Bestselling fantasy author Diana Gabaldon, creator of the Outlander series, had a comics bestseller last year with her book THE EXILE, and in an interview at EW, she explains her earlier career writing Disney Comics:
Is there a book that cemented you as a writer?
If anything, it would be a Walt Disney comic book that I read when I was about 28. My mother taught me to read in part by reading me Walt Disney comics, and I never stopped. But I was reading one that I picked up at a convenience store on the way to work, and I said, “Well, this is pretty bad, I bet I can do better myself.” On a whim, I found the address and the name of the editor for that line, and I wrote him a very rude letter that said, “Dear sir, I’ve been reading your comics for the last 25 years, and they’ve been getting worse and worse. I’m not sure if I could do better myself, but I’d like to try.” Luckily, he had a sense of humor and he wrote back, “Okay, try.” He sent me a couple of layout sheets so I could see how a story was constructed by the company guidelines, so I wrote him a story. He didn’t buy it, but he did something much more valuable: He told me what was wrong with it. He did buy my second story, which was my first fiction sale ever. I continued to write for him for the next three years until the Disney Company said well we’ve got 40 years worth of Carl Barks in the files, why are we buying more stories? And that was the end of my comics career until I wrote the Exile last year, which is a graphic novel. I guess it would be that. It actually got me to commit something to print and send it to someone.
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.