Twitter is a wonder, and sometimes… I kind of wander off…

Yesterday Tony Lee started a hashtag (this is a way to group tweets by different people together) called #makebadcomics, essentially some idiotic advice that will only help you make bad comics. I joined in, and this is the result:

(BTW: for more like it, you can also read the post http://www.pauljholden.com/blog/2009/07/17/pro-creator-tips/ )

  • If a writers written a dull scene, why not pep it up a bit with an explosion or some dinosaurs – they’ll thank you for it!
  • Remember: Deadlines are just a suggestion – no-one really cares if the comics monthly
  • Keep it interesting for the editor, just write comics to whatever length the story demands. 22pgs; 11pgs; 2,304pgs s’all good
  • Writers! Make sure to tell your artist their work is below par – keep them on their toes. Remember: it’s you vs them
  • Writers: Why not steal your artists idea then deny any knowledge – whatever it takes. WHATEVER IT TAKES. (eh @tonylee eh??? )
  • Editor doesn’t like your idea? Why not tell them that when you start running their company you’ll fire their ass.
  • Writers! You’re paid by the page – NOT BY THE WORD. You’ve written 22 pages? STOP NOW.
  • Artists! Don’t bother trying to improve. It’s waste of time. #getridofthecompetition
  • Creators – why not air your dirty linen about an editor online. That ALWAYS helps #badcareerchoices
  • Artists! If that foreground figure is really good then what the hell do you want to distract it with background for?
  • ARTISTS! Editors LOVE it when you tell them at a con how crap all their current artists are (extra points if you smell bad)
  • ARTISTS: When a writer writes ‘FIFTEEN PAGE FIGHT SCENE’ Draw each page as a splash – with figures only.
  • If an editor looks a bit worried and says ‘yeah – ok, email me’ – camp outside his house. You’ll probably find it on google.
  • Artists: Can’t get to a life drawing class! No worry @ing3nu says you should use penthouse! (but I would make boobs bigger)
  • Artists: Too scared of real people to buy penthouse? Plenty of porn on the internet!
  • Artists: Don’t bother observing real life – you’re drawing comics! Look at OTHER COMICS! EASY!
  • If you’re drawing someone who says ‘Begorrah’ make sure to draw him ginger wearing green clothes – the irish eat that shit up
  • When drawing a cover, make sure to have a BIG BOX for your signature-can’t go too big with this-don’t want people to miss it
  • Artists: Writers aren’t really a requirement for comics. Do everything to make them know that.
  • Writers: Everyone LOVES a good superhero analogue – why not just take that rejected superman script and make it stupendoman?
  • Makes sure you email me friends when they get gig and wish them luck,sticking pins into a voodoo doll of them
  • When talking to an editor make sure to belittle everyone else you know in subtle ways “He’s great BUT SLOOOOW” is good
  • or “That guy is AWSOME! I hope he can get off the crack”
  • If an creator accidentally bcc you into an email with an editor, make sure to not the email later as leverage.
  • Making comics is ALL about leverage
  • If you give an editor a handout of art and it’s water stained make light of it “yeah, that’s just a bit of jizz” will do.
  • Artists – you can make money at cons by selling art – make sure writers know this, remember it’s us vs them
  • Second meet? apply some bandages to your wrists and tell them that ‘yeah-actually feeling a bit low’ before showing your work
  • Editors move in and out of roles every 5 years, remember that when you re-pitch rejected work!
  • Bring a hot girl with you when showing your work – that way it won’t matter if your portfolio is duff
  • (Hot girl trick also works when selling your comics )
  • Artists it’s really cool when you have to turn a page side ways to read it!
  • Tracing is for saps! Photoshop has filters that’ll do that shit quicker
  • When an editor says no they don’t really mean it.
  • Give your character a cybernetic arm and a vague history, readers love that shit #make90scomics
  • (Also: a surly attitude)
  • Writers: artists are stupid – don’t be surprised when you write ‘surly’ they think you mean ‘sultry’
  • When drawing woman, make sure to get at least one clean shot of her hoo-ha per page
  • Remember: Stories are a bunch of stuff that just happens.
  • Write what you know! 40 year comic nerd tweeting for attention? Call him “The Tweeter!”
  • (or, better yet “The Darke Tweeter”) #thisismylifenow
  • Before you write, think: How can I sell this as a movie?
  • Product Placement: It’s not just for irritating movie goers
  • Comic book science research: it’s why nerds invented wikipedia
  • Deadlines are like stopped watches, they’ll come around again
  • An editor is MORE impressed by your follower count on twitter than any work you might do. Remember that when you #makebadcomics
  • Editors and publishers are parasites on you and your work – make sure they know that.
  • Delete
  • Remember to escalate all emails if you don’t hear back from an editor. Go from polite to rage as quick as poss
  • Make sure you make your character edgy and dark by having them say things like “$#1%” and “*&@)!” #makecomics
  • Fill your portfolio with really great work by anyone. Doesn’t matter as long as it gets you that first gig.
