Robot 6

How to successfully pitch a superhero comic

from S.H.O.O.T. First by Justin Aclin and Ben Bates

from S.H.O.O.T. First by Justin Aclin and Ben Bates

It was an awesome thing to behold. My friend Justin Aclin — editor of ToyFare magazine, head writer of Twisted ToyFare Theater, and author of the graphic novel Hero House — came up with a great idea for a comic, about a super-powered team of militant atheists who track down and kill supposedly supernatural entities for meddling in humanity’s affairs. This was on a Monday. On Tuesday he pitched it to Dark Horse. On Wednesday it was greenlit. From idea to approval in under 48 hours. Amazing, right?

By now you’ve seen the end result: S.H.O.O.T. First, an eight-page story from the final issue of MySpace Dark Horse Presents. But if you’re an aspiring comics writer, perhaps you wanna see exactly how Aclin managed to catch lightning in a bottle in the first place.

Fortunately, he’s got your hook-up: On his blog, Aclin has posted his successful proposal for the comic. It sets up the concept, introduces the characters, and walks you through the plot of the initial short story in seven paragraphs and one catchphrase — pretty much a how-to for clear, concise, compelling comics pitches. Read and learn.



Steven R. Stahl

June 3, 2010 at 10:54 am

On Aclin’s blog, there was this:

I was kind of expecting the core of the concept to take some religious people aback, but so far, at least, nearly all of the controversy over it has come from atheists! I’m hoping to keep the conversation going now that the story is out (it premiered online yesterday at Comic Book Resources, along with another interview with me) and people can hopefully see how the idea works in execution (heh), not just in theory.


Lord Byron tries to convince the demon to leave the girl willingly, but it’s understandably reluctant. So Bett pulls out the big guns—literally. They’re guns that shoot metaphysical bullets, which should pass harmlessly through a human and injure the demon residing within. The demon doesn’t buy it, but rather than risk being a sitting duck it jumps out of the girl and tries to jump through the second story window to freedom, but Bett is able to grab it and execute it.

If the atheists are routinely dealing with metaphysical entities, why are they atheists? An analogy would be the Ghostbusters written as people who don’t believe in ghosts, so they go out and trap spirits who are pretending to be ghosts.


Sean T. Collins

June 3, 2010 at 11:02 am

You realize Brian Bendis didn’t write this, right?

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