War Rocket Ajax #14: Dark Horse Editor Rachel Edidin on Breaking in to Comics [Podcast]
This week on ComicsAlliance’s official podcast, we’re pleased as punch to welcome Rachel Edidin, the Dark Horse Comics editor responsible for the print collections of Axe Cop, Finder and The Adventures of Dr. McNinja, as well as the newly released The Last Dragon! She tells us how she broke in as an editor and what it’s like to be the one who has to answer to the fans — and you can listen to the whole show right here at ComicsAlliance!War Rocket Ajax v.2, #14: Eye Lasers, Illinois with Rachel Edidin
(WARNING: Contains NSFW language)
NOTE: We’re still having server problems this week, so the iTunes feed may not update. More information can be found in the show, which you can stream it above. Visit WarRocketAjax.com to download the episode in mp3 format, and find more information on the feed!
In this week’s Checks, Chris takes you through his very first issue as a subscriber of the still-going Thrasher Magazine — complete with some tips on where to send your hate mail — and Matt tells us what it’s like to be working at the Daily Planet.
After regaling us with a horrifying tale of allergic reactions, Rachel Edidin joins us to talk about how she got into comics:
I very, very originally started out when I was a wee kid with Tintin, which I guess everyone does, and with a lot of the odd, random comics my parents had around. Things like Mark Marek’s Hercules Amongst the North Americans, which I managed to drag down from a shelf when I was five or six, and thought was the most brilliant thing ever. It remains to this day, I think, one of the weirdest comics I’ve ever read.
And then I didn’t read comics for a while, and then in high school, I got to be friends with a lot of the people who read comics, and I was very sort of twee goth, and someone said “Oh, you look like a character in this comic, you should read it,” and gave me Sandman. At the same time, I was borrowing X-Men on the bus constantly from Chris Conroy, who’s now an editor at DC because I think something like 3% of my high school class now works in the comics industry.
When I got out of college, I was running the writing center. They had asked me to stay on as director the next year, and so I decided that I was going to put off grad school and I was going to stick around with this fledgling program and get it to the point where I didn’t feel like I had to be there to hold it together for it to last. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do, but I figured it was either grad school or make comics in some capacity. Write or edit.
So I volunteered at Wizard World Chicago — I was living in North Carolina at this point, but I had family in Chicago and I was like “I can go visit them, I can get into this con for free and volunteer and make connections” This was also the weekend before my wedding, so I was kind of desperate to just get the hell away from town for a couple days.
I went and I was volunteering and I had this cover letter and my idea was that I would talk to editors and writers and basically offer to buy them lunch or a drink or whatever in exchange for getting to sit down and pick their brains about working in comics and editing and writing. What kind of things to look for, what kind of things to do. I made it really clear that I wasn’t hunting for a job. And I had this awful cover letter that was in the form of a comic script of me going up to people and awkwardly giving them my cover letter. The part that I thought was really clever was the second page, “And now in Marvel Style” that just had a summary of it with “Dialogue to follow on receipt of artwork.”
She also tells us about interacting with fans in her former job as the moderator of Dark Horse’s Conan message boards:
My favorite thing about Conan readers is that they get really, really into it. And they tend to get really really into it from really well-informed perspectives. A lot of the people that were showing up had read tons of Robert E. Howard, the original stories, were really aware of not only the Dark Horse comics, but how Conan as a character and how the stories had been represented and had evolved across media, and a lot of them felt really strongly about it.
Of the message boards that I’ve been involved with, this was definitely one of the more energetic. For the most part, it was a lot of fun. It got pretty surreal and odd at times. There was one person who was really upset at the idea of having a woman as the moderator of the Conan board, who ended up trolling obsessively to the point where we just banned him, and then banned the sock puppets that he made into infinity.
For the most part, it was cool. It’s an interesting community, it’s a good comic, and like with most message boards, and maybe moreso, the nice part of moderating is that you get to turn down the shouting to the point where you get to see the conversation underneath.
All that, plus one of the best reader complaints ever and more in this week’s interview!
Are you ready for Hawktober? Rachel is.
The Too-Hot-For-Magic-the-Gathering art of Rebecca Guay (watch out, the first image is slightly NSFW).
Dark Horse has a preview of The Last Dragon for your reading enjoyment.
The other Last Dragon, the finest non-RoboCop film ever made.
Janissa the Widowmaker was slightly controversial.
Thrasher Magazine: 30 years and still hangin’ in there.
ComicsAlliance’s second week of the New 52 Rundown.
Chris’s Rec: Katie Tiedrich’s Awkward Zombie:
Matt’s Rec: The one, the only, the must-see MC, Adam Warrock, seen here with Tribe One:
A “New 52″ roundup takes us through Suicide Squad #1, Batman & Robin #1, and Deathstroke #1, which is “a lot better than I thought it would be,” as well as pointing out the uncanny similarities beteween Grifter #1 and Resurrection Man #1. Then we head down the block for this week’s Marvel books: Ultimate Spider-Man #1 makes Miles Morales “a character that I like and that I’m invested in,” and Daredevil #3 is “consistently the best comic coming out.”