Maybe you have an aversion to being “trendy.” I don’t blame you. But there are certain compromises we all have to make. One of those is to become journalists.
I’m a Christian, so I’m all too familiar with the word “relevancy.” It’s a buzz word, the kind that becomes filler after so long. Every church is trying to be “relevant,” or express their willingness to be in tune with current events and cultural trends of the here-and-now. Journalism is the same way. As the saying goes, “there’s no news like bad news.”
Our aversion to being relevant shouldn’t deter us from being in tune with what is going on in the modern comic book world. I’m not a fan of the New 52 initiative put on by DC, but now three years old, the whole thing has become old hat. How can we write better articles when we aren’t willing to interact with the content being distributed by the “big two,” the industry figureheads? By now these companies represent contemporary art history, so they demand our attention. Consequently, our disenchantment with the current trends can also lead us, constructively, towards the burgeoning indie movement going on under our very noses. Companies like Archaia are producing some of the best creator owned comics this side of the millennium and none seem to be the wiser. So, boning up on our journalism can help capture these trends.
Trying to tackle relevant properties will help you succeed as a writer. It doesn’t matter if you are happy with your day job. That doesn’t disqualify your from having a hobby, or an exhilarating off-the-clock dream job. The great thing about most franchises now, in the comics world, is that they are creator owned. Each title is a small island of a devoted fanbase. Writing about a comic, or interviewing a creator on his latest piece will expose you to these communities. This will garner favor, prestige, and maybe even a few new fans. I try to make it a habit of committing to one trade paperback release per month in an effort to support what is going on in the here and now. Occasionally I am moved to write something about what I’ve read, which can only help and keep my portfolio balanced. Keep in mind also that these creators are eager to talk and discuss their ideas.
In the interest of being brief, I will conclude with a final tidbit that will help you, writers of Sequart, to keep momentum and push on with solid content. In your reading, your interaction with the comic market, or your own cultivation of your skillsets, always remember to keep an open mind. The iconic “big break” that is always referred to in journalism never falls in your lap. It is usually the product of weeks of email correspondence, or a chance occurrence conversation at a Convention. I can’t tell you to how to pursue leads, but I can suggest that being open to reading a particular comic that you might otherwise would not have read can mean the difference between a good article and a great one.
I should also mention the importance of sharing on social networks, but that escapes the scope of our conversation currently. Suffice to say, read what is current. Comment on what is current. Pursue what is worth pursuing, in the moment. You will succeed at Sequart if you tackle your work like this.