Heather Antos Stops by to chat!
Melissa got a chance to sit down and chat with the great Heather Antos about writing, editing, her career in comics and more!
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Interview scheduled by Jeffery Haas
Theme music by Good Co Music:
LVD Heather Antos – Interview – Melissa – SKYPE.output
[00:00:00] [00:00:00] Melissa Sercia: [00:00:00] this is Spoiler Country. And I’m Alyssa searcher today on the show. I’m really excited to welcome senior editor for Valiant, an image comics, Heather and toasts. Thank you for being here today.
[00:00:12] Heather Antos: [00:00:12] Yeah, thanks for having me. Thank
[00:00:14] Melissa Sercia: [00:00:14] you. yeah, I’m excited. How’s your day going so far?
[00:00:18] Heather Antos: [00:00:18] it’s, it’s been a busy day. It’s God, I feel like the whole thing has been spent on like interviews and calls today. Cause I did, my portfolio reviews Valiant, so I did 10 of those today. And then I had a call with a client in Australia and then another livestream in England.
[00:00:34] And now. Podcast with you on the West coast. So I’m all over the map.
[00:00:39] Melissa Sercia: [00:00:39] Wow. Wow. Well, hopefully you got to relax soon and just like enjoy the rest of your
[00:00:43] Heather Antos: [00:00:43] night. Yeah. It’s video games after this man video games after this.
[00:00:48] Melissa Sercia: [00:00:48] Awesome. What are you playing right now?
[00:00:50] Heather Antos: [00:00:50] The new Assassin’s creed of a holla. Oh God.
[00:00:53] Melissa Sercia: [00:00:53] I just saw the trailer for that.
[00:00:54] How is it?
[00:00:55] Heather Antos: [00:00:55] so I’m an Assassin’s creed diehard. Like I’ve been. God, these games have been [00:01:00] out for over a decade now. So, I love that I’m, I’m, you know, I’m very biased towards them, but, I, and I love Norse mythology and it’s just it’s so. Cool to see like how far video games have come, and just like the technology and the open world.
[00:01:17] And it’s, it’s super great. And if there’s one thing that you’d be soft and Assassin’s creed does very, very well, it’s their lore and storytelling. it’s a great game for, you know, newbies who are new to the world, but also there’s so much cool stuff that builds upon the previous games for the diehards.
[00:01:34] And it’s it’s it’s. Willie really, really? Well-made
[00:01:39] Melissa Sercia: [00:01:39] cool. Awesome. Yeah, I’ve played a little bit of Assassin’s creed. I’m more of a Bethesda, fallout.
[00:01:44] Heather Antos: [00:01:44] Yeah. I just started follow up for last week. There you go.
[00:01:48] Melissa Sercia: [00:01:48] Awesome. yeah, that’s I think follow up for, it was one of my favorites. I mean, fallout three is probably the.
[00:01:53] The best one they’ve ever done. the newest one has some issues with being, yeah, I’ve, I’ve tried so many [00:02:00] times to get into it, but it’s been difficult. So we have those old ones to fall back on, but, you’ll, you’ll like fall out for, that’s a fun one, but I want to check out the hallway cause I love the Viking, television show and that just,
[00:02:11] Heather Antos: [00:02:11] yeah.
[00:02:13] Melissa Sercia: [00:02:13] Yeah. cool. Well, I want to get a little bit of background info. I’d love to find out. How did you get started in this comic book industry?
[00:02:23] Heather Antos: [00:02:23] Yeah. so I didn’t grow up reading your standard superhero comics. It just, it, you know, there wasn’t a shop nearby. I didn’t really know what comics were. I definitely knew what superheroes were like.
[00:02:33] I watched, you know, the, 1960s, Adam West or Ord Batman show. And I loved that. but it wasn’t until, you know, kind of the, the MCU took off and the Warner brothers, you know, Chris Nolan, Batman films, all of that, that. comics for me and my generation, really, this generation became prevalent, when I was in high school and college around that time.
[00:02:57] And I that’s when I got into, a lot [00:03:00] of the vertigo books, like your Sandman and transmitter policy and why the last man, and that’s where like kind of my fandom began, but I didn’t really get into. Making comics would be an interested in making comics or even realize that making comics was a viable career path until, my last year of college.
[00:03:22]when I was, you know, I like any good, want to be starving artists. I decided my senior year of college, that what I went to college for, I no longer wanted to do. definitely incited a lot of panic.
[00:03:38]but one of my friends at the time, you know, he turned to me and he said, he said, Heather, you really like comics. Like, why don’t we just do that? And it had never crossed my mind. It’s like, Oh yeah, people get paid for this.
[00:03:49] Melissa Sercia: [00:03:49] People,
[00:03:50] Heather Antos: [00:03:50] people do this for a living. and it just kind of became. That was that it was horse blinders at that point.
[00:03:57] Like what, what [00:04:00] opportunities are there? is it a good fit for me? Is there someplace that I would belong that it made sense that wouldn’t require me to start my education
[00:04:10] Melissa Sercia: [00:04:10] from scratch all over again? Yeah.
[00:04:12] Heather Antos: [00:04:12] Yeah. and so my background, I come from the world of theater of film production. I’ve always written since I, you know, I’ve, I’ve written and drawn stories painted, you know, I’ve always been involved in storytelling and creative arts in some way shape or form my entire life.
[00:04:26]and so for me, it was more so like learning how to transfer those skills to this new medium. and in my research of the comics industry, you know, as you, as you look in your credits, there’s an editor on every single book. And I know you can probably hear my dog squeaking in
[00:04:47] Melissa Sercia: [00:04:47] the background
[00:04:50] Heather Antos: [00:04:50] it’s after dinner play time.
[00:04:51]but, you know, I knew what an editor does for like a traditional novel, right? Yup. But that’s working with one writer, [00:05:00] maybe two . But in comics, you have a writer or a co-writer or a penciler and an inker and a colorist and a letter and a cover artists. And, you know, and it’s constant. Right. There’s constantly new issues coming out.
[00:05:17] And yeah. And so I was just kind of curious, like, what is that job? What does that entail? So like any good millennial does, I tweeted editors back in 2014. so you know, Twitter was a little bit different than it is today. I think people were more receptive to communicating with strangers, for sure.
[00:05:40] Online. but, you know, I noticed. The same editors were on the different books that I read. so clearly there was something that they were doing that interested me. That’s how I met Jordan whites. and I tweeted it. I was like, Hey, I’m going to be a C2 U2. I saw you’re going to be there. Will you talk with me?
[00:05:58] And [00:06:00] he said, yes. and I did under the guise of an interview for site I was writing for at the time. So I’m going to learn this. I’m going to learn what a comic book editor is. but he, you know, he was very great and he answered all my questions, kind of walk me through, you know, the ins and outs of comics, editorial, the different between the positions, how he broke in.
[00:06:19] And I left that convention, knowing this is it. This is what I want to do. it’s not a matter of if, but a matter of when and I set out I was 24 at the time and I set out okay. My goal is by 30. I’m going to work for a comic
[00:06:34] Melissa Sercia: [00:06:34] publisher. Yeah.
[00:06:37] Heather Antos: [00:06:37] That’s yeah. Yeah. And, yeah. fun fact, I, I, I was working, I was working for Marvel before my 25th birthday.
[00:06:46] So I think that Panda,
[00:06:48] Melissa Sercia: [00:06:48] yeah, I think you’re doing, yeah, no, that’s a huge, huge accomplishment. yeah, no, that’s amazing. And that’s what I was going to ask you. If you had. Wanted to start out as an editor. So you answered that [00:07:00] question and then you’re also, you write as well. as you mentioned, and you had a comic that you wrote yourself unlawful, lawful good, which was very successful.
[00:07:10] So did that come before or after the editing?
[00:07:13] Heather Antos: [00:07:13] so unlawful good was actually, it was an anthology that I put together that was actually my first ever comic project. That was kind of my, like, you know, I left C2, U2. I’m like, I want to be an editor. I can’t get an internship at one of the big publishers because you have to be in college and I’m already out of college.
[00:07:30]so I’m going to build the portfolio, essentially, you know, as a writer, your portfolio, as an artist, you need a portfolio. So I’m going to build an editorial portfolio. That way I can show them, look what I can do. I can do this, but also it was kind of just like, can I do this? Why even like doing this, am I any good at it?
