Call for Submissions for Volume 2

A Comic Book History of Greater Boston will be an anthology of short graphic nonfiction exploring the dramatic past of Boston and surrounding communities. This book can cover topics from before the first English settlers to the early 21st century, history as significant as the founding of the U.S.A. or as quirky as the invention of Marshmallow Fluff.

We welcome stories about famous New England heroes and about lesser-known people, incidents, and trends. We’re eager to highlight the lives of people who have been historically marginalized. Explore how historical memory is formed and how people revise their ideas of the past. We’re also partial to stories about towns or neighborhoods that contain a comics shop (since we’ll want to sell books there). Geographically, we see “greater Boston” as extending to Massachusetts’s northern and southern borders and as far west as the Quabbin Reservoir.

Please consult the list of historical topics covered in our first volume and don’t go over the same ground unless you’ve got a very new angle. That list may also give you ideas about what stories work great as comics and where to look for history that we haven’t covered.

Story Specifications 

All stories in A Comic Book History of Greater Boston must be grounded in accurate history. Fantasy elements (e.g., a ghostly narrator), composite characters (e.g., a typical couple marrying in the early 1700s), and cartoonish exaggeration are acceptable as long as those storytelling techniques serve the nonfiction history. Outright historical fiction, fantasy set in the past, alternative history, urban legends, and myths with no solid grounding aren’t right for this anthology.

To ensure all the stories are historically accurate, we’ll review your sources and perhaps ask you to consult some more. We’ll nitpick visual details like facial hair in the eighteenth century and point to other visual references. We want this collection to be accurate enough to be sold in national parks, enlightening enough to be used in schools. In sum, we want your stories to stand the test of history.

Stories can be any even number of pages from 2 to 8. We’ll print all stories starting on a right, maximizing the number of page turns you have to work with.

No profanity—use grawlixes instead. No on-the-page sex or nudity, though stories about sexuality are welcome. No gore for gore’s sake, though stories can depict warfare and crime. We want this collection to be suitable for classroom use.

All submissions must come from a writer-artist or a writer-and-artist team. If you want to participate but need a writer or artist partner, feel free to register your interest with us during the Discussion Period (see below), but it’s your responsibility to find a suitable collaborator. We want teams to have discussed their collaboration and be working in sync before they submit.

While this is a Boston Comics Roundtable project, we welcome submissions from people who aren’t (yet) members of the BCR or don’t even live in this region. All that matters is historical accuracy and good comics storytelling.

Submissions Process and Specs

We want to know the history you’ll tell and how you plan to tell it. We want to know you’re on solid historical ground and in good shape to complete the story on deadline. We want an anthology that covers a lot of time and space. So we’ve come up with a multi-stage submission process.

1) Discussion Period. Between now and the end of December 2017, we invite you to propose possible topics and ask questions about what we’re looking for. We’ll record your interests and perhaps suggest sources or approaches. This is the time to find collaborators and to research sources.

2) Submissions Period: We’ll accept submissions in January. The deadline for submitting all proposal material is therefore 11:59 P.M. on Monday, January 28, 2018. In order to evaluate the proposals fairly with confidence about how they’ll turn out, we ask you to please submit this material:
  • To show the story: a draft script, page-by-page breakdown of the narrative, or summary with thumbnail pages. 
  • To show the art: one page in tight pencils, character designs, or examples of or links to your previous comics in the same style. 
  • To show the sources: bibliography of sources and visual references for the art. 
We’ll respond to all proposals by February 19, 2018. 

3) Script, Sketches, and Bio Details Deadline: The intermediate deadline for a full script and thumbnail sketches of the entire story, if those weren’t part of the initial submission, will be March 19, 2018. This will give us all a chance to review the work, discuss any concerns with you, and make any necessary course corrections.

By that date we’ll also ask each contributor for a picture and short bio to go in the back of the book. And we may ask you for one page of finished art to help the crowdfunding campaign.

4) Final Pages Deadline: June 1, 2018. Everything drawn, inked, lettered, shaded, and proofread!

Artwork Specifications 

Print size: 5.75" wide x 8.625" tall. No bleeds.
Grayscale.
2, 4, 6, or 8 pages.
Scanned at 300 or more dpi at print size. (Meaning 1,725 pixels wide x 2,587 pixels tall at least.)
Delivered in TIFF, JPEG, or PNG files.
Final Pages Deadline: June 1, 2018. Everything drawn, inked, lettered, shaded, and proofread!

Rights 

In delivering material to A Comic Book History of Greater Boston, creators grant the Boston Comics Roundtable the exclusive worldwide right to print their stories in an anthology for twelve months from the date of first publication, the right to reprint that collection thereafter, and the right to permit others to reproduce extracts of a story online or in print for review or publicity purposes. Each creator will retain the copyright, intellectual property rights, and all other reprint rights in their work.

In return, the BCR will provide each contributor two copies of the finished book and the right to buy additional copies at 50% of the cover price. We are planning a crowdfunding campaign, and if that succeeds we will pay for each page of comics—the same amount per page for all contributions. (Creative teams must decide among themselves how to split that payment.)

Questions?

Please contact the editorial and publishing team at ComicBookHistoryofBoston@gmail.com if you have any questions.