I thought I would post a tip that might help a few people out there, who are aspiring writers in the comics industry.
Okay, I get a lot of mini-comics and comics and gns given to me at cons. I keep them all, I don’t throw them away, but I stack them and the stack is pretty large at this point. My goal is to read them all a few at a time.
One thing I see fairly often is what I want to mention here. It may seem a bit airy and ephemeral, but it is most definitely NOT.
I have read many, many of these first-time published efforts and often, even though some are absolutely at pro- levels of production, and have very costly printing and presentation, they lack a purpose, they merely emulate successful comics that already exist, ie., DC, Marvel, Walking Dead, Hellboy, whatever.
I can’t stress this enough. HAVE SOMETHING TO SAY.
I came into comics with one hidden agenda: I wanted to create some new female characters that would add to the universes I wrote for. I wanted the next generation of young girls to have more choices of character types to root for and identify with. I wanted to try to undo some damage from the Women in Refrigerators era. That was always in my mind.
To that end, I created Mary Zero, Black Alice, Misfit, Scandal Savage, Jeannette, Outlaw, and lots of other female characters to try to make that happen.
As I talked to more readers and learned to look a little wider than my own experience, my mission opened up, and I wanted to create more diversity in general, because that’s sorely lacking and the readers deserve it.
But there was a goal beyond just recreating other stuff. There was a POV. It changes a little from book to book, but there is a message. Whether it’s effective or not, that’s up to the readers, not the author. But there IS something to say.
I look at the best writers in the game, they also have a message. Brubaker, Morrison, Snyder, Lemire, Aaron, and so many others, you feel what they are doing in almost every book. They, in short, have something to say.
And that elevates their work. It makes their books resonate where so many other books are forgettable.
You can work on craft, you can always improve your workmanship. The level of your basic skills will improve if you are aware of your strengths and weaknesses, and strive for bigger things each time.
But no book, class or teacher can provide you with a message. That has to come from you. You will never recreate Spider-man. But you could well create the next thing that is as COOL as Spider-man.
If you have something to say.
Find your message, make comics that mean something to you, that matter to you. Odds are, there is an audience that will respond. This isn’t rainbow/unicorn/fairy dust advice. This is a rock solid must, if you intend to create work that moves people.
And as always, good luck.