[00:07:49] I don’t know. and that’s kind of how I feel every single day. It hasn’t changed.
[00:07:54] Melissa Sercia: [00:07:54] Yeah. It’s yeah. It’s a very common, I’m a writer as well. It’s that imposter syndrome. It never goes away.
[00:08:00] [00:08:00] Heather Antos: [00:08:00] Exactly, exactly. But yeah. So I kind of put the call out. Would anyone be interested in doing an anthology? You know, from my time in the trenches, I know that writers hate looking for an artist.
[00:08:11] They hate project management. Artists hate finding a writer to work with. They, you know, everyone just kind of wants it to happen for them. And all they have to do is write and draw and no one wants to do the rest of the shit. It’s boring. so I was like, Hey, I’ll do all that stuff you hate to do. I’ll get it funded.
[00:08:27] I’ll project manage. I’ll make it go to print. I’ll ship it out. All you have to do is draw it. All you have to do is write, shocking people were interested and. You know, I spent that summer, in 2014, just, you know, I was managing a team of like 40 different creators artists, writers, colors, letters, the whole shebang, produced a Kickstarter at the time.
[00:08:51] It was one of the most successful comics, co starters. they had had, and so much so that at New York Comicon that October, I was [00:09:00] invited to speak on the Kickstarter panel, there, you know, and it’s. God it’s baby me. And then like, here’s Jimmy, sitting next to me and like comics, you know, legend.
[00:09:10] And I’m just like, Oh my God. You know? And like, I think Ryan Brown, like I w I’m always surrounded by like, I want to be you, you know, I don’t know what I’m doing. This is my first comic.
[00:09:21] Melissa Sercia: [00:09:21] so nerve wracking,
[00:09:23] Heather Antos: [00:09:23] it was Tennessee or Comicon. There’s like a thousand people in the audience. It was terrifying. but fun fact while I was also there, I ran into Jordan White, again, that same editor from Chicago and I happen to have an Ashcan, preview copy of unlawful.
[00:09:40] Good. And I showed him. I was like, look, look at what I’ve done since the last time we talked, since you told me what a comic editor D does, I did it. and he, he said to me, he’s like, would you ever be interested in moving to New York? And like, absolutely a month later I had an interview and two months later I moved out to [00:10:00] New York.
[00:10:00] Melissa Sercia: [00:10:00] Wow. That you say you impressed him, obviously, because I’m sure he talks to lots of people that, you know, he never hears from again and here you are taking his advice literally. And, you’re basically proving to him that you can handle the job.
[00:10:15] Heather Antos: [00:10:15] it’s you know, it’s, it’s, it’s shocking. I, it still blows my mind all the time that like, even me as an editor, when I meet artists or writers that are, you know, they talk to me and I will it’s, this is it’s a test.
[00:10:29] I do. where I hand them my card and I say, email me. Nine times out of 10. I never hear from them. Wow. And it just, it blows my mind. you know, like, cause, cause you know, for all you want to be writers and artists out there, like we don’t need w w we there’s working talent. We have our pool of people to go to.
[00:10:51] Right. You know? Yes. Everyone wants to be the, the next person define the new Scott Snyder, the new Don case. Right. We all want to be that person, but like, [00:11:00] Nine times out of 10, we’re going to be working with established people that we know and trust and can rely on. so when an editor says, contact me, email me and they give you their card.
[00:11:12] It’s not to be polite. and handing it out like candy. Right. Exactly. And like, for me as an editor, I want to see, will you work for it? I want to see, you know, can you communicate, can you follow through? Because if you, if I can do a script and say, Hey, I need you to draw four pages, five pages, 20 pages.
[00:11:35] And I never hear from you again, you know, that’s not great, but so like, if you can’t send a simple, Hey, it was so great to meet you. This Comic-Con, here’s my latest work. Yeah,
[00:11:48] Melissa Sercia: [00:11:48] no, that seems just so like common sense that that’s what you would do, right? Right. Especially if you want it bad enough. And you’ve got this in, I mean, cause yeah, you don’t get a business card from [00:12:00] an editor from image every day.
[00:12:02] I would think you would act on that. It’s like, I’d be running home. Like as soon as I could,
[00:12:08] Heather Antos: [00:12:08] like, it’s not, you know, people complain that there’s so few open doors. There’s so few open doors. There’s so few open doors and there are, don’t get me wrong. Right. There’s there’s only so many open doors.
[00:12:18] Otherwise the building just can’t stand. But, but I feel like a lot of times too, people just don’t see the doors.
[00:12:27] Melissa Sercia: [00:12:27] Oh yeah, for sure. They get in their own way. Yeah. Wow. That’s well for everyone listening, you know, don’t do that essentially, if you want it bad enough, I mean, you, you do have to work for it.
[00:12:39] And I think, I mean, not even in writing, but just an acting and all different forms of entertainment. I think that a lot of people think it’s just going to be handed to them, you know? And, and it’s just going to be an automatic, like you said, open door, but I mean, there’s thousands of people vying for that seat at the table, and I believe you have to have the talent as well, but the drive is really important [00:13:00] too.
[00:13:00] I think.
[00:13:00] Heather Antos: [00:13:00] Oh, it’s so important, you know, and I think there’s this old school dream of being discovered. Everyone wants to be discovered. Right? Exactly. Exactly. No, but that’s it like, but if you’re just in your artist studio at home in the corner drawing and not putting it out there and not showing it to people and not talking to people, how are you ever going to be discovered?
[00:13:28] You know, like Stanley is not going to just call you.
[00:13:31] Melissa Sercia: [00:13:31] Right. They have no idea who you are. Yeah,
[00:13:35] Heather Antos: [00:13:35] exactly. Exactly. So if you get someone who’s like, you know, again, here’s, here’s my number. Just, just punching those seven digits, right? yeah, so, so there’s, you know, it’s, it’s a give and take, it’s a push and pull, but, but if someone’s.
[00:13:50] You know, showing you the door, you better knock on it.
[00:13:53] Melissa Sercia: [00:13:53] Oh yeah, absolutely. Sure. I mean, as, as much as you, you know, obviously work with the established writers and artists, [00:14:00] because they’ve built a brand already, you are still looking for fresh concepts, right? I mean, you want somebody new and be the first one to be like, I discovered them or I, you know, I helped their career there
[00:14:09] Heather Antos: [00:14:09] a hundred percent.
[00:14:10] I mean, that was at Marvel. One of my. Some of the proudest things. Marvel is a lot of artists that I brought in are still working there. and are moving up on bigger, bigger, like rod Reyes. I brought him into Marvel, you know, Casper, Vanguard, Mike Henderson, you know, Kelly Thompson, a lot of these names like I brought in and they’re still working there.
[00:14:35] So like, I’m a huge, huge advocate for up and coming talent. And I, you know, I. Believe it’s my job. Part of my job as an editor to see what’s new and see what’s out there. And I put in a lot of work to do that. but again, you know, it’s my job on the line too. So I’m only going to take a chance on people that I believe are worth it, and I believe are going to follow through and I believe are going to invest [00:15:00] just as much time and effort that I’m going to invest in them.
[00:15:03]so, you know, it’s, it’s. It’s not all, you know, it’s like he said, you gotta put the work in too.
[00:15:11] Melissa Sercia: [00:15:11] Yeah, absolutely. And so, you know, I’m familiar with, I’m an author, so I’m familiar with the process with books and novel for comic books. What’s your acquisition process? Like do they have to be agented? Is there submissions?
[00:15:26]Heather Antos: [00:15:26] it depends on depends entirely on what publisher. Very, very different. so, when, what angle do I want to come from? let’s, let’s start with the agent question. a lot of people, you know, do I need to get an agent to work with Marvel, DC? No. and, and most standard comic book monthly, I mean all monthly comic book publishers, the answer is no.
[00:15:52] And quite frankly, a lot of agents won’t even touch them because there’s so little money in comics. You know, agents feel bad if they take [00:16:00] 10% of your, your Patriot, right. Or whatever, you know, 15%, whatever it is. you know, obviously if you get to the Mark Wade or no gay men, or, you know, one of those levels, the creme de LA creme, then you typically have a manager and agent and all that stuff to navigate, but, you know, if you’re, if you’re starting out, you don’t go through an agent.
