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Comic authors, illustrators discuss field

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Comic creators Alexander Danner and Dan Mazur with illustrator Shelli Paroline at Graphic Novel Industry Night, in the Beard Room, on November 18. (Photo by Michelle Kwong '15)

Emerson hosted Graphic Novel Industry Night in the Beard Room on November 18, which featured authors and comic creators Alexander Danner and Dan Mazur along with an illustrator, Shelli Paroline.

The trio spoke with Emerson students about the comic industry and provided tips on how to navigate the tough field.

The panelists stressed to students the importance of marketing their work.  In a field that is not as largely recognized by others, panelists noted that most people in the industry are one-man bands.

“No one’s going to be your marketing person or your PR person. You have to do all those jobs,” Danner said.

“Self-publishing and getting your stuff out there is not that hard,” said Mazur. 

With many of his comic books and stories having been self-published, Danner admits that he does wish he had taken some marketing classes while in college. 

Because working in the comic book industry is not typically as lucrative as other fields, students were also interested about how to make a living. 

“I’ve always tried to find something that had some sort of parallel,” said Paroline. “Even leaving a part–time graphics position to do comics, I took a huge pay cut.”


Illustrator Shelli Paroline at Graphic Novel Industry Night on November 18. (Photo by Michelle Kwong '15)

Overall, the panelists agreed that those interested in pursuing comics should have another form of income that can help pay the bills but is also very flexible. 

As an illustrator, Paroline also touched on the writer and illustrator relationship, which she believes is essential in the industry.

Danner said that in his experience, he has noticed that “befriending the artists first” and “building a relationship” prior to diving into the work is a better method of working with artists, especially for those like himself who cannot draw their own work.

The event was hosted by Emerson’s Department of Professional Studies and Special Programs.

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Several students attended Graphic Novel Industry Night on November 18. (Photo by Michelle Kwong '15)

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