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Breaking Into Comics: Darby Pop’s Script Contest

Written by Kristine Chester | 1 Comment | Published on September 9, 2014
The content that follows was originally published on the Darby Pop Publishing website at http://www.darbypop.com/indestructible/breaking-into-comics/

We all know how hard it is to get a foothold in the comic book industry, especially for a Writer. Ask any Pro, and they are likely to tell you that the only way “in” is to fund your own book and hope others take notice. It’s like asking an MBA to finance a start-up just to prove that they are worth hiring. Well, at Darby Pop Publishing, we tend to do things just a little bit differently. Some would say “foolishly.” Regardless, we want to give an aspiring Writer — maybe YOU — a more immediate opportunity.

Your assignment: Script a one-off issue within the INDESTRUCTIBLE universe that is focused on Stingray (who appears in INDESTRUCTIBLE issues #1 – #4, which are collected in the TPB Vol. 1). A former superhero who turned (or was led) down a darker path, Stingray has the potential for a rich backstory that you should feel free to explore in whatever way you see fit. You can spin a tale that takes place before the events of the first TP. Or, after. Or even concurrent with. Please be mindful, though, that if you write something with implications too far-reaching, you might put yourself in conflict with our future plans. So, we’d really prefer you focus on a more personal story for Stingray. And feel free to utilize any of the other characters already established in any/all issues of INDESTRUCTIBLE — “our” world is your oyster.

The Character: Direct from Stingray’s creator, Jeff Kline, here’s the very same breakdown he gave to current INDESTRUCTIBLE writer Ken Kristensen when he took over the series.

“Former high-school swimming star, ‘til it was revealed/squealed she was a “mutant,” and barred from competition.  Made lemons out of lemonade.  With exceptional underwater strength and stamina, but only limited “aquatic” genetics.  (Stingray can’t “breathe” H20, but she can hold her breath for extended periods of time, withstand enormous water pressure, and see clearly in the pitch-black).  Unfortunately, today, Stingray also has a substance abuse problem.  And a bruised moral center.  Stingray flew high… partied hard… and enjoyed every minute of the celebrity bestowed upon her as a youthful member of the League of Defenders.  But, when her “work” became erratic, and her “image” problematic… the L.O.D. cut her loose.  Leaving Stingray adrift.  (The Mighty was one of the few who lobbied for intervention rather than expulsion, but the nascent L.O.D. was more interested in damage control than “charity.”)  Young… unprepared… and largely unformed, Stingray drifted into a life of petty crime, sometimes under the tutelage of a mysterious Svengali (who also happened to be her occasional lover).  If Stingray couldn’t grab a headline being the “good girl,” she’d embrace the “bad girl” within; any “press” is “good press,” right?  Unfortunately, one bad decision led to several dozen, as well as an ugly break-up with her agent/boyfriend Richard, and Stingray soon found herself committing acts she’d never have thought herself capable of.  Stingray often hates the world, hates her life, and — most often — hates herself.  Though, redemption is NEVER impossible…”

What we want to see: A 22-page comic book script. Not a treatment. Not a pitch. A completed SCRIPT. In whatever format you are most comfortable with as long as it includes dialogue and panel descriptions. We will also need a signed release form (SEE BELOW). If your submission does not include the release, our lawyers tell us that we’re legally bound to donate your work to a prison library without reading it.

IND4 BSubmit your finished script to: info@darbypop.com. Subject line: STINGRAY.

Your reward: In success, you’re going to get published by Darby Pop. And distributed through IDW. And credited on a professional publication. And you’ll gain the experience of going through the “editorial process” without fear of being emotionally torn to shreds because it’s someone else’s baby you’re working on. No need to sell yourself on the street to pay for your first book. Or hand over your first-born to get an Artist-Friend to draw it on spec. Darby Pop Publishing will actually fund your coming-out party! (Which is tentatively scheduled for Spring ’15, by the by). Oh, and we’ll also pay you $500 as a script fee. Even in failure… our Editorial Team will have read your work. Which could lead to… who knows what?

Your deadline: October 22th. If you want to be a Pro, you need to pay careful attention to that deadline. Any submissions received after that date will end up in the hands of Tiny, the Scourge of Cell Block D.

The legal: By submitting your work to this contest, you consent to Darby Pop Publishing using your name and likeness for promotion in relation to this contest and its results (which I’m sure is what you want, so that’s not a problem). And, obviously, Darby Pop Publishing owns the “winning” material outright. The rest we’ll leave to our lawyer and his release form, so remember to sign it. Don’t let all of Tom’s hard work go to waste.