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Part Two: Getting Started
Andrew Goletz

As we closed out the first column, I had just decided to take two different paths to comic writer greatness. I was going to try and pitch a series to Marvel based on a company owned character, and I was also going to try and launch my very own, independent comic which I would control the rights to.

Ideas are one thing, but putting them into practice is something else entirely. The first thing I needed to do was come up with a compelling story for each comic. With the Marvel book, I needed a powerful concept that could take place over a 3 issue period and capture reader’s attention without having major status quo changes on the main books. With the independent book, I needed to decide on a opening story arc that could be published as its own entity and serve as either a launching point for a series or a complete story in and of itself.

I needed to begin research for the Marvel project. I was familiar with both the character I was going to be writing about and the supporting players, but I wanted to make sure I didn’t skip a beat. Regardless of whether another writer may have soiled the image of the character, I wanted to at least read the story and get a sense of history. The last thing I wanted to do was screw with continuity or create a major misstep with a character or characters. Part of the allure of this mini-series was going to show that not only could I be creative with a story, but that I knew my Marvel characters and could find ways to make obscure characters interesting as leads. It could be an opening to bigger and better things. 

The backup plan in my mind was even if the story I had in mind was rejected, that the sheer scope and planning behind it would be recognized and perhaps lead to another type of writing assignment. I had grand plans, so when the local comic convention came into town, I went with a list of virtually every appearance the lead character made in a comic, and I purchased those issues. I went so far as to even get the most recent or last appearances of every character that I wanted to put in the story, so I could give it proper attention and know what the hell I was writing about. Dozens and dozens of comic books later, I was ready to begin writing, satisfied with the fact that there would be no loop-holes to my story.

The Marvel story may have begun with a sizable investment in old comics, but it seemed like it was going to be the easier project of the two. The characters in question had a history already created for me, and to submit the idea, all I needed was the writing portion. When trying to pitch an idea to a smaller company, there’s the issue of complete stories. They don’t have the rich bullpen of creators working to take up projects for writers or artists and so the best way to pitch a story is basically by showing them a complete comic book with story and art.

I didn’t know any artists, so this was going to prove difficult. To make matters worse, most people who were interested in drawing comics ‘borrowed’ their style from the popular super-hero artists of the day. Since my creator-owned book was based in realism and had no costumed characters to speak of, this was going to be even more difficult.

I had absolutely no idea how to find a comic book artist that would be willing to join me on this high risk/low reward venture. The advantage that artists had was that more artists had the ability to write than writers had the ability to draw. I would need an artist more than they would need a writer. To convince a talented artist to illustrate my story would be no easy task. The only way I would stand a chance in doing this would be to make sure that the idea and story were so good, that the artist in question would feel compelled to want to illustrate the story.

The ‘relationship story’ independent was shaping up to be the more difficult of the two projects early on. Not only would I have to pitch the story like anything else, but I was going to have to pitch it to an artist first and then try and sell the whole team to a small company. With Marvel, I just needed to shell out some money for research. With this book, I was going to have to have a script ready to show potential artists as soon as possible and then learn how to deal with a partner. How was I going to manage to do this? 

You’ll find out a little bit more about it in a couple of weeks.

I have to go write. See ya.

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