  • At a con bar,stand beside an editor long enough for them to get visibly uncomfortable then PITCH!They wont be able to resist!
  • Prep an editor by dressing up and telling about this awesome artist they should hire – then turn up the next day AS YOURSELF
  • You realise some of these #makebadcomics should be #makebadcareerchoices right? RIGHT?
  • When talking to an editor make sure to disparage their nearest competitor as filthy parasitic scum.
  • when showing portfolios and an editor isn’t available. Throw a tantrum, that way you already look like a pro
  • Wear a superman t-shirt with ‘Marvel sucks’ written in marker, Marvel editors will love that bad boy attitude.
  • Eat while pitching. Don’t offer any of your food.
  • When drawing comics, if you draw your own word balloons you can get away with drawing less comics!
  • Letterers: If the artists hasn’t given you enough room (asshole) why not put lettering on top of heads. That’ll teach him #
  • When drawing woman, just imagine a skinny chick with two beachballs. The TWIST!
  • Artists draw people you don’t like into your comics as putrid badguys. That’ll teach them
  • When an editor rejects him, make sure they know you didn’t really want to work for them anyway, the git.
  • Up shots are for when you want to make someone look imposing. Or you just want to see some fanny
  • (UK people : I sooo apologise for that last tweet, Americans: That’s not rude, no apologies for you)
  • Editors, like writers are only there to service the artist. I mean proper FULL service. Just remember that.
  • Double page spreads are for pussies: Triptychs where it’s at beyotches!
  • Artists: when working for americans scripts where it says BUM they mean FANNY and where it says CAMEL TOE they mean TRAMP
  • Comic cons are great for hitting on people with low self esteem
  • Artists are a cowardly, superstitious lot and they’ll work a lot faster if you hang around their house dressed as a bat.
  • You don’t have to make friends with a famous creator to name drop them – just be vague about how they know you.
  • A portfolio filled with slash fict of superman and wolverine is a superb portfolio for both marvel AND DC
  • Number of panels / No of Female characters ^ pi = correct amount of camel toe per comic @4colorfix
  • Foursquare is a GREAT way to stalk those editors that have given you persistent trouble
  • Remember in the pitch to emphasis how you hold the copyright to the work at every opportunity.
  • Put your art on facebook and then Tag with as many comic pros as you could find – they’ll thank you for it!
  • If your female character could be replaced by a man, then she’s too strong. Water that woman down and throw her in a thong
  • Preface all pitches with the words “SUREFIRE HIT” before going into details
  • Got your first paid gig? RELAX, it only gets easier!
  • If you can distill your pitch into one sentence then it’s too simple – add some clones or something.
  • Include an editors likeness into some of your art – that’ll show commitment!
  • Try and think of comics as a poor mans film
  • Remember there are only two types of woman: Big boobed and sexy and fat and ugly. #makepoorcomics
  • Remember: most of your audience are white, balding, fat men- make sure to use stereotypes.
  • Publishers of a manga that’s based on a book & movie – who the fuck cares if it’s lettered properly?
  • Remember: comics are for kids – so no proper swearing. Even though the average age is 30 something.
  • Artists: If you draw a girls boobs big enough, no one will bother looking to see how her feet look
  • Colourists: Photoshop has this awesome thing that does, like, Light – it makes everything look cool.
  • Photoshop hint: Airbrushing is quick and EASY in photoshop.
  • Don’t bother inking, you can get EXACTLY THE SAME effect by upping the contrast in Photoshop.
  • Have your character constantly angry that way you never have to draw a hand in any shape other than a fist.
  • Buy a big book of quotes and include a random one in a chapter head. People will think it’s all ‘literary’ n’ shit.
  • 3d Comics are cool hip and cheap in comics – just draw everything bursting out of a panel.
  • Perspective isn’t JUST a place in Texas. It’s also something you should AVOID (actually, like that place in Texas)
  • Rape is a quick way to make your book edgy and no-one is ever offended by it (except feminists. Am I right? AM I RIGHT?)
  • Writers: don’t trust the artist – make sure the what’s happening is spelt out in the captions and dialogue
  • Publishers: wait until a slow news week before you temporarily kill off that high profile character!
  • Instead of working, spend a shitload of time on twitter advising people of the best way to
  • Remember: if your protagonist is a black guy – make him bald. (Yeah! Like he’ll be the protagonist!)
  • Make sure to tell people in the real world that you ‘draw comics’. They’ll think you’re really cool.
  • Introduce a character with a haunted vagina.
  • Speech balloons aren’t like the ghostbusters machine – NOTHING BAD HAPPENS IF YOU CROSS THE STREAM
  • (and by stream I mean tale – in case I wasn’t clear)
  • You don’t need to know how to draw boobs to draw woman. You need to know how to draw MELONS.

