Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Formspring - The Comic Convention In Your Computer

Do you live in an area that doesn't have any comic book convention near it? Do creators avoid your country like the plague? Do you have a burning question that you want to ask an editor? Well, is a website that you might find useful. Launched last year, it is a website where users can ask each others questions and post the answers for everyone to see. The site is obviously very new, but already a few comic book creators and editors have found their way on to Formspring, which means it gives anyone with the access to Internet the chance to ask questions and receive answers that you've been dying to know. Hit the jump to see how it works, and just who is on Formspring.

What is Formspring?

As I said above, Formspring is social website that allows users to interact by asking each others questions and posting the answers for everyone to see. You need an account to receive questions, but you can actually ask most users without signing up for an account. The benefit of having an account, however, is that you will receive notifications when someone answers one of your questions, plus you can follow people and see all of the questions they have answered recently in your profile.

There are certain limitations, such as a character limit of 255 characters, some profiles only accept questions from people who are signed in (the privacy settings allow people to change that), and there is no way to search through all questions, you must do that manually.

The Unwritten Rules of Formspring

Before I list down who is on this website, there are some rules you should always follow when interacting with creators. You would think some of these are common sense... but you would be surprised.


This one is pretty simple, but it still needs to be repeated. Because the website allows you to ask questions anonymously, some people thinks it gives them the right to act like a-holes, asking questions in very insulting ways, or just skipping the question altogether and insulting them. These comic book pros are doing these in their free time, because they WANT to interact with fans. If you don't like them for one reason or the other, you can just click the little X at the top of the window and never hear from them. Otherwise, you are just going to ruin it for the rest of us who do enjoy this interaction.


Just in case the first time wasn't clear enough. Also, try to not pick fights with them, you are probably not going to win or get the concession you want.


Creators and editors are not going to reveal the ending of upcoming stories, and asking about them is an exercise in futility. The best you will likely get is a tease or a "wait and see" answer. You may even get hints at future stories, but they are never going to tell you how something ends.


Battle boarding, in case you didn't know, is when comic book fans discuss who can beat who, who is smarter than who, etc. Nothing personal against it, everyone can enjoy this medium however they want, but some people use Formspring as a platform to settle matches or arguments. A question every now and then doesn't really matter, but when people repeatedly ask these questions, and then argue with the pro about the answer they gave, it becomes downright annoying.


Formspring users can build up a considerate back log of questions to answer, especially if they don't check it every day. Additionally, they may leave harder questions (that require more explanations, typing, thinking, etc.) for a later time. So do not ask the same question several times, it's possible that they might have not gotten to it yet.

The List

Here's a list of comic professionals that have an active Formspring account, couple with a short description of their work, and the type of questions they get. If you know of any creator or editor that is missing from the list, leave a comment with a link to their account, and I'll make sure to add it.

Rafael Albuquerque - Artist for DC, Vertigo and others (worked in American Vampire, Blue Beetle, Superman/Batman, and more)

Rafael Albuquerque gets lots of question regarding his design concepts, his recent work in American Vampire, and how he broke into the industry (drawing erotic art for a zine). You are going to need a translator for this one though, because Albuquerque is from Brazil, and as far as I can see, all the questions are in Portuguese.

Charlie Beckerman - Editor for Marvel (worked in X-Men Forever, Squadron Supreme, and more)

Charlie Beckerman (a.k.a. Chozzles) gets asked questions regarding the pitching process, his editor work, and breaking-into-comics questions.

Mitch Breitweiser - Artist for Marvel (worked in Captain America: The Chosen, Drax the Destroyer, and more)

Mitch Breitweiser has only gotten a handful of questions so far, so you can read through all of them very quickly.

Tom Brevoort - Executive Editor of Marvel (worked in Amazing Spider-Man, Captain America, Civil War, New Avengers, Secret Invasion, and many more)

Tom Brevoort is the premier formspringer, having answered more than three thousand questions as of this writing. He answers all kind of questions, though his important role in Marvel means that pretty much any controversy will find it's way into the questions he gets asked. Topics like the relationship between Jean Grey and Hope, the identity of Red Hulk, and the fall out from One More Day are recurring topics in his Formspring page. If you can skip the repeated questions that people ask him, Brevoort also imparts behind the scenes knowledge of what the Marvel offices are like, his day-to-day work in them, and how series come together.

