Friday, October 14, 2005


If you came to this blog through the Comiculture site, you may be wondering, "Who is Sara Kocher, anyway? And what is she doing on the Comiculture web site?"

First, a bit of background...back in the mid '80s, the president of Marvel Comics was an Antioch College grad. As the story goes (and since I got this from college gossip, not from him, insert grain of salt here), he wanted to do something for the old Alma Mater. So he established an internship program for Antioch students only -- a 3-month internship which included a small stipend. There was already a Marvel internship program offered for high school and college students, but those jobs were generally unpaid. After the first Antioch intern completed his 3-month stint, the internship shifted into the Epic Comics department, then headed by Archie Goodwin. I don't recall how many interns came and went before I got the job, but I'm guessing two or three at most.

And how did I get the coveted Antioch internship at Marvel? Well, I really wanted to live in New York City. So I checked the list of jobs for any in NYC that paid enough to live on (frugally), and chose my favorite. "I read comic strips," I thought, "And this sounds like fun."

I spent a few weeks reading all the comics I could get my hands on (mostly from dorm-mates) and the local comics shop loaned me a box of "returns." I was so well qualified!

(if you're not a comics fan or pro):
When a newsstand comic isn't sold, it can be returned to the distributor for a credit. Rather than shipping back all those comics (paper weighs a lot), retailers just send the cover. The rest of the comic is supposed to be thrown away. But instead, these "returns" can be kept in a big ole box and loaned to college students prepping for internships who are too poor to buy a ton of comics.

So I went to New York, fell in love with comics, and dropped out of college (nearly giving my parents a heart attack). After the internship, I spent a couple of months working in a local comic shop until I found a position at Marvel, as a receptionist (my parents were just thrilled). A few months later, I was hired as an assistant editor, first for a Marvel editor and then in the Epic Department. And things were great. But after about two years at Marvel, Archie Goodwin left Epic (or, more accurately, was pushed), Epic was reorganized, and I was out of a job. I quickly discovered that comic books are pretty much the only branch of publishing where lack of a degree is no hindrance.

I went back to school, finished my degree (my parents breathed a sigh of relief), worked for years doing non-comics-related things, got married, and had kids. I still read comics, including lots of newspaper strips, but I was out of the industry. Then the guys founded Comiculture. I offered to become a proofreader and general web-monkey and they took me up on it. And here I am. My parents are so proud.



At 10/18/2005 12:47 PM, Blogger Don Hudson said...

This is an excellent history! I never knew that you dropped out of college!

At 10/26/2005 9:33 PM, Blogger Sara Kocher said...

Thanks, Don. Yeah, I was a real rebel in my day (cough, cough).

By the way, if this entry looks different from the first time you read it, that's because Blogger somehow lost the entire second half when I made a small edit. I had to rewrite it from memory. And so I learn (once again) to back up my files.


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