Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Jason Aaron joins the Workshop!

We had a very special guest last night at the Comics Experience Book Club -- Jason Aaron!

Jason joined us for a discussion of Scalped, Volume 1, and we heard a lot of fascinating information about his inspiration and influences for the series, his efforts to create complex, engaging characters, and his lifelong interest in the American Indian Movement. It was a great discussion for fans of Scalped!

But since the Book Club is part of the Comic Creators Workshop, there were also a lot of questions for Jason about his writing process, pitching, and how he broke into comics.

While we can't cover all that Jason said here, we did want to share a couple of his great tips for those trying to break in:
  • Even if your goal is to work at the "Big Two," do creator-owned work first. Jason won a Marvel talent search contest, and pitched to Marvel editors for several years thereafter, but he didn't really get any traction until after he'd had some success with his creator-owned works, The Other Side and Scalped.

  • Chase editors rather than characters - Rather than making it your goal to write a specific character, seek out the editors that seem to have similar story sensibilities to you. That is, chase after the editors of the books you read and enjoy. The path to happiness is working with editors where you have that sort of storytelling "connection."

  • Follow James Ellroy's advice - Jason met Ellroy at a book signing a number of years ago, and Jason asked what advice he'd give a new writer. Ellroy replied, "Don't write what you know, write the shit you like to read." This goes a bit against the conventional wisdom of "writing what you know," but it was an approach that worked for Jason and that he recommends himself.
Thanks again to Jason for joining us and sharing his thoughts on Scalped and comics writing.

The full recording of Jason's session will be available to Workshop members for a few weeks--Book Club is included in the Workshop membership--so it's not too late to check out the full session. Our discussion also included Powerpoint presentations by our members on various aspects of Scalped, from character development to page layout and design.

Plus, over on the Workshop this month, our professional reviewers include DC Comics Editor Wil Moss and artist supreme, Jim Cheung. You can find more information about the Comic Creators Workshop here.

We hope to see you there!

Rob Anderson
Moderator, Comic Creators Workshop