[00:16:19] However, if you are looking to go into the OGN market, right, with your top traditional five, you know, penguin, random house, all of those publishers, yes. Those publishers, you have to have an agent, you have to. so it depends on, you know, what your goals are, what you’re looking to do, on that front.
[00:16:38] So yeah, if you, if you are looking to go the ODN markets, you’re gonna need an agent. I don’t work in that market, so I can’t really speak to that process.
[00:16:46] Melissa Sercia: [00:16:46] Right. Yeah, definitely. But for you, when you’re looking for like the newest person, do they submit to you directly? is that, do you have like a submission guidelines on your website or on a [00:17:00] images website?
[00:17:01]Heather Antos: [00:17:01] so image, so the way image works is image. I don’t work for image. I, I am contracted by. Creators who or through image. So, image in and of itself does not have editors. they’re purely a publisher. however, I’ve worked with image so much on so many different things that, you know, I have a very well-established relationship with them.
[00:17:26]as for how, you know, image image. Yes. They do have submission guidelines on their website, that. you know, as I say, for anyone who’s submitting to image dark horse owning, you know, any publisher, read the guidelines, read them, follow them, read them. like with Valiant, when I do my portfolio reviews, again, like when I hand you a card and I say, Hey, contact me, email me.
[00:17:51] Those submission guidelines are not just for fun. Yeah. And you follow
[00:17:57] Melissa Sercia: [00:17:57] directions. Oh my God. Yeah,
[00:18:00] [00:17:59] Heather Antos: [00:17:59] you read.
[00:18:02] Melissa Sercia: [00:18:02] Totally.
[00:18:04] Heather Antos: [00:18:04] and it, you know, because we get so many submissions for things like that. If you do not follow them, I will not look at it because I have 500 other submissions who did follow directions, you know?
[00:18:18]and my eyes are gonna bleed regardless, going through those. So,
[00:18:22] Melissa Sercia: [00:18:22] to weed them out,
[00:18:23] Heather Antos: [00:18:23] it’s a really, it’s an excellent way, you know, it’s again, can you follow directions?
[00:18:28] Melissa Sercia: [00:18:28] Well, cause if they can’t follow directions and submissions, then they’re not gonna be able to follow directions when you’re actually asking them to do work
[00:18:35] Heather Antos: [00:18:35] well, exactly.
[00:18:36] And like, are they going to cut corners? Because you know, there’s one of the, just using, for example, for the Valiant virtual portfolio review submissions. cause that’s the Valiant does not accept unsolicited submissions. So you can’t just, I have the greatest idea for a bloodshot character. Here you go.
[00:18:53]we won’t read it. It’ll be deleted and quite frankly, there’s a good chance. Your name and email will be put on a, a block list. Right? So [00:19:00] again, read the submission guidelines.
[00:19:03] Melissa Sercia: [00:19:03] Absolutely. Yeah.
[00:19:05] Heather Antos: [00:19:05] you know, one of the rules is you have to send your portfolio via it’s has to be a single PDF. Max 25 megabytes, 20 pages, really, really easy to do.
[00:19:15] If you don’t have accurate Acrobat, there’s online, you know, free PDF makers that you can use. really, really easy. So many people though, I don’t have a PDF, so here’s a link and I’m just like, That’s so lazy.
[00:19:31] Melissa Sercia: [00:19:31] Right?
[00:19:33] Heather Antos: [00:19:33] We’re going to feed this lazy with a portfolio with an interview, essentially. This is a, this is a chance for a job interview.
[00:19:41] Melissa Sercia: [00:19:41] Yeah. Right. Actually, and, and you can’t open every link that you got because you never know if it’s got a virus in it or something, you know? Yeah.
[00:19:49] Heather Antos: [00:19:49] No, exactly. But, but when it’s, but again, the reason just for anyone who’s listening, who wonders, well, why does it have to be that. it’s so I don’t have to click through to another thing.
[00:19:59] If it’s a [00:20:00] PDF sent to my email, I can just quickly open that and preview, go through it and then move to the next one and move to the next one and move to the next one. Because again, I have 500 of these to look through and I can narrow it to 10. So I need to make this the most efficient process. I don’t kill myself.
[00:20:18] I know it
[00:20:19] Melissa Sercia: [00:20:19] sounds exhausting.
[00:20:21] Heather Antos: [00:20:21] It really is. I love it though. It’s great. Like, don’t get me wrong. but, it’s, you know, I, I, I, it’s very important to me to open these opportunities for up and coming talent and aspiring talent to, you know,
[00:20:34] Melissa Sercia: [00:20:34] you
[00:20:35] Heather Antos: [00:20:35] know, give them a chance and nurture them and help them with their careers.
[00:20:38] But, it is, you know, I. We don’t have to do it. You know, it’s not part of our job. I still a full-time job. So, you know, to take two days out of my week to literally just go through portfolios for people who are not working for me, it’s a
[00:20:54] Melissa Sercia: [00:20:54] lot. Yeah. well, especially when you’re, you’re doing [00:21:00] them a favor essentially, so you’re like, please make it easy for me to read it.
[00:21:03] Heather Antos: [00:21:03] Yes, exactly.
[00:21:06] Melissa Sercia: [00:21:06] so when you were at Marvel, what was that experience like? I mean, being, you know, your first foray into everything and, you know, what was the most important thing that you learned from that experience?
[00:21:17] Heather Antos: [00:21:17] Oh my goodness. My, I mean, it was just the most massive imposter syndrome right off the bat.
[00:21:22]you know, most of. Most of my peers there, the other assistant, all were interns and I wasn’t. And, I later learned that being an intern at Marvel, you didn’t really get a lot of hands-on editorial experience. It was more so, you know, here’s an easy, easier chance to get hired, because they already know you, but, Like, I actually did come in with more comics making experience than most other people.
[00:21:52] But at the time I didn’t know that, right. Like at the time I was just like, I have no experience. I’ve never done this before. Ah, [00:22:00] and beyond that I was hired on. To launch the star Wars books, you know, these high tier books with Jason, Aaron and John Cassidy, and, you know, Mark Wade and Teradata the huge, huge name comics.
[00:22:15] And you want me to work with Lucasfilm and you want me on my first day to call Mark Wade and give him notes? No, absolutely not. And my first week, I’ll never forget my first week, Jordan, who hired me, was on vacation so that didn’t help. and then. the first task I was given was every Marvel book has a, a recap page, a page.
[00:22:35] That’s the first page of the comic. And it basically tells you, this is all you need to know if you didn’t read the previous issue so you can follow along nice. And you know, it’s like your game of Thrones, right? It’s that like sequence at the beginning? Here’s what’s up. and for the star Wars books, we did the, you know, the opening crawl.
[00:22:55] Everyone knows the opening crawl from star Wars. So my very first task [00:23:00] was to write the opening crawl for an issue and as a lifelong star Wars fan, that was the most intimidating thing that anyone could have asked me. Yeah. You know, everyone knows it, it sets the tone for the whole movie and I’m not qualified for this.
[00:23:18] Exactly. I think it took me three days to like write these three paragraphs. Cause I was just so. You know, I was wigging out on it and I remember, you know, you turn everything in for Lucasfilm approval and they like turned it back within half an hour. And they’re like, yeah, this is good, no notes. And I was just so stoked and then like, I’ve written dozens of them now, you know, every single issue had one.
[00:23:39] So I’d probably written well over a hundred, but it was, it’s really funny looking back at like, that was the most,
[00:23:45] Melissa Sercia: [00:23:45] most intimidating,
[00:23:47] Heather Antos: [00:23:47] intimidating thing. No, I think, I think the biggest takeaway, That I got is, you know, you have to be, you have to treat every single book. and every [00:24:00] single creator. you know, the best for them to be suited.
[00:24:03] You know, like you can’t, you can’t treat every writer the same. You’re not gonna get the best work out of them. You know, you might get the best work out of one of them, but what works for one writer, it’s not going to work for another writer. It’s not going to work for the same writer on a different book.
