Archie - Veronica Adult

Archie - Jughead Adult

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Mike Pellerito, just retuning from the San Diego Comic Con shares how he joined Archie Comics and what he looks for when hiring new talent.

Question: What does a Managing Editor do?

Pellerito: It changes every day, so it's hard to say. Archie is a lean company and whatever needs to get done people step up and do it. The past few weeks are a good indicator of how different each day is. A lot of working with the designers, artists, ad makers and pr people in house and on freelance to help get the books looking good. Sometimes it is dealing with the printers to handle a problem or another vendor. Every two weeks it is making sure the invoices are in on time and correct so the accounting department is happy.

A big chunk of time is talking with the freelance writers and artists we have and all their creativity in coming up with stories and cool covers. That is by far the best part of the job and the most creative.

The last few weeks we were helping with the design or our upcoming relaunch of which should be ready in a few months. Plus, our new iPhone app to read Archie comics on your iPhone and the even bigger, which anyone can download literally hundreds and soon thousand of comic pages to read. And that is just the beginning.

We just got back from the San Diego Comic Con and our panel had standing room only and was just great! We got to meet a lot of Archie fans, and they are so cool. We all get to geek out about Archie and just have some great conversations. That by far is the most fun part of the job.  

Question: Before you joined Archie, what did you hope to do in comics?

Pellerito: Doing my own writing and drawing was what the dream was as a kid. By the time I graduated college all I wanted to do was design work. Until the lucky break at Archie I was going in other directions.  

Question: Do you find it difficult to find people that can draw in the classic Archie "house" style and also draw things that look funny?

Pellerito: Yes. Some of the best artists try and it is still hit and miss. People think it is so easy, but it takes a uniquely skilled artist to handle Archie. Storytelling is the most important skill. Everything we do comes from the story, the jokes and the characters reactions.  

Question: When looking at work from new talent, what do you want to see?  

Pellerito: Storytelling and our characters! We need to see how you draw an Archie story. Draw a story with the Archie characters while keeping to the style and layout is the best thing you can do. Maybe a few character shots, but storytelling is the key.

Question: What don't you want to see?

Pellerito: People come up with great samples but seeing some super hero flying over a city being invaded by aliens doesn't help us determine if you would be a good Archie artist.  

Question: What is the best story pitch you ever received?

Pellerito: Young Salem from Ian Flynn. The first issue is available as a free download on your iPhone with Archie Digital. It was such a great idea on the character that spun out of a conversation of how much both Ian and I loved manga Sabrina by Tania Del Rio.

Beyond that Archie Freshman Year -- The Missing Chapters starts in Archie & Friends #140 and is awesome -- and the Archie marriage storylines were so cool when our editor In chief, Victor Gorelick told us about the pitches he was hit with.

My own pitch is coming up soon, Archie Babies! Once having kids of my own all these baby story ideas came about. Mike Kunkel is writing two issues and Art Mawhinney and Rich Koslowski are doing art and it is just so great. Look for it in Archie & Friends #137 and 138.

Question: What words of advice to you have for someone wanting to make comics their career?

Pellerito: Three words: Read. Draw. Learn.

Read everything, books magazines, cool websites, draw, even if you are a writer. Know what a layout of a page looks like. It is real easy to write a script that has thousands of aliens coming up a hill attacking another alien army, but to draw it - where it matters to the reader is entirely different. Know what you are writing. Know what you are doing before you submit, know the specs on art and so on. All this is research but there are a lot of great websites and books out!

Find out everything you can about the business and make sure your submissions are professional. Even show your submissions to an artist or writer who works for the company before seeing an editor as research. And most importantly, like everything in life keep it simple. A few pages a few pieces of art is it for a portfolio. You want to pencil, write, ink, color or letter, show that one thing. Include what else you can do but in far less quantities.

It is not easy, but is a great industry. Filled with cool people and fun things to work on, it is certainly a blast for me.

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