2000AD Submission Advice

I figured it’s the start of the new convention season and lots of people are going to be packing up portfolios to show to 2000AD (and other companies) so, let’s see if I can’t shed a little light on some of the mysteries of the submissions process…

(Feel free to ask more questions in the comments and I’ll try and answer EVERYTHING – and don’t be afraid, if you have a question, no matter how stupid you think it is, I’ve probably had to ask someone the same question – NO MATTER HOW STUPID)

Rich Clements (one of the mad men behind hi-ex comic con and futurequake) asks:

Not an artist, obviously, but I’ve always wondered how you, as an artist, know when your work is ready to be shown to a publisher?
http://www.hi-ex.co.uk http://www.futurequake.co.uk

Well, the simple answer is that … you don’t. I’ve known great artists who don’t think they’re good enough and rubbish artists who think they’re geniuses. In fact, my first multi-part Rogue Trooper largely came about because Rob Williams pushed me to show a new portfolio to Tharg – something I was too worried to do, thinking the work wasn’t good enough (actually, still not convinced).
The important thing is to get your work seen by as wide a circle of people as possible, cream rises.
One aspect of whether you’re ready or not that is easy to spot is whether you’ve actually completed pages. Again, I’ve seen portfolios that are AMAZING – but nothing is finished. Filled with half drawn pages, single – BRILLIANT – figures on unfinished pencilled backgrounds. The work is good enough to be published – if only the artist would finish ANYTHING. But they don’t. And, year after year, they have the exact same, half-genius half-useless portfolio. In the meantime, again, year after year, the guy (or gal) that gets their head down and IMPROVES while showing their portfolio, they are the one that will make it.
A single portfolio session rarely leads to commisioned work, you build a relationship with an editor over time, by showing work that gets closer and closer to publishable, year on year, then an editor can feel a) you’re good enough and b) you’re someone they can count on to do the work.

Couple of questions from ‘Uncle Fester’ on the 2000AD Message Board:

What’s general protocol for actually approaching editors/pro artists for portfolio advice? (Obviously with artists I’m guessing you want to wait till they’re not sketching, but is that only at the bar?)

