When it comes to building your career in comics, you don’t matter.
Okay, I’m exagerating a little. But hopefully I’ve got your attention. Many creators are so focused on their craft they can lose sight on an extremely important skill every professional creator needs - collaboration.
Yes, collaboration isn’t just a stumbling block for those of you having trouble finding artists or reliable writers, it’s an essential skill that you have to develop.
It’s about learning to work with your collaborators (writers, artists, colorists, letterers, designers - even printers!) in order to make a comic that’s better than the sum of its parts.
Now, of course craft matters, too. But if you take two amazing creators who are terrible collaborators - they clash at every step of the way - you’ll likely get a muddled comic, at best. But take two “lesser” creators whose sensibilities match, and know how to communicate and elevate each other and they can make a much better comic - one neither of them could’ve made alone, that tells a story in a third voice that clearly belongs to both of them, but not each of them individually.
If you can accept that collaboration is a skill, then this isn’t out of reach for you. Even if you disagree, you should be able to at least recognize that collaboration is an essential step in making comics. Your understanding of it - from how to best work and communicate with your collaborators to how to read contracts - will be a major determining factor of whether you succeed or fail in building your career.
Typically, the only way to become a better collaborator is to keep collaborating. Make as many comics with different kinds of people as you can. But there are some massively useful steps you can take, and resources you can study, to help you along this path.