Brian Clevinger - Writer for Red 5, Marvel, and others (worked in Atomic Robo, 8-Bit Theater, Avengers and the Infinity Gauntlet)

Brian Clevinger recently opened up his Formspring account, but he's already getting a ton of questions. Regular topics include the ending of 8-Bit Theater, what Atomic Robo can or can't do, and SCIENCE! questions.

Nathan Cosby - Editor for Marvel (worked in several Marvel Adventures/First Class titles, Incredible Hulk, Agents of Atlas, and more)

Nathan Cosby is relatively new to Formspring, so there is not a whole lot of questions to read through, although he does get many questions regarding bulldogs. Other topics include rap music, in-jokes with other editors, and even more bulldogs. Seriously, the dude loves bulldogs.

Andy Diggle - Writer for Marvel, DC & Vertigo (Losers, Green Arrow: Year One, Daredevil, Shadowland and more)

Andy Diggle has just opened his Formspring account. Go ask him about Shadowland!

David Gallaher - Writer for Zuda, Marvel and others (worked in High Moon, Winter Guard, and more)

David Gallaher's formspring is truly a mixed bag of questions, ranging all kinds of topics. With the announcement of his upcoming work in Winter Guard, there has been a rise of those questions, though there's surprisingly few questions regarding High Moon.

Kieron Gillen - Writer for Marvel and others (worked in Thor, S.W.O.R.D., Phonogram, and more)

Kieron Gillen works in several other fields besides comics, such as gaming and music. Because of this, there's quite a lot of variety of questions that he answers, from RPG games, his opinion of bands, and of course his comic work, particularly regarding the future of Phonogram. Also, because he is British, there is a quota of Doctor Who questions that must be present.

Gabriel Hardman - Artist for Marvel and others (worked in Atlas and Agent of Atlas)

Gabriel Hardman, asides from his relatively recent comic work, also produces storyboard art for movies. This means that while he's only answered a couple dozen of questions, they mostly focus around movies.

Jonathan Hickman - Writer for Marvel and Image (worked in Fantastic Four, S.H.I.E.L.D., Pax Romana and more)

Jonathan Hickman gets questions regarding his creator owned books, his work for Marvel, and a football (soccer).

Stuart & Kathryn Immonen - Artist and Writer for Marvel comics, DC, and others (New Avengers, NextWave, Patsy Walker: Hellcat, Heralds, and more)

Husband and wife share a Formspring account. Only a few questions here, as the account seems to be inactive for the past couple of months.

Ruwan Jayatilleke - Editor for Marvel (worked in Icon, motion comics, and licensed books)

Very few questions here as well, but maybe you should ask him about Stephen King, since he is the one that is handling the adaptations.

David Macho - Agent of Spanish Inq, a group of Spanish artists, guest manager of Barcelona Comic-Con.

David Macho has gotten only a couple of questions. If you are an artist and from Spain, he's someone you probably should approach with your portfolio.

Adriana Melo - Artist for DC, Top Cow, Marvel and others (worked in Birds of Prey, Ms. Marvel, Witchblade and more)

Adriana Melo is also from Brazil, so you are going to need a translator for this one as well. Questions about her art, and her past and future projects are the most common topic.

Jim McCann - Former Editor, now writer for Marvel and others (worked in New Avengers: The Reunion, Hawkeye & Mockingbird, and more)

Jim McCann is probably the biggest Dazzler fan ever, and because of this, many questions revolve around the Disco Queen of Comics. Other regular topics include his upcoming work with Hawkeye & Mockingbird, his love for West Coast Avengers, more Dazzler, music, more Dazzler, and so on.

Sean McKeever - Writer for Marvel, DC, and others (worked in Teen Titans/Ravager, Young Allies, Spider-Man Loves Mary Jane and more)

Sean McKeever only has a couple dozen questions, and there seems to be a unnervingly lot of them regarding MegaMorphs (whatever that is). And in case you are wondering, someone already asked him if he knew about "Bitches Love Spider-Man".

Peter Olson - Director of Web Development for Marvel

 Only a few question so far.

Alex Segura - Public Relations for DC, manages The Source blog.

Only a handful questions here, and it seems to have been inactive for quite some time.

