Joshua Yehl – Comics Editor, IGN.com
Anyone who has taken a look at a movie theater marquee in the past decade can tell that stories drawn from comics are experiencing a renaissance in popularity. With films such as “The Avengers” and “Iron Man 3” raking in massive box office totals, the public is clearly hungry for more. But it seems as if many people don’t take the next step and seek out the comic books that started it all.
Joshua Yehl, the new comics editor for IGN.com as of Jan. 2, is hoping to change that. “A lot of my friends actually don’t read comic books. It’s my favorite thing when I can talk to them about a comic book and get them to pick one up and to start reading it and enjoy it. So I want to bring that to the community at IGN.”
As an entertainment and gaming site, IGN covers movies, TV shows and video games, so it offers many points of entry to the comics oeuvre. Yehl cites TV examples like “Arrow,” “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” and the recently announced “Gotham” series, as well as upcoming movies “Guardians of the Galaxy,” “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” and “X-Men: Days of Future Past.”
“People love these things and they’re huge,” he said. “So I want to say, ‘If you like those things, you know, here’s the comic book that you would enjoy.’”
He’s hitting the ground running, meeting and building relationships with contacts at various publishers. As a freelance contributor to the site for the past two years, he was already familiar with his fellow staff and with posting expectations.
In truth, this wasn’t the first time he had set his sights on the comics editor job. IGN previously opened the position up in 2010, hiring former comic editor Joey Esposito at that time. Yehl opted to look at the listed job requirements— previous online writing experience, a social media presence and industry contacts for possible exclusives —as a “career checklist of things that I had to accomplish if I wanted to work in entertainment journalism.”
“I went out to my local comic shop (A Comic Shop in Winter Park, Fla.) and asked the owners Jason Blanchard and Aaron Haaland what they thought.” While Haaland advised him to go to conventions and socialize with industry contacts at the hotel bar after hours, Blanchard referred him to Twitter to see who well-known comic writers and artists were following.
As it turns out, that advice has been helpful to him. “It’s a constant stream of information in the industry, so if I do hear something on Twitter, I will use that as a lead and I will go and further investigate it,” Yehl said.
Job changes in the industry announced on Twitter are a good example of how to stay current. Yehl was able to cover John Layman’s departure from the DC comic weekly series “Batman: Eternal” after seeing an update on his feed. “It’s sort of a symbiotic relationship between news and Twitter, but it’s very important to fact-check everything,” he added.
When Esposito left IGN in October 2013, Yehl was ready to put his hard-earned skills and connections to the test and apply for the job he had eyed years ago. He said his predecessor was “very supportive and helpful through the whole process. I asked him a lot of questions and he was very forthcoming.”
Clearly Yehl’s efforts have paid off. With public interest in comics growing, he’ll have the chance to help draw more eager readers into the community.
Yehl tends to get news directly from major publishers’ mailing lists, but said he appreciates when people in the industry “take the relationship beyond that” and “come up with unique concepts for your site.”
Preview art and announcements for comic series are welcome. Familiarize yourself with the website and its content before pitching.
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