Intro (Page 1):
Welcome to EPIC Comics
For hundreds of creators who deserve the opportunity to see their work in print, for hundreds of thousands of readers listening for new creative voices, EPIC Comics is for you.
EPIC Comics is a new Marvel imprint under which we will publish comics written and illustrated by YOU. Anybody will have the opportunity to submit work for consideration by EPIC's submissions editor.
EPIC enjoys more favorable economic parameters than Marvel (and other publishers for that matter) so we can publish books that others can't.
EPIC strives for a broader creative scope than Marvel (and other publishers for that matter) so we can publish a wider array of stories than others would.
By freeing writers and artists from many of the economic and content restrictions of traditional comic publishing, EPIC hopes to provide a forum for a new generation of comic creators to reach the next generation of readers.
An old comic creator lament goes something like, "I don't have fans, just people who want my job." Well, people, here is your application. The following pages tell you what you need to know to get started with EPIC.
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REACHING NEW READERS
Kinds of Stories EPIC Is Likely to Publish
You can increase your chances of getting published by reading the following criteria that EPIC will use to judge submissions.
Letís start with EPICís mission statement.
1. Tell Great Stories
2. Reach New Readers
If you can do these two things, EPIC will publish your work. Itís that simple.
EPIC will publish books that speak to new readers in ways that Marvelís current books do not. This means that EPIC will not publish books that duplicate Marvelís current lineup.
The bad news is that Marvelís current lineup is already filled with all of the easy stuff. Marvel makes half a dozen Spider-Man books every month, a dozen X-Men titles and one or two more for every major character.
The good news is that EPIC will take greater creative chances and business risks that Marvel does.
If you have an interesting and story in you, we want to read it. If you have a unique and powerful artistic style, we want to see it. We want you to win.
A script you submit to EPIC will fall into one of four categories, and each category has its own criteria by which submissions will be judged. The following section explains how these categories and their associated criteria break down.
1. Marvel characters with monthly books
Clearly, the EPIC books with the best initial sales potential will feature the major Marvel heroes and teams. EPIC books about Marvel heroes with the largest existing reader bases will be:
(a) the most likely to be bestsellers, but (b) the least likely to reach new readers.
Take Spider-Man, for example: Marvel limits the number of monthly Spidey titles, but constantly diversifies the line to reach a wider reader base. Thus, each monthly title claims a unique creative bent: Ultimate Spider-Man targets younger readers, Amazing Spider-Man maintains the characterís action-adventure tradition, and Peter Parker: Spider-Man focuses on the man behind the mask.
Marvel would love to publish a Spider-Man book under the EPIC imprint, but the creative team would have to come up with knock-íem-dead content different from the books in Marvelís current line. So please donít show up with, ìHey, Spider-Man hasnít fought Rhino in a long time.î Marvel can publish a book like that any time in our regular line. EPIC writers should strive to strike a clean, crisp note to a clearly identifiable target audience of new potential readers.
PULL QUOTE: ìEPIC writers should strive to strike a clean, crisp note to a clearly identifiable target audience of new potential readers.î
This is hard, but it can be done ñ the Ultimate line found a large, mostly unique teen audience for Ultimate Spider-Man, and repeated the trick with Ultimate X-Men and The Ultimates.
PULL QUOTE: ìEach monthly title claims a unique creative bent: Ultimate Spider-Man targets younger readers, Amazing Spider-Man maintains the characterís action-adventure tradition, and Peter Parker: Spider-Man focuses on the man behind the mask.î
2. Classic Marvel super heroes with no monthly books
The EPIC books with the next-best sales potential will be those that revive classic Marvel characters or teams. Moreover, these are relatively easy to approve, because they wonít cannibalize a current Marvel title. Unfortunately, this kind of book seems to bring out the worst in even the best writers. If you start with the question, ìHey, whatever happened to the Silver Surfer?î youíre sure to get the answer, ìPretty close to nobody cares.î
But Marvel would love to publish a new Silver Surfer book under the EPIC imprint. The trick is to preserve the essence of the classic character while repositioning and updating the characterization so it resonates to a clearly identifiable target audience of new readers.
