Friday, June 8, 2012

Team 7, DC Comics, and How I Got There.

I am writing the Team 7 book for DC comics. Which is awesome on any number of levels. I mean, first of all, DC Comics! Second, Team 7! The original was my favorite Wildstorm back in the day, so it means a lot to me to get to write the new one.

Here's a bit about it:

Anyhow, since this went public, I was asked to talk about how I broke in. I'm not sure if what I have to say is all that useful, but I'll give it a shot.

Well, I did Luther Strode, obviously, which Image liked well enough to get me on the cover of Previews. That, obviously, got the book a lot of attention (as did Tradd's badass art) so people were aware of the book.

We got a lot of good reviews and our sales were good, and we got great word of mouth, so our sales actually increased from month to month. Which again, got noticed.

Which led to a prominent DC writer (not mentioning his name here, because I don't want him to get flooded by people thinking he's the gateway to DC) liking the book and my writing, and he told DC editorial that they should take a look. They read Luther and liked it, and asked me to pitch them on Team 7.

Annnnnd, here we are.

So, basically, write a book people like, and then get lucky.

Contrastingly, I have another big WFH that I got by flat out sending the editor an email, and then sending him my stuff, and going from there.

The Hack/Slash gig I got because I wrote a book that Tim liked, and then we met in a bar and got along.

So, I guess, if I have any advice (which is a dubious idea, but I'll run with it) it's this:

1. Don't Give Up. I've been trying to out together books for the last ten or so years. I was rejected maybe twenty times? Possibly more. I kept working and kept going.

2. Work Hard. I am lazy as a fuck, in general. But I do take my writing seriously and I work as hard as I can at it. I've got ten projects that I am trying to get off the ground (not the failure rate above - I don't expect more than one or two to pan out, if that). I try to write twenty or so page of comics a week. It adds up. And it continues after - I worked twenty or thirty hours a week for two months leading up to Luther, just trying to get the word out.

3. Don't be a dick. I am, fortunately, mostly not a dick naturally, but being someone who is fun to be around and easy to work with goes a long way. If you're super talented but you piss off everyone you work with, you're going to have a hard time of it.

4. Be lucky. There's a lot of shit you just can't control. I had no control over whether Tradd would like the book. I had no control over whether above mentioned writer would like the book. Whether DC would have something they like. Whether Tim Seely would be at that bar.

What I could control, and this is really what points one and two are about, is my opportunities to be lucky. If you do the work and keep doing the work, you vastly increase your chances of luck going your way. I can't and won't tell you that if you work hard and don't give up, you will succeed. You might still not make it. But what I can tell you is that if you don't work hard and you give up easily, your chances are essentially zero.

I don't know if that's useful, but it's what I got.


  1. Here's a question for you, and maybe this isn't something you want to reveal but...

    Did you put together Luther Strode to be something that was somewhat marketable in the mainstream? It strikes me that it captured the Kick Ass/Mark Millar Zeitgeist, satisfying something there was obviously a demand for and, I think, was a piece that was very understandable to a Superhero editor (as opposed, say, to the more 'arthouse book' feel of Lemire's Sweet Tooth or Kindt's Superspy/Revolver).

    Did you specifically put it together as something you felt would be 'eye catching' to a general public, or was it just sort of happenstance that this was the project of yours that got off the ground, or a combination thereof? Do you feel like "Strode" is a good indicator of your proclivities, interests and style?


  2. Astro - Yeah, definitely. I thought that Luther Strode had about as much going for it to be successful as anything I work on, so I was hedging my bets.

    It is fairly representative of what I do. Or at least, it feels that way to me. Not the violence and such, although my stuff tends to be violent, but the exploration if stuff that interests me.

    Stylewise, the way I write dialogue and the way I structure my plots is pretty consistent, so I think Luther is representative. Actually, this warrants an actual post, which I'll try to get to in the nearish future.

    I didn't do it with the idea that it would be a good thing for superhero editors, but I'm pretty sure that it didn't hurt.

  3. Interesting stuff, sir. Thanks very much for your response.

    This maybe isn't the right venue, but can you speak a little bit to your influences and your intent? Whose work do you admire to the point of ambition, and how do you see yourself going forward (ie, predominantly creator owned, predominantly company owned, a consistent mix of the two, more of one at first and then the other, etc)?

    What other characters are you interested in working on, if you have your druthers? Do you prefer to work with big concept stuff like Legion of Superheroes or Green Lantern, or more down to earth, grounded affairs like Batman or Green Arrow?

    Looking forward to your post about your process. Always interested in learning about that stuff.