10 Things About Breaking Into Comics (That No One Tells You)

It's not as easy as it seems...

spidey comics

One thing you get a lot of at comic cons are people who not only have a love for the comics medium, but also want to break into making comics themselves.

Certainly, at nearly any comic con you go to, there'll be a handful of panels about how to 'break into' comics, discussing points about the importance of creation and self-motivation, and also having well-known creators share their stories of how they wound up getting their first work at major publishers like Marvel, DC, Image etc.

There's loads of handy information that can be found at these panels, or even searching online and reading creators' tumblrs and tweets. But there's also a lot of information on the topic that can be gleaned from what isn't being actively said.

Now not everyone wants to write for Marvel and/or DC, but certainly some do, so here's some hints and tips I've picked up in my time making comic books and working out the ins and outs of the industry and what has helped me along.

Note: I may not currently be on a big mainstream book, but I have been in and around the industry for a good little while now, and I've certainly picked up some good ideas. So if you'd like some advice, here's what I've learned in that time.

10. Read

spidey comics
DC Comics

It may seem obvious, but that's probably why it never gets said. And you'd be surprised how many forget to do it.

If you are wanting to make comic books, and make them successfully, it helps to read them. As obvious as this sounds, you'd be surprised how many people try to get involved with comics in some level and yet actively say they never read the medium.

Having a distaste or lack of interest in, say, superhero stories is one thing, but refusing to read anything in the medium you want to work in is not the best of ideas. It's immensely reductive of all the genres comics are capable of exploring, and it means you are actively losing out on one of the biggest tools out there to discover what works and what doesn't. Reading comics, especially those of a similar genre or feel to what you want to do, is incredibly useful to help gauge what can and cannot be achieved.

Of course, you shouldn't limit yourself to just reading comics - far from it. Read from as wide and as varied a selection of sources as possible. Novels and other mediums are obvious, but also read up on 'how to' manuals and instructional literature too. With the introduction of the internet, there are literally limitless ways with which you can read all kinds of fiction, instructional and periodical publications, all of which could be a source of great help to you as a creator, especially writers.

Take for example current DC event Dark Knights: Metal, which partially stemmed from writer Scott Snyder's fascination with the idea of Dark Matter and Dark Energy that he read about in science journals.

Also, it can be handy to keep yourself up to date on what is going on in the world of comics, so regularly reading a news resource with a comics focus can be invaluable.


Joe is a comic book writer out of South Wales, writing LGBTQ+ superhero series The Pride and also co-writing Welsh horror comedy series, Stiffs. He's also a comics reporter and reviewer who works with Bleeding Cool and now WhatCulture too. So he makes comics and talks about comics, but there's more to him too. Somewhere.