When I was trying to break into comics (which is to say work for DC or Marvel) I used to go to DC Comics’ Talent Search at San Diego Comic-Con.
You’d get the ‘fire and brimstone’ speech on how hard it was to break into comics. They already “had” the best talent so they made it clear… They didn’t NEED you.
You had to be a unicorn with a style and mastery they had never seen before. It was a good presentation but it was full of holes.
You didn’t have to be some child prodigy to get a gig at DC, they employed tons of mediocre artists. Including me by the way… But unlike the artists that give up I knew I had the total skills needed to break in.
I knew I was cool. People liked working with me. I was hungry to learn and to improve. Sooner or later I’d get in. And I did. But it was because of my Talent Stack, not because I was a stellar artist.
I picked up this term from artist Scott Addams in his book Win Bigly. He said, “ a talent stack is a collection of skills that work well together and make the person with those skills unique and valuable.”
A lot of people say you should ask yourself, what is your superpower? This is cute but it’s flawed like DC’s Talent Search.
That’s like saying Stephen Curry is a good basketball player only because he’s can shoot 3-pointers. Or Michael Jordon was successful because he could ‘dunk good’.
Instead of looking for a magic bullet, you should be asking this instead. What is your Talent Stack?
What are the two or three skills that when combined make you a juggernaut?
And an even better question…
What can you do to make the parts of your talent stack even stronger?