How to be a DC Intern, pt. 2: Interns do stuff for free

Elder and I wrote this in 2002, so don’t judge.

…Okay, you can judge.

Seven years later, we’re both pursuing our aims of writing comics, though it’s nice to have other interests for crying out loud. Seriously, that’s the one piece of advice I would give to any aspiring comic creator, writer or artist: go be interested in something that’s not comics, and decorate your home accordingly. Don’t be That Guy.

Nor these guys:

Hey kids -- free comics! or, I was a comic book intern

Part 2: What to do, and how to do it
(Don’t make them have to replace you).

Halfway through the analysis, Josh split into Josh Blue and Josh Red. We’re trying to merge him back into one person, but right now it’s enough just to contain his awesome power.

Josh: now in blue raspberryThe key to being a DC intern is combining a good work ethic for mostly mundane jobs – i.e. copying, faxing, etc. – with a warped sense of humor.

Josh: now in rasp blueberryThe DC editors are a screwed-up bunch and if you can amuse them, then they shall grant you power. They’re much like decadent Roman emperors in that regard.

Tim Bradstreet's Brendan McGinley Yes, but with more acts of bestiality.

The large part of your work will be making photocopies. Once the art comes in, everybody needs a copy: editors, letterers, colorists, sometimes direct sales.

I used to go around once the art had come in (usually Tuesday or Wednesday) asking editors what they needed done, but if nobody has a specific task for you, head down to the photocopy room and see what’s on the rack. Everything there will have post-it notes with copying instructions.

Josh: now in blue raspberry That’s pretty much the bulk of the job. We were kind of overloaded with interns the summer I was there so it was something of a competition between the various interns to find work.

Josh: now in rasp blueberryBecause a busy intern is a happy intern.

Challengers of the Uninteresting

Above: Yet another book you’ll have to dig up from the pile of Negative Zone filing cabinets in a few years.

Tim Bradstreet's Brendan McGinley And a happy intern won’t question the system that keeps him or her down. You all know what I’m talking about. That’s right. The Comics Code.

Josh: now in rasp blueberryAnd some jobs, like cleaning out an editor’s back issue files, can net you tons of free swag. I, for instance, got nearly the run of Legion of Superheroes, Supergirl, Starman and Hitman.

Tim Bradstreet's Brendan McGinley I never got to plunder anyone’s back issues, but I did get some neat comics sent in as samples that were going to be thrown out with the rest of the application slush pile.

Josh: now in blue raspberry Tell the Bendis story.

Tim Bradstreet's Brendan McGinley The slush pile was so backed up that it contained a pretty formal letter from Brian Bendis (who was by that time writing half of known comicdom), asking for a job…it was 18 months old. Tom Palmer let me have the TPB of GOLDFISH that Bendis sent, since samples of his work were by then available in 16 different countries and at least five dimensions. Palmer also let me make fun of virtually every submission out loud, which is way more Me than even I could put up with. Way to go, Tom.

Josh: now in rasp blueberrySubmissions, on the whole, suck ass.

Tim Bradstreet's Brendan McGinleyYeah, it’s a little disheartening.Legit talent might really stand a chance if the 85% of submissions who are people deluding themselves would just hold off. You’d be left with the 10% that are almost there and will be good enough someday, and the 5% DC would hire at the moment.

One guy sent in a picture of Superman and Batman his co-worker had drawn on the back of an office envelope. In ballpoint pen. That ought to tell you plenty, but she also drew Batman swinging one-handed over the head of a constipated Superman, who may or may not be dead, but is certainly held in a slumping position with wires. And this was Superman back when he had the same haircut as the members of Mr. Big, except she made it look like a jhericurl, his feet got cut off, and I’m pretty sure whatever Platonic form of the envelope resonated in 5th-dimensional space was crying out for me to burn it. It made me sad.

Kingdom Come: The Revenge

My proposal for Guy Gardner: King of the Universe. DC dismissed it as “too delicate for sensitive readers,” but I contend that a bound and fecal-smeared Batman had critical merit. DC also had problems with my flagrant use of unauthorized Marvel properties. But the Power Pack needs to die, and if I don’t kill them, who will?

Josh: now in blue raspberry Most of the writing samples are barely literate and the art samples look like rejects from a pre-school arts and crafts class.

Tim Bradstreet's Brendan McGinley But enough about John Byrne. Back to what interns do.

