Creator Confessions: The Risk Of Burning Bridges

by Frank Martin

As a writer of both novels and comics, Comicon contributor Frank Martin has a lot to say about the process of making fiction a reality. In Creator Confessions, he offers some of the discoveries he’s made in bring a story from initial idea to a complete, published reality.

The comics industry is just like everything else: it’s all about who you know. No one person can do everything on their own. Write. Draw. Publish. Market. Design. Sell. Print. Distribute. The list of things that needs to be done to successfully launch a book and have a career is endless. The bottom line: people need help. Doesn’t matter if you’re working your way up or are already at the top, your friends and colleagues are your most valuable resource. Which is why it’s so important as a creator not to burn bridges in the community.

It’s truly amazing how small the comics world is. It seems as if there isn’t anybody in comics that isn’t at least two degrees away from someone else. Everyone is a friend of a friend, so news and gossip travels fast. It doesn’t matter if it’s good news or bad news, how you handle yourself and it’s aftermath will dictate how people see you and respond to you in the future. A lot of people will use the word professionalism in this instance, but really it just comes down to decency. Even kindergartners learn to treat others how you would want to be treated, and the same goes for business. You never know who somebody is friends with or the connections they may have, so it’s worth treating everybody with respect if for no other reason than to keep bridges up for when and if you may need them. Although, being decent has other perks, too.

This has become increasingly complicated in our politically divisive world. Comics, especially, has seen some stark contrast in recent years. People are quick to condemn and judge, and sides have been taken. Creatives are a proud bunch. We want to stick to our morals and not back down from those who challenge them. So it’s difficult sometimes to either take the high road or remain quiet in the face of discrimination or just plain old rudeness. Every day, people have to make the decision to stand up for what they believe is right or remain neutral to refrain from burning bridges.

Of course, there are always exceptions. Some people jump into every fray and somehow manage to emerge on unscathed. More than that, sometimes they are the better for it. There are those on both sides of the political debate that speak their minds every chance they can and have fans and colleagues that rally around them because of that. No two people are alike, so it’s hard for me to tell you how best to live your life and further your career. It’s just important to know that no man or woman is an island. You’re going to need people eventually. What kind of people and how that reflects upon you is for you to decide.

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