The Good, The Bad, & This Kid: ďCry Out, When Looking InĒ
By Josh Stone
The job market in the United States is depressing. It really goes without saying, but I said it anyway. Times are tough, and finding a job is even tougher. Those lucky enough to have a comfortable job right now sure as hell arenít going anywhere, even those with less than comfortable jobs arenít planning on moving any time soon. Which just makes it harder for those without a job to acquire one. Last month a position at the library I work at opened up that I qualified for, itís one rank higher than I am now, but itís still considered an entry-level position. Anyway, all it really requires is a high school diploma and some experience with the library or something similar, and over 80 people applied, for one part-time position. Whatís worse is, the great vast of them were over-qualified, some even had masterís degrees. So, it goes without saying that I did not obtain this job.
All that rambling leads me, in a round about way, to the vast number of writers and artists trying to break into the comic business. Getting into the comic business is one of the hardest jobs to come by. Unlike the rest of the job market, the comic book business has been this way for quite some time. I thought over 80 people applying for one job was bad, there are hundreds upon hundreds of people trying to become comic book creators. If you sit and think about it, like I so often do, there are only so many available comic gigs out; that is, with the big boys. If you want to write or draw comics and make money, you only have two real companies to look at and they only produce a handful of regular titles. On top of that, the regular titles that they do have are pretty much booked up, and usually with a creator thatís doing several of their titles.
So, there are hundreds of people trying to break into comics. We all know that, but do we realize it? Not too long ago CBR started a contest called ďComic Book IdolĒ where a bunch of amateur artists posted their artwork on a message board and a panel of judges selected the best. Again, Iím sure everyone knows that, but did you look at how many people submitted their art? I lost count, but it was incredibly high. Out of all those people who submitted, only one person will win, only ONE. Sure a few of them will be getting jobs because of that exposure, but only one person won the actual prize. I think thatís a great way for artists to break into the business, or at least get their name out there. Iím sure it wonít be the last contest thatís held, and Iím sure other companies and other sites are going to be doing their own version of ďComic Book Idol.Ē Thatís all great for the artists out there, but what about writers? Artists pretty much had it easy before (that is if they had the talent), they had conventions where creators and editors and art directors would look at their portfolio and get a business card. For a creator who canít draw their way out of a paper bag, that really cuts the job market down immensely.
The best way for either a writer or an artist to get into the business is creator owned, small press comics. Thereís really no set limit of titles to work on since you create the title. However, as many people know, itís not as easy as it sounds. If you want your created title to stand any fighting chance, itís best to submit it to a smaller company that has connections into bookshops, and these companies donít have the money to produce everything that is solicited to them. Then again, if that route doesnít work, you can always self publish, if youíve got that kind of cash. So, once again, itís another tricky and slippery road into the comic book business. Even those lucky enough to have their creations published arenít always guaranteed to have a free ride into the bigger publishers, thereís always an intern waiting in the shadows to take the good jobs.
I went through all of that just to say how unbelievably hard it is to make it inside the comic industry. Then again, I wouldnít want it any other way. If every writer or every artist out there could get into the business, it wouldnít be as special or significant. Besides, there would be a lot more crap books out then there are now. For all the trials and tribulations that creators endure, in the end if they make it, itís all worth it. If you have the talent and you have the drive, there is no reason why you canít make it as a writer or artist. People get piles of rejection letters before they get their first acceptance, unless youíre that damn good. So, the real purpose of this essay is to tell those reading it who want to make it in the business (like I do) to go after your dream wholeheartedly. Donít let all the horror stories scare you off, get what you want out of your life and do it by any legal means. The only thing is, make sure the talent really is there, donít bog down the rest of us with your crap art or your piss-poor writing. Sadly there is enough of that around.
Last week there was no The Good, but there was a review I did for The Crow: Flesh & Blood which can be found by clicking the following link The Crow: Flesh & Blood.
With that out of the way, letís get to this weekís selection for The Good. This past week was rather special for me, instead of living for Wednesday, I was living for Tuesday. As you all know, Tuesday is the day for new music and movies, and this Tuesday saw the return of A Perfect Circle. Their new album; Thirteenth Step hit the shelves and I was there with money in hand. If you havenít already bought this album, itís time you do. Itís the best new album since; well, Toolís Lateralus. Maynard James Keenan has the best voice known to man, and the music on Thirteenth Step is simply unbelievable. Thereís been a lot of band member changes since APCís first album, which gives the new music a darker feel.
Seriously, you can not go wrong with this album. Do not have a friend burn it for you, do not download it off Kazaa or whatever you use, go buy it. Support the few talented musicians the world has left. If you feel the need to rip off musicians download all the new Limp Dickshit songs just for the hell of it, I donít recommend listening to it, just download it so they stop making money.
For more information on APC go to A Perfect Circle.
Alright folks, thatíll do it for me this week. I know youíre going to miss me, but donít fret, Iíll be back next Saturday with a brand new column. If you get lonesome you can always e-mail me or post on the Soapbox message board. ĎTil next timeÖ
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