Occasionally, an editor has a really cool job for you. I had to transcribe a Japanese script that included the best line Two-Face has ever had: “Ha ha why do I kill people ha ha I do it because God tells me to ha ha ha yes he is a good God who has been very good to me he gives me many good things including people to kill and that is better than money and candy and even underwear ha ha!” After that, I’m starting to think we should have let Japan overrun our country in World War II.

Josh: now in blue raspberry I got to be a sounding board for the “Bruce Wayne: Murderer” storyline.

Tim Bradstreet's Brendan McGinley Really? Then I blame you when two years from now, Bruce Wayne’s reputation is sterling again, but OJ’s isn’t.

Josh: now in blue raspberry I am fully prepared to shoulder that blame.

Tim Bradstreet's Brendan McGinley But it’s a good story all the same. Hey, maybe Batman and OJ could team up to fight Lance Ito.

Josh: now in blue raspberry Probably the biggest assignment of the summer was a massive research project for a double-sized issue of Wonder Woman. Phil Jimenez wanted visual reference for every single heroine and villainess in the DCU.

Tim Bradstreet's Brendan McGinleyUnfortunately, most of those characters were forgotten ’80s characters who had come back just long enough in the ’90s boom to have a new costume.

Josh: now in rasp blueberryBoth of which sucked.

Tim Bradstreet's Brendan McGinley–which meant instead of looking up, say, Halo’s costume from The Outsiders, we had to find her bad girl Image look from Showcase ’95 instead.

Josh: now in blue raspberry There was one character, Godiva II, who appeared in a single panel in Justice League Quarterly #12. And still we found her.

Josh: now in rasp blueberry Damn, we were good.

Tim Bradstreet's Brendan McGinley I knew being a JLA fanboy for the better part of high school would pay off someday. I just didn’t know it would be in the form of finding reference for a minor character with a lame power from an unpopular, now defunct, team, who I think may be dead anyway. And whose “real” name was Dorcas. Suddenly I regret trying to collect everything with Justice League in the title (except Extreme Justice…even I had limits).

Oh, saucy wench!
Godiva, and not even the first one, had the power to control her hair. So for everyone who ever said looking good for the prom was not a valid superpower: you’re right, and Godiva here proves it. No matter how strong your hair may be, the second you wrap it around somebody, you’re losing the fight. At best, you’re going to get your hair pulled, and at worst they’ll bash your head in any direction they want.
Godiva can fly by turning her hair into wings, but the thrill of gliding is easily outmatched by the shame of doing so suspended from giant hair-wings on your head. She also got herself nearly killed by the Toyman, which is grounds for dismissal from the Justice League. I know it seemed like good marketing to have a long-haired hottie with an English accent, but it just goes to show that anyone named Godiva is probably better off suited to fight taxation in the House of Commons than she is Darkseid. Or, for that matter, the Rainbow Raider. And shouldn’t she be naked?

Tim Bradstreet's Brendan McGinleyIt was a strenuous search. Not only did we have to access The Vault, where Josh tried unsuccessfully to convince the librarian he needed a copy of Action Comics #1, but we searched the Internet for a lot of these characters.

And if there’s one thing we learned, it’s that we may or may not have a healthy amount of comics in our brains, but at least we’re in a safe position to laugh at guys like [here I link to a now-dead website, so just pretend I meant to say Carrot Top, and voila! Insta-Joke!]

Josh: now in blue raspberry Is this the Batman guy?

Tim Bradstreet's Brendan McGinley Nah, it’s a guy who categorizes every mistake in Marvel comics each month, most of which aren’t mistakes. In the role-playing stat-card he fills out for himself as a bio, he cites his 119 IQ as “Above Normal Intelligence”. If being able to catch every joke in Waiting for Guffman is above normal intelligence, fine, I can accept that. But I still wouldn’t brag about it, at least until I’d invented toast that spreads jam on itself then seduces its way into your mouth with an alluring dance.

I’ll be right back, I have to go draft some blueprints.

Josh: now in blue raspberryEveryone needs a hobby. Even if it’s a lame one.

Tim Bradstreet's Brendan McGinley Right, and we’re not saying we’re better than him, even though we’ve made you laugh 34 times in this article and gave your sister her first orgasm. But we’re also not telling jury selection teams that we can see their defendant’s drug-riddled aura, and this guy is.

