So i just got a message asking if Happiness was “an open submission kinda thing”. I figured i’d address this publicly so everyone could see.
Currently, Happiness is invite-only. Basically, if I discover someone’s comics or art that I like, either online or in person at a convention (or at a comic books store, through a friend, etc), i end up looking at more of their portfolio to get a better sense of their overall breadth of work. I then usually try to get in touch with them, expressing my interest in their art, and see if they’re into the idea of possibly submitting to happiness (if this is an in-person meeting, i usually give them the current issue of happiness for free to look at, or if it’s an online interaction, i offer to mail them a complimentary copy).
I do this so i can build a trusting relationship with the artists I work with. I trust that they will give me quality work, and be respectful to me, and they trust that I will be respectful to them, and give them a quality anthology that they can be proud to be in, and that they know will get in the hands of many people (so their hard work is not for nothing).
With that said, I am not completely against people cold-submitting work to me, as “ya never know” when someone I’ve never heard of or interacted with before will submit something FUCKING AMAZING. However, I’d MUCH prefer it if that someone simply emailed me first to introduce themselves to me, start a friendly conversation going, and link me to their work so I can get a sense of where they’re at and decide if they’d be a right fit for happiness (rather than going through the effort of making a comic to submit only for it to possibly get rejected.) I have published work in Happiness from people who initially emailed me like this out of the blue (for example, Miss Marthe Jung, who will be in #3, approached me initially)
Problems I’ve come across in letting people I haven’t gotten to know very well submit - finding out after the fact that they may have an inflated sense of ego in which they end up disrespecting my status as editor, and end up giving me a really really hard time when I try to give editorial suggestions. This generally doesn’t happen with people I personally invite, as I specifically choose people who I know will give me their best work, and who are also open to my suggestions. You see, this whole editing/submitting process is a very delicate balance of cooperation and respect. Accepting cold submissions often disrupts this balance, especially since many people who have the gutso to submit something cold without prior introduction already seem to have inflated senses of self-worth, whereas many of the people i personally approach often don’t push themselves into the spotlight enough!
Essentially, Happiness is about bringing to light the work of young cartoonists who deserve better exposure. Key word being deserve. There a bajillion cartoonists out there who are underexposed, but that’s because a lot of them suck. Like, seriously. That of course does not mean that if you don’t get a personal invite from me, that i think you suck. More likely i’m just not familiar with your work. So please, DO contact me if you’ve read Happiness and think your work would be a great fit for it. Do NOT contact me if you’ve heard about Happiness but haven’t actually looked at it and therefore have no friggin’ clue what kind of work i look for. I.e., i prefer not to publish unoriginal, uninspired, offensive, unprofessional, poorly edited, poorly presented, purely illustrative (non-narrative/non-abstract) garbage. Yeah, no.
When I update the Happiness website to include the artsits & bios in issue #3, i’m also going to include a more thorough “about” section, with a new mission statement, AS WELL AS submission guidelines! So i’ll keep yall posted when that’s up. In the meantime, I hope the above made everything a bit more clear. :)