Thing of how you’d approach a great big gorilla, head slightly bowed and NEVER LOOK THEM IN THE EYE.
Ok. I’m joking. A little. There are a couple of ways to do this, usually there are portfolio review sessions where you wait in line and go up to talk to an editor/artist with portfolio in hand. This is, for many, a slightly nerve wracking experience – but it doesn’t have to be. No editor or artist will tell you you’re rubbish, they’ll all look for good stuff in the portfolio to comment on. Unless you’re REALLY, REALLY good, then they’ll look for what’s wrong. BUT – even standing in line it’s pretty easy to size up someone and figure out if they’re ready. Here’s some SEKRET KNOWLEDGE:
1) Small, tidy portfolios make you look a whole lot more professional than bigger A2 portfolios. An editor will size that up right from the start – A2 portfolio suggests ‘art student’ – and, therefore, someone not quiet ready (though the contents of the portfolio are the ultimate arbitrator) A4 portfolio suggests someone who’s done this a LOT and doesn’t want to lug a big portfolio around – ie this guy is a pro in some artistic field.
2) How you dress/look/smell COUNT. Even the greatest portfolio in the world but covered in tomato ketchup isn’t going to impress. Get out of the con, make sure you have a shower, make sure you’ve got some deoderant with you (spray it before you join the queue)

3) Editors audibly sigh (and despair) when they open a portfolio and it’s choc full of pin ups. As great as you may be, it’s of little or no use for about 99% of a comics content. An editor already has dozens of cover artists on tap (along with all of the great interior artists, all of whom would love to do a cover) -and ye old ed knows that they can all meet deadlines and do good work.

– I’m looking to show folks my work in B&W at A3 but there’s a chance with some of it that it’ll be tampered with in PhotoShop (for assembly, most likely) – Is that acceptable or one of the unwritten no-no’s?

Really doesn’t matter HOW you arrive at finished art, as long as the art is finished. Some tools are better than others, and an editor will often advise new people to try dip pens or brushes rather than markers (or whatever other tool they’ve used) but this is more about getting variety in the line weight of your artwork – in the end, whether the art is all digital, painted with a fine brush or drawn with a pigma pen it’s about getting a bounce and vibrancy in the line (it just so happens that this is easier with a brush and a dip pen, hence the oft-handed down advice)

– Can you actually just walk from table to table garnering advice on your work or should you just pick a few? (I’m looking to tailor various parts of the portfolio to various publishers)

Yes! Also, bring a small portfolio with you WHERE EVER YOU GO. Be it bars, pub or whatever. NEVER force someone to look at your portfolio, but if you’re with friends and one of them knows an editor and they say ‘oh, do you have a portfolio’ the answer should ALWAYS be yes.

– Can you submit work that has pencils incorporated into the inks as finshed work? (Bit specific, sorry)

See above, basically, as long as it looks good – no one really cares how you got there.
(Mind you, 20 years ago the advice was different, but that was a technological limitation – it was always much easier to reproduce strong b&w art than it was pencilled greyscale art).

Barry Renshaw asks

Hows about number of pencil pages versus inked and coloured, how many is overkill, just use 2000AD characters or use other characters as well.

2000AD are unusual in that they like an artist who does all of the art chores, if you do coloured work include that (unless it’s terrible). I’d be inclined to bring 5-6 pages of a single continuous comic strip along and, behind the portfolio include the pencils/inks. But keep them at the back – just in case the editor asks to see them.

As far as 2000Ad characters, if you want to draw Dredd bring a Dredd sample, if it’s SinDex, bring a sample of that and if you’re not fussed, bring along something NON-Superhero. Nothing will sink you faster in 2000Ad than having a portfolio bursting with spider-man (or any other yankee spandex wearing do-gooder).

Rich McAuliffe via twitter (@richmcauliffe_)

My question would be on the advised wait. If you hear nada in 4 months should you re-submit?

