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#479463 - 11/20/01 07:33 PM So much for creativity and new ideas!!
Zeus Thrillkill Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 10/31/01
Posts: 17
Someone mentioned this in another one of my posts, so I thought I would check it out and repost here.

DC Comics Submission Guidelines:
Thank you very much for your interest in the comics medium. We at DC Comics appreciate your enthusiasm and respect your commitment to the creative process.

It is no longer possible for us to respond to each submission individually. Please do not send any submissions in at this time. We are also sorry to say that no phone inquiries will be answered.

Thank you for your understanding.

Sincerely,
Submissions Editor

Marvel's Submission Guidelines:
We're sorry, but Marvel does not accept unsolicited written materials or character ideas.

Well for Marvel at least they are only not interested in writers. They do still accept submissions from pencilers, etc.

Kind of speaks volumes of why the comic industry is in the shape it is in. Imagine if all the televisions studios, movie studios, book publishers, magazine publishers, etc. stopped taking submissions. No sirree, don't bother sending us your scripts, your articles, we don't want nothing new round these here parts.

Is this a sign the big two in the comics industry have given up? Do they figure the industry is dead anyway so why waste time try to bring in new talent? They might as well just slowly layoff the people they already have and let the industry die. No sense trying to inject any new blood into it. I notice that even though a lot of the independents have responded, that no one from the big two has come forward to even claim that they might be remotely interested in new ideas and new talent in the industry.
Zeus

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#479464 - 11/20/01 07:45 PM Re: So much for creativity and new ideas!!
phlogiston Offline
Member

Registered: 05/24/01
Posts: 100
After quoting rejection letters that note company policy of not accepting unsolicited manuscripts, Zeus Thrillkill offers the following question:

Quote:
Is this a sign the big two in the comics industry have given up


No, actually it is a sign that our society has become so litigious that folks have sued after they have submitted material vaguely resembling subsequently published comics from these companies. If the companies refuse to accept unsolicited material, they can have a more credible claim that two creators had similar ideas and that the contracted creator's work got published.
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T. A. Holmes

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#479465 - 11/20/01 08:32 PM Re: So much for creativity and new ideas!!
peter mcdonalds of burger king land Offline
Member

Registered: 06/07/01
Posts: 7016
Also, the comics industry is sort of experiencing a bit of a "slow period" at the moment (unlike the aforementioned movie and television industries) so it's probably more likely that Marvel and DC have enough creative people working for them at the moment and simply can't afford to hire or contract anyone else (DC did add "at this time" at the end, and wasn't Marvel extremely close to bankruptcy at one point?).

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#479466 - 11/20/01 10:03 PM Re: So much for creativity and new ideas!!
Zeus Thrillkill Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 10/31/01
Posts: 17
"No, actually it is a sign that our society has become so litigious that folks have sued after they have submitted material vaguely resembling subsequently published comics from these companies."
True, but I don't buy it. That is a concern in any industry. And in the case of Marvel, they just don't want writers, pencilers can still submit, so if a penciler submitted an original character that Marvel later ripped off, then the submitter could still sue. Plus, they could always have some type of contract that someone must fill out with submission to limit the risk of lawsuit, but they aren't doing that.

I think the second reply was probably the closest to the real reason. Marvel went bankrupt, DC is potentially hurting, and they already have so many on their current staff, they just can't afford to add to it. Which sadly enough is the sign of a dying industry. It's a self-fulfilling prophecy. The two biggest publishers don't have the time or the money to breath new talent and new ideas in the industry, so they stick with the proven writers and artists, the same characters, the same stories until people just eventually get tired and look for other entertainment that provides variety. I'm not trying to bash anyone, I understand the realities of hard economic times, but if the comic industry is going to survive, something needs to happen to breath new life into it. If DC and Marvel won't or can't step up to the plate, then I just hope some new publisher out there enters the industry and does it.
Zeus

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#479467 - 11/20/01 11:59 PM Re: So much for creativity and new ideas!!
Mark Evanier Offline
Member

Registered: 04/06/99
Posts: 382
Loc: Los Angeles, CA
Quote:
Originally posted by Zeus Thrillkill:
Imagine if all the televisions studios, movie studios, book publishers, magazine publishers, etc. stopped taking submissions. No sirree, don't bother sending us your scripts, your articles, we don't want nothing new round these here parts.


