Friday, June 17, 2011

Marvel in Rosario

C.B. Cebulski presenting, Andrés Accorsi translating

For much of my stay in Argentina, I have been thinking about how my Fulbright could end up resulting in a future career. I would love to do something with comics, but since I don’t draw and I’m not creative enough to write, I really don’t know what else to do. And then I met C.B. Cebulski, an editor at Marvel Comics, and one of the invited guests at Crack Bang Boom. On the first day of the conference, he spoke about the job of an editor at Marvel and how he chooses teams of writers, artists, inkers, and colorists to create stories. Because he also came to review portfolios, he also talked a bit about that process. I really liked his speech, so I approached him later to talk. I told him about my Fulbright project and asked him if I could observe the portfolio review. Surprisingly, he said yes!

On Saturday, I met with him and learned more about superhero comics than I had in the past four years. Out of hundreds of submissions, C.B. picked a handful. Some of the chosen artists already had careers as comics artists, while others were right out of the Universidad de Palermo’s comics program. He started the review by asking the interviewee about their history drawing comics, then would critique their art and tell them what they could improve upon. At the end of the interview, he said he would send them some sample scripts that they could draw. One of the most frequent critiques C.B. gave was about character presentation. A few illustrators had cropped characters in odd ways, cutting off elbows or feet. Others hadn't introduced a new character with a full body shot. He also critiqued the presentation of fight scenes. In superhero comics, the fight scenes can be long and take up a many pages because it is these scenes that the readers most enjoy. One specific critique C.B. gave was about an X-Men comic with Wolverine. The artist had drawn Wolverine right before and during the fight, but there was no panel where Wolverine was taking out his claws. This, said C.B., was the shot that the readers most look forward to, and shouldn't be overlooked.

Between interviews, C.B. and I talked about Marvel and it’s recent entry into Argentina. Apparently, DC had a monopoly on the market, so Marvel was hesitant to recruit in Argentina. However, Risso invited C.B. to the conference and put into motion a relationship between Argentines and Marvel comics. I also learned that many Argentine writers can’t get published in the USA if their scripts aren’t in English. In France, each publishing house has a translation department for foreign comics. But in the United States, there aren't any. The relationship between Argentine comics creators and the USA is developing, and with my knowledge of both countries, I might be able to facilitate that relationship. My cousin Liam told me that, if I wanted a job in comics, I would have to create one. After talking with C.B. and learning more about the comics field, I think I might be able to do that.

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