[00:24:17] Right. You know? And so I think that’s why I like editing comics so much is every single day and every single book and every single issue is so different. It is, it is a unique experience and a unique challenge, both positive and negative. you know, we all have children. but, but yeah, I think so long as you go in with an open mind for an open experience and just kind of learn to adapt and be flexible, it’s a lot like improv, right?
[00:24:50] Yeah. Yeah.
[00:24:53] Melissa Sercia: [00:24:53] Well, that’s interesting because yeah, every writer does have their own process and the, their own sort of like creative bursts. [00:25:00] and I, yeah, I guess it would be really important to be able to get to know each one individually and sort of cater to them, but tailor, I guess, to their needs so that you can get the best product.
[00:25:10] Heather Antos: [00:25:10] Exactly. Yeah. You, you know, like I believe it’s my job to make it so that all a writer has to worry about is writing all an artist has to worry about his drawing, you know, they shouldn’t have to where if you can build a schedule so that they shouldn’t have to worry about deadlines like that, then why wouldn’t you, you know, some talent doesn’t do themselves any favor in that regard.
[00:25:30]And, but it’s my job to, to deal with that. And, you know, there’s some talent that I know that schedules are just not their forte. and so it’s my job. If I’m going to hire them to work around that and plan for that and be able to adapt to that, you know, it’s, it’s a, part-time, you know,
[00:25:52] Melissa Sercia: [00:25:52] definitely.
[00:25:54] Oh, yeah, no, I, I definitely texted my editor, probably way too much. [00:26:00] so, you know, after, you know, being in the industry for a little bit at Marvel, was there anything that surprised you about the industry that you didn’t know beforehand when you were just a fan or a
[00:26:11] Heather Antos: [00:26:11] reader? Oh God. You know, I think like a lot of people, you know, comics isn’t pay as well as you think it would.
[00:26:18]you know, and, and, you know, everyone says, no one goes into comics for the money, but, but no one goes into comics for the money, you know, like, just cause you’re, you’re, you’re working for Marvel does not mean you’re making MCU billion dollar salary. It’s like the actors, right? Like that’s not, it they’re two different companies.
[00:26:39]and should it be that way? Absolutely not, but it is. And, so yeah, I think that that was very, very eye-opening to me. and I think, I don’t know, like, I, I I’m very much, some of that goes into things with a very open mind and just kind of takes away. I think, I think how small of a world [00:27:00] comics is, not that it was shocking, but like, You know, I just didn’t realize it how, like everyone knows everyone.
[00:27:07] Everyone knows everyone.
[00:27:09] Melissa Sercia: [00:27:09] It seems. Yeah.
[00:27:11] Heather Antos: [00:27:11] Yeah. and I think that’s part of, you know, it’s, it’s, it’s hard. Comics are hard to very unforgiving, both mentally and physically. you know, it’s hard on your body to sit and draw that long all day and hunched over and, and the longevity and perseverance. To, to stick in a career like this, like you’re going to know everyone and, you know, because we’re all on a team and working together, no one’s going to want an asshole to stick around.
[00:27:41] Right. so you all share stories and like, you know, like the good people stick around, right? Like that’s kind of because they’re the ones who get jobs because they’re easy to work with.
[00:27:51] Melissa Sercia: [00:27:51] Yeah. No, that would make, yeah, that makes sense. Yeah. And then the other ones I’m sure word gets around. And then they wonder if they do why they don’t get [00:28:00] jobs.
[00:28:00] And it’s
[00:28:00] Heather Antos: [00:28:00] cool
[00:28:01] Melissa Sercia: [00:28:01] because, you know,
[00:28:02] Heather Antos: [00:28:02] it’s like they say, you know, you have to be, easy to work. You know, you can be two or three, right. Easy to work with, good or fast. Right. ideally we want all three, very rarely do they come along. but you need two out of three. And you can be the best artist in the world, but if you’re an asshole and you can’t hit a deadline, why would you get hired?
[00:28:23] Melissa Sercia: [00:28:23] Right.
[00:28:24] Heather Antos: [00:28:24] Like that’s, you know, that’s kind of how it goes
[00:28:29] Melissa Sercia: [00:28:29] the business. I mean, as, as creative as everyone can be, it is a business and money is on the line. And, you have deadlines and, you know, expectations from retailers and things like that.
[00:28:41] Heather Antos: [00:28:41] No for sure. Absolutely. Absolutely.
[00:28:44] Melissa Sercia: [00:28:44] Well, do you feel any pressure as a woman in comics to work twice as hard as your male counterparts?
[00:28:55] Heather Antos: [00:28:55] Not I’m just, I’m just, I’m just an overachiever.
[00:29:00] [00:29:00] Melissa Sercia: [00:29:00] You’re like I’m working twice as hard anyway.
[00:29:02] Heather Antos: [00:29:02] Yeah.
[00:29:06] I don’t know. I, I.
[00:29:12] This is a tough question. you know, you’re going to have personal experiences as a woman that lane sexist, no matter where you are, you know, it’s not privy to just comics, right? in any way, shape or form. have I shared, have I had my fair share of misogynistic experiences op solutely you know, and I’m not, I’m not ashamed of it it’s happened.
[00:29:43]you know, it sucks. but it D I don’t think it like. Means I have to work twice as hard. I’m just very much a fuck you. Like, what does that have to do with anything? And if anything, it probably makes me more bullish anyway, [00:30:00] like, And, you’re just going to piss me off more and I’m very much, I say this to, you know, the colleagues all the time, because I’m very much a straight shooter, no bullshit.
[00:30:10]and you know, I’m like, okay. And it’s telling the truth. It gets me fired. Then it gets me fired. I don’t care. Like, that’s just who I am. And you know, that has nothing to do with the fact that I’m a woman, like nothing. I do. is driven by my facts. If anything, you know, if the only thing I do is is that I do fight for more representation.
[00:30:34] You know, I am more conscious of it. which, you know, again, as an editor, that’s I think part of my job is to be conscious of who we’re representing on the page and also behind the page. and I don’t think that. You know, you’re straight, straight white males of the world are socialized to being conscious about it.
[00:30:57]definitely something that is changing [00:31:00] slowly, but, but yeah, I don’t, I don’t know. I, I don’t think I’ve. I don’t think I’ve had to work twice as hard. I just do it to myself.
[00:31:08] Melissa Sercia: [00:31:08] Right. You’re a workaholic. That’s good. Yeah, because you know, I’m, I’m gen X. So when I was a kid, you know, comics, I didn’t grow up reading comics because they felt very exclusive to men.
[00:31:21] They were marketed to men and, You know, we just weren’t encouraged to read them. You know, it was like, go play with dolls, you know, essentially in my generation. so, you know, I’m just curious, you know, it’s changed so much and I start getting into comics and I was in my twenties and, I see a lot more, you know, there’s tons of women at comic cons now and, and, and just people of color, every, you know, there’s just so much more inclusive than it was 20, 30 years ago.
[00:31:47]do you. How do you feel like you can contribute to that? Like as far as, as an editor in increasing that inclusivity? Oh,
[00:31:54] Heather Antos: [00:31:54] I mean, a big, a big, big thing for me is, you know, just for me, it’s putting myself out there and, [00:32:00] you know, waving the flag of hi, I exist. hi, I exist and in successful and work on high profile things and have my entire career.
[00:32:08]hi, I exist in that. Anyone who says that I can’t fuck you. You know, and, but beyond that, it’s challenging the norm, you know, the. An easy way for me is whenever I’m asked to be on a woman of comics panel, I’m like, let’s call this something else, you know?
[00:32:28] Melissa Sercia: [00:32:28] Yeah, absolutely.
[00:32:29] Heather Antos: [00:32:29] Or my, my latest favorite is, you know, when I was asked to be on, on one, last year, I was just like, who’s on the men of comics panel.
[00:32:40] Who’s on that one. What are you talking about? Moderate? And, you know, but also the big thing is an editor it’s to, to boost and support other creators of, you know, different backgrounds. notice if my book is all straight white males [00:33:00] notice, you know, if it’s the same dudes doing the same jobs over and over and over and change that.
[00:33:07] Yeah. and also tell stories that aren’t just, I’m a dude and it’s hard being a dude. And I got to punch things.
[00:33:16] Melissa Sercia: [00:33:16] That’s come up with some fresher ideas.
