Breaking into comics is a very hard thing to do. First of all, most don’t really have a clue as to the amount of work that goes into making a comic book. (Unless you’re a creator, and cried those tears of frustration already.) It’s not until you put pencil to the proverbial paper that you start to realize just how labor-intensive it can be, and that’s just the production of the comic.
The next part of getting your blood, sweat and tears in front of the public is the marketing end of things. Despite what people think, this too is wicked hard. There are a ton of tourists out there throwing around half baked ideas at publishers making it harder for your glorious idea to catch their attention. So what is an aspiring creator to do? Well, for starters, besides just doing the work (the most important part), there are a handful of contests out there to help get you the cabbage to get it done if you win. These types of contests always excite me far more than they should. There is something about the possibility of seeing a struggling up and coming creator break into the industry through unconventional means.
Personally, I don’t understand why more publishers don’t hold these types of contests. Oni Press did it not too long ago, and they were bombarded with submissions. Which leads me to believe that this is the main reason you don’t see more. The amount of work that goes into the sifting through thousands submissions is a lot of work. Most comic publishers don’t have the rank and file to handle the extra workload, especially the mid-range publishers where everyone wears more than one hat. That being said I think it would be worth their while to look into hiring some people just to support this kind of regular event. I think it could be worked out logistically so that in the end, it’s a win for the publisher.
Besides the burden on the poor, overworked creators and office staff at the publisher, it does have benefits besides being nice. First off, when you put on a contest for aspiring creators, it gets your name out there and generates good PR. Think about it, every time a submission contest happens, it is all over the internet. If you are a fan of comics, who is connected to the industry through social media, you know what I mean. In addition to this publicity, you can come across a diamond in the rough; creators who might give you the next Walking Dead. Not to mention there is a segment of the comic book community that would devotedly support these kind of creators. Of course, they only support it as long as it’s good, but that goes for any comic.
So this leads me to the reason for this article. Webtoons.com is hosting a contest presented by Stan Lee’s Pow Entertainment. The rules are pretty simple, and you can find them at www.webtoons.com/en/contest. Of course, this is for a web comic, and not a traditional comic book, but it is still a way to kick start your career if you win. Plenty of creators have started out working on web comics and crossed over to the realm of physically printed books, and working in the mainstream industry.
Webtoons has held contests like this in the past, but this time around they are joining forces with Stan “The Man” Lee, who will even give guidance in developing the winner’s submission afterwards. The one hitch to this contest is that it has to be a superhero-based story. So if capes are not your bag, you’ll have to wait until another contest comes around from Webtoons. Of course, I’d still jump at the opportunity if I were you. A true professional is not pigeonholed into doing only one genre, and if you use that as an excuse not to do the work, then you’re just a tourist, and not a professional.
So, if you are an aspiring creator that is looking for an avenue to help kick down some doors and get you started, winning a contest like this can go a long way to helping out. The only thing that you need to do now is the work. Best of luck to everyone who enters, and I look forward to seeing who wins.