This is hard, but it can be done ñ Marvel Knights nailed it like nobodyís business, taking Punisher and Daredevil from the brink of cancellation to solid footing among the worldís most popular books.
PULL QUOTE: ìThis is hard, but it can be done ñ Marvel Knights nailed it like nobodyís business, taking Punisher and Daredevil from the brink of cancellation to solid footing among the worldís most popular books.î
3. New Characters
Subtitle: New Characters for the Marvel Universe
The bad news is that weíre talking about characters with absolutely no existing fan base; the good news is that there is significant upside for brand new characters that become popular. The folks at Marvel Studios in particular are always eager to hear about a new Marvel character that isnít attached to any existing Marvel character family.
Marvel would love to publish books that add great new characters to our Universe. We are especially interested in expanding into new literary genres. Super heroes are great, but there are readers who prefer the undies-on-the-inside kinda characters. EPIC intends to explore every graphic storytelling opportunity from romance to comedy to murder mystery and crime fiction.
PULL QUOTE: ìSuper heroes are great, but there are readers who prefer the undies-on-the-inside kinda characters.î
This is hard, but it can be done ñ Alias is a detective story, right in the tradition of noir mystery fiction, that is set convincingly in the world of Marvel super heroes.
So please feel free to stretch your creative wings with works that reach beyond the current comic audience. Marvel and EPIC will be right there with you, marketing and distributing the books to new readers and helping to expand the comic book community and industry.
Subtitle: New Creator-Owned Characters Outside the Marvel Universe
Look at Diamond Distributorsí monthly list of the top 300 comics: one or two creator-owned books may find their way into the top 100 for a month or two, but the bulk of these titles dwell at the bottom of the list, selling a few thousand copies, and losing a few thousand dollars, per issue.
PULL QUOTE: ìHaving Marvel produce your creator-owned concept means that your chances of breaking the top 100 are greater than with any other publisher.î
Moreover, from Marvelís point of view, these books donít have much value, because most of the long-term upside opportunity for ancillary revenues belongs to you, not us.
Having said that, I must add that EPIC is determined to tell great stories for new readers. If you can do that, we would love to be your publisher. And having Marvel produce your creator-owned concept means that your chances of breaking the top 100 are greater than with any other publisher.
Sidebar: New Marvel Characters and Entertainment Licensing
Many of Marvelís classic characters, and most of those who spring from existing titles, may be included automatically in existing movie, TV, electronic game and other licensing deals. But brand new characters are virtually unencumbered, even if they do dwell in the Marvel Universe.
There are legal complexities at work, but the basic principle is simple. For example, in New X-Men, Grant Morrison created a new character named Cassandra Nova (Professor Xís sister). Before there can be a Cassandra Nova movie, video game or TV show, Marvel must navigate complex legal provisions of its TV, movie and merchandising contracts. In contrast, a brand new character, created independently from an existing family, would be free from most existing Marvel deals.
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TELLING GREAT STORIES
How To Write Stories EPIC Will Publish
Many great writers have done some of their best work for Marvel. To them, the Marvel Universe is the ultimate authorís sandbox, filled with wonderful characters and settings for wild fantasy, stark reality, and everything in between.
But many equally talented people have turned in some of their worst work for Marvel. They got the chance to play in that same sandbox and spent their time scooping up theÖ never mind. If I had a nickel for every comic script Iíve rejected in the past three years, Iíd have like twelve dollars. Okay, thatís not a lot of money, but itís a ton of wasted effort.
These writers all seem to have the same kinds of problems at Marvel U. The following list of ìrulesî should help you through your own creative process by steering you clear of the traps into which others have fallen.
Rule #1: If your work isnít clear, donít bring it here.
