Marvel and DC Comics writer gives career advice at virtual event

By Sarah Siock

From Wonder Women and Poison Ivy to Deadpool and Ant-Man, Amy Chu has written multiple series for some of DC Comics and Marvel’s most iconic characters. Chu virtually visited Rider on March 11 to speak with students about breaking into the comics business and the skills needed to navigate the competitive industry.

The event, hosted by Rider’s Department of Communication and Journalism, allowed students to learn about the business side of comic books. Chu spoke about her journey into the world of comics, which began in 2010 when she and a friend launched a company called “Alpha Girl Comics.”

With a bachelor’s degree in East Asian studies and architectural design, the comic book industry was not always Chu’s plan. However, after discussing the lack of female voices working in American mainstream comics, Chu decided to step into the business to change the narrative.

“At the time there [were] not many women in the business. I just felt like I needed to prove that as a woman I can do this,” said Chu.

At first, Chu planned to stay strictly on the business side of the comics industry, but after taking a comic book writing class in 2011, she decided to create her own stories. Her first series titled, “Girls Night Out” was published from 2012-2014 and helped jumpstart Chu’s career into mainstream comics.

Chu admitted that when she began taking writing classes she was not familiar with well-known comic book characters. However, she quickly dedicated herself to the craft and became an expert on the characters. She also shared with students that it is more important to be able to write a script than be an expert on every character.

“My writing class consisted of only men and it was very intimidating as a woman who did not know anything about comics. They were kind of like, ‘what are you doing here?’ They said things like, ‘wouldn’t it be funny if she wrote for Deadpool?’ All of which got me fired up,” said Chu.

Chu’s classmate’s comments about a woman writing a character that had a predominantly male audience motivated her to set a goal of actually writing Deadpool one day. Chu managed to achieve her goal and write for the character in 2015.

“I was like ‘why would that be funny if I wrote Deadpool?’ I thought ‘I am going to write Deadpool,’ and it became my five-year plan,” said Chu.

Sophomore psychology major Ishika Maheshwari said learning about Chu’s long journey in the industry and hearing about her perseverance was an impactful part of the event.

“I was surprised to hear that it took her 10 years to get to where she is now. The most valuable piece of advice that resonated with me by Ms. Chu was — do not be afraid of yourself, and just do it,” said Maheshwari.

While Chu has written for almost every major comic book publisher, she told audience members that it is best to stick to self-publishing when starting in the industry. She spoke about the accessibility technology has provided to up-and- coming comic book writers.

“You literally can make your own comics, because technology has enabled us, has reduced the barriers to entry where, if you have a story inside yourself, you can just put it up on Instagram and you are published, you have actually made your ideas a reality,” said Chu.

Chu also explained the importance of having published work to further your career. Most recently Chu said her work helped her land a writing job on a new Netflix show “Dragon’s Blood.”

“The showrunner essentially offered me a job because he liked my writing. He knew what types of stories I could write. So I got the job, not because I was looking for it, but because of my previous experience,” said Chu.

Sheena Howard, associate professor of communications and journalism, served as the event’s host. Howard is also a published comic book author and she left the audience with a piece of advice that echoed the determination in Chu’s career path.

“Amy [Chu] was there when I co-wrote my first comic book and she said, ‘Anyone can do it. You can do it.’ If you just keep at it and keep writing you will get better,” said Howard.

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