C2E2 2019: Top Cow Pros Gives Tips On How To Break Into Comics

by Tito W. James

At C2E2 2019 I attended a panel with Top Cow COO Matt Hawkins and writer Ryan Cady giving tips on how to break into the comic book industry.

The panel began with a bit of history of Top Cow as a brand. The publisher has evolved over time, distributing supernatural stories like Witchblade in the 90’s to adult romances like Sunstone in the mid 2000s. Top Cow also served as a counterpoint to the superhero stories of Marvel and DC. The characters from Top Cow were real people in extraordinary situations.

After the backstory Hawkins and Cady dove into some practical advice about breaking into comics.

How To Get Noticed:

With the rise of webcomics it’s never been easier to make comics but it’s also harder to make a living. Creators should market themselves by going to conventions and having personal interactions with readers and publishers.

Aspiring artists should create a webcomic that garners a following. If you have over 1000 Twitter followers and can fund a $45,000 Kickstarter you’re an attractive option to publish. However, don’t get intimidated by the number of followers you have. If you have 500 loyal follows with interaction then you can easily grow that group.

Social Media Interaction:

If you’re going to be political pick a side because whether you lean right or left you will have those that will support you simply because of your political affiliations. If you don’t want to get political at all it’s fine to be neutral. Be relentlessly positive and try to help people.

Post one thing a day that is not promotional so people won’t just see you trying to sell you stuff. Post some things about your life. People love the feeling that they are getting to know you and see you grow as an artist.

Create Your Own Original Comic:

It’s advised that aspiring comic writers should avoid writing characters that they don’t own. If the backstory and character dynamics are already created then you’re not showing your craft as a writer.

While artists are also encouraged to draw original content it’s also good to draw popular characters. If you draw Batman incorrectly you can be critiqued without having the excuse of it being a stylistic choice. Artists should also have more in their portfolios than just pin-ups; they should have at least eight pages of sequential art.

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