As President of Marvel Publishing, Iím embarrassed to admit that I canít understand more than half of our monthly comics. Weíre oozing irony here, fans. In law school, I chose Tax Law, because the Internal Revenue Code made perfect sense to me. Now, after three years at the helm of Marvel, I find most of our comics to be unintelligible.
The greatest impediment to gaining new readers is lack of clarity in stories. If a potential new reader picks up a comic and isnít immediately drawn into the story because it is too difficult to tell whatís going on, then we lose that potential new reader, pure and simple.
Having said that, I should add that this is not an accident or a mistake. At least half of Marvelís titles are written for readers who have been reading our books for years and who want stories that are fully woven into the fabric of the Marvel Universe. Old fans understand and love the kind of book that is completely inaccessible to new Marvel fans (and new presidents).
But ñ EPIC does not need to publish that kind of book. Mainline Marvel writers have that covered.
CAPTION: Bruce Jones does a great job of making Incredible Hulk #34 both accessible to new readers and enjoyable for old fans.
Rule #2: Character introductions are the foundation of your story.
Hereís a sad phenomenon that plagues the comic book creative process: great-reading scripts make for bad-reading comics. For this plague, the cure is character introduction.
Comic book writers tend to do what novelists do: they write paragraph-long descriptions of each character as he or she enters the story. The writer may type that a character is divorced, or that she is a single mother, or that she escaped from the Weapon X program. The writer may type that a character is thinking she misses her kids, or that she would like to strangle their deadbeat father, or that her kneecaps could not possibly be adamantium because they are beginning to rust.
All that typing ñ with the writer knowing that almost none of it will find its way onto the final page. But any writer knows that character introduction is the skeleton that supports the plot. So rather than leave introductions out entirely, he writes them as little love notes to the editor and artist.
CAPTION: Donít assume your reader is familiar with your characters ñ even in the case of household names like Wolverine.
Thereís only one good way to introduce a character in comics: you have to let the character show the reader who she is by the things she chooses to do. Not by the things she says in long-winded narration captions, or in the things other characters say about her. And actions take time ñ you may need to spend four or five pages on a good character introduction. Do the math: if character introduction is the skeleton that supports the plot, and you are introducing more than four important characters in a 22-page comic, you are going to get literary osteoporosis.
PULL QUOTE: ìYou have to let the character show the reader who she is by the things she chooses to do.î
And donít even think about skimping on intros when youíre bringing existing Marvel characters to your party. Treat every character like a new character that readers are meeting for the first time. Even in the case of household names like Spider-Man, Wolverine, and the Hulk, your character introductions should take some time to let the reader know how and why they are important to your story.
Of course, this is not to say that every character needs to be Hamlet. Quite the opposite; the Marvel Universe has more character actors than Hollywood. You are welcome to let the reader take Marvelís ìtypecastî characters at face value. You need to call the Feds to check on a military secret? Go ahead and ring Nick Fury; the shoulder holster and eye patch say all that needs saying. You need somebody to bust up a crap game? Go ahead and hire the Rhino to charge in; the nose hair says it all. But donít even think about using Rhino because he carries a grudge against Spider-Man due to that fight they had in Amazing Spider-Man #127.
The days of editorial ìfootnotesî are over ñ if you need one for readers to understand whatís going on, youíre doing something wrong. For the sake of clarity and tradecraft, whether you are introducing a central, three-dimensional character or a bit player, you should put everything the reader needs to know right there ON THE PAGE as part of the action that drives the story forward. And donít cop out with lengthy captions or clunky ìIt is I, Iron Man, the Man of Ironî dialogue ñ your readers will see right through you.
CAPTION: Itís okay to use character ìtypesî. In the case of Nick Fury, the shoulder holster and eye patch say all that needs saying.
Rule #3: Keep your metaphors at your fingertips.
Chapter One, Page One, Super Heroes 101. Super-powers should be used as metaphors for real-world characterization and story points ñ in Ultimate Spider-Man, for example, spider-powers are simply a metaphor for puberty.
