Breaking into Comics the Marvel Way

Get all the details on a new two-issue limited series showcasing brand new artistic talent

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New Mutants by Gabriel Hernandez Walta
By Kevin Mahadeo

Say hello to the newest breakout talent in the comic industry, and then learn how to become one yourself in March 2010 with the release of BREAKING INTO COMICS THE MARVEL WAY a two-issue anthology series from the House of Ideas.

Each issue runs 56 pages and showcases six of 12 finalists from the nearly two-year-long Chesterquest artist search headed by Marvel's C.B. Cebulski.

"One of the advantages of [this project] coming out now is that instead of coming out as a normal anthology, because of all the interest we've seen online, we were able to take the book and craft it into something that's a little bit more educational for people who want to break into comics," explains Cebulski. "It's kind of a showcase of the artists who have broken in and the established writers who already have careers [to] use them as examples on how to guide other new writers and artists into the system."

Each finalist teams with one of Marvel's established writers for an eight-page story starring the character they wanted to work on most. Artists for the first issue include Michele Bertilorenzi, Paul Davidson, Serena Ficca, Damion Hendricks, Christian Nauck, Joe Suitor, Gabriel Hernandez Walta, Shaun Turnbull, Stephen Thompson and Tomasso Bennato. On the writing side, Brian Bendis, Chris Yost, Marc Guggenheim,

New Avengers by Christian Nauck
Stuart Moore, Mike Benson and Kathryn Immonen take these new talents under their collective wing. However, these artists' journey began in 2008 as Cebulski scoured the globe in search of the best and the brightest.

"C.B. has been doing talent management and development at Marvel for a long time now," notes editor Daniel Ketchum. "He travels to conventions all around the world and meets with prospective artists and reviews their portfolios and everything. There are a lot of up-and-coming [talents] out there and while it can be tough for this new talent to garnish work at Marvel, he thought that some of them were really ready for something. This is that intermediate step. It's a way for new talent to be introduced to Marvel but also to our readers and show off what they're all about."

Along with the stories by each creative team, the anthology includes the latest rules on Marvel's submission policy for writers and artists and commentary by Cebulski on each artist and what initially caught his eye. The involved writers also share their stories on how they broke into comics. Other planned supplemental material includes sample scripts and the artistic process from layouts to pencils to inks.

Hulk by Tomasso Bennato
"By putting a new penciler with an established writer, they're going to learn from some of the best and they're going to be in communication with that writer, who has years of experience working with the top artists in the business," says Cebulski. "And those established writers have learned just as much from those established pencilers from over the years. So, by putting the new [these teams together], we're hoping that the information about storytelling and from working with other pencilers will be passed on to the new artists."

The project shares many similarities to the Marvel Young Guns promotion, which highlights some of the sharpest blossoming artists in Marvel's bullpen, but Ketchum quickly points out a few of the key differences.

"If you look at the Young Guns or The Write Stuff, they were all guys already working at Marvel. If you look at these guys, it's a bit different because for many of them this is their first experience working with a Marvel editor or an actual writer established in the business. The idea behind this is that for anyone interested in either working in the comic industry or getting a look behind the scenes this will give them a good idea of how they would submit their work to Marvel or what an editor looks for in a portfolio."

Spider-Man by Damion Hendricks
"We do have some of the most awesome characters in comics, but the stories we tell about them are only as good as the talent behind them," adds editor Jordan White. "That's why we do our best to find the best writers and find the best artists. Marvel has a record of spotting who is up and coming and showcasing them so the readers can check out something new."

For those fans already eager to get their portfolios together in anticipation for the release, the editors and Cebulski shared the basics on what they look for in any prospective talent. Ketchum keeps his eye open for sequential samples as well as an artist with an understanding of the kinds of books Marvel publishes. White says that many of today's artists establish their own style early on, and these distinct visuals make for a very impressive and standout portfolio. As for the convention-hopping Cebulski, he says that for each artist he met with and for those looking to make their own breakout, the key comes down to storytelling:

"I think storytelling is more important because the ability to tell a sequential story through the action that happens panel-to-panel and page-to-page is something that almost can't be taught. Some artists are just born storytellers. You can learn [the skill] to an extent, but the best storytellers are the guys that have an uncanny ability to pull it off. Yeah

X-Men by Paul Davidson
anyone can draw the Hulk punching Namor looking cool in one shot, but can they do it for a number of pages through the panels that they're allotted and make it flow smoothly and plainly and tell the story coherently?"

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