How do you get into comics? How do you break into comics, that is. How do you crack the code and take your place with the mystic order of professional creators? What is this Great Secret, so jealously guarded and valiantly sought?
How do you get to Carnegie Hall?
(I heard, once upon a sometime, that comedian Jerry Seinfeld answered any “how can I become a comedian like you, Jerry Seinfeld” questions with [paraphrasing]: don’t do it. You’ll never make it. You’ll die alone. Get a financial consultant license instead. Just this terrible, decimating negative. But it wasn’t base cruelty -- he reasoned that if an aspiring comedian could take Jerry fucking Seinfeld cutting them down, then they had it. The steel. The emotional tensile strength to put themselves through the sheer hell of becoming a creative professional. And if they took Jerry Seinfeld at Jerry Seinfeld’s word and left their dreams on the comedy club floor, well, he’d just done them a favor.
Because dreams are fine things, but they’re nothing in and of themselves. They are, as my father would say, necessary but not sufficient.)
So what’s the comic book secret? There isn’t one. I’m twenty years old and I know this. And there’s no radioactive Alex Toth running around, making mere mortals into comic creators with a single bite. There’s just pencils in hand and fingers on keys and sweat and tears and forty hour days. Seat of the pants to the seat of the chair, and if your glutes can’t take the pace, well, there you are. Taking the financial consultant license exam.
Which is a valuable and worthy pursuit, no lie. And I’d be a lying man if I said the option didn’t have its appeal.
But within my mind is a thing brilliant and holy, and it has other plans.
Next time: The Legend of JD Smith