Back in the early 1990s, Marvel writers forgot Peter was supposed to stand for teen boys everywhere and made him do things torn from the pages of their own lives. He aged, he got married, he got boring. Then we all looked surprised when teens stopped reading Spider-Man books.
PULL QUOTE: ìGet down to the essence of what made your character popular in the past so you can write new stories that will make that character popular in the present.î
Super-powers are just gobbledygook unless they have an underlying meaning. Johnny Storm has fire powers ñ ìWouldnít it be cool if Reed Richards built him an infrared power booster?î NO. Doc Ock has metal arms ñ ìWouldnít it be cool if they were adamantium?î NO. The Incredible Hulk is brutish and green ñ ìWouldnít it be cool if he turned intelligent and gray?î NO. We call those kinds of stories ìwriting a comic book about a comic book.î
CAPTION: The powers of Dark Phoenix are potent metaphors, which is why they make a great classic story.
But think about Jean Grey transforming into the Dark Phoenix with the power and yearning to destroy Earth. Jean is a mutant, a Homo sapiens superior, the natural evolutionary replacement of human beings ñ ìWouldnít it be cool if her powers got out of control, and readers caught a glimpse of what it would be like to actually be replaced by a new species?î Hell yes, it would be cool, and haunting ñ and that is why the Dark Phoenix Saga is a Marvel classic.
If you want to revive a classic Marvel character, you have to look past the spandex and stories that have been written by your predecessors. You need to get down to the essence of what made your character popular in the past so you can write new stories that will make that character popular in the present. Hereís a good rule of thumb: if it didnít take place within the pages of the comic youíre writing, leave it out ñ itís not relevant to the story youíre telling right now. You donít have to discard the characterís past to do this ñ you just have to focus on the aspects of the character that have been consistent since the beginning, that make them who they are.
PULL QUOTE: ìWhile the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. was preaching integration and Malcolm X was espousing separation, Professor Xavier was teaching his mutants how to live among humans and Magneto was intent on building a separate nation.î
Marvelís mainline authors do this every day. Think about the X-Men as a metaphor for minorities in America. The classic stories were pulled from the pages of contemporary American history books: in the 1960s, while the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. was preaching integration and Malcolm X was espousing separation, Professor Xavier was teaching his mutants how to live among humans and Magneto was intent on building a separate nation of Homo sapien superiors. Today, in New X-Men, Grant Morrison is taking that central idea of the X-Men and recasting it in terms of the contemporary state of minority politics. He is telling stories in which Xavier has not abandoned his basic mission of integration, but has thrown open the doors of his academy in an overt declaration of mutant pride; he is showing the world the wonders of mutant science and culture.
Is this a rejection of those classic stories from the 1960s? Of course not. Does it depend on our having read those old stories? Not at all. A good EPIC script will remain faithful to the central concept of an existing Marvel creation without depending on the stories that have gone before it.
Rule #4: Start your story at the beginning.
Marvel receives hundreds of story springboards, beat sheets and scripts every year. Ninety-five percent of them start right in the middle of a story; one hundred percent of that group are rejected.
Everyone else on Earth writes, ìA man was born, he lived and died.î
Comic guys write, ìA man died ñ no, he didnít, that was really his clone.î
Just about every kind of comic book writer seems to fall into that same trap.
PULL QUOTE: ìWriters who have been telling Marvel stories for decades already know all about the Marvel Universe and seem to assume their readers do, as well.î
When I was plotting the first issue of Namor, I got to the end, read it over and realized I had written the second issue instead. Iíd written an issue in which a young Namor meets a land girl at the beach, then encounters her years later at the same beach and agrees to go to a dance with her. My plan was to set up Namorís conflict between his responsibility to Atlantis and his attraction to the world above water. What I forgot to do, however, was establish his relationship to Atlantis. All this business with the girl wouldnít mean much unless we had first seen Namor in his natural setting. So I had to go back and start at the beginning, and write issue one instead of issue two.