ME: Even with those kinds of rejection letters, an unknown writer has a better chance of getting a script considered at DC or Marvel than they do at all the television and movie studios, and probably at the major book and magazine publishers. An awful lot of them have similar policies and at others, it's hard to get anyone about the rank of, say, cleaning lady to see your work.

The fact is that unsolicited manuscripts -- which is what these letters are for -- have not been a real significant source of new writers (or new ideas) for the comic industry since before 1970. It's happened but not often. There have been times when editors were scrupulous about reading every submission...and the "finds" were microscopic in number. Way over 99% of what is submitted on this basis simply does not prompt anyone to say, "Hey, we've gotta hire this guy!"

There have also been times when they didn't consider most or even any of what was submitted this way...but they either didn't tell you that or, for reasons of image, feigned the opposite. I think it's better that they at least be honest about it.

Whoever said that fear of litigation was a reason for not considering manuscripts was at least partly right. The companies might well stand that risk if they thought the "slush pile" could yield some wonderful material but, based on past experience, they know the odds of that are pretty remote. It just ain't worth the risk, to say nothing of the editorial expense. (And, yes, an artist could have his idea ripped-off, too...but the "cost" factor is a little different. Unsolicited samples HAVE resulted in some good artists being discovered...and there's not much history of artists suing over allegedly purloined ideas.)

I'm not saying any of this is fair; just that that's the way it is. Of course, the industry wants and needs new ideas. They just don't see that as a significant source of them. They're looking for new writers to come to their attention via other means...working for smaller publishers or in related media, for example.
_________________________
Mark Evanier's daily weblog is at http://www.newsfromme.com and his not-daily weblog is at http://www.POVonline.com.

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#479468 - 11/25/01 09:14 PM Re: So much for creativity and new ideas!!
Zeus Thrillkill Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 10/31/01
Posts: 17
Mark,
First, let me say how honored I am to have you reply to one of my topics. When I think back to the period of time when I think the industry was bursting with new ideas and new creativity, your name is one that comes to the forefront. DNAgents, Crossfire, and Groo were three of my favorites many years ago. In particular, I thought Crossfire was one of the all time comic gems that never really got the recognition it deserved.
I saw publishers like Eclipse, First, and Pacific as publishers that were willing to take a chance on new ideas and new creators. I really don't think any modern day publisher has picked up the gauntlet dropped when the three previously mentioned publishers folded.
One other question, I wanted to ask, I use to read everything that Eclipse put out by you, but I haven't seen a comic by you in quite some time. Are you still writing in the field? Back in the day, the comic shops in my area would carry independent titles by Eclipse, First, and Pacific, but nowadays it is only DC, Marvel, and Image. I would be interested in if you have any current work being published and where I can find it.
Thanks
Zeus

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#479469 - 11/25/01 11:03 PM Re: So much for creativity and new ideas!!
Mark Evanier Offline
Member

Registered: 04/06/99
Posts: 382
Loc: Los Angeles, CA
Quote:
Originally posted by Zeus Thrillkill:
I saw publishers like Eclipse, First, and Pacific as publishers that were willing to take a chance on new ideas and new creators. I really don't think any modern day publisher has picked up the gauntlet dropped when the three previously mentioned publishers folded.


ME: I don't know that that's true. Seems to me Dark Horse has published a lot of new things and Fantagraphics certainly has. For that matter, I'm not sure DC and Marvel are as devoid of new ideas or new creators as your statement would indicate. I don't read any Marvels any more but when I get my DC bundles, I sure find a lot of comics and names I've never heard of before.

Quote:
One other question, I wanted to ask, I use to read everything that Eclipse put out by you, but I haven't seen a comic by you in quite some time. Are you still writing in the field?


ME: Well, Sergio and I are finishing up a GROO mini-series at the moment. First issue comes out the day after Christmas and no one will believe this thing was written and plotted out before 9/11. And I'm writing a book for DC called THE ART OF MAD, all about the folks who've drawn for that august publication, if you want to count that as comics. But no, most of my work these days is in other media, not necessarily by choice. Thanks for asking.
_________________________
Mark Evanier's daily weblog is at http://www.newsfromme.com and his not-daily weblog is at http://www.POVonline.com.

