Thanks to everyone who’s been spreading the word about Skullkickers and pre-ordering the first issue at their comic retailer!
I’ve been getting quite a few e-mails from people asking about how we were able to get our comic published by Image Comics, so I wanted to touch base on that and give a bit of insight in to the pitching process.
Image is the only premiere comic publisher that accepts unsolicited pitches for new projects. What that means is that other large comic publishers (Dark Horse, DC, IDW and Marvel) won’t look at your original ideas unless they’ve specifically asked you to send them.
Image has a pretty extensive section explaining how to submit proposals to them. Keep in mind that hearing back from them can take a while and that they might not give your proposal the thumb’s up, but at least there is an avenue.
So, without giving away surprise story elements to come, how did I pitch Skullkickers to Image?
Here’s the initial outline I sent in to the editors on Popgun explaining the concept. Back then it was called “2 Copper Pieces” instead of Skullkickers:
In a backwater fantasy world filled with all manners of magical beasts, poverty, disease and other horrifying threats, it’s a daily struggle to survive. Most people keep their head low, stay in the village they were born and eke out a life as a farmer or simple trades person. The only people strong enough to have anything else are protected by sorcerous powers or in the employ of the demonic.
Except for our two protagonists – They thrive by being stubborn and tough as Hell.
No one knows where this human and dwarf came from or how they’ve survived so long without using a speck of magic. They travel the land slaying every kind of beast in their path with sheer physical grit and vicious trickery. They’re not heroic or even nice – in fact they might be two of the most irritating and ornery $%&@ to ever heft a blade. No matter how obnoxious they may be, no one can argue with their results and the huge trail of corpses left in their wake. In a world of the weak, they’re fighters.
Some folks despise them, others praise or even worship them – they don’t care.
They’d kill anything for 2 copper pieces.
2 Copper Pieces is a fantasy parody on steroids. It revels in the clichés of sword and sorcery while injecting them with an extra spark of sass and violence. It’s not deep and meaningful by any stretch, instead keeping readers engaged with snappy dialogue and inventive use of monsters. Like Ash from Army of Darkness, our “heroes” are so full of themselves and capable that readers will like them even when they’re being absolute jerks.
That’s it in a nutshell. That little chunk is only 280 words. It doesn’t have to be long and involved, in fact being short and to the point probably helps. Make a solid statement about what you want your concept to feel like and make it clear.
After that overview of what 2 Copper Pieces was all about I had another 100-150 words about the specific story, outlining what would be happening, trying to make it all sound exciting. The editors liked it and I wrote the first short story (which you can read in our free zero issue online) with these characters for Popgun volume 2.