Writers who have been telling Marvel stories for decades already know all about the Marvel Universe and seem to assume their readers do, as well. These writers tend to pick up characters where they were left off in old Marvel comics. They feel like they can skip the beginning ñ which is the crucial part of the story during which the writer must make the reader care about the characters. They tend to start their new stories at the ends of old ones. All the pitches to ìbring backî Jubilee and Generation X have started where the Generation X books ended. Thatís not a beginning ñ thatís a story trying to borrow the work another writer has done in order to avoid the challenge of writing a beginning. EPIC is not going to publish that kind of book.
When new writers are trying to break into Marvel, they study up on the Marvel Universe. Unfortunately, exposure to the great works that went before frequently overwhelms them. They tend to write between the cracks of past stories. We receive pitches all the time that start like this: ìThe following events take place between issues #137 and #138 of Uncanny X-Men.î EPIC is not going to publish that kind of book.
And howís this for strange? New writers who bring their entirely new characters and universes to be published as creator-owned properties also fall into this trap. They expend huge mental energy building their own universes in their minds, on index cards and on reams of typed paper. Then they tend to pick some point in time and space, smack in the middle of their new universe, and start telling the story right there. These pitches generally start with an unidentified character on a mysterious mission, the nature and meaning of which is ìto be revealed.î What they donít do is give us a reason why we should care enough ñ and keep reading long enough ñ to find out. EPIC is not going to publish that kind of book.
Letís make this simple: begin your story by engaging the reader in the life of your main character and/or in the essential events of the story.
PULL QUOTE: ìBegin your story by engaging the reader in the life of your main character and/or in the essential events of the story.î
Rule #5: Think big, act small.
If you have ever been up close and personal in a street fight ñ scrapping or watching ó you know a punch in the nose is a major event. But now suppose that just before the street fight, you had seen the Hulk pick up a bus and toss it at a building, or watched Magneto stop the Earthís rotation with a thought and a theatrical gesture. Then, instead of the street fight being one of the most significant images you carry for the rest of your life, it becomes a big yawn.
There is a comic tradition of starting every book with a big action scene, but big action scenes are showstoppers and should be saved for climactic moments. Little actions are the lifeblood of graphic storytelling. Little actions establish your characters; little actions move the plot forward.
One of the most chilling and memorable scenes in Origin is the scene in which Dog kills Jamesís puppy. It has all the firepower it needs: one little puppy, one very bad boy. Nobody tossing tanks into oil tankers.
CAPTION: Origin didnít need big action scenes to be memorable, just one little puppy and one very bad boy.
Rule #6: Write in ìarcs.î
Gone are the days of yearlong story lines, dangling plot threads and dense continuity. If clear, accessible content is the best way to attract new readers, next in line are graphic novels ñ widely distributed, highly successful collections of single issues that together comprise complete story arcs. More and more, Marvel has been structuring stories with this market in mind, and EPIC should follow suit. The ideal length for a graphic novel is six issues ñ preferably two three-issue story arcs, but any combination is acceptable. After six issues, the price point tends to become prohibitive, and the gap between books too long.
Graphic novels underscore the usefulness of recap pages in monthly comic books. Not only do recap pages allow readers to play catch up on a monthly basis, they can be pulled from the subsequent collection ñ leaving a satisfying, complete story devoid of unnecessary exposition.
PULL QUOTE: ìA great first issue will have a clearly-defined ending, but will itself function as one big beginning for your six-issue story.î
When you write your issue #1, keep this six-issue story structure in mind. No need to sacrifice your beginning, middle and end. A great first issue will have a clearly-defined ending, but will itself function as one big beginning for your six-issue story.
CAPTION: Each Marvel trade paperback collects a complete, self-contained story arc.
Rule #7: Pilots vs. Origins
A good first issue is frequently an origin story. This kind of story provides a convenient way to introduce readers to your character, because readers actually watch the formation of those essential traits that make the character what he or she is. This is how we wrote Ultimate Spider-Man ñ the first seven issues of that series constitute an origin story. This is truly starting at the beginning ñ the beginning of the formative events that shape the characterís life.