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#479470 - 11/26/01 12:13 AM Re: So much for creativity and new ideas!!
Aether Paladin Offline
Member

Registered: 04/20/01
Posts: 79
Loc: Brooklyn, NY, USA
2 things I think are worth noting:

1) The sad truth about the slush pile is, as M.E. has noted, that it rarely yields great or even competent talent. Don't misread me here - it's very true that several talents have been discovered through their unsolicited submissions - Chris Cross aka Chris Williams still talks about getting his first work in comics by a) looking up the address for Milestone Comics via telephone information b) showing up unannounced without an appointment at their door with a handful of sketches, and there are definitely others out there. Sadly, however, 99.99% of all submissions are as promising as the submission Xeroxed and found on several editors' doors at Marvel when I worked there regularly - obviously done by a 7-year-old, featuring a DC character (The Shadow), and having little value save in the laughs to be gained from such deathless prose as "DIE CRINIMAL(sic)!". The Ugly Truth is for every genuinely promising unknown, there are literally thousands of unknowns with no promise whatsoever. For most companies, unsolicited submissions aren't worth the time it would take to sort the potentials from the fodder . The legal considerations nowadays are just another nail in the coffin.

2) It's also a fact that other entertainment venues are no better. Unknown writers and directors have little to no chance in TV or movies until they produce a profitable project of their own, creating a Catch-22 that's uncrackable by all but a few. At least in comics, the methods of independent production are a fraction of the cost of those in other media and offer some chance of accomplishing that without bankrupting yourself.

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#479471 - 11/27/01 01:22 PM Re: So much for creativity and new ideas!!
Jeff Zugale Offline
Member

Registered: 12/06/98
Posts: 1806
Loc: Los Angeles, CA, USA
Interesting article on copyright on the Wired site:
http://www.wired.com/news/culture/0,1284,48625,00.html

Worth a look, even though a bit tangential to this discussion, because it may shed a bit of light on other factors in the stagnation of new ideas and creativity.

------------------
Jeff Zugale
Pagan City Comics
www.pagancity.com
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Jeff Zugale www.jeffzugale.com/
My "Just A Bit Off..." webcomic

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#479472 - 11/27/01 07:32 PM Re: So much for creativity and new ideas!!
fumetti Offline
Member

Registered: 09/29/99
Posts: 922
Anybody else remember Neal Adams' story about trying to break into comics (late 50s, early 60s)? Either it was DC or Archie (when they did superheroes) that told him "comics are dead, kid, don't waste your time" or some such. Adams went into advertising and developed a style that revolutionized comics.

So, it's not the first time comics closed their doors to new talent.

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#479473 - 11/27/01 08:11 PM Re: So much for creativity and new ideas!!
Howard Offline
Member

Registered: 06/21/00
Posts: 882
Actually, I was unaware that DC ever hired writers. I thought their official policy was "DC does not hire writers; DC buys stories."

This freeze on unsolicited submissions is a new thing, as their submissions page, which I printed recently, was still pretty open. Let's hope this moratorium is only temporary.
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Howard Price
Sr. Editor
The Trades : Entertainment industry analysis since 1997

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#479474 - 11/28/01 06:43 PM Re: So much for creativity and new ideas!!
Zeus Thrillkill Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 10/31/01
Posts: 17
Mark,
I will definitely check out that Groo story. What I wouldn't give though to see DNAgents and Crossfire back in print. If those two titles ever make it back I'll think there is still hope for the industry.
I agree Dark Horse was a good publisher. Unfortunately, a lot of what they did was black and white and my local shops wouldn't carry it. I know I could have gone in and requested it, but I usually start buying a new book when I see it at the shop and flip through it. With Dark Horse title, I didn't have much of a chance to flip through, because they usually weren't there. Is Dark Horse still publishing, I haven't seen a title from them in my comic shop in years?
Zeus

[This message has been edited by Zeus Thrillkill (edited 11-28-2001).]

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#479475 - 11/28/01 10:33 PM Re: So much for creativity and new ideas!!
GaryDills Offline
Member

Registered: 06/14/01
Posts: 38
Loc: Herndon,Va USA
Star Wars? Buffy? Akira? Lone Wolf? Spyboy? Oh my Goddess? Blade of the Immortal? Sin City?(sometime soon after DK2, I hope!) Hellboy? All Dark Horse books- still being published

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#479476 - 11/28/01 11:45 PM Re: So much for creativity and new ideas!!
Zeus Thrillkill Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 10/31/01
Posts: 17
Ok, I guess I have seen Buffy, but that's about it. I guess all the titles that I usually bought Dark Horse Presents, The American, etc were dropped by Dark Horse, and I was kind of overlooking the TV and Movie based comics which are the ones I still see at my comic shop. Good to realize that they are still around, I sure wish they would start putting out Dark Horse Presents again.
Zeus

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