[00:33:20] Heather Antos: [00:33:20] It’s so hard being a dude.
[00:33:22] Melissa Sercia: [00:33:22] I know they have such a rough life. I think the thing I’ve heard you mentioned is, you know, the toxic landscape of fandom, your words, Kate, can you expand on that a little bit and talk about like, what that entails and sort of like how we can try to combat that and correct
[00:33:38] Heather Antos: [00:33:38] that I think, you know, anyone who’s ever been on the internet, never at all, knows that it’s not the kindest place, all the time.
[00:33:46]and, You know, I think it’s on any user of the internet and any person of any fandom. It’s, it’s your responsibility to make it a kind and warm and [00:34:00] welcoming place. And I don’t know why I could not tell you. It could not begin to tell you why there is a certain corner of all fandoms you know, it’s not just comics.
[00:34:13] It’s not just superheroes. It’s not just. Movies. It seems to be just all fandoms have, have this corner of exclusivity and superiority and it’s mine. And, you know, I think it comes from people, self identify and internalize. what they love, because it all, it does start from a place of love. And I think that’s, what’s so sad.
[00:34:46] Melissa Sercia: [00:34:46] Right.
[00:34:47] Heather Antos: [00:34:47] you know, the stuff with, with like Leslie Jones or, you know, any, anyone, any, any woman or a POC, who has been attacked for portraying. a [00:35:00] character that they didn’t even write. they took a job, and being attacked for it, for doing it wrong for existing, for, you know, whatever bullshit reason.
[00:35:11]it originally stems from, I love this thing so much. Right. And that’s, what’s so sad. That’s, what’s so sad about it. I’ll I’ll never forget. I went to star Wars celebration. My first one, I’m fine. in 2016, I think, and I was there when, or 2017, whatever, whatever year we got the, the, last year, my trailer and I was there.
[00:35:43] And to be in that room when that trailer dropped for the
[00:35:47] Melissa Sercia: [00:35:47] most time.
[00:35:48] Heather Antos: [00:35:48] Wow. Just the silence. Right. But you could feel this palpable energy of just excitement and for a moment, you know, [00:36:00] everyone was there. For one thing. And it was for this love of this one thing, and it was such a positive, warm experience to be, you know, connected with everyone in this moment, because we’re all here because we love this thing so much brought us all here together gives you chills.
[00:36:20] Yeah. And it’s just like, why, why can’t it just be that? Or why can’t we just all be excited? Like. You know, I, I love star Wars so much my whole apartment. If you could see my whole apartment, it’s literally just star Wars, shit everywhere. and like, You know, legends or cannon or, you know, jar jar, or he walks or porgs or, you know, whatever, like, can we just be excited that we love it?
[00:36:48] Melissa Sercia: [00:36:48] Right. I was having a similar conversation with a, with a voice actor a couple nights ago about, you know, an old, cartoon that he did versus the new version and how a [00:37:00] lot of fans. Like created all this backlash because it wasn’t the same as the old one. And, you know, and we were basically just saying how you can appreciate the, you know, the old ones still, it’s not going anywhere.
[00:37:11] You can still watch it anytime you want, but just give the new one a chance and sort of treat it as its own thing without bashing it, essentially, you know?
[00:37:20] Heather Antos: [00:37:20] Yeah. Like it’s it’s, I think that’s the that’s the best thing is like, it still exists. It’s like, it’s, it’s still, you know, like in, in comics, we, we get the thing of like, well, that’s not how it was in the nineties and it’s just kind of like, those books still exist.
[00:37:35]well, why can’t you do it this way? I’m like, cause those writers aren’t writing it
[00:37:41] Melissa Sercia: [00:37:41] and like, It’s not the nineties anymore, either. You know, you want to, you want stuff, that’s still going to be relevant to
[00:37:48] Heather Antos: [00:37:48] the times. Right? Exactly. And, you know, I, you know, I’m not a psychologist. I can’t tell you where any of this stems from.
[00:37:55] I just, I just think it’s quite honestly very, very sad. [00:38:00] that’s something that’s truly does STEM from love, turns to something so toxic, You know, and it, and it doesn’t have to be this way and it shouldn’t be this way. And that’s why, you know, for me and my platforms online, like I, you know, I try very, very hard to.
[00:38:17] Keep it all about like boosting other creators and, you know, talking about, things that I love and media and making sure I tag people and things that I love that they created because so many times it’s just, so I’m going to tag someone cause I hate what they did. And
[00:38:31] Melissa Sercia: [00:38:31] like I know, I know, I don’t understand that either.
[00:38:37] And I, I see that happen with a lot of it has to have to me, luckily, thank God. But, I have seen that with some of my other friends. Friends where they get tanked and you know, really horrific negative reviews where it’s like, you don’t need to tag them. You know, if you don’t like it, you can review it however you want, but you don’t need to be like here, look at how I ripped your book apart online.
[00:38:57] Like, it’s just like why we have [00:39:00] enough to worry about and stress about, yeah, I just, the negativity, I don’t, I don’t get, I try really hard to not. You know, and if I catch myself doing something negative, I’m like, Whoa, stop. Like you don’t need to express this negative thought. I
[00:39:13] Heather Antos: [00:39:13] really wish. And of course they will never do this because you know, social platforms exist because of controversy.
[00:39:20] They need it, unfortunately, but I really wish there was like an app you could install. you know, like, an adjacent to Twitter where, or Facebook or any of these where you’re, you know, every time you’re about to post something, it has a like, are you sure you want to post that? Like before, you know, you have to like, confirm it twice.
[00:39:40] Melissa Sercia: [00:39:40] Yeah. I like that. Just like when you’re about to purchase something and it asks you a couple of times. Yeah, exactly.
[00:39:46] Heather Antos: [00:39:46] Are you sure? Like really.
[00:39:49] Melissa Sercia: [00:39:49] Well, and I saw someone, I don’t know who someone on Twitter had just recently termed something that I thought was really cool. I’d never, I hadn’t heard it before, but they called it joy scrolling.
[00:40:00] [00:39:59] Instead of doom scrolling,
[00:40:02] Heather Antos: [00:40:02] you
[00:40:02] Melissa Sercia: [00:40:02] thought that’s such a refreshing thing to hear, you know, that we’re looking for the positive posts, not the gloom and
[00:40:08] Heather Antos: [00:40:08] doom ones. No, for sure. For sure. And it’s It’s it’s so important, you know, to put that positive positivity out there, because yeah, doom scrolling. It is the thing.
[00:40:19] When you sit and wallow, like that’s going to be all you see, you know, when you look, when you look for negative things, you tend to find them. Yeah. And, but also when you look for opportunities and you look for things to be happy about and you look for simple in also tend to find those too. and yes, not everything is roses and rainbows, but, so much, so much about our experiences.
[00:40:45] And this is just going beyond the internet and toxic fandom. But so much of our experiences are all about perspective. And not to be like, Oh, you should be glass half full all the time. but you know, I think it’s important to remember that the goal that the [00:41:00] glass is opportunity.
[00:41:03] Melissa Sercia: [00:41:03] Yeah. And like, I think like attracts, like, you know, when you put out good energy, and like you said, you’re, you know, you’re going to have a bad day, no matter what you do, you can’t be, you know, sunshine all of the time.
[00:41:12] But I do think that if you wallow and faster, like you said, you’re just going to keep attracting those negative things to sort of almost reaffirm your own narrative, you know?
[00:41:23] Heather Antos: [00:41:23] Oh, it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy, a hundred, a hundred percent, you know? you know, it’s Oh, this always happens to me. I was like, w do you know why?
[00:41:32] Like, what’s the common denominator in that
[00:41:37] Melissa Sercia: [00:41:37] it’s like, go watch Bernay Brown now.
[00:41:40] Heather Antos: [00:41:40] Yes. Yes.
[00:41:44] Melissa Sercia: [00:41:44] Well, and so with all of that, how do you think the, the industry has changed from, just from your perspective of when you first started total? Like up to this point?
[00:41:55] Heather Antos: [00:41:55] Oh my goodness. I think like, even just in the last five years, [00:42:00] six years. Oh my God. Yes. Six years. not, not that that’s a long career, but like for, you know, for me, I,
[00:42:06] Melissa Sercia: [00:42:06] yeah, that’s a good amount of time.
