It’s finally starting to sink in a little bit. After all of these years, I can actually consider myself a comic professional. Sort of.
Sure, I’ve been involved in comics for a few years now, not just as a fan but also as a small cog in the larger Shadowline Comics machine – churning out content for their website and doing basic promotional stuff like run the social media stuff. But it’s an opportunity that the legendary Jim Valentino has given me and it’s one that I am eternally grateful to have. Heck, I even get my name in the front of various Shadowline issues as in the capacity of Communications or Promotion. Pretty cool.
Yet it wasn’t until last year that my name actually appeared in a comic preceded by the words “Written by” and that has added a whole new dynamic to being able to call this a career. Gone is the word “Aspiring” and now I can actually call myself a “Comic Writer.”
GrayHaven Comics, which was started by Publisher and Editor in Chief Andrew Goletz, formed when a whole bunch of folks from the Brian Michael Bendis Jinxworld forums got together and did what comic geeks always talk about doing but never seem to do. Andrew approached a bunch of messageboard regulars and said “Hey, who wants to create a comic?” And a few hard earned months later the very first issue of THE GATHERING was born.
The Gathering is an anthology comic and each issue has a different theme. The first one was Hope, appropriate for a group of first-time comic writers. The second was Despair, which was probably borne from the realization that no one can make money on writing comics right out of the gate. That was followed by Heroes, then Horror, then Romance.
The Romance issue was the one where my very first written comic appeared. It was a 2-page autobiographical comic about how I first met my wife, Nicole, in the Greyhound bus terminal in Philly. There was something magical in the feeling of holding a comic in your hands that contains a story that you’ve written (or drawn I would imagine).
I submitted pitches for a number of different themed issues after that, and was rewarded with stories in the Adventure issue and the third Horror volume (which have already been published), as well as future tales in the Mystery special, the Crime issue, the War issue, the True Ghost Stories issue, the 2nd Sci-Fi issue, the all-ages Superheroes issue and in the 3rd volume of their upcoming Horror Anthology.
It was around the time that all of those pitches were accepted that Andrew approached me and offered me a position on the GrayHaven staff as an editor and to assist the art director in finding talent. I was thrilled for the opportunity and jumped at the chance, realizing that I would still be able to do all of that while remaining with Shadowline in my current role.
Which brings me to why I’ve only now realized that I’ve just about become what I always wanted to be; a Comics Professional.
On Sunday, August 19th, I will be participating in my very first signing as a comic creator. The fine folks at The Comic Book Shop in Wilmington, DE will have a few of the GrayHaven creators in the store for their big weekend sale doing a signing and allowing us to promote our books. Additionally, since it’s open submissions season, we will be doing portfolio reviews and going over the pitch process.
I also received an email Friday evening from the folks at the New York Comic Con, letting me know that I had been approved for my Professional badge for attending the con. I will also be attending the Baltimore Comic Con in September courtesy of a Professional badge.
I’m still not a full-fledged pro in my own eyes. I have yet to write an entire issue on my own. I have yet to earn a single cent from writing comics. But the joy from seeing my name in print is still there. The happiness from knowing that someone out there is reading a comic story I’ve written and – quite possibly – enjoying it is pretty magnificent.
And that’s a thought that makes this fanboy very, very proud.
I know I’m a long way off, but it’s nice to think about someone out there someday reading something I’ve written and saying “Whoa! I want to do that!”
The funny thing about making dreams come true is that you often have to take that first step with the assistance of others. But every single step after that is up to you. Who wants to stop after that first step? Not me! I’m planning on taking my career to new heights.
But first I have to start with my very first autograph on a book in which my name appears as a writer. And that all begins on Sunday.