A couple of quotes from Warren Ellis were making the Twitter rounds this weekend. This one, from 2000 (!), is from Ellis’ column for CBR, and concerns the fine art of writing a comic book pitch:
So that’s what you’re doing; boiling it down, distilling the idea into a reduced form. No, it won’t have the completeness of what you really want to show them, and it won’t indicate the richness and complexity of what you’re doing. Frankly, you have to live with it. Hook them with this and show them the good stuff later. Because if you don’t do it in a way that at least looks like their way, they won’t even look at it to begin with.
More recently, writing in this month’s Wired, he has some rather sanguine numbers for the comic book industry:
>Compared to cinema attendance, comic book sales look small. But I just pulled up North America’s estimated comics-sales figures for May, and the top comic sold 163,000 issues that month. That’s a regular US-style comic single, costing $4 that goes directly to specialist comic-book shops. The top ten comics for that month sold a combined number in excess of a million units. The top 20? Somewhere over 1.6 million. And these estimates are usually lower than the real sales figures. Plus, of course, all these single issues will eventually be reprinted as trade-paperback collections. Tell a book publisher those numbers and see what colour they turn.
>strong>Stuart Moore pointed out some similar things recently in the comments here.
And just to jump back willy-nilly to making comics again, Marvel editor Nathan Cosby is always tweeting good advice on how to make it in comics, and here are some words on working with editors:
But just because you’re starting out, just cuz your editor got the ability to fire you & hire another writer… …doesn’t mean you’ve gotta completely roll over and change every aspect the editor’s requesting. Editors aren’t gods… …Editors are people that read TONS of scripts & sometimes unsuccessfully attempt to translate their problems with a story to a writer…
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.