Dark Horse Calls for Submissions

In today’s market, it’s rare that established publishers will even look at submissions, let alone publicize their interest. Dark Horse has posted the following call for new projects (link no longer available):

[A]ll entries (provided you follow the guidelines below) will be reviewed by the Dark Horse Comics editorial staff. The editorial staff will then pass along those New Recruits entries that make the cut to el presidenté. Final winners will then be personally selected by Mike Richardson, president, publisher and fearless leader of Dark Horse Comics.

There’s a set of submission guidelines to follow. Although they’re framing this in terms of “New Recruits” and “joining the Dark Horse Army”, which implies that they’re interested in individual people’s talent, they’re only looking at this time for

finished proposals — story and art — from writer-artists or writer-and-artist teams who have a story to tell. Writers with story proposals without an artist attached, or artists wishing to submit art-only samples for consideration, should go through Dark Horse’s standard submissions process.

They’re accepting packages at the New York Con, San Diego, and Wizard Chicago, or through the mail. Finalists must be patient; they’re going to notify those they’re interested in in January 2007. Submissions must be accompanied by an entry form that includes this interesting clause:

I hereby grant you the right to use the Material provided that you shall first conclude an agreement with me for such use or you shall determine that you have an independent legal right to use the Material or any portion thereof which is not derived from me either because the Material is not new, novel, or original or has not been reduced to concrete form or because other persons (which may include your employees and other persons presenting materials to you) have submitted similar or identical suggestions, features, and material which you have the right to use.

I know they want to avoid a Last Son of Earth situation, but I don’t know that I’d want the publisher of Aliens vs. Predator deciding that they didn’t owe me anything because my idea wasn’t original enough.

Kidding aside, it’s a good thing that an established company is willing to set out exactly what they’re looking for, what their expectations are, and how aspiring creators can interact with them.


6 Responses to “Dark Horse Calls for Submissions”

  1. Rachel Kadushin Says:

    I think this is the third or fourth year that they’ve had this competition. I entered it with HEROES IN BIRMINGHAM — most of the pages I submitted are now on my on-line preview from the first issue. I ended up self-publishing after they declined.

    I think I understand why they want the packages. Even established artists return finished art at different rates. A writer-artist team needs to learn what their pacing is. When you prepare 8 to 12 finished pages, you get something out of it.

    Even though my artist, Ed Meares, isn’t my property partner, he enjoyed working with me enough on the sample that he agreed to work on all of the first issue me, and then agreed to stay on for the entire first graphic novel’s worth. I was able to share perks of publicity and convention travel out-of-town with him, and I think we’re both getting something out of it.

    I’m not certain if a young-adult to all ages title like mine will get Dark Horse’s attention, you might want to look at the past winners and see what got through and how those books did.

    Honestly, I was going for the kids who liked Harry Potter and comics and might be interested in trying something new, as well as old-time fans of Spider-Man, Bat-Man, Teen Titans and Alpha Flight.

    I may yet reach that audience, but honestly feel that more “babe-a-licous” artwork would have gotten better attention.

    Nevertheless, most everyone who has read my books likes them. So that’s pretty cool.

    Let me know what you think…

  2. Johanna Says:

    That’s a great point, that going through the submission process is a good experience for aspiring creators.

  3. charles diggs Says:

    I have written a star wars story that I am wondering if I could somehow publish as a comic along with some other genre stories.

  4. Tommy Raiko Says:

    “I have written a star wars story that I am wondering if I could somehow publish as a comic.”

    Assuming you’re an aspiring writer and not a known, published author already and assuming that you’re talking about wanting to write a Star Wars story that’s an official, licensed project and not some casual fan-fic, then it might be instructive to read this article by media tie-in writer Roger MacBride Allen about how media tie-in publishing generally works, and how they’re gigs that’re all but impossible for new writers to get.

  5. douglas carter Says:

    i have comics written, but there on another level. not exactly what you may be looking for and if not could you recommend other comic companies? my story if you can call it that would be best described as pictorial skits, a bit like robot chicken, with commercials and public service announcments (though the commercials and pca are odd to say the least) thanks

  6. Andrew Says:

    I want to publish my story as a manga. But what do I need to do to publish my story correctly? Do I have to right the entire story or do I have write a short summary of the story? Can you tell me everything I need to do to publish my story into a manga?

    Thanks.

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