Here’s the horrible truth: the slushpile (when art is sent in to be sat on top of all the other art that is sent in) is the worst way possible to break into any comic. If you can: avoid it.
In fact, Marvel decided to abandon it altogether in favour of hunting down artists at comic conventions – they reasoned that so few decent artists came out of the slushpile it was no longer worth doing. And the reason? I’d guess it’s because, if you’re a good artist that by the time they find you in the slushpile you’ll have already made a mark somewhere else that they’ll have seen.

I sent art to the 2000AD offices about four/six months before I was first commissioned by Andy Diggle – to this day I’ve no idea of whether he saw my art in the slushpile. By all means send stuff in, but it should be treated like a lottery – YES, you might win, but you’ll be doing yourself a whole lotta of good by pursuing other options. Get yourself in published by someone else, keep hitting comic conventions and show your work around. If you’re good enough those options will reward you far quicker than the slushpile.

By the time I’d showed my work to Andy I would’ve been embarrassed by the art in the slush pile…

(BTW the same advice is pretty much true for any writer, many of whom, when they receive the rejection letter have already decided the work wasn’t up to scratch. The only writer that I know of that got a break via the slush pile was Mike Carey – and he’d already broken the US by that time!)

James at the 2000Ad message board asks

What size should you show arwork at? I’m thinking A3.

What’s the best format to leave samples behind? A4 I assume, but stapled together? Presented in a polypocket lined display book? Folded into quarters and stuffed into a letter envelope?

I think I’ve already covered the whys, above, but I’d go with A4: Less hassle, more professional looking and … less hassle.(Also: my advice is to put completed art into an A4 pocket file, one with the pockets built into it, it’s just a lot easier to manage).

I lugged A3 cases with me to every con for a couple of years until I got wise and started bringing an A4 folder – it’s never made any difference (really it boils down to content)

A4 photocopies, stapled together (or paperclip) with your name and contact details on EVERY SINGLE PAGE (probably best to number them too – that way, if they get separated then they’re easy to put back together in order). In my career, I’ve bought leave behinds with me EVERY SINGLE CON – and only been asked once. I’d advise people to have them, but don’t get too down hearted if you don’t hand any out.

‘Locustsofdeath’ via 2000AD Message board

Offhand do you or anyone else know what would be the best way for a writer to submit? Scripts only? Completed strips? Both?

NEVER EVER EVER Submit a future shock with art. It’s totally pointless, and, if it’s a good script it might be ruined by some bad art, or, if it’s good art it might be ruined by a bad script. (I mean, statistically, at least one of those statements is true, right?) in any event, even if it’s great art and a great script it’s incredibly presumptuous to think the writer and artist will team up on that single strip – futureshocks are held in the drawer for when they’re needed to fill some space, they hold scripts and commission art when it’s needed.
For a writer, I’d suggest two tacks: Send futureshocks, by all means (but see above when I talked about the slush pile), but also get your head down and start publishing your own work. Futurequake (the small press sci-fi anthology title that’s currently on issue 15) was started by Arthur Wyatt who’d had enough future shocks rejected to begin his own comic with them. The act of writing these up, commissioning artists and publishing it allowed Art to hone his skill-set enough that, eventually, he was able to get working for the Galaxy’s Greatest Comic. And it’s since moved on to have a life of it’s own. Similarly, Al Ewing became a fixture at the conventions with his mad-out-there mini comics that eventually led to him being commissioned to write mad-out-there series for 2000AD. Si Spurrier started in the slush pile, but his first proper commisioned comic came from the very first (IIRC) ‘pitchfest’ (a mad idea where a panel of experts sit and listen as you explain your pitch for a future shock to them… all human life was there…)

The list of writers who’ve come purely out of the slush pile is … well… I’m not sure I know any.

EDITED TO ADD: Art actually sold his first work via the pitchfest too, he had this to say “Not sure FutureQuake helped directly. It certainly hasn’t hurt though, and is great for seeing how stuff works in print.”

Art also added this:

The other thing i’ve learned is to really, really pay attention to Matt [Smith – 2000AD Editor] feedback.

