Since early June, BOOM! Studios has maintained a Facebook page allowing open artist submissions. Pencilers, colorists, and inkers have presented their work for the comic publisher and fans alike to evaluate. This certainly isn’t the first or only opportunity for creators to directly show their work to publishers; portfolio reviews at conventions have been a regular practice since comic cons began. But the ability to do so publicly, and with such little effort, is an opportunity unique to the digital age.
The skill level on display ranges from working professionals to individuals that could benefit from a few more years of practice. The modest creators post once, leaving a link to their online portfolio, the novices spam the page repeatedly with individual images. A smattering of writers request information for how to submit work despite the fact that the about section clearly states that they do not accept story submissions. BOOM! does not respond directly to posts or messages and the only active engagement from the admins are weekly creator tips. Comic book fans however have taken the opportunity to like, comment, and share art as much as they please. Readers engage with creators regularly through various social media platforms, but this is as close as one can get to sitting next to an artist during their portfolio review. We won’t know for a while if BOOM! has hired any of these creators, but it’s an exciting and transparent exchange that fans should witness.
Unlike DC’s recent talent search involving requests for artwork from a one page script (and god love em, a few artists have gone for a “twofer” and posted their Harley pieces here as well), BOOM! offers no guidelines for artists. That small difference may be why more people have referred to the DC approach as more of a “contest” in search of a winner. If I were an aspiring artist, I could definitely see the appeal of breaking into comics through the Big Two. But looking at the criteria for their differing attempts at talent recruitment is a good indicator of the work experience these companies will offer. DC’s “winner” may get a lot more exposure, but they’ll be closely controlled. BOOM! wants talented people that can discern for themselves how to impress editors.
The BOOM! Studios’ Facebook page is filled with different approaches to the open art request, but the talented ones stand out regardless of whether they are depicting licensed characters or creator owned pieces. It is easy to imagine these skilled artists creating work amidst the varied offerings BOOM! currently publishes. From over 300 submissions to date, here are a few artists we’ve handpicked for you to keep on your radar.