I’ve brought up more than a few times before on both the blog and podcast that I interned at Marvel Comics back in 1998. Upon completing that internship, I graduated from college and a few weeks later got married. Afterward, I began looking for my first job. With that Marvel internship now sitting on my résumé, I thought for sure I could do anything. However, it had not yet merited me much in spite of three attempts to land a full-time job at Marvel during my internship. That didn’t stop me from trying with DC Comics though. Being more of a DC kid growing up, I figured I might have a better shot there anyway. Plus, the executive editor there was Mike Carlin, a guy who’s last name is the same as my first. I thought targeting him might pay off in some way. I had met him at a convention before and he seemed to get a kick out of that fact. Maybe he’d be up for having me around as a sidekick.
After inquiring at some point in July, an early August afternoon in 1998, this thing was dropped in my mailbox. Letters aren’t a good sign, but still, that giant blue DC bullet was exciting to see. And the slightly personalized writing on the outside was a nice touch.
Unfolding the letter found on the inside revealed a stack of seven super heroes standing on each others shoulders. At a quick glance, this was odd. Also the character choice was a bit odd. Superman, Flash, Batman, Robin, and Wonder Woman made sense. Icon sort of did in that DC really was trying to push that Milestone line at the time. But Plastic Man seemed out of place because in 1998 he really wasn’t doing anything.
I flipped over the letter to reveal the meat. It was a well-written message letting me know that it was appreciated that I applied but there are a lot of people who want in at DC so don’t get too hopeful. What was cool about this, was that even though this was probably a standard letter, I still got a personalized PS. “Nice name at least!”
Regardless of your feelings about the character selection, this is some of the coolest letterhead of all time. Hold it up to the light to reveal that the characters on the back are holding up the DC bullet at the top of the front.
It’s probably no surprise for you to learn that I was never contacted by DC Comics again. I don’t know why and it doesn’t really matter. I’ve come to believe, 15 years later, that this not working out was for the best. I won’t go through all the reasons I think that, but there are several things that make me believe it would have been bad to be there. I also would have missed out on several good things that occurred on the path that I did go down.
As Conan O’Brien once said, “Nobody in life gets exactly what they thought they were going to get.” That’s true. Throughout life, we are constantly faced with disappointment and rejection. That’s fine. To further quote Conan, “…I tell you that whether you fear it or not, disappointment will come. The beauty is that through disappointment you can gain clarity, and with clarity comes conviction and true originality.”
Well said, Conan…well said. And what he forgot to mention is that sometimes, your disappointment and rejection comes on some pretty cool letterhead.