When I was in college, I worked at a small Mexican diner where we would get the usual assortment of business park workers on their lunch hours. I’ve never been the shy type and always welcomed a good conversation. One day a group of regulars came in and I noticed one of them was wearing a Malibu Comics t-shirt. After a short exchange, I convinced him that, even though I was fantastic at making tacos, I was looking for a career in graphic design and the creative arts. He gave me his card and after taking an entry-level Photoshop test, I was hired into the world of iconic super heroes. While I was at MARVEL, it was an era of change in the comic book industry and publishing was going digital. The concept of using Adobe Photoshop for more than just editing and color correcting photographs was new. Not many people were using it as a painting tool and even fewer were using it in a fast paced bullpen production environment.
I started as a colorist on the night shift and eventually was promoted to a team color editor. My team was responsible for titles such as The Amazing Spider-Man, X-MEN, Ghost Rider, HULK, The Avengers, as well as licensed properties from Disney and Paramount. We worked hard not to just pump out colored comic book pages, but to develop new techniques and processes that would make the art of the pages come to life. I fondly look back on this time, as it was the first step in my career and my first experience managing people and not just my creative team. By the end of my time at MARVEL, I was a manager of a robust night shift of roughly 40 creative and technical staffers. I managed tight deadlines and HR responsibilities, as well as color design and color editorial for my assigned titles.