In college, I spent an inordinate amount of time trying to break into the comic book business. This was frustrating for two reasons: One, because all you could submit were ideas for single-issue “fill-in” stories. And two, because comic book editors wanted nothing more than a single-page “springboard” as a sample. Meaning that instead of seducing an editor with a well-constructed story and excellent characterization, I found myself in the position of having to learn how to write quick-n-dirty hype pieces that were, by their very nature, transitory.
Anyway, one such springboard was for DC’s Flash series, which at the time was just beginning to pick up steam again. Here’s the rejection I received:
If you can’t read that, here it is:
I am returning your springboard to you. A brief glance tells me that it is very similar to a storyline currently in development, and as such, I have no wish to give you the wrong impression.
It’s a good idea, unfortunately it’s one we’ve already had… Great minds think alike, and all that.
Good thinking. Keep trying.
Best of luck–
That would be Brian Augustyn, legendary editor of Mark Waid’s seminal 1990s run on Flash. My story? It was titled “Reversal of Fortune” and it involved deceased supervillain the Reverse-Flash traveling back in time before his own murder to take posthumous revenge on the Flash.
Those of you who are comic book geeks probably recognize this as the basic premise of Waid’s “The Return of Barry Allen” story, the tale that pretty much cemented his rep as a comic book writer.
So, yeah, I got shot down by DC, but for a while there I felt pretty good that I’d come up with the same idea as Waid!
Frustratingly, while I did “keep trying,” I never got anywhere with DC. You’ll see more DC rejections in future editions of This Week in Rejection!