For years, I’ve envied friends who’ve spent most of their working life in the comic-book industry. But I think I was wrong.
I used to be a comics editor (at Disney) and marketer (at NBM and Papercutz, among others), and I liked the work. I’ve tried to return to comics, but aside from freelance writing for publishers such as Bongo, I’ve had little luck.
So I’ve worked as an editor and marketer in areas other than comics. And I envied my colleagues who remained in the panel trade.
But recently, I’ve heard from some comics folk who’ve lost their jobs, often through no fault of their own, or who stayed on in comics but wanted to try something else. And they found themselves trapped.
If they wanted to rise (or even simply stay) in comics, they found that the business doesn’t often open up many full-time positions. When they looked outside comics, they found how hard it can be to convince some human resources and hiring managers — people who often don’t know much about comics — that comics skills can transfer beautifully to other industries.
Meanwhile, I was working in fields ranging from financial journalism to high-end consumer electronics, building expertise that HR people and hiring managers understood. And wishing that I was back in comics.
I’d still like to return to comics. My work outside the field has given me skills and knowledge that could benefit a comics publisher.
But I don’t envy my comics colleagues quite so much anymore.