SDCC ’14: Marvel Talks, and the Rascals First Appearance!

I love this to the point of ridiculous.

I love this to the point of ridiculous.

Before I get to the art….which I have been excited about for DAYS….today, at San Diego Comic Con, there was a panel entitled, “How to break into comics, the Marvel way.” It was hosted by C. B Cebulski, a Marvel talent scout. this is interesting to me because people always ask me if I “do my own comics” or “want to work in comics.” Adequacy is a startling amount of work, True Believers…but more importantly, I usually answer that my art is not up to professional snuff. By the way…a total shout out to Hannibal Tabu, who years ago thought I was…even though by the time I hit page two of your script, I had no idea how to compose panel one.

Maybe now I could. It was still a tough panel, but that script basically told me what I need to work on.

Some smart things said on the panel:

“Don’t think when making your own comics that they have to be superhero comics, make anything you want to make.”

I love superhero comics, but that is an incredibly intelligent sentence. Don’t let the market dictate your creativity. Sell your creativity to a marketplace that needs for it, people.

“You have to invest a lot of your own time and money into this to get to a place where you’re going to be able to get paid for it,” said talent scout C.B. Cebulski. “You do it for love first and the money will come. You have to take a chance. You’re investing in yourself almost.” I think that’s the smartest thing about this. When I started Adequacy, it was a project about improving my draftsmanship, and sharing it. It has taken a huge amount of time, and effort, but there are few projects that I am prouder of. The time has been spent on me, not on the hope for some financial reward.

“You don’t walk in off the street and get Amazing Spider-Man. It just doesn’t work that way. Take a look at any other profession. If you’re a decent basketball player, there are steps you go through to get to the NBA. You don’t just suddenly land there,” Editor-in-Chief Axel Alonso said. I know a lot of writers who think that might be the case, that Marvel is just waiting for them to take an A-list character. Abnett and Lanning took characters no one cared about or wanted, and made Guardians of the Galaxy. Check out where that landed. Alonso said he’s been impressed by people who’ve handed him self-published comics, which shows initiative and drive. If it’s good enough to be read, it’ll get the creator constructive feedback or a job.

They advised listeners to start making comics now so they can begin improving their craft sooner. “If you start making comics, they’re probably terrible. You’re going to need to get better, and when you’re in a place where you want to show your work to Marvel and then they see a level of skill and craft, they’ll appreciate it,” Shalvey said. “If you’re a writer, you need to write some bad stories, figure out why they’re bad, [and] apply that to your work. If you’re an artist and your perspective isn’t good; you work on your perspective.”

But ultimately, writers and artists shouldn’t wait for others’ approval to do their work before they start. A writer’s a writer because he or she writes, and it’s the same with visual artists. People have a better chance of producing good work that impresses Marvel, however, if they’re authentic. They should make the kinds of comics that excite them, and not just try to make the kinds of things that are trending or clone someone else’s style.

That’s the most interesting of the Marvel announcements.

About the art…I drew this having received an e-mail explaining the week of training before the need to return to my school site for the new school year. It made me cranky, as most of my team is gone. Still, a job is a job, and despite threats and incompetence, this is my job, for the time being. Like Paul McCartney and Axel Rose said, “When you’ve got a job to do, you’ve got to do it well…you’ve got to give the other fella hell.” That’s my job now, in the center of a rough place.

When I was working on this I thought about the Operation: Gremlin Riderz interagency sting at the beginning of the summer, in my school’s neighborhood. I was more thinking about the environment that we are coming into, than the Darths that are in denial about it, and their silly, denial filled ideas. Apparently, despite such a sting, there is no gang problem at our school…but I’m ahead of myself, that’s Monday’s post.

After rendering the more advanced, Scarface style mutant maifiosos on the top level, I drew the bottom level. I intended a fade out in the center, covered by logo text…except I didn’t have a spinoff title. I went round and round on it, making myself, crazy…until I realized that Darth himself had given me the title. At one point, he expressly said that he had ways of getting rid of “Rascals.” What better name for an underground team of rebel superheroes than “the Rascals?”

Without the logo.

Without the logo.

The Marvel panel’s advice, about drawing and writing comics about what you love, is brilliant. Whether they meant it or not, it certainly was useful to hear.

Next Issue: More Saturday Morning Cartoons!

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