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SYFY WIRE The Fandom Files

How to go from covering comic books to writing them for Marvel [Ep. #86]

By Jordan Zakarin
Galaxy's Edge comic

There have been nearly 2,500 journalism-related jobs eliminated at publishers across the country so far this year, a devastating blood-letting for an unstable industry that's been hemorrhaging for years.

Writing comic books, especially premium titles for giant publishers like Marvel, is very fun.

You really can't blame Ethan Sacks for jumping from the former to the latter — you can only hope follow in his footsteps.

After two decades as a journalist, largely for the New York Daily News, Sacks decided he wanted to do something else with his life. He had been on the geek beat at the Daily News, and while writing comics is a lot different than writing about them, he decided it'd be worth giving a shot. He wrote a Star Wars comic spec script on his own, then handed it off to Joe Quesada, a long-time friend who was then the Editor-in-Chief at Marvel. As Sacks says in this episode of The Fandom Files, Quesada hesitated to read the script for quite a long time, as he was absolutely certain it would suck.

As it turns out, spending your entire life reading comics and writing about them is pretty good training for actually writing comic books. But things were still slow at first. You have to prove yourself each stage of the way. Sacks got a chance to write an eight-page story. Nailed it. A one-shot. Hit it out of the park. Then it was time to do his first miniseries, Old Man Hawkeye. Success.

Now he's working on two prime Star Wars comics, the Galaxy's Edge tie-in and the run-up to Star Wars: Episode IX — The Rise of Skywalker. It's an exhausting work-from-home position, but the work is steady and the perks, like naming items that will be found in Episode IX, can't be beat.

The moral of the story? If you want to write comics, read them and don't stop reading them. There are more details of course, and in this episode, Sacks talks about his transition, what it's like to handle top Star Wars secrets, and takes us inside Marvel retreats.