Women in Comics – Janna O’Shea

When we started this whole women in comics thing we approached artists and writers. Only we realised that there were a lot of women working in comics in a whole heap of other roles. One of those is the brilliant Janna O’Shea who is Marvel’s Social Media Coordinator. She has a feed and a line to Marvel fans, hears their voices and interacts with all of them. Having her respond to our Women in Comics series is a delight, and we are thrilled to share her answers to our  questions with you. You can follow her on twitter @dreamyeyed

How did you get into comics?

I’ve been a comic fan since I was a kid but only started reading superhero comics in the past few years. I’m originally from Mamaroneck, New York, which is the home of Archie! Archie was in every grocery store, every convenience store, and every bookstore. I couldn’t get enough of Archie and the gang and they taught me everything from morality to great vocabulary. I also lived in Paris when I was a kid and while I was there I became enamored with European comics. I was a big fan of Tintin, Asterix and Obelix, and Lucky Luke!

A few years ago an old boss of mine who knew what a bibliophile I was suggested that I start reading super hero comics. He gave me a few trades to start, but once he handed me Concrete: Depths I was hooked. Concrete was my first experience with comic literature and it completely changed how I looked at the medium. [For those interested in Concrete, I recommend reading an interview that I did with its creator Paul Chadwickhttp://www.guerrillageek.com/2010/11/interview-paul-chadwick/]

Concrete opened up a whole new comic world for me and I became enthralled with comics in general. I’m a Marvel girl at heart but I love reading comics from all publishers!

How did you get into Social Media Management and how did that lead you to Marvel?:

My path to social media at Marvel was an interesting one. I’d been on Facebook for years but I became involved in Twitter during my internships with Marvel from 2009-2010. I became friendly with comic creators, journalists, and fans through Twitter and it really opened up the world of social media for me. After leaving my internship I moved to the Netherlands for a year where I spent a lot of time practicing my writing.  I also worked for MTV Geek for the fantastic Valerie Gallaher for a few months. My employment with MTV gave me the opportunity to attend the Barcelona Comic-Con (thanks to David Macho for the red carpet treatment!) and I was able to interview Garth Ennis, Kurt Busiek and Brent Anderson, and Charlie Adlard. Being on Twitter throughout all of these experiences was instrumental to furthering my career.

Marvel was looking for someone who knew and understood both the brand and the importance of confidentiality. They also wanted someone who was very familiar with social media and had strong relationships with those working in comics. I luckily fit the bill!

As a massive Marvel fan, what is the best thing about getting to work behind the scenes?:

As exciting as knowing story lines and seeing art in advance is, my favorite part of my job is talking comics with fans! It amazes me that people are truly interested in who my favorite character is or what I thought of the latest Avengers issue. I love chatting about comics, whether it’s on the Internet or at conventions. My favorite part of San Diego Comic-Con this year was how easy it was to talk to my Twitter followers. I would tweet whenever I had a free minute at the Marvel booth and ask people to come say hello. A bunch of people stopped by and it was wonderful being able to put face with Twitter names!

As Social Media Coordinator, what sort of things do you do? What kind of projects are you involved in?

I’m the Social Media Coordinator for Marvel, which means I handle our social networks and tons of other fun stuff, too. This includes Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Google+, GetGlue, and anything new that might come along. I work closely with the Marvel.com editorial team, which includes John Cerilli, Ben Morse, Ryan Penagos, and Marc Strom. Projects range from working with GetGlue to get awesome stickers going for our comics, movies, and TV shows to figuring out ways to promote our next big comics event. I’m working hard on getting the word out for our upcoming film Marvel’s The Avengers (May 4, 2012 in U.S. theaters!) and it’s been a blast. I’ve really enjoyed our numerous brainstorming sessions where we try to hash out ways to bring even more fans in to this wonderful franchise.

What is your favourite project that that you’ve been involved in so far?:

That would have to be our announcement of Avengers Vs. X-Men on December 7th. We were wracking our brains for a cool way to announce our big event of 2012 and came up with the idea of Google hangout. Marvel had worked with Google to be one of the first brand pages when they rolled out the new profiles so we were already big fans of the network. Editor Nick Lowe moderated the event, which featured the five writers working on the series [Brian Michael Bendis, Ed Brubaker, Jason Aaron, Jonathan Hickman, and Matt Fraction] along with Editor in Chief Axel Alonso and SVP Tom Brevoort. We partnered with Livestream who, well, livestreamed the event, which allowed fans to follow along at home. We took questions from Twitter, Facebook, Google+, our live blog and the Livestream chat room, which were then passed along, to the creators for them to answer. There was a fantastic response on all sides and fans really enjoyed how involved they were in the announcement.

Did you ever get advice about the field that you’d like to pass on?

Make sure that your social networks are a good blend of professional and personal. If my Twitter followers only wanted Marvel information they would just follow Marvel’s account. I love promoting our brand but I also make sure to talk about myself and my other interests! Engagement is so important, actually interacting with your followers and being interested in their lives is what keeps people around.

If you could recommend us 3 of Marvel’s current books for new readers, what would they be?

Pick up the current run of PUNISHER by Greg Rucka and Marco Checchetto and dive into the world of Frank Castle. As anyone who has ever read my Twitter or spoken to me knows, I am a huge Punisher fan. As a whole, Garth Ennis’ run on Punisher is what all comics should be and is one of my favorite series. I never thought I would love another Punisher, but Rucka and Checchetto have shown me a quieter, more introspective side to Frank. Plus, he has a beard!

I also suggest Mark Waid and Paolo Rivera’s recent run on DAREDEVIL. Matt Murdock has had a pretty crazy few years and he’s starting to sort himself out again. It’s a great introduction to the character and allows you to jump on with minimal effort. Rivera’s art is just gorgeous! My favorite cover so far has been Daredevil #7 where Matt shows that he still knows how to have fun.

My third recommendation would be the incredibly fun Wolverine & The X-Men by Jason Aaron with art by Chris Bachalo and Nick Bradshaw. Have you ever wanted to take Sex Ed with Professor Remy LeBeau or The Art of Fighting with Fighting, run by Headmaster Logan? If so, the Jean Grey School for Higher Learning is the place for you! We also do some very fun live tweeting as some of the faculty and students have their own Twitter accounts! You can find them all here: Jean Grey School

And finally your last thought:

I’m honored to be featured! I really enjoy the content your site puts out and I’ve discovered female creators that I never knew existed. It’s so important to highlight what women are doing in the comic space and I’m thrilled that we have your fantastic group representing our work.

About Dee

Officially a Canastralian. Longtime comic fan, and lover of the graphic medium. Grey up with the X-Men and Avengers, and moved to the world of DC and independents shortly after. Cosplayer, Costumer, and all around crafty person. Loves to travel and works her butt off for a number of conventions here in Oz.
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