PULL QUOTE: ìThe key to a long career in comics is not writing a good first issue. It is the ability to sustain a story line over the long haul.î
EPIC editors will be happy to get your origin stories, and I expect EPICís early years will include a bunch of them. But keep in mind the key to a long career in comics is not writing a good first issue. It is the ability to sustain a story line over the long haul.
Think about it this way: an origin story is like a movie in that the essential nature of the lead characters change. The boy comes of age (Star Wars, Spider-Man) ; the girl becomes a woman (Titanic, My Big Fat Greek Wedding). On the other hand, an ongoing comic series is like an ongoing TV series in that characters are established in the opening scenes, but donít change during the show. What they do is explore the world from their own perspective.
PULLQUOTE: ìA great first issue will immerse readers in the lives of the characters immediately ñ without leaving readers feeling like theyíve walked into the theater halfway through the movie.î
When TV programmers ask producers to make a ìpilotî episode, they donít ask for the ìoriginî of the characters. Instead, programmers want to see a ìtypicalî episode. They want to see that the audience enjoys episode #3 before they commit to the entire series. Programmers know that the best first episode in the world is useless if the producers canít generate a weekly show with a beginning, a middle and an end.
Whether itís an origin story or a ìpilot,î a great first issue will immerse readers in the lives of the characters immediately ñ while still taking the time to properly introduce those characters, and without leaving readers feeling like theyíve walked into the theater halfway through the movie.
In the long haul, Marvel needs books that do what JMS is doing on Amazing Spider-Man. Each story arc works for people who have been reading Spider-Man for forty years, and for people who saw the movie and found their way into a comic book shop hungry for more.
If you want to knock the socks off EPICís acquisition editors, submit a pilot issue in lieu of, or in addition to, an origin story.
Rule #8: Take charge, be brave; fight the Fanboys, and win their hearts.
If you can understand the difference between a creator and a fan, you have a fighting chance at writing for EPIC for a living.
Marvel has a way of announcing new creative initiatives to our fans: ìAt long last, Marvel will reveal the origin of Wolverine.î Part of the fun of being a Marvel fan is being a ìTrue Believerî in Marvelís mythology. Comics are more fun to read if you suspend your disbelief and think of the Marvel characters, stories and universe as real.
PULL QUOTE: ìI did not reveal the origin of Wolverine. I made it up.î
Unfortunately, many Marvel creators ñ and a number of our editors ñ take that notion too much to heart. Right from the horseís mouth: I did not ìrevealî the origin of Wolverine. I made it up. And I made it up twice, once in Origin and again in Marville #5.
Your readers are supposed to immerse themselves in the Marvel fantasy world. They are the passive observers permitted to roam among the authentic Marvel heroes ñ able to see and feel everything, but unable to touch and affect it.
PULL QUOTE: ìYour readers are supposed to immerse themselves in the Marvel fantasy world. That is not your job.î
That is not your job. You are not an apparition watching reality unfold around you. Your job is to take control, stand up, be counted and be creative.
During the past three years, Marvel has announced a number of publishing initiatives that have been criticized viciously by Fanboys and the fan press:
Truth: Red, White & Black
Incredible Hulk, X-Men family and Spider-Man family relaunches
This roster reads like an honor roll of the best and brightest creative pushes the industry has had to offer for the past three years.
Why the criticism?
Have you been paying attention?
Many Marvel fans are True Believers who immerse themselves in our comics and suspend their disbelief; they think of the Marvel characters, stories and universe as real.
Many editors were afraid to tell the origin of Wolverine, because they were afraid of fan backlash. Please realize what Iím saying: Marvel was afraid to tell a story about the most courageous character in our universe.
More importantly, please understand why Origin worked: Marvelís True Believers embraced Origin because it stayed true to the essence of Marvelís most courageous character.
PULL QUOTE: ìMarvel was afraid to tell a story about the most courageous character in our universe.î
Rule #9: Conclusion: Break the freakiní rules.
