• Columns 

    Enormous: The Art of the Pitch

    By | October 31st, 2011
    Posted in Columns | % Comments

    Previously on Multiversity Comics, we’ve talked about an upcoming Shadowline (by way of Image) Comics release from writer Tim Daniel and artist Mehdi Cheggour called Enormous. That book is arriving in July 2012 and, befitting Halloween, is all about giant monsters. Here’s a quick synopsis of what the hardcover one-shot is going to be about.

    You are at the bottom of the food chain, a fading point of light in the course of evolutionary history. You are a dying species. You are human. You are a child — and Ellen Grace is coming to collect you.

    A cataclysm of unparallelled proportion has spawned the ‘Enormous,’ massive beasts that have ravaged the planet. In their wake of destruction, mankind struggles to survive. The race to stave off extinction has begun.

    Sounds pretty amazing to me, especially when you factor in the off-the-charts awesome Cheggour is bringing to the table on art.

    But how does a book like this come together? How do Daniel and Cheggour take an idea and get it published? How could you as an aspiring creator? Daniel was great enough to share how he and Cheggour got Enormous off the ground, which we’re now passing on to you after the jump.

    Also, to keep up-to-date on what is going on with Enormous, check out their website and their Twitter/Facebook pages.

    Tim Daniel: Pitching a story is the most gut wrenching experience.

    A blend of the pitch pages for Enormous

    While there are scores of excellent columns, creator blogs, and publisher’s submission guidelines to help steer a creative team, there is only one truth to this entire crazy process — there is no definitive manner for successfully presenting your book. Follow the submission guidelines for a publisher, knowing full well that just because you dutifully adhere to the rules does not in any way guarantee success. When pitching Enormous, we were lucky, fortunate and foolish; lucky to have discovered artist Mehdi Cheggour on Facebook, fortunate to have built a relationship with Shadowline publisher Jim Valentino through dedication and hard work, and foolish enough to assume our story would stun him with its creative genius — guaranteeing the immediate green-light. More on that last bit in a moment…

    Enormous was pitched precisely in the following manner:

    – Cover: colored and dressed with the logo & credits

    – Story: 8 pages finished, colored and lettered art

    – Synopsis: 1 page and at the top a one paragraph overview of the story

    – Bible: lengthy document detailing the world, characters and this case, creatures

    More images from the initial pitch

    What did I get in response? Well, back to that last bit about genius and greenlights. I’ll paraphrase the written critique Jim Valentino offered:

    – There was a germ of a story here that needed to be more fully explored.

    – 8 pages of story and not much happened. The action took too long to develop and while it might have made for a decent motion picture opening, it was no comic.

    – The panel-to-panel story telling choices had to be tightened.

    – The artist was known to him and the art was intriguing.

    After all that, we were…encouraged! Why? Because this was not a rejection, but series of observations and questions designed to strengthen the story. Using his notes – and after a few weeks of research, two revisions, and a lengthy phone conversation in which he dug through the Enormous bible plucking at story elements, a final pitch was submitted.

    Jim accepted Enormous at Shadowline after some deliberation for publication in July of 2012, plenty of lead-time for a couple of grateful and elated rookies.

    Continued below

    More images from the initial pitch

    As a designer and occasional production assistant, I’ve seen countless pitches from extremely talented creators. Some were very short, half-finished 3 page bursts of story, some were fully produced first issues, and others not so polished. Working the Skybound booth at SDCC the last two years, I’ve glimpsed pitches and portfolios so stunning in their nature and presentation, that I returned home humbled and frightened that I’d never breakthrough – and I can assure you I’ve experienced rejection. Through it all, I’ve determined that there is no ‘right way’ to present your story. How you do so is part gut-instinct, part showmanship and all passion for the story you are burning to tell.

    But before you do, look objectively at your work. Don’t fear the need to refine your pitch multiple times. Let go of story elements that are ‘cool’ but are ultimately damaging the chances of getting your story published. Find a creative collaborator and cultivate that relationship.

    Most of all — keep pitching.

    A note about the art: The art presented here is an amalgamation of the 8 original pages submitted to Shadowline. They’ve been condensed for the purposes of presentation. This material will not appear in the printed version of Enormous.

    David Harper

    David Harper mainly focuses on original content, interviews, co-hosting our 4 Color News and Brews video podcast, and being half of the Mignolaversity and Valiant (Re)visions team. He runs Multiversity's Twitter and Facebook pages, and personally tweets (rarely) @slicedfriedgold. By day, he works in an ad agency in Anchorage, Alaska, and he loves his wife, traveling and biscuits & gravy (ordered most to least, which is still a lot).