Through a combination of his serious dedication and the immense support from his professors at UGA, Josh Johns (AB ’11) is living out his dream. After landing a highly sought-after editorial internship with Marvel Comics while in college and going on to become the director of digital media for comics company Valiant in Manhattan, Josh has seen his hard work pay off starting from his UGA days to today.
Early on, Johns realized he wanted to get into the comic book industry. He knew UGA would be a place where he could grow his abilities and was proved right through his positive experiences as an English major in the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences. The constant support from his professors led directly to a valuable internship and propelled him into career success post-college. Now, Johns lives in New York and cheers on the Dawgs from a UGA-themed bar that gives him a slice of Athens in the big city. In a conversation with Johns, he shares his story and dishes out meaningful advice for current students.
Where are you from?
I’m from Ithaca, New York, but I went to high school in Lawrenceville, Georgia.
What made you decide to come to school at the University of Georgia?
I had friends who had really positive experiences there, which made me interested in UGA. Once I got there, Franklin College was a place that—being someone who wanted to get into niche industries—helped you get where you needed to go. I had professors like Christopher Pizzino who were extremely helpful throughout my experience. Their guidance led me to get the Marvel editorial internship and I spent entire summer working there. Franklin is a very forward-thinking college and I knew that would be beneficial to me.
What was your favorite class at Georgia?
Again, Christopher Pizzino was a big influence and he taught a class I took called Graphic Novels of Alan Moore, which I loved. The works of Scott McCloud, Robert Mckee, Joseph Campbell, and Frank Miller also had an incredible amount of impact on my education in comic books.
Where do you work and what do you do?
I work at Valiant Comics in New York City. I was promoted to director of digital media and development there after working for our Editorial and Digital Sales departments. I am tasked with developing Valiant’s slate of live action and animated digital exclusive projects in addition to a number of special publishing projects. I am lucky enough to have been with the company since our launch in 2012, joining the team right after my time at Marvel.
What advice would you give to graduating seniors and recent graduates?
Follow your dreams wherever they’re going to take you—whether it as far as New York or farther. Spend your time at Georgia looking for internships because a quality one will directly lead to employment. Push yourself. I was denied from the Marvel internship twice but kept trying. Trust your professors as they try to guide you. Reach out to the alumni inside the areas that you want to work with and figure out how to get in contact with them—they will earnestly try to help you. Be open to their advice and counsel and you will find yourself working where you want to work. We have an incredible alumni network that is a great resource.
What chapter event are you most proud of?
Our game watching parties truly speak to the success of the chapter. We all go the bar American Whiskey for a totally authentic experience of game day in Athens. Every TV is on the Georgia game and the staff there is awesome. If you’re not going to be at Sanford, you should be at this bar.
Also, we host a yearly meet up for recent graduates. This year we got 175 grads all coming to Brooklyn to do a tour of the Brooklyn Brewery. They are always so excited because they just moved to this new city and just getting to hang out with them is great.
What is your favorite thing to do in your current city?
Me and my girlfriend are big theater fans so I always really enjoy a Broadway show. I’m also a big sports fan so you can find me at Knicks and Rangers games. Having a Georgia-friendly bar with UGA basketball and baseball always playing really makes it a home away from home.
Describe Athens in three words.
Coming back soon!
Is there anything else that you would like for me to know?
I hope to be a resource for current students interested in comics. I’ve hired 3 interns out of UGA and I’m passionate about doing so. Students looking to go into the field are always welcome to reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This blog was written by Nellie Pavluscenco ’18, intern for DAR Communications.