The Changing Face of Comics Editorial – Part 1

If there are any long-time readers out there you’ll know my ultimate goal in life is to edit comics.  I think I need to mention a necessary caveat here: I want to be able to sustain myself while doing it.  I want to edit comics and somehow make bank.  I know it’s probably not the most… feasible goal, but ever since interning at Marvel and working with Kelly Roman on The Art of War, I’ve known that I want to edit comics.

As a Digital Rhetoric and Professional Writing Master’s student here at MSU I have the chance to study comics past, present, and speculate on their future.  Because there aren’t any classes that specifically address comics in this curriculum, I’m forced to somehow find ways to talk about funny books in every course.  It’s not as hard as you’d think, and actually all of my professors have been very open to exploring alternate forms of rhetoric.

This semester I’ve gone a step further and enrolled in WRA 470 – Editing and Publishing and I’m working with my friend Dr. Dianna Baldwin on an independent study focused almost solely on the editorial process in comics.  Our first assignment?  Thinking about the changing face of comics editorial in the digital realm.

But what the heck does that even mean?  Well I’m going to try to make this a little more clear by doing a little focused rambling here on the blog.

How did we come to this topic?  Well a man by the name of Agre wrote that to be successful you should try to become a thought leader in your field.  My field is comics and when I think about making my mark in the industry, I think about becoming an expert in digital and web comics.  It’s such a new space for the medium and we have so much to learn, and as a graduate student here at MSU I think I’m in a unique spot to actually contribute to these sorts of comics conversations. Specifically, I want to understand the editor’s role in this brave new world.

First I want to get an idea of what it is comic editors actually do!  What are their duties?  I have a general understanding of what they do on a very micro level, having done it myself with The Art of War, but I’ve only edited one graphic novel.  I would love to hear what industry professionals to say about editorial duties.  I also want to talk to writers and artists working in print about how they see editors and what they think an editor’s job is, and finally I want to talk to creators and web creators that don’t work with editors.  What is their editorial process?

You can’t not edit your comics right?  So if they don’t employ honest to goodness editors, they must resort to other means.  Is editorial work left up to the casual glances of close friends and family members?  Is it purely a personal editorial process?  Do they put their work away for a few days and let their future selves edit the comics?  Do fellow comics creators lend their editorial expertise?  If readers are able to write comments about pages or strips, could that be considered a new form of comics editorial?  These are some of the questions that I hope to address in the coming weeks.

Stay tuned my friends.

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