[00:42:08] Heather Antos: [00:42:08] I again, like I said, I, I only, I was, when, when I was first venturing out, I was like, I want to work by a publisher by the time of 30. And I just turned 30 this year. So it’s to like, you know, hit that realized like, Oh, this is, this is the goal I set up for myself. but anyway, no, I mean like let’s just representation already is so much better.
[00:42:32]so, you know, are we there yet? No. it’s still, it’s still white dudes writing Batman all the time. Right. but, but it’s so, so much better than it was. and that’s because people got angry and people were talking about it and people, you know, on the inside cared and fought and fought and fought and fought, you know, and are solely working their way up that ladder to where, you [00:43:00] know, they, it’s not just someone’s screaming from down below, but they actually have the power to make these changes.
[00:43:05] And like, that’s, you know, now that I’m a senior editor, you know, like that power is mine. and it, it is scary, right? Because I want to do the right thing and I know I’m not always going to do the right thing. And, and though my intentions may be the best. They might not always be executed, to the fullest, but, it’s.
[00:43:24] You know, it’s, we’re getting so much more queer representation and representation of color and women, and I’m just all over the spectrum and it’s, it’s it’s, it’s so cool to see how much has changed in such a short time.
[00:43:40] Melissa Sercia: [00:43:40] Yeah. Do you think the pandemic has influenced that at all?
[00:43:44] Heather Antos: [00:43:44] Oh, I think the pandemic has, has definitely opened doors and changed things in a way for representation going forward.
[00:43:52] I mean, we’re not going to know obviously until, you know, one, two, three years from now, but like, because of the pandemic [00:44:00] shutting us off from going to stores and picking up the same, you know, Superman issue, we pick up all the time. we needed a new contents and the only way to get that was digitally and the only way, and, you know, the, the, the normal publishers weren’t publishing.
[00:44:20] Anymore. They were on, on locks. So you had to go to create our own to you to go to different creators and you had to see what else was out there. and in parts, Kickstarter had its best comics year ever.
[00:44:32] Melissa Sercia: [00:44:32] Have they been doing insane things lately
[00:44:35] Heather Antos: [00:44:35] and exactly. And, you know, that’s where the, you know, more minority creators go to.
[00:44:44] To publish and fund of their work because you know, the, the normal publishers would normally have not, been interested and so things are changing and it’s very, it’s very, very, very exciting to [00:45:00] see things are going moving forward, but we’re even seeing it. I mean, like look at all the white AOGs that are out there now with the big two.
[00:45:09]and. Even characters, you know, we’re getting trans superheroes and more LGBT superheroes, and we’re getting more severe girls of color and different religions and backgrounds and shapes and sizes. And it’s just. It’s it’s so cool to see how colorful the world really is.
[00:45:31] Melissa Sercia: [00:45:31] Fantastic. Yeah, no, it’s fantastic.
[00:45:34] I mean, just, it makes reading more exciting, you know, because you, as much as people want to see things that look like them, as you know, the stereotypical, you know, like the street white man, as we was talking about earlier, But I find it’s more exciting to read things that I don’t know anything about, you know, that I want to learn about and get transported into a different world and culture.
[00:45:55] And I just think it’s more exciting that we have so much more to choose from now.
[00:46:00] [00:46:00] Heather Antos: [00:46:00] No, for sure. For sure. And like, it’s, it’s a thing that I did, back when comic shops, when I, when I felt like I could go into comic shops, I’m, I’m very. Hesitant to, to go, you know, socially outside right now, pandemic.
[00:46:18] But, you know, I highly encourage when things are normal and safe again for people to do. you know, they say don’t judge a book by a cover, but literally this is what I did where I would go into a shop. And I would just pick up a book because I liked the cover and I have to know anything about it.
[00:46:33]It didn’t have to be a number one. It could be any issue, but I would just discover, stands out to me and picking it up and reading it. And I would do it every single week. And I discovered some of the coolest stories that way. I just covered some great creators that way. I discovered some awesome things that I know I would have not just picked up on my own.
[00:46:53] And it’s, it’s super fun. And, to see what’s out there and what’s different and
[00:46:59] Melissa Sercia: [00:46:59] yeah. [00:47:00] Yeah. And I I’m a sucker for artwork as well. If I see a cover that I like actually, that’s how I fell in love with saga because they just,
[00:47:06] Heather Antos: [00:47:06] it was staples.
[00:47:08] Melissa Sercia: [00:47:08] Yeah. It was amazing. And I thought, okay,
[00:47:11] Heather Antos: [00:47:11] it’s not fair. How good she is.
[00:47:13]Melissa Sercia: [00:47:13] it’s it’s really, yeah, it’s insane. and it, you know, it was great too, because when I was at comic con the year that I brought it, I think this was like three years ago. There was so much cause play from it. and at the time I hadn’t picked up the books. So I told my friend, I said, who what’s this Causeway?
[00:47:29] And she was like, Oh, it’s from saga. And I thought, okay, this is cool in itself. So then I, I went over to the, you know, the stand and picked it up and I just fell in love with it. But. But it was, yeah, it was the Causeway that the costumes, the, the artwork, and then of course the stories. Absolutely fantastic.
[00:47:44] So, but yeah, no, I did the same thing sucker for the artwork.
[00:47:49] Heather Antos: [00:47:49] No, for sure. For sure. For sure. For sure.
[00:47:51] Melissa Sercia: [00:47:51] Yeah. well, the other thing I wanted to touch on is, you know, you’ve been nominated for an Eisner, Harvey and a Hugo award, huge, I mean, congratulate [00:48:00] sane, you know, what. Did you freak out when you found that out and you know, what does that mean to you?
[00:48:09] Heather Antos: [00:48:09] Oh my goodness.
[00:48:09] Melissa Sercia: [00:48:09] it’s
[00:48:12] Heather Antos: [00:48:12] I don’t know, like it’s, it’s, it’s, it’s weird. Like, you know, I don’t, I didn’t go into. It’s nice to be recognized. I think it all comes down to, it’s nice to have your work recognized. It’s nice to see other people who like are like, Oh, that’s good. I like that. Do that more. you know, and, to have, you know, I think the Hugo like Afra being nominated and winning the Hugo this year, that was, that was just huge to, to see, A character that I was part of her inception, quite frankly, be recognized for representation.
[00:48:48]especially because typically, and I don’t know if this is true, but this is just my ignorance perspective. Typically, I feel like a lot of these, [00:49:00] awards. Don’t go for, you know, Oh, well you’re from a franchise IP, right? Like your star Wars, you don’t count. Right. and so to see her get recognized, despite that, is amazing.
[00:49:13]but yeah, you know, like when I, when I started out my career, I never thought I would be nominated for anything. you know, let alone win. in any way, shape or form and it’s, it’s, it’s just, it’s, it’s very humbling and it’s nice. It’s, it’s so good. Great to be appreciated. and recognized, from your industry peers, that like, no, no, no, this is, this is what comics are about.
[00:49:42] This is, you know, this is the direction we, as an industry want to move in. especially for books that, you know, like. Redlands, which is a book all about women being angry. That’s what it’s about. And Bitterroot about a black family [00:50:00] fighting racist monsters and, you know, ACRA who’s a queer, whatever the star Wars equivalent of an Asian woman is.
[00:50:09] And so like, it’s, it’s so, you know, like again, so much about my career’s about, Representing underrepresented voices in, in arts and putting it out there. And so to have books that I’m so passionate about that, do that be recognized for that. is it’s, it’s just, it just, you know, it, it kind of, really makes me feel like, okay, I’m doing the right thing.
[00:50:35] I’m on the right path. Just keep doing it.
[00:50:37] Melissa Sercia: [00:50:37] Yeah. Yeah, no, that’s really cool. And Bitterroot is, it’s really good. I just read like the first issue so far. and I got a chance to talk to him about it, recently, so yeah, everybody needs to go. Check out better route as well. It’s just amazing. And just the concept and, yeah, no, that’s congratulations for getting
[00:50:54] Heather Antos: [00:50:54] recognized.
