Comic Writer FAQ

Q:  How do I get a job writing a comic book?

A:  There is no one way to get a writing job in the comic book industry.  It is a difficult process and like most writing jobs, it’s not as simple as posting or emailing a resume with a writing sample and expecting to get hired.  Comic books may appear easy to write, since most of the page is covered with artwork, but there is a lot more to writing comic books than writing dialogue in a half dozen word balloons on a few pages of artwork.

The big comic book publishers are multi-billion dollar entertainment companies.  If you want to get a job writing comic books, you first must treat it like it is… a business.  One way to get a job writing comics is to find an artist partner and self-publish your own book.  Obviously that won’t pay until you sell your comic and the start-up costs can be high unless you’re picked up by an independent publisher (like Image).  Alternately, you can submit a writing sample to small, independent publishers and if you’re fortunate, you may land a writing gig.  These jobs don’t tend to pay very much (if anything), but it’s a start.

If you hope to write for an established company, like Marvel or DC, then you need to have some amazing spec scripts and to make contacts with editors as most will not accept unsolicited submissions from writers.  It sounds like a catch-22 where you can’t get a job, without having credits and you can’t get credits if they won’t give you a job, but it’s not hopeless.  Go to comic book conventions and introduce yourself to the industry professionals.  Make contacts and keep writing and submitting your material to whoever you can find that will read it.  You simply have to be persistent and really work at it.  It is a career after all and not simply a paid hobby.

Working for a publisher in an entry level capacity can possibly lead to a transition from office staff to writer as well.

Q:  How much money do comic book writers get paid?

A:  Estimates range from $100 per page on the lower end, up to $300 or more on the higher end for comic book writers at the big companies.  We say “estimates” because individual writer salaries are generally confidential in nature, vary greatly by writer and not widely shared information.  Small independent publishers may pay less, if at all.

Q:  What is a spec script?

A:  A spec is a script written for an established comic that the writer is not hired to write.  You should not expect to ever see this script actually made into a comic.  It is intended solely to be a writing sample to show your abilities and that you understand the technicalities of writing for comic books.

Q:  What is a proposal?

A:  A proposal generally refers to a detailed story line for a particular character or title.  It is most often a multi-issue story arc.  If you have had no contact or relationship with the editor of the specific title your proposal is for, you have very little chance of it actually getting read.

An original series proposal is the basis for a new comic book series.  If you partner with an artist, this can be a very good way to get your work seen and developed.

Q:  What is the proper format for a comic book script?

A:  There isn’t one.  Unlike film and television screenplays, comic book scripts have no recognized industry standard format.  The proper format would likely be whatever you and your editor agree upon.  Some sample scripts can be found here.

Q:  Do I need an agent?

A:  Most comic book writers do not have agents to help them procure comic book work.  A majority of the hiring is done by editors and writers directly.  However, some comic book creators do have agents working to sell or develop their titles for film, television and other licensing opportunities.

Q:  Have a question you’d like answered?  

A: Feel free to send it to us:  ask {at} ScriptsandScribes [dot] com