June 26, 2011

Tough Love from Gail Simone

Tim a la Marcus To...again
“Tough Love,” J.T. Krul called it.

I lost my pencils. Wait—nope, not in the utensil draw.

I was surfing Mr. Krul’s Tweets when I came across one aimed at Gail Simone called “tough love,” but sound advice. So I clicked on the link, and it led me to Ms. Simone’s Tumblr post about breaking into comics. One of the most important factors, she explained, was getting rid of fanfiction. It’s like playing for the pros with a wiffle ball bat (the gist of her analogy).

Not in the frig (That happened once).

Ms. Simone explained that it’s easier to break into comics for artists than writers, but the reality is many people don’t make it. The other side of the coin is that people do—every day, and if you’re persistent enough, if you want it bad enough, it WILL happen.

Huh. Not in the car.

Despite the fact I receive more than four thousand hits on a month, fanfiction has to go. I’m not fourteen anymore writing about a defunct cartoon show. I’m not in college anymore, trying to sharpen my skills. I’m a twenty-six-year-old pricer who isn’t getting any younger, who has summited more résumés to DC Comics than the Riddler has riddles, and it’s not happening.

Is that a pencil mark on my wall? Maybe under my bed…AH! Huge bug! Huge bug!

The point is, as Ms. Simone pointed out: I need a plan. I’ve actually had one since I was in college. Write a novel. Get published. Write comics. That was my idea since Brad Meltzer started writing G.A. a few years back, but that hasn’t worked. I dropped cards at NYCC last year. Not one more follower. Not one more comment. I published Destiny’s Fate everywhere you can publish online. Still nothing. I spoke to Bob Wayne via email about experience in the sales department (via my real name). I’ve gone on LinkedIn and made connections. Nada.

It’s attacking me! It’s lunging with—fangs! We have fangs, people!

What can I bring to DC Comics, Marvel, Image, heck—you, now, is dedication and persistence. In my current job, I give at least fifty hours a week—every week. When my department has more contracts than a nine-to-five schedule allows us to load, I’m in the office at seven, and I leave when the contracts are in the system. I’m currently number two in my department for most contracts loaded. I work on my middle school yearbook at two A.M. because it won’t design itself. And these are for jobs I have, not love. When I want to write, I don’t sleep and passion for stories keep me awake. (I know that sounds corny, but it’s true. It’s four A.M. on a Sunday as I write this.)

What IS this THING!

What I can bring most to the industry is this: professionalism. I take criticism well. I learn from my mistakes, and I’ve been learning for sixteen years (how long I’ve been writing and collecting comics). I’m polite and flexible and WANT this. So…new course of action. I’m not a writer. I’m not an illustrator. I’m a storyteller, and like one, I have stories inside that need to be told. What do I need to do this: write, draw, and talk to someone. I’m going to Baltimore this year and grabbing an editor’s ear. I might be rejected, but I’m going to succeed. Maybe not in Baltimore. Maybe not in New York in October. But one day I will break in.


I’m not finishing "Scions of Darkness." I’ve finished issue six, the end of the second arc, and I’ll post it during Scion Saturdays later this summer. But if I’m going to succeed, I need move forward NOW.

Since we last spoke in December, I’ve evolved professionally. In April, I published my first book, Destiny’s Fate. Last week I received word that my short story “The Viewer” is being published in the anthology America’s Got Stories. I’m speaking with an artist I know from my college days, and I’m hoping to get some pictures of FD on this site as well as an entry into InvestComics’ Deadly Tales.

The Experiment has evolved as well. The site has had more than 2,500 hits in the last six months, doubling last year’s numbers all together with a peak of eighty people visiting the Experiment in a single day. False Dawn is currently in its second year with a crossover with Destiny’s Fate, and my drawings are improving. I’ve decided to work on head shots to the point where they look “good,” and I’ll be taking Saturday classes at the Kubert School in September.

What can you do? If you like my superhero stuff, leave a comment. Become a follower. Write the DC editorial page or email Marvel or any comic book company and tell the editors you want me writing their stuff. Buy my $2.99 book and spread the word. And btw—one single DC Comic costs that, and a Marvel book is a whole dollar more.

In the meantime, I’m going to continue writing and posting False Dawn, and I’ve joined Tumblr (, where I add snippets and ideas daily. I’ve put in for the Aeon Award again and hopefully will be shortlisted this year (I’m starting to know the submissions editor). I’ll post little tidbits here and there about the comic world (like, have you ever noticed Grant Morrison is the body double of Damian from Batman #666? Crazy, right?), and I’m looking at attaining a MFA in creative writing through Full Sail. As aforementioned, I will be acquiring mad skills at the Kubert School in Saturday classes.

Back on the search—not in my mom’s or sister’s work bags.

And maybe I’ll get that sales coordinator job I put in for at DC. Adam Schlagman had the Ads and Promotions internship three years before I attained it at DC, and he was promoted to that sales position before reaching editorial. Now he’s writing a mini for Flashpoint.

There are more ways than one to break in, and hey! Found my pencils. They were in my computer case. Always in the last place you look.

Devin Leigh Michaels
June 19, 2011

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