So it’s with more than a little confidence that we invite you to compare his catalogues of minor errors to our analyses of major ones — none of which includes the phrase, “my discount fan fiction site” — and decide for yourself which is more hilarious, at least intentionally. I mean, it’s not like we’re curing cancer, but the only four reasons for living I’ve been able to find are comedy, dogs, good food, and beautiful girls, and this site helps you out with three of those.
Also, we don’t write fan fiction, unless you count rejected submissions. Also, our webpage doesn’t make your eyes vomit reflexively. Also–okay, we’re better than him. Where was I heading with this?

Right, the internet geeks. They’re like guns: frightening, easy to set off, and a symbol of penile insecurity, but they’re still useful when you have a job to do. The only difference is if you’ve ever held an over-zealous comic geek in your hand, it didn’t make you look cool, and it probably made you feel dirty. And if it didn’t, stop reading my webpage right now.

Root beer break…

Tim Bradstreet's Brendan McGinley Phil Jimenez was at DC a lot, and in an industry of neat people, he’s still one of the coolest. One time I told him how much I liked his work on THE INVISIBLES, and we wound up chatting for the better part of an hour, fan to fan.

Josh: now in blue raspberry Yeah, he and I spent at least that much time talking about Perez’s Wonder Woman issues. And then I mentioned that WW could use a boyfriend and lo and behold, she has one less than a year later.

Tim Bradstreet's Brendan McGinley The parallels are frigh–wait…did you just admit you read Wonder Woman? I mean sure the art and writing are great, and it stars a Greek goddess, and now that Ivan’s editing it, we kind of have to follow it, but…okay, never mind.

The other interns were Stephen and Chris, plus some kid up in the Vertigo offices we never met, but everyone assured us he was a freak, and they dig that up there.

Josh: now in blue raspberry I only met the Vertigo guy once and he definitely freaked me out. He had those shifty serial killer eyes…

Tim Bradstreet's Brendan McGinley Steve Bunche and Will Dennis were the only two editors I met up there, but they both made me wish I had talked more about “the ennui that is this wretched existence” in my interview so I could have wound up working in Vertigo for a bit. Will tried to dig me up a 100 BULLETS poster, while Steve showed me his collection of international blaxploitation.

After a while, Stephen went back to Harvard, and Chris replaced the serial killer as Vertigo intern, so Josh and I were left to rock out the DCU, and rock it we did. For example, Josh told everyone to make a big deal out of Superman, and now he’s DC’s biggest character.

Josh: now in blue raspberry As well he should be. Not that they’ve published any of my fine scripts yet. But one day, one day they’ll come begging to me to write the Man of Steel.

Josh: now in rasp blueberryAnd on that day, let the world tremble!

Tim Bradstreet's Brendan McGinley Josh Red, no! Try to control your brash egomaniacalismity! Why can you be more like your brother, Josh Blue? He’s so sweet and accomodating. Why, just this morning, he shined my shoes and gave my dog a bath. Then he saved the Earth from destruction by sacrificing himself in the sun, only to return more powerful than ever. So you see, true power comes to the humble. By the way, what the hell am I talking about?

Tim Bradstreet's Brendan McGinley Our second day at DC we wrote cover copy for Last Laugh Secret Files, and that same day I got to put my grubby paws all over the original cover art for Just Imagine…Stan Lee Creating Green Lantern. It was great, and I’m the man. Now you suckers know.

And just to wrap up, a word about your samples:

Sure, every fan wants to write or draw comics, and most editors would be happy to critique your stuff, but DC asks that you not show them anything until you’re about to go. That way if you’re a particular wuss and can’t take the criticism you asked for, they don’t have months of your bad attitude to deal with.

Josh: now in blue raspberry It’s a good system.

Josh: now in rasp blueberry
It keeps the interns working like dogs for the hopes of a few scraps from DC’s table and it keeps the editors in positions of power.

Tim Bradstreet's Brendan McGinleyWhere they should be, dammit. And if that isn’t a prime spot to move to our next section, then I’m not America’s Sweetheart. But even if I’m not, it’s still a great transition point.

Part 3 was “Meet your bosses,” most of whom no longer work there, so…it’s not even worth it. Reading this monstrosity, it’s suddenly clear why I haven’t found work at DC or Marvel ever since.