[00:50:56] Melissa Sercia: [00:50:56] super cool. and, and needed, you know, right now we [00:51:00] need to see like, is that more, representation? not just, you know, out there, but also getting recognized for, for the talent that’s out there in the storytelling. and speaking of storytelling, you wrote a blog post and then organized, a few other contributors for it called how to write a story set in space.
[00:51:20] And I really enjoyed that piece. I like the analogy used to explain the difference between scifi and fantasy by using the sort of star Trek versus star Wars analogy. do you find that as something often that people don’t get right, like making that distinction,
[00:51:41] Heather Antos: [00:51:41] between science fiction and science fantasy?
[00:51:43] Yeah. All the time. all the time, because I, and I, and you know, I don’t. I don’t know if there’s anyone to blame for this, but, but like it’s, it’s, you know, people think that anything [00:52:00] in space has to be Saifai because. Space is science fiction and it’s like space isn’t science fiction. It is real right.
[00:52:10] Melissa Sercia: [00:52:10] That’s true.
[00:52:12] Heather Antos: [00:52:12] It’s not, it’s not, it’s not fake. It doesn’t exist. We just don’t know a lot about it. but yeah, like, just because again, just because it has aliens. Doesn’t mean it’s, Saifai, we’re not exploring, you know, like saga is a mix between science fiction and fantasy. it is exploring, you know, hypotheticals of science fiction and technology.
[00:52:38]but it’s, it’s mostly a fantasy. and, and genre is, is a very important part of, of. You know, this, you know, as a, being a writer as being an editor, it’s, it’s important to understand the distinctions of genre and how to, really incorporate their strengths into the stories that you’re trying to tell.
[00:52:59] And, [00:53:00] you know, and really understand the story you’re trying to tell and what genre can do to, to help that.
[00:53:05] Melissa Sercia: [00:53:05] Yeah. Well, we got like, as you said, you were like, space is the setting. It’s not like Spotify as the genre,
[00:53:11] Heather Antos: [00:53:11] right? Exactly. Yeah. Space space is a setting. It’s not, it’s not a genre
[00:53:20] fantasy genre. star Wars is the fantasy set in space.
[00:53:27]where star Trek, right? Star Trek is science fiction that in space.
[00:53:36] Melissa Sercia: [00:53:36] Yeah. Well, and then you’ve got like your space opera, you know, which is also, you know, it’s more of like a, you know, it could be a romcom set in space or whatever
[00:53:45] Heather Antos: [00:53:45] thrillers happen, you know, like space interception or interception. Interstellar. There you go. Inception. I am interstellar and inception. The same thing.
[00:53:57] Melissa Sercia: [00:53:57] No, I was thinking as well because
[00:54:00] [00:54:00] Heather Antos: [00:54:00] interstellar almost, I mean, it’s a drama, but it’s almost a thriller at some point, you know, and it, but it’s set in space. It’s also, Saifai that’s the fantasy.
[00:54:17] It’s the, it’s the it’s it’s whatever people do, star Trek versus star Wars. I want to, you know, for me, I’m like, well, what what’s, what are you, what, what’s the competition, right? What’s what are we greater than being, what are our qualifiers? And they’ll be like, well, what’s the best. you know, best Saifai and I’m just like, Oh, well, one of them isn’t, it’s the same.
[00:54:38] Melissa Sercia: [00:54:38] I feel like they’re not, both equal. Yeah.
[00:54:41] Heather Antos: [00:54:41] Oh, that’s, you know, apples to oranges. so yeah.
[00:54:44] Melissa Sercia: [00:54:44] Yeah, and I think that’s probably a genre that, it’s probably a hard one for people to break into, especially in comics. you know, aside from the, is just with the art as well. And then if they can’t fully understand the genre.
[00:54:59] You know, [00:55:00] on top of that, that must be frustrating for you sometime just to have to be like, okay, let’s walk this back a bit, you know?
[00:55:06] Heather Antos: [00:55:06] Yeah, no, I think, you know, I think star Trek and star Wars is great as they are, have really confused that, you know, I guess, the uneducated, I don’t like saying that, but you know what I mean?
[00:55:18]on what Saifai is, because, you know, if we really want to break it down, what’s. What’s the first Saifai it was Frankenstein. Sorry. He had nothing to do with space or alien. Very much. Saifai is all hypothetical’s what if this is possible? That is, that is literally all Saifai is as what, if this is possible?
[00:55:40] What then? Yeah. You know, and. Yeah.
[00:55:45] Melissa Sercia: [00:55:45] Yeah. And somewhere down the road, it, it got just, associated, you know, automatically was
[00:55:51] Heather Antos: [00:55:51] space for
[00:55:52] Melissa Sercia: [00:55:52] whatever reason.
[00:55:54] Heather Antos: [00:55:54] I think it just, you know, the 19, you know, 19, fifties, sixties space race. [00:56:00] Yeah, I think that’s where, and that, and that’s become so much since then, because again, there is, that is where so much of our hypothetical unknowns are.
[00:56:09] I think left for the, for the modern world is there’s, you know, aside from the deep sea, which we’re very, very little about. but no, one’s interested in stories about that, which I don’t understand. I find it fascinating and terrifying.
[00:56:21] Melissa Sercia: [00:56:21] Super terrifying. Yeah.
[00:56:23] Heather Antos: [00:56:23] There’s, there’s a spot. I can’t remember what it’s called.
[00:56:26]but I have a, no one steal this for me. but I, I have a horror story I want to do because there’s a, a spot in the ocean and the Pacific ocean, where the closest thing to you is not land it’s the space station. and I think that there’s a great horror story there.
[00:56:45] Melissa Sercia: [00:56:45] Oh my gosh. That just sounds terrifying.
[00:56:48] Just listening to that short little
[00:56:50] Heather Antos: [00:56:50] blurb. Yeah. The closest thing to you is the space station. It’s not Asia, it’s not Antarctica. It’s not America. It is a space station.
[00:57:00] [00:57:00] Melissa Sercia: [00:57:00] Wow. That’s super creepy. That needs to be written. I would definitely read that. And you know, you’re also a story consultant. I did notice that on your website.
[00:57:12]so. Like for you, what are, you know, just briefly what are like the top key elements that you look for in a good story?
[00:57:20] Heather Antos: [00:57:20] Oh gosh. super high. Top key is, you know, what’s, the high concept is interesting. you know, can I like my, my deep sea story? Right? Like, can, can I hone it down to what are the bare bones in a sentence?
[00:57:33] Right. And is that interesting? Would I be interested in that? Can I sell that? Is, if there’s dialogue involved, which isn’t always in the story consulting, like sometimes I’m just doing like IP consulting for like video games or like things like that. But, you know, it’s it’s does it feel organic?
[00:57:49] Does it feel natural? does it make sense? Can I follow it?
[00:57:57] Melissa Sercia: [00:57:57] I understand it. Yeah.
[00:58:00] [00:57:59] Heather Antos: [00:57:59] and is it problematic? you know, a lot of times there we’re finding, especially in these days, and this is the one I see far too often is the fridge to woman, right. where the sexy lamp. Right. Those are, those are the two, Gail, Simone and Kelly, Sue fun.
[00:58:19]fun anecdotes. But, but I see it all the time is, Oh, what’s the most traumatic thing we can do. Well, we’re going to kill the kid’s mother in front of him. And that’s her whole purpose in the story is being murdered in front of him. Just so he’s traumatized and that’s going to incite his story and I’m just like, do we have to do that right?
[00:58:36] Is that, is there, can we do literally anything else that will have the same effect? You know,
[00:58:42] Melissa Sercia: [00:58:42] yeah. There’s lots to choose from,
[00:58:44] Heather Antos: [00:58:44] th right, exactly. Or, you know, like, Oh, her whole point, her whole existence is to be helpless and to be saved. And, you know, and not saying that there’s wrong, it’s wrong for [00:59:00] a character’s only existence, you know?
[00:59:02] Cause we do need pot devices sometimes. but when those devices are constantly. Women or LGBT or POC when they’re constantly that, you know, in order to motivate the white man’s story, it is problematic. you know, our existence is not to serve others. It’s not to serve men. and, Unfortunately, those are, those are stereotypes that are very, very hard to break, in, mass media.