Even when it’s short and seems somewhat dismissive it’s generally a really to-the-point comment on what you need to do.  As a writer, when someone says “I don’t want this, because of A, B and C” it;s easy to focus on “I don’t want this”… When A, B, and C can often be instructions to what an editor *does* want, and often make for a better story too.

Kevin Levell (via twitter) says:

How do you turn a positive response into a commission without bugging the hell out of the editor?

Largely it depends on what they’ve said – if it’s non-commital “Yeah, this is really nice” “Yeah, you’re fairly shaping up” or words to that effect you’ve got to figure out a way to kick that up a notch – and get the new work under the editors nose. You’ve got to get the editor to look at your work with a fresh set of eyes (harking back to the Rogue Trooper story above, the new samples I showed Matt were dramatically different from the work I’d done up to that point, these were greywashed and suited to Rogue) you’ve also got to find a second angle of attack. Start looking for writers that are up and coming that need artists (writers ALWAYS need artists, especially good ones that can meet deadlines) work with them, let those writers become your ‘agent’ – by pimping themselves they’ll also be pimping you.

If they’ve said something along the lines of “Yeah, we’d definitely commission you for something” all you can really do now is periodically send them emails showing them what you’re up to now. Keep a blog, fill it with new material, any time you do something radically different send a quick email (with the art attached) to the editor (WARNING! DO NOT DO THIS UNLESS THE EDITOR HAS ALREADY EXPRESSED A SERIOUS INTEREST IN GIVING YOU WORK!)

Emperor of the 2000AD Message board has a bunch of questions:

What do you feel the optimum number of pages for a portfolio is? I know the temptation would be to jam as much as possible in to put your best foot forward but the editor has a finite amount of time and turning up with 50 pages is probably extracting the urine. 

Even if EVERY SINGLE PAGE is amazing, I’ve found people have a page threshold that really hovers around 6 to 12 pages. AND THAT’S IF IT’S GREAT. I’d keep it to about 5 / 6 pages of a single 2000AD comic strip (or other strip) the important thing is they should be consecutive comic pages – without lettering. An editor should be able to skim read the comic your presenting and understand it. If you have multiple, distinct styles of art then you should include a short strip in each style – but few people do. If you can draw sci-fi and fantasy, include both. But not more than 5/6 pages of each. Don’t expect many people to reach past the first four/five pages – so keep the strip you’re happiest with at the front.

Would you recommend having a whole 5 page sample from a script or lead with your best page and possibly show pencils, inks and colours? Or go for as varied a mix as possible?

I’m old school; storytelling is more important than gorgeous pencils/inks/colours – so whatever you include should be sequential (even if the best page is page 3 – and, for an improving artist, the best page will always be the last page they did, believe me, if an editor can see a gradual improvement from page 1 to page 5 it’s a good thing).
re: Pencils/inks/colours – 2000AD don’t really do teams (for pencils/inks) so, unless you’re inking is REALLY terrible, pencil and ink. If you’re an amazing painter then go full colour too. Though my taste is for b&w lineart.

EDITED TO ADD: Don’t bother lettering your work. 2000AD already have some top notch letterers and you’re lettering will only get in the way…

Would you recommend take a lot of samples with them but pick from those to build a specific portfolio aimed at the editor (2000 AD stuff for Tharg, Spidey and Hulk for Marvel, etc.)?

YES! If you have it and you can, bring a multiple samples. And keep them in the same portfolio – rejigging it through the day, putting the stuff you want a particular editor to see at the front. If they glance and see different styles it does no harm…

Is it worth just carrying a more general selection around so you can show it off to random passers by?

I had (probably still have) a terrible reputation for showing my art to anyone who asked. ALWAYS keep a portfolio and always be willing to show it to people. Don’t force it on anyone, just keep it handy. (An A4 folder is, obviously, a lot better for this…)

Picking up on locust’s: who do writers make conventions work for them? Liquor and editor up at the bare and then pin them to the wall when free booze has impaired their mobility enough? Spike their drink with GHB and make them sign a contract or the donkey photos bet circulated? Or is it a longer process: get your work done and out there, use that as a springboard for informal chats with editors and work up from there?

