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Comic Book Writer Job Description, Career as a Comic Book Writer, Salary, Employment

Definition and Nature of the Work, Education and Training Requirements, Getting the Job

Education and Training:— No specific qualification or training required.

Salary: Median— $48,000 annually

Employment Outlook:— Fair

Comic book writers create comic books and graphic novels. They basically conceptualize stories and tell them through words which are then put together with suitable illustrations to form comic strips. The writer is responsible for developing the plot and setting, constructing characters, and putting together the elements of emotion, action, and closure.

Comic book writers usually collaborate with pencillers, inkers, colorists, letterers, and editors. The job role of comic book writers depends largely on the type of production. For instance, those working in small press comics may have to write and illustrate comic books, while those with major publishing houses usually handle only one specific task.

The work of comic book writers also varies from country to country. Writers, together with letterers, and colorists are involved in the creation of European comic books. On the other hand, Japanese comic book writers are primarily responsible for writing and penciling, while his/ her assistants and editors take care of the inking, screentone, and lettering.

Education and Training Requirements

Comic book writers are not required to have any specific educational qualifications in order to pursue the profession. However, it is necessary to be comfortable with the language one chooses to write in, and have a strong hold over grammar.

A comic book writer needs to have certain qualities like tenacity and flexibility. While creating a comic book, one should use a dictionary or thesaurus, and do a thorough spell-check. It is a good idea to proofread everything before sending it out. Also, since the job requires dealing with editors and publishers, comic book writers may often have to change their scripts in order to satisfy these people.

Comic book writers who intend to do the illustrations themselves need to know the basics of drawing. There are a number of art schools and colleges that offer courses to aspiring writers and cartoonists. Moreover, since comic book writing is unlike all other kinds of writing, it is advisable to first learn the nuances of this specific language. A wide variety of books and online reading materials are available that offer help and advice regarding the art of comic book writing.

Getting the Job

Comic book writers just starting out in the profession should ideally send out comic strips to magazines. Major publishers mostly handle comic books and syndicated strips, but for a beginner, it might be too much of a stress to deal with stringent timelines. It might be a little difficult to find employment initially, especially since these jobs are rarely advertised in newspapers or on the Internet. However, it is a good idea to do a little research on magazines, newspaper syndicates, and publishing houses that publish comic books or strips, and get in touch with them personally. One should also maintain a portfolio of sample works, and send it out to prospective employers.

Advancement Possibilities and Employment Outlook

There are no so called advancement possibilities in the profession of comic book writing. With experience, expertise, and success, one can move on to deals with bigger and better syndicates. Comic books and graphic novels are extremely popular, and it does not take long before quality work gains recognition and popularity. It is extremely important to be disciplined and tenacious when getting started as a comic book writer; these qualities are equally important in helping established comic book writers advance to bigger deals and wider distribution.

The market for comic books is huge in almost all parts of the world. Graphic novels and comic books are equally popular with both children and adults, and the creators of the well-liked works are treated as celebrities.

Working Conditions

Comic book writers can create their works without leaving the comfort of their homes, although many work in offices alongside artists and editors. They enjoy flexible work hours and can work at their own pace. However, in order to excel in this profession, it is crucial to be disciplined. Regularity should be maintained in the preparing comic strips or books. Those working with large publishing companies often have to meet strict deadlines. This may result in a lot of stress if one does not have a disciplined and professional attitude. Nevertheless, with recognition and appreciation, comic book writers can gain a lot of fame and wealth.

Where to Go for More Information

The National Cartoonists Society
341 N. Maitland Avenue, Suite 130
Maitland, FL 32751

The National Association of Comics Art Educators/Teachingcomics.org
C/o Ben Towle
1581 W Northwest Blvd
Winston-Salem, NC

Midwest Comic Book Association
PO Box 131475
Saint Paul, MN 55113

Graphic Artists Guild
32 Broadway, Suite 1114
New York, NY 10004-1612

Comicbook Artists Guild
PO Box 38
Moodus CT 06469

Writers on Comics Scriptwriting
Author: Mark Salisbury

Salary, Earnings and Benefits

Since comic book writers are rarely salaried employees, it is very difficult to determine the collective earnings of these professionals. Their earnings are entirely dependent on their talent, output, and popularity. A lot of publishers also pay on the basis of scripts, and the total salary depends on the number of scripts a comic book writer can churn out. According to recent reports, the average annual salary of comic book writers in the United States is $48,000. Entry level salaries are usually around $20,000 per year. However, extremely popular writers have been known to earn as much as $20 million in a year.

Comic book writers enjoy the freedom of imagination and creation, and flexible work hours. Fame is another particularly attractive element of this profession. A lot of comic book writers work part-time, and hold another job to augment their incomes. Such individuals may get regular benefits from their other employers.

Additional topics

Job Descriptions and Careers, Career and Job Opportunities, Career Search, and Career Choices and ProfilesCommunication and the Arts