Adventures In Freelancing: Looking Back At 2015

monkey-typing2015 was the fifth full year that I worked as a freelance writer. It’s wild to think about. I got unceremoniously and somewhat surprisingly laid off from Wizard in September of 2009. With no idea what I would do with the rest of my career (a fun thought to have at 26) my friends jumped at the chance to set me up with freelance work. I wasn’t sure if it would stick, but dove in and am still rolling today.

That year I wrote for Marvel.com, Maxim.com, Topless Robot, Wizard, ToyFare, UGO, MTV Geek, Click and even a bit for CBR and realized I could actually do alright for myself with just my brain, a computer and a solid internet connection. Since then, a few of those outlets have gone defunct (I miss seeing my work on the magazine stand) and some completely changed directions since then. These days I find myself mainly working for three sites: Marvel.com, CBR and Geek.com and I’m digging it. Looking back at the past year, it seemed like an okay time to reflect a bit on the ups and downs of the year.

Earlier this year, I got some news that was a big gut punch: my most regular and profitable gig was going away thanks to some restructuring. It was a lot to get used to at first. I’d been doing this thing for years and felt like I knew the ins and outs really well. Plus there was all that money that I couldn’t rely on anymore. I put some feelers out, talked to my old Wizard pals and after a month found myself working for Geek. It’s a great site that covers a lot more of the nerd realm than I’d ever done before which is cool because I can still write about comics and movies, but also branch out into other arenas like science and tech. I’m far from an expert in those worlds, but I’ve enjoyed giving it a whirl and seeing how it all plays. Geek also gives me the opportunity to come up with lists which I enjoy.

marvel_logoI had another shift this year when Marvel.com wanted more of my writing. Who am I to say no to that? Secret Wars was a big boon for myself and my fellow writers thanks to all those new books and creative teams. I’m still riding the wave now that we’re back in the All-New, All-Different Marvel Universe. Part of that turned into a whole new realm of interviews for me revolving around artists. I used to really struggle coming up with questions for artists because my brain doesn’t always work in the visual way that they’re so immersed in, but working on all of these sketchbook posts really made me open up my brain and explore some new territory that has resulted in some interesting stories.

Along similar lines, I also got more into writing about older comics thanks to recurring things like Holiday Grab Bag and a much more expanded Marvel Spooklight this year. As much as I like interviewing creative people, it’s nice to have something regular that I don’t have to rely on other people for. We’re already planning two rad new takes on that idea for this year, so stay tuned.

Over at CBR I added IDW to my coverage in addition to BOOM! Studios. That was an interesting move for me personally because IDW was the very first company I was contact for when I was at Wizard. Some of the same people are still there, so it’s been a bit of reunion. Plus, it’s always nice to cover a different stable of comics and the creators who work on them.

lois lane bombshellsI also did my very first oral history for CBR about the DC Collectibles Bombshells line of statues. It was a huge undertaking that started in my brain and became a post over on the site, dreaming something a bit outside the box, getting the go-ahead and making it happen. That was one of the aspects of working on ToyFare that I love and miss so much. The story also reiterated and confirmed how much I want to do this kind of thing for increasingly larger subjects either in post format or maybe even podcasts. I have a few ideas and will keep you all posted.

Oh, I also wrote some more histories for Diamond Select Toys’ line of Retro Marvel action figures. This year I knocked out Deadpool and Daredevil the latter of which almost killed me because of a busy few months and a tight deadline, but I really like seeing those booklets packed in with the toys. I still need to get my hands on the Spider-Man toy, though. I didn’t work on that book, but I have a lot of love for that toy thanks to Twisted ToyFare Theatre.

topless robotFinally, it’s time to pour one out for the recently deceased Robot’s Voice (formerly Topless Robot). That was the website I first freelanced for thanks to fellow Wizard alum Rob Bricken who started the site and ran it for years. He left a few years ago but I still did the occasional post, usually around Halloween. I went through and copied all my old posts and will throw them up in PDF form here at some point, but it’s sad to see another site I not only loved, but also helped shape me as a writer give up the ghost.

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