Yes. (I mean yes to ‘it’s a longer process’)

Do you have any best/worst stories about conventions? Portfolio nightmare viewings? fan stalking? Feel free to do change names to protect the innocent. I’m really thinking of this:

Nothing that I’m prepared to spill on the web …

Any big dos and don’ts other than: wear deodorant and lots of it.

I think I’ve put a load of dos and don’ts in – hopefully that’s plenty to be getting on with…

Sleeping with fans – good idea or great idea?

Always bad.

Crotchless Spider-Man outfit – yes or no?

Always no.

Right I think that has exhausted my questions. For now.

Well, I’m exhausted too. Hurrah!

Oh dammit, he posted some more:

Oh and would you recommend having a card 9or even a bookmark?) to hand out with further details on, so if they were possibly interested they could look up your other work?

Yes – though don’t expect to do much with those other than swap amongst a bunch of other artists/writers. The ONE time you’ll be asked is the one time you haven’t got one (mind you, if an editor is interested it’s more likely he’ll give you his card).

What about printing off a few copies of a little sampled comic (bringing together your small press work and a few pin-ups perhaps?) to give to editors so they can nose through it at their leisure? Alex Ronald reckons the comic he made really helped.

Do that too – it has the added bonus of a) getting your name about in the small press (many of whom are ALSO trying to work their way into the pro circuit, and may, eventually, lead to your first pro work) and b) everytime you write/draw and publish something you get a little bit better than the last time.

Editors end up with a stack of things they usually throw away, so don’t get to worried about an editor refusing. A smarter tactic is to start giving freebies to the OTHER people who work with the editor, give out free comics to PR people, artists, writers, anyone in the pro areana, one of them may eventually lead you back to the editor…

Phew… that’s all – hope you find a nugget of use in some of that, if there’s anything more you want to ask just post in the comments. Good luck!



Mar 20, 2010
Kev Levell said…

That’s pretty thorough, good tips too. Quite a few tricks I might try as well.
Thanks PJ!

Apr 28, 2010

Brian said…

Thanks for writing this.

I have a few(!) questions from a writers POV.

Any idea if Tharg, et al, reads FutureQuake or similar titles?
Has anyone to your knowledge ever been headhunted out of the small press to 2000AD or, if not, do you know how they get in by showing their small press work directly to editors?

>> For a writer […] get your head down and start publishing your own work.

Once you have done that and got a few things out in the small press (and of course are continuing to do so) how would you suggest getting that work into the hands of an editor with an eye to getting future paid work?

Should you post these comics to the submissions address? Hand them to editors and editors colleagues at cons? Include them with Future Shock submissions? All of the above?

If you’re getting published in an anthology how do you push YOUR particular strip? 
And also how to have them remember that it was the writer that gave it to them, not the artist? (no offence meant to the artists of course, we’re all in this together and pushing eachothers work is obviously a good thing)
Maybe give printouts of your strip with a note as to who you are and where it was originally published?

Sorry for the barrage of writing related questions 🙂 maybe not your area of expertise but your opinion is much appreciated.


Apr 28, 2010
PJ said…

Hi Brian.

Not sure about Matt Smith (the human representative of Tharg) but I know lots of the editorial/production staff DO read futurequake and other titles. I also know that the guys behind zarjaz send copies onto 2000AD.

Not sure if ‘headhunting’ has ever happened or needed to – anyone with some obvious talent is usually someone who is already reaching out to try and get work with 2000AD. It’s a very rare individual that is both an amazing writer and so complacent as to not bother submitting work to 2000AD (at least, not when their ambition is to write for 2000AD)

“Should you post these comics to the submissions address? Hand them to editors and editors colleagues at cons? Include them with Future Shock submissions? All of the above?”

All of the above. By hook or by crook, send them in.