Creativity and rules donít mix, so donít feel bound to comply with everything you just read. In other words, these are not ìrulesî so much as they are principles developed during the past three years to address serious problems with comic book tradecraft. The only thing that ultimately matters is that you tell a good story ñ we donít care how you do it.
Start Slowly [SMALLER HEADLINE STYLE]
Establish your characters. Make your main character both likable and believable. For great fantasy to work, you need to do your job in establishing credibility. Jurassic Park starts with a lot of simple science and ends up with credible, cloned dinos. Star Wars starts with a kid on a desert planet and ends up with the Force battling the Empire for the control of the universe. Die Hard starts with a New York City cop on an airplane going to visit his estranged wife in Los Angeles, and ends up with a super hero flying, dodging bullets, and making guns materialize out of the back of his neck.
Create [SMALLER HEADLINE STYLE]
To write good fiction, you must immerse yourself in your creation, in the world of your characters. You walk among them; you feel they are real. The great thing about writing for Marvel is that accessing our Universe is easy and fun.
But to write great Marvel fiction, you also have to rise mentally above our fictional world and be willing to command the characters to do what you need them to do in your story. I know this sounds strange, but many new Marvel writers fail because they are so intimidated by the Marvel Universe that they turn off their creative talents and write tiny little stories that fit between the cracks of what went before them. Donít lock step with our characters, get out there and lead them.
Edit [SMALLER HEADLINE STYLE]
The editorís main function is to be the readerís advocate in the creative process ñ making sure the books are understandable and enjoyable. But Marvel will not edit EPIC books, you will. This means that, sometimes, you have to think like a reader, not just like a writer. You have to step back from the creative process from time to time and give your work a very objective reading ñ or just ask your friends and family to read your work and give you honest input.
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How to Submit Your Work to EPIC
EPIC books will be written, drawn, colored, lettered and composited by YOU. No editor will be working with you, calling to bug you for materials, or checking for mistakes. When it comes to your EPIC book, you will be running the show. In order to get to that point, though, you must go through the process of submitting your work for approval.
To submit your work to EPIC, there are a few steps you must follow:
If you are a writer, you must mail EPIC a full script for a 22-page comic book (single issues only, please; no series proposals), enclosed with a set of legal documents that are described below. If your script meets our guidelines and is approved by the submissions editor, you will receive a letter of acceptance as well as check for $500.00, and the green light to form a creative team of approved EPIC artists and designers to create your comic.
If you are an artist or a designer, you must mail EPIC five sample pages of your work, accompanied by a set of legal documents that are described below. If your work meets our guidelines and is approved by the submissions editor, we will send you a letter advising you that these samples will be posted on the EPIC web site so that approved EPIC writers can recruit you for a creative team.
Please read further for full instructions.
Submission Rules for Writers
How to get started in comics with a typewriter
1) The first thing you need to do is write a script. We do NOT want springboards, synopses, character descriptions or partial scripts. We need to see the whole thing from beginning to end, for a 22-page comic. Please submit your scripts typed on paper; we will not be accepting disks or handwritten scripts. For an example of how to format your script, please visit http://www.epiccomics.com/blahblah.html.
2) Go to the EPIC web site and download the following forms: Idea Submission Form, Writersí Work For Hire Agreement, and W-9 Tax Form. If the script you are submitting is set in the Marvel Universe but includes new characters, you must also download the New Character Agreement. If the script you are submitting is NOT set in the Marvel Universe and does NOT use any Marvel characters, you must also download the Creator-Owned Agreement. PLEASE READ THESE DOCUMENTS CAREFULLY. These documents set forth the rights Marvel Enterprises, Inc. (ìMarvelî) will have in your work. By signing these documents, you will be agreeing that Marvel owns all rights to the work submitted by you and that you are performing the work on a work made for hire basis. The agreements become effective when we return copies to you also signed by Marvel.
