Let me rewind. As I’ve recently rekindled my love of comics, and have even started scripting my own book, I decided to attend WonderCon 2014 with my buddy David. As he’s also trying to launch his own comic, but we both come from a film background, we were focused on learning about the comic book industry. That meant panels, panels, panels! What did I attend?
The Art of the Pitch by Disney & ABC – Okay, yes, this wasn’t a comic themed panel but as I’ve mentioned in previous posts, this is the most lucrative television writing fellowship out there, so I had to attend. The focus was simple: learn to pitch yourself. In 30 seconds, hook someone on you. As I’m an introvert weighed down by Catholic guilt and a Quaker’s sense of modesty, this is incredibly hard for me but I accept the challenge. Over the summer I’ll work on pitching myself in half a minute. With any luck I’ll get to use that new found skill when interviewing for fellowships.
Just What Does An Editor Do? – First, huge props to Barbara Randall Kesel for being an amazing moderator. It’s a skill that gets too little recognition. As for her panel, it was great. In short, an editor is to a comic book as a producer is to a film. Sure, you get to offer notes (that might even be heeded) but you could be called upon to do anything from scheduling unruly creatives to hounding payroll to setting up booths at a convention. That panel rocked!
Comic Book Law School – This informative session offered lots of great advice, including a packet on copyright vs trademark vs patent, but I had heard a lot of this back in film school so I mostly spent this panel prepping for my next one.
Comic Creator Connection – Wow, there is nothing like pitching your idea to 20 artists whose blood sugar is crashing (a note to the organizers: next time schedule this in the morning instead of just before dinner). This was an eye opening experience and I learned a lot about what works in my pitch and what landed like a lead balloon. Also, I think I met 2-3 artists I’d like to follow up with… now if I could just find their business cards.
Top Cow Turns 22 – If you’ve followed my blog, you know I submitted to the Top Cow Talent Hunt this year, so you can guess the only question I wanted answered. When Matt Hawkins announced that all the winners had already been contacted, my heart sank. I’m damn proud of my script but I was bummed.
Spotlight on Kelly Sue DeConnick – This was the perfect panel to lift my spirits. First, I don’t know if I’ve ever heard Ben Acker speak before but he was great! Completely different from Ben Blacker, who is an awesome moderator. And I haven’t even mentioned Kelly Sue. In this quirky interview she was funny, charming, heartfelt and gracious. The rumors seem to be true. Kelly Sue is the bee’s knees.
ComiXology Submit, The Future of Self-Publishing – Although they were keeping mum about the Amazon acquisition, it’s clear that these guys are the Netflix of digital comics distribution. And while it wasn’t explicitly mentioned, it seems that if you’re an indie creator without a distributor, you really should price your digital comics at $0.99 each. That’s what Joshua Hale Fialkov was charging for The Bunker before Oni picked up the series. Now they’re charging $3.99 for the current issue, discounted to $1.99 a couple of weeks after release. BTW, his book is excellent so you should pick it up even if it were twice the price.
Making A Comic Step By Step – Tom Pinchuk, Yehudi Mercado and Shawn DePasquale took one page of a comic from script to layout to pencils to ink to color to lettering to the finished product. This was exactly the kind of nuts and bolts panel I needed. Also, they reenforced something brought up in the previous panel…
— Tony (@AriasFilms) April 19, 2014
Kelly Sue DeConnick On Writing – This one panel made WonderCon worth the shlep behind the Orange Curtain. In 50 minutes, Kelly Sue delivered an information packed lecture about scripting for comics and even managed to answer every question asked. Kelly Sue, you are Captain Marvel.
Inside The Writers Room, aka Earth’s Mightiest Writers Re-Assemble – While still high on Kelly Sue, I wandered into this talent packed panel to bask in the creative light shining off these guys (and one lady). I can’t really remember anything but I do remember they were smart, funny and enlightening.
Breaking Into Comics The Marvel Way – My last panel of the con was packed with talent that I admire (Kelly Sue, Mark Waid, Marjorie Liu, James Robinson) but not many nuggets. The lone exception was someone suggesting that if you’re a writer that’s never been published, you’re better off doing an anthology than a single issue. Why? Because 1) you can write a variety of stories and 2) your various artists only have to do 8 pages, not 22, so they’re less likely to flake or procrastinate. The one hitch is that it’ll be a logistical nightmare, so you better get yourself a great editor.
And that’s that for the panels. I also did walk the floor a lot, bought a few comics and chatted up some fellow nerds.
All in all, it was a great experience. Now it’s time to get back to writing.