[00:59:33] Melissa Sercia: [00:59:33] Yep. No, absolutely. It’s sort of like the main Marian complex, you know, when you, you see like the, the transition that’s happened over the years and it still needs work, but you know, if you go back to original stories of, of Robin hood and she was the one that needed to be saved, the damsel in distress and, you know, flash forward to some of the newer versions that have come out and film.
[00:59:51]you know, now she’s like, you know, fighting and hopping around, you know, from building to building and actually like saving his ass at times, you know? So [01:00:00] I do like that, that it is changing obviously. it would be even better if it was like made called, made Marian instead of
[01:00:07] Heather Antos: [01:00:07] exactly. No, no, no, exactly.
[01:00:09] Or, or like one of the things that infuriated me the most recently, say what you will about the new Hobbit trilogy. Right? Love it or hate it. I don’t really care, but the thing, you know, of Angela Evangeline Lilly’s character, like was I thrilled that they added, like, I love the hop. It’s one of my favorite books.
[01:00:28] And so, you know, when they’re like, we’re going to introduce this lady elf. I’m like, she’s not in it. I get it though. You want a female character? So like, you know what? This is fine. But then when literally her entire purpose was a romantic storyline for one of the habits I was in, I was infuriated. Why, why, why, why nothing else to say, but why.
[01:00:55] Melissa Sercia: [01:00:55] What was the point of it? Just so he could, you know, get some romance
[01:00:59] Heather Antos: [01:00:59] just [01:01:00] so we can be sad when he dies. Right. Like
[01:01:07] Melissa Sercia: [01:01:07] be more sad if he was single and alone.
[01:01:10] Heather Antos: [01:01:10] There you go. And more relatable for a lot of people out there, I think.
[01:01:15] Melissa Sercia: [01:01:15] Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. It really is gorgeous. So, I mean, that’s not common that she’s going to date a Hobbit, so
[01:01:23] Heather Antos: [01:01:23] right. But yeah, like, you know, it’s it’s Oh, well you should be happy. You got a woman or you should be happy.
[01:01:29] You got a black person it’s like, not if they’re always villainized, not if it’s always a, you know, a homophobic experience, not if it’s always, you know, so. Like it’s there, there’s a, there’s a very people are trying and like, they’re not going to get it right. Every single time. and you know, so there has to be some, some give and take with, with things like that.
[01:01:49] But, you know, it is, you, you, it’s important to praise them for trying and then always encourage them to do better. Yeah,
[01:01:58] Melissa Sercia: [01:01:58] absolutely. And I look [01:02:00] for stories like that now, and I think a lot of readers do. I mean, I can’t speak for, for everyone, but, you know, I will look for a story that is an all female cast or, more, you know, just all diverse and not just the typical, you know, that you see all the time.
[01:02:14] And I think that’s probably another reason why I don’t read a lot of the traditional superhero comics, you know? Because they’re just, they are what they are and they’re kind of, sort of, you know, ingrained into what they’re going to be forever. There’s not much change you can do with them. So, you know, that’s why a lot of the indie comics and, you know, are just more appealing.
[01:02:29] I think these days.
[01:02:31] Heather Antos: [01:02:31] No, I, I agree. Like, you know, and not saying there’s anything wrong with that, man. Superman Spiderman, iron man, any of that stuff, but like, You know, Bruce Wayne is Batman. That’s not changing clerk, Kent as Superman. That’s not changing. You know, Peter Parker is Spiderman. That’s, you know, even though there are a million other Spider-Man and miles Morales is fantastic.
[01:02:49] And, and to be fair, the representation and following that miles has gives me hope. Right. It’s massive. so that’s, that’s our anomaly [01:03:00] there, but like, it’s, it’s, it’s really hard. You can’t create that. Right. You can’t manifest. Right. that falling out of anywhere. And, so yeah, I think that’s why people are falling these like saga again, why these, these other stories is they’re done well, but the representation too is there and it’s not, it’s not just the same dude.
[01:03:23]and the same tights finding the same dude over the same stupid day. Exactly. Yeah, there’s a lot more nuance. And not to say that superhero stories haven’t become more nuanced. They have, you know, and representation has gotten better, but, you know, they, they do exist for a reason and they do have, you know, they, they, they they’ve worked on behalf, have the audience.
[01:03:50] And so like, it’s just. It’s not gonna it’s it’s gonna take a lot more time if that is to change. And we don’t know if a well, and it isn’t [01:04:00] necessary that, that, you know, we don’t need another Batman. Right. We don’t can be Bruce Wayne forever and that’s fine. There’s nothing wrong with that. but, but it.
[01:04:10] The companies need to understand that that isn’t, everyone’s what everyone is interested.
[01:04:15] Melissa Sercia: [01:04:15] Right? Yeah. And as we were saying earlier, it’s like having that nostalgia for the past three, you can, you can still appreciate, and recognize those comics of being like the groundbreaking, you know, the front runners that started the whole thing.
[01:04:28]and you can still appreciate those with and still want new and fresh, you know, stuff and a new superheroes. to be created, you know, things, like even like, well, I know the titles funny, the boys, you know, is a great comic just because there are female characters and there are diversity, characters in that.
[01:04:45] And I think that’s just the concept of sort of their personalities and not always. You know, there to save the day. They’re kind of got these sinister, you know, personalities behind the scene and that’s just something totally fresh and different that, you know, I didn’t read when I was younger. [01:05:00] And I think that, yeah, I think people really are hungry for, for new stories like that.
[01:05:05] Heather Antos: [01:05:05] Yeah, no, I agree. I absolutely agree.
[01:05:08] Melissa Sercia: [01:05:08] Yeah. Well, is there anything you can sort of tease before we go that you have maybe recently acquired or anything that you can let us know to look out for?
[01:05:18] Heather Antos: [01:05:18] Oh my goodness. well, Valliant, exome anti-war number two is coming out. November 25th. So that is, the week of Thanksgiving for all my American friends.
[01:05:28] And it is the last week of November for everyone.
[01:05:38] literally everyone else. Yeah. And, yeah, we just announced the return of Savage in February of next year in shadow man and April next year. So lots of exciting things coming out at valiance. And then I can’t really talk too much about my other projects right now, only that they’re very exciting and a lot of new things are happening.
[01:05:58] With image [01:06:00] and other publishers and video games and things that are exciting. And I can’t say anymore.
[01:06:06] Melissa Sercia: [01:06:06] Right. Darn it. Now
[01:06:10] Heather Antos: [01:06:10] I know, I, I, it sucks. I like, I got out of a meeting for a video game project that I’m working on today. That’s just like the most exciting thing. And I can show. No one, anything it’s it’s devastating.
[01:06:25] Melissa Sercia: [01:06:25] I know. Well, yeah, that must be hard to just kind of sit on and kind of let it fester and not have to like, want to yell it from the rooftops
[01:06:33] Heather Antos: [01:06:33] I have. I have, you know, friends or family and be like, Oh, are you working on anything? Cool. Yup. Can you tell us about it? Nope.
[01:06:42] Melissa Sercia: [01:06:42] You’re all gonna have to sign an NDA. Well, well I hope that when you can announce it, you’ll come back on and we can, we can talk about it here
[01:06:53] Heather Antos: [01:06:53] or no, absolutely. Anytime.
[01:06:55] Melissa Sercia: [01:06:55] Awesome. Well, yeah. Thank you so much for chatting with me today. I, you know, [01:07:00] I love being able to talk to people that are in the industry, not just, you know, writers and artists, but you know, you’re literally creating these, you know, comics putting them together.
[01:07:09] You’re doing so much. And I think editor. There’s so often get overlooked. You know, people don’t realize how much work, an editor does. So I really wanted to get you on and, and just, you know, listen to you, chat about what you do
[01:07:24] Heather Antos: [01:07:24] for sure. Now thank you so much.
[01:07:25] Melissa Sercia: [01:07:25] Well, cool. Well, And I look forward to these teasers that you’re telling
[01:07:29] Heather Antos: [01:07:29] me.
[01:07:31] Melissa Sercia: [01:07:31] So definitely, like I said, please come back at any time and, yeah, I’d love to have you, have you back on, everybody. Thanks for listening. This has been Heather and toasts and, yeah, thanks so much. And I hope you have a great night.
[01:07:46] Heather Antos: [01:07:46] Thank you. Yeah. off puppy, play time after this. Okay.