“If you’re getting published in an anthology how do you push YOUR particular strip?”

By making it the best one in there.

“And also how to have them remember that it was the writer that gave it to them, not the artist? (no offence meant to the artists of course, we’re all in this together and pushing eachothers work is obviously a good thing)”

Make sure the cover letter says so – I would say that it would be unusual if one single strip in one single small press thing is enough, usually you want a publisher to realise that you’re building your career, and that’s helped by seeing submissions along with self-published or work published by other publishers.

Once you’ve built up a mass of credits you start to include them in the body of your intro letter.

Dear Matt (or Dear Mr Smith – if you prefer)

Please find include a submission for 2000AD Future Shock entitled “AWESOME SHOCK!” along with a copy of my recent work for issue #2 of Zarjaz (I wrote the strip “Blurg”)

I would love to work for the galaxy’s greatest and have steadily built a reputation in the small press as someone who can write to a deadline while producing good quality work. My work has featured in Zarjaz #1, FutureQuake, MangaQuake, Blah, blah and blah.

Thank you for your time, and I look forward to your response.


A Writer.

Hope that’s of some use!

Apr 28, 2010
Brian said…

Certainly is.

Thanks for the fast & detailed reply 🙂



A Saturday Murderdrome Update

Currently facing a little down time while I’m waiting on a new script, so, time to start hacking away at Murderdrome again.

Murderdrome is an interesting challenge, the script was written as eight panel single page episodes which, for the original iPhone comic, I was splitting into individual panels, now, though, I’m going back to proper comic pages, and finding that I need to split them up into three/four panels per page. So each episode comes in at two to three pages. I’m kind of enjoying it, though, allows me to open up some things that I normally wouldn’t dare do. This page is a single panel in the script, but a big dramatic moment.

Also: going away from a script and coming back is a big in the ass – your drawing style (at least mine) has usually changed quite a bit, I think I’ve done 90 pages between one page and the next on this Murderdrome. Though it’s not just the drawing style, I think Murderdrome requires an over the top madness – that Henry Flint achieves neatly with Al’s Zombo in 2000AD- that I’ve let slide a little, so I’m starting to try and get that insane over the top, theatrical dramatics back.

ps Originally this page was flipped on the horizontal – I think, storytelling wise, this works better.


Slate vs iPad


Some immediate thoughts:

I’ve been thinking this for awhile, but the iPad is clearly designed to be used in a portrait orientation – the placement of the home key is a dead giveaway. It’s something that’s always baffled me – portrait seems to be the perfect orientation for documents/books and yet landscape seems to be perfect for film/computers. Why is that? Is it that at a certain distance some things are easier viewed in certain ways? If so, then it strikes me that going for a default portrait orientation on a device designed to be held in the same proximity as a magazine is a smart choice. One that I’m surprised very few tablet makers make.

The HP device looks clunky compared to Apple’s sleek lines (given how little there is on either device, it’s odd how obvious that difference is…)

And why does the HP ad bombard you with stuff so quickly that you don’t really get the chance to see how it works?

This other video, showing the HP Slate using flash is interesting for a couple of reasons:

(the iPad’s home page looks too roomy, like they haven’t quite finished it yet, the HPs home page looks like they’ve thrown everything in there – clutter city, and lots of tiny little places you may – or may not – be supposed to tap)
The Slate has scroll bars! Scroll bars! Haven’t they seen the iPhone? Yes, there’s more screen real estate on the Slate but why would you sacrifice any of it to scroll bars? (and photoshop.com has two massive scroll bars that don’t appear to be scrollable, taking up a big chunk of the screen.

Looking at that guys fingers – there’s no way he can hit some of those buttons. Plus, it does that horrible thing of displaying the mouse cursor when you tap something. It’s all so… so… ungraceful.

Anyways, I’m disappointed. I’m getting fed up with Apple’s way or the high way attitude to everything, but, on the other hand, if the Slate is the best we can hope for in terms of competition. Well, looks like it’s Apple’s way.