Wondercon '15 – Breaking Into Comics By Periscope


Last night I joined Chris Hardwick and Felicia Day on a ride through Splash Mountain in the nearby Disney. Which was fun. Hardwick talked to me about the dangers of getting his phone wet.

Then today I just sat through a panel at Wondercon with Allison Baker, Chip Mosher, Jamal Igle, Molly Mahan,, Arune Singh and Dirk Wood as they talked about how they broke into comics into jobs without being a writer or an artist, and asked a question.

It's Periscope, the new Twitter service that lets you stream live video, nice and easily, and respond and and answer questions. Basically it's turned us all into a world of (relatively) clean camgirls.

Or, it can be used for going to Wondercon. Where I learnt about Marvel Executive TV Director Arune Singh's medical issues (late diagnosed sleep apnea? snap!) hat stymied his desire to go into the military, but how he turned some promotion experience into a gig at Marvel.

Or how Molly Mahan read a credit to Karen Berger in a Vertigo comic and began planning her career path to her dream job  which might not have gone exactly the way she planned it but she made it there anyway.

Or Jamal Igle, just seizing an opportunity to get Molly Danger into Free Comic Book Day through Action Lab Comics, seizing another opportunity to help with their PR and then getting the gig in the middle of a conversation with a third party.

Or Dirk Wood, finding a way back into the industry through Dark Horse Comics owner Mike Richardson's comic store, after he gave up comics for girls and weed.

Or Allison Baker, with a long and rich history in and out, seeing a gap in the market to bring digital comics to publication without compromising their print rights with other publishers.

And Chip Mosher seeing himself befriended at San Diego Comic Con by Comico's Bob Schreck and Diane Schultz.

Its been said that there are many ways into the comic book industry, but once someone succeeds they block that way off. Much of it does seem to be based on who you know, but what this panel proved is that you can make it your business to know people. Even if, for some people like Jamal, it can take decades.

I asked about the ups and downs of hiring comic book fans over other equally qualified "civilians" or non comic book fans. Arune wondered if I was pitching for a job (I've got one Arune, for now) but Dirk talked about the importance of having a mix – and Jamal pointed out those who get jobs to come writers as not being focused on their tasks in hand.

If this panel was about anything it was showing off the many other possibilities out there. As for the audience, one enterprising young chap was able to demonstrate poor translation issues regarding some folks on the panel's own titles. A risky move, but if he could show how they could be making more money and engaging deeper with a growing international audience, then maybe taking their business cards at the end of the panel was a pretty good move. Also, he got a free Kindle Fire out of it from Chip Mosher, so that wasn't bad either.

I think I was the only one to ask I question on Periscope. There were about five of us, so we didn't even outnumber the panel let alone the room. But its ease of use, accessibility and promotion through Twitter, I expect San Diego Comic Con to be wall to wall Periscope…


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About Rich Johnston

Founder of Bleeding Cool. The longest-serving digital news reporter in the world, since 1992. Author of The Flying Friar, Holed Up, The Avengefuls, Doctor Who: Room With A Deja Vu, The Many Murders Of Miss Cranbourne, Chase Variant. Lives in South-West London, works from Blacks on Dean Street, shops at Piranha Comics. Father of two. Political cartoonist.
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