Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Breaking Into The Big Two

A few weeks back I made a comment on Twitter about being able to count on my hand the number of artists who broke into comics with their first gig at Marvel or DC. While I made this comment in reference to the number of people who have done so during my time at Marvel, over the past 8 years, the always enterprising Eddy Choi decided to research things a little farther back and sent me over the following list, reprinted with Eddy's permission:

"Hey CB, your recent tweet, "I can count on one hand the number of creators I know who had their 1st writing or art gig on a Marvel or DC book with no prior experience." got me thinking. I used to hunt down back-issues of a creator's first work as a kind of "rookie comic," so I wanted to see how many creators I could find who started at DC or Marvel and here's what I got:

Jason Aaron - Wolverine #75
Chris Bachalo - Sandman #12
Travis Charest - Showcase '93 #3
Jim Cheung - Justice League Task Force #26
Darwyn Cooke - New Talent Showcase #19
Marko Djurdjevic - X-Men: First Class #1
Ron Garney - G.I. Joe #110
Gene Ha - Green Lantern #36
James Jean - Fables #1
Geoff Johns - DCU Heroes Secret Files and Origins #1
Joe Kelly - Fantastic Four 2099 #5
Adam Kubert - Secret Society of Super-Villains #13
Andy Kubert - Savage She-Hulk #20
Jeph Loeb - Challengers of the Unknown #1
Joe Madureira - Marvel Comics Presents #87
George Perez - Astonishing Tales #25
Whilce Portacio - Alien Legion #6
Paolo Rivera - Marvel Double Shot #2
John Romita Jr. - Amazing Spider-Man #146
Jim Shooter - Adventure Comics #346
Marc Silvestri - House of Mystery #292
Walt Simonson - Weird War Tales #10
Chris Sprouse - War of the Gods #1
J. Michael Straczynski - Teen Titans Spotlight
Brian K. Vaughan - Tales From the Age of Apocalypse #2

Btw, one of the first guys to come to mind was Stephen Platt. I still remember when he did Moon Knight #55 and it was such a splash for an unknown guy to be so popular right off the bat. I found out later that he did a cover for an independent company earlier in the year, so I didn't include him in the above list, but I'm sure there are plenty of guys like that who just got one little thing published somewhere before getting their first storytelling work.

Another example is Olivier Coipel who got a single character published in Resident Evil Magazine #3 through WildStorm and then years later, he drew Legion of Super-Heroes #122. Techincally, his first work is Resident Evil, but like Platt, I could see where some would say his first work is actually LoSH, b/c I don't think he really used that previous piece to land work at DC."

Wow! That's a pretty damn impressive list. Thanks for compiling it and sharing, Eddy. And couple artists I can add off the top of my head are...

Skottie Young - Iceman #3
Adrian Alphona - Runaways #3 (although it may technically be an Exiles pinup in X-Men Unlimited.)

But I know there are probably a few more that I'm blanking on now. Anyone care to play along and try to add to the list?

Update from Mark Waid: "Not to undercut your point, which is FAR more applicable today than it was in the two-horse-town days of the '70s and early '80s, but, first published gig was Action Comics #572, Oct 1985."


c. jorge said...

I know one more, and you met him in Barcelona a few weeks ago.

His name is Salva Espín and his first american work is the cover for Wolverine First Clss #1.

phil said...

I started on Birds of Prey #33 doing covers.
While I was working full time at Disney .
Seems like a lifetime ago :)

Jake Black said...

My first published comics work was Smallville #5 at DC. I co-wrote the backup story. I was the writers' intern on the TV show at the time.

Mark Waid said...

Not to undercut your point, which is FAR more applicable today than it was in the two-horse-town days of the '70s and early '80s, but, first published gig was Action Comics #572, Oct 1985.

Tony Lee said...

My first gig in comics was X-Men Unlimited #1 - but I got it because of my time writing in radio / TV...

C.B. Cebulski said...

I'm actually not including foreign writers and artists on this list if they'd worked in their home countries before writing/drawing for Marvel or DC. This is not breaking into American comics, this is breaking into comics period, no matter where in the world you broke in.

Mark Bourne said...

Last century my first writing credit was Wolverine Encyclopedia Vol. Editorial credit was ID4#0 - and o how far I've come...

unteins said...

A few people on that list don't surprise me considering their family ties (Kuberts for example). Not to say that they didn't earn their way on talent, but it sure helps to have a famous name on your side to get someone to take a look :)

Glenn Hauman said...

Peter David - Amazing Spider-Man #267.

Edu said...

Jefte Palo, his first break into comics was "x-force: ain´t no dog"... ´cause his work in graphic design doesn´t count right?

Optimal Optimus said...

If it was easy everyone would be doing it. This is entertainment and its a got a built in weeding process. If you want in, you got to pay in dues: blood, sweat, tears and a lot of rejection and even then you may not make it. Mind your craft and stay the course, either you'll earn the opportunity or it will take you elsewhere. This is true for anything worth doing.

David Macho said...

Ok, between my guys, first work published in the US & Marvel or DC, and with no previous experience in European Comics or other american companies:

- Al Barrionuevo, The LEGION #17.
- Bit, Batman: Gotham Knights #61.
- Julian Lopez: Superman #676 (not first published, but first penciled work, first published was Wonder Woman #13).
-Manuel Garcia: Robin #
- Marta Martinez: Martian Manhunter #1.
- Javier Mena: Marvel Apes #1.
- MA Sepulveda: Marvel Illustrated The Iliad #1.
- Sergio Ariño: Ms. Marvel #41. (I could count as first his inks for Push, but that's WS, so it fits here, too).

I hope not to be forgetting anybody else here!

Manolis Vamvounis said...

didn't adrian alphona start on runaways #1 ?!?

and very impressed to read about Joe Kelly and BKV starting off like that

how does that work in this case? how were they chosen to get published without any work to their name?

Tom said...

Loeb and Straczynski don't really count because they had written stuff professionally for television beforehand. And it's a little unfair to list John Romita Jr and the Kuberts, they had nepotism on their side...

Feenomite said...

All the interviews I've seen from Romita Jr. about how he broke in state that he had to deal with a sort of anti-nepotism. People weren't giving him the chance to work because of his name.

Shon_C_Bury said...

My first writing credit was on a DC book: Showcase'95 #5.

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