Dan Slott - Writer for DC and Marvel (Amazing Spider-Man, She-Hulk, Batman Adventures, Mighty Avengers and more)

Dan Slott is probably one of the most liked members of the "Spidey Brain Trust", as such, a lot of the questions are about Spider-Man. He also gets lots of question regarding animated series, his previous work in titles like Ren & Stimpy, and his love for B and C list characters. More recently, he's also been getting lots of questions regarding video games.

Ian Struckhoff - Indie writer (The Deathlings, Black Label Comics, and more)

Ian Struckhoff is a friend of the blog and up and coming writer, who's currently working in an anthology series with a number of artists. He's also a photographer.

Marcio Takara - Artist for Boom! (The Incredibles)

Marcio Takara has only a few questions so far. You may remember that we did a Crisis on Infinite Arts spotlight on him some months ago.

Ben Templesmith - Artist for Image, IDW and others (worked in 30 Days of Night, Fell, and more)

Ben Templesmith has one of the most unique art styles around, and because of this he gets asked a lot of questions regarding his art style, process, as well as many questions regarding his future plans.

Fred Van Lente - Writer for Marvel and others (worked in Incredible Hercules, Marvel Zombies, Cowboys and Aliens, and more)

Fred Van Lente is the writer of many great things you should be reading, specifically Incredible Hercules, and the current Prince of Power miniseries.

Scott Wegener - Artist for Red 5 and Image (worked in Atomic Robo and Killer of Demons)

The other half of the Atomic Robo equation joins Formspring. No questions so far, so ask away!

Jordan D. White - Editor for Marvel (worked in Incredible Hercules, Skaar: Son of Hulk, the Ender's Game adaptations, and more)

Jordan White has answered a lot of questions (in this list, I believe he is only second to Brevoort), and there is quite a lot of variety. Recurring questions include details about his work as editor, his podcast, and (surprisingly), Sailor Moon.


As you can see, for reason or the other, the list seems to be pretty Marvel heavy right now (Twitter was like that in it's early days too), and very small. As more creators start using Formspring, it could become a really useful tool for interaction with the fans and feedback from the public. As it is right now, it's still a very small service, but that means there's a greater chance that these comic pros will answer your burning questions, so ask away! And remember to play nice with them.

Ask The Weekly Crisis!

Bonus round! As we were prepping this article, we decided it would be a good idea to set up a Formspring for our site, to add another layer of fan interaction to your reading. All the contributors of this site can access the account, so if you have any burning for us, feel free to ask us via our official Formspring page. Or you can always leave us a comment in the section below.

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MisterSmith said...

Been following (and asking) Tom Brevoort since just about when he started. The man is a saint of some kind, what with all the BS he puts up with. I don't know how he does it.

Sharp said...

Ben Templesmith has one of these things too.

Matt Duarte said...

@MisterSmith: I totally agree, the man deserves some kind of achievement award for putting up with so much.

@Sharp, Thanks for letting me know about
Templesmith! I shall add him to the list.

JSousa said...

Brazilian artist Adriana Melo also has one:

Ivan said...

I've been following Brevoort for a long time, and I gotta say it's brave of himto submit himself to this kind of scrutiny being in the position that he is. He's gotta be extremely careful with what he says, and he usually his. He'll beat around the bush anyway he can, but he won't be caught dead admitting the Ultimatum was a bad story.

Although unfortunately sometimes he comes off as too much of a corporate guy with the predictable "it's about the sales" approach. Which I know it's true. Yeah, comics are business like any other, but his attitude takes away some of the magic. =/

ekko said...

I was wondering if you'd participate in a comics poll I'm taking right now on the most definitive character runs in comics. If you submit a list to me and write something cool about your top pick, I can publish it and link to your site. Or, you can just drop a comment on the post with your list, or even just tell your readers about it.

Would really love to hear from you. Here's the link:

Peter Olson said...

A couple more folks (not creators or editors but connected to the industry) <- manages the DC Source blog <- works with Marvel's licensed publishing, Icon, motion comics and other initiatives <- me, Sr. Director for Web Development at Marvel

Matt Duarte said...

JSousa/Peter Olson: Thanks for the info, I shall add them to the list!

LUNIZ_GOT_5_ON_IT2004 said... <-- Charlie Beckerman, Assistant Editor at Marvel.

At the time of this post, he has no answers, but he used to answer questions on his Twitter, Fridays when his books would go to print, so I'll assume he may follow that same pattern on there.

Matt Duarte said...

Thanks for the heads up, I've added him to the list.

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