As part of my meetup group NY Comic Book & Graphic Novel creators, we had as our guest speaker, Heather Antos. Heather is currently the editor of the Star Wars and Deadpool titles for Marvel Comics. She talked about breaking in, her work as an editor and her pastry of preference.
Or you can read the highlights below.
Heather grew up in a small town in Michigan and graduated with a degree in Film and Theater. But then she got into comics. Someone suggested to her “Well you know, why don’t you try and do that professionally? You like it so much, you’re spending all of your money traveling the country going to these shows, spending all of your time talking to these creators and why don’t you do that?”
With this epiphany, Heather used social media to get in touch with various comic editors and at the 2014 C2E2, met up with her future boss at Marvel. “I got to sit down with Jordan White and just have a conversation for an hour. I just sat with him and he broke down like this is what an editor does and I was hooked right away and that’s, you know, leaving that convention in 2014, I knew this is what I want to do!”
But then it dawned on her that “I’d already graduated college right so I can’t get an internship because to get an internship at any of the publishers one of the requirements is you have to be in college, you know, they have to get college credit for this. Which sucks. It gave me this huge panic attack. How will I ever get my foot in the door?… I can’t have this internship so I decided I needed to basically give myself an internship. I needed to have something on my resume that would equal to what a semester at Marvel would be, right? So I wanted to produce a comic anthology. It was gonna be a project that was mine that I had autonomy of work. I cast this. I produced this. I funded this. I published this. I edited this. You know, I handled all the submissions everything. Successfully!”
At New York Comic Con, she passed out ashcan editions of her Kickstarter comic to everyone including Jordan White. “and not two weeks after New York Comic-con, I got an email from him saying “Would you ever be willing to move to New York City?” and I was like “Absolutely!” and he’s just like, great, send me your resume. So before that anthology even got printed, I was interviewing for a job at Marvel.”
After only a few weeks at Marvel, Supervising editor Nick Lowe put her through a sort of trial by fire while working on a Star Wars. “You know what, talk with Mark about these.” and I’m like “What do you mean talk with Mark about these?” and he’s like “Well, you know, just call him up and just express these concerns.” and I was like “Call Mark Waid!? and tell him we don’t like something.” Me? This guy who was comic editor when I was born!?”
Several people inquired about breaking in. Bottom line – “build relationships and meet with many editors as you can and have active relationships with them as well.”
We talked about what self-publishers could do to improve and she offered “what is great about that sort of thing though there’s so many resources out there right, Nate Piekos at Blambot has all these blogs on his website about this is, you know this is what’s bad and this is what’s good and this is why you use the serifed “I” when it’s just ‘I” and this is why you don’t use the serifed “I” when it’s just words and you talk about kerning and tail placement and stroke and all these things. There’s so many resources out there that creators don’t have to put out there, you know, that this pros don’t have to put out there that are available to you. Cullen Bunn has so many great resources on his site where he has “This is the first professional pitch that I did that got accepted” you know and you can read it and he gives excerpts of scripts that he’s written better up there and you can see how he breaks it down and this is how he bulletpoints and outlines things and Jim Zub has this great blog that he posts that sort of stuff and there are so many great resources out there where you can learn to just improve your own self-published stuff.”
When asked what one needs to submit to become an editor she had her answer ready “Coffee and then cupcakes. Baked goods are a plus!”