My Short Career As A Letterhack

By | Monday, October 07, 2013 5 comments
There was a period, back in the late '90s/early '00s, when I considered the notion of writing comics professionally. I did eventually realize that I'm simply not that good writing fiction, and what I'm interested in saying with my writing can be better expressed without using broad metaphors like superheroes or sci-fi or whatever. But while I was toying with the notion of becoming a pro, I used a few tactics to increase my visibility. One of which was letterhacking.

This was back in the day, of course, when publishers still regularly ran letter columns. Each issue they'd print between four and six letters from fans, and often a short response from the editor. I knew that editors weren't reading my submissions -- I'd actually called and asked for critiques after sending in several -- but I knew they read all the letters. So my goal in submitted letters was to get my name in front the editors, and show that I could at least string together a series of coherent sentences.

To a degree, it worked. I heard second-hand later that my name was in fact recognized around some of the offices, and was once even brought up out of context of letter-writing. Of course, that never panned out to a job as a comic author, but that's partially due to both DC and Marvel discontinuing publishing letters around that time and my realization that I wasn't actually good at fiction.

But that said, I did wind up with a number of letters published over the years. I even had a string of a few months where I was averaging a published letter every other week! I was almost a celebrity at my local comic shop of the time.

Anyway, in being reminded of all this, I thought I'd throw up a quick cover gallery of the issues I know I've been published in. I might be missing a few as I didn't bother keeping track at the time, and I think there's a couple more issues in which I'm referenced on the letters page without actually having my letter published. But, if you're curious, here is in no particular order where you can find a few of my 10+ year old thoughts on various comics...
Newer Post Older Post Home


Matt K said...

Did they ever send you the paste-up page for the letter column? I think I received two of those, possibly still filed away around here along with a No-Prize, somewhere.

No, never got anything in the mail. They awarded me a No-Prize in FF #318 but they weren't actually sending anything out at that point.

Jeff said...

That FF issue is a bit older than all of the other comics featured. Send one in as a kid?

Think I was 14 or 15 when I sent in the letter printed in FF 318. Don't know why, but it didn't occur to me to even try sending in any letters after that until a decade and half later.

Looks like you started letterhacking right after I had basically retired.

I did get one paste-up board from the letter I had printed in "X-Force" #4 or #5 or so.

No No-Prizes for me, though I did get a couple of postcards from Lex Luthor over at DC for their Baldy Awards. Those were in 1992/1993.