When I started in comics, the primary purpose of the DC anthology books—titles like House of Mystery, Weird War Tales, House of Secrets—was to find, and train, new writers and artists. You didn't need to be published to get in the door, you needed to show that you had talent worth cultivating. I used to call it the vaudeville of comics: Those books were a kind of small-town theater where you could learn your craft before graduating to comic book Broadway.
The short story format provided a fantastic storytelling education: You had to deliver a fully-realized plot, character arcs, and convincing dialogue in five to eight pages. Working on those stories taught me so much. And it certainly helped that my teachers were legendary editors, and wonderful people, like Jack C. Harris, Paul Levitz and the late, great Len Wein.
I’d love to see more regularly published anthologies on the market today. It's great that the business is attracting accomplished screenwriters and novelists, but I'm sure there are many talented people out there, with no credentials, who could benefit from being trained by experienced editors. And the industry will benefit, in turn.
©copyright 2018 J.M. DeMatteis