3) After you review and sign these forms, please put them in an envelope with your script. PLEASE INCLUDE EVERY PAGE OF EVERY FORM. Mail us your script and legal forms along with a self addressed stamped envelope (so we can send you a response). Do not include sample artwork, or any other materials not listed here. Please send everything at once. We canít accept any script that doesnít come with the proper paperwork.
4) EPIC will then review your work. If it is accepted, EPIC will mail you a written response and a check for $500.00 in the envelope you enclosed. If it is not accepted, EPIC will mail you a written rejection letter and return to you your rejected script and legal forms. All acceptances and rejections are in EPICís sole discretion. There will be a lot of submissions, so we wonít be able to give feedback on any rejected script. Itís going to be yes or no. PLEASE DO NOT CALL, E-MAIL OR VISIT TO INQUIRE INTO THE STATUS OF YOUR SUBMISSION.
5) Once you have a green light, itís up to you to build a creative team to create your book. You may only use artists and designers that have already been approved by EPIC, so encourage any artist friends you want to work with to submit their work by following the artistsí submission instructions below. You may find the list of approved artists and samples of their work at http://www.marvel.com/epic/blahblah.html.
Script Content Guidelines
1) Please keep all script content PG or below. This means no nudity, sex, swearing, drug use, or graphic violence on-panel.
2) Please do not use any characters copyrighted by an entity other than Marvel. This means no DC crossovers, no movie or TV characters, and no celebrity likenesses.
3) Titles will be subject to Marvel legal approval. There is a chance that you will be asked to provide an alternate title for your comic after your script is approved.
4) If you write double-page spreads (two facing pages that function as a single layout and cannot be separated) into your script, make sure each spread is separated by an even number of pages; for example, if pages 14 and 15 are a double-page spread, then pages 18 and 19 can be a spread as well, but not pages 19 and 20. This is to ensure that when your story is drawn, the artistís layouts remain intact when the story is collected in a trade paperback.
Submission Rules for Artists
How to get started in comics with a pencil, brush or Macintosh
1) The first thing you must do is photocopy 5 pages of your work ñ either pencils, inks, coloring, or lettering. Please make clean 8 1/2îx11î photocopies of your work. Make sure the reproduction quality is high, because if your work is approved, we will be scanning these photocopies for posting on the EPIC web site.
2) Go to the EPIC web site and download the following forms: Idea Submission Form and Artwork Release Form. PLEASE READ THESE DOCUMENTS CAREFULLY. These documents set forth the rights Marvel will have in your work, including the right to post your work on a web site.
3) After you review and sign these forms, please put them in an envelope with your photocopies. Mail us your sample work and legal forms along with a self addressed stamped envelope. Send everything at once. We canít accept any artwork that doesnít come with the proper paperwork.
4) EPIC will review your work. If it is approved, EPIC will mail you a written response and post your work on the EPIC web site, located at http://www.marvel.com/epic/blahblah.html. If it is not accepted, EPIC will mail you a written rejection letter. There will be a lot of submissions, so we wonít be able to give feedback on any rejected work. Itís going to be yes or no. PLEASE DO NOT CALL, E-MAIL OR VISIT TO INQUIRE INTO THE STATUS OF YOUR SUBMISSION.
5) Once your work has been posted to the EPIC web site, approved EPIC writers may see your work there and contact you to join a creative team. Marvel will provide approved EPIC writers with your contact information; however, Marvel cannot be held responsible for any unauthorized use of this information that may occur as a result.
What Happens Next?
After you get your script approved, the next step is to assemble a creative team. For the full story on assembling a team and creating your comic for EPIC, please visit the EPIC web site at http://www.marvel.com/blahblahblah.html.
Where to Send Stuff
All submission materials must be mailed to:
Marvel Enterprises, Inc.
10 East 40th Street
New York, NY 10016
Where to Find More Information
To learn more about EPIC and download the legal forms you need, please visit the EPIC web site at http://www.marvel.com/blahblahblah.html.
[Idea Submission Form]