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The Comics Experience Blog

Here you will find all the latest Comics Experience news and events! Check back often, or subscribe via RSS for updates!


Comics Experience’s Andy Schmidt in Philly and Savannah!

Comics Experience founder and instructor Andy Schmidt will be appearing at two upcoming events:

In Philadelphia, Andy will be in attendance along with our publishing partners at Source Point Press. Look for Andy as he leads a panel, and joins Source Point editor Travis McIntire at the Source Point booth! Stop by to pick up copies of our four new joint publications: The Family Graves, Wretched Things, Grief, and Achilles, Inc.

Andy will be in Savannah to conduct a guest lecture at Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD), and to spend time with the students there.

Comics Experience, and our publishing partners at Source Point, attend multiple conventions each year. We love talking with folks about the work that we do, and learning about others’ interests and goals!

For more on our convention activities, you can read about our recent experience at C2E2 here – complete with werewolf cosplay!   Follow us here on our site, and on Facebook or Twitter for ongoing updates about future appearances.

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If you want to make comics, write, draw, letter, and color comics, or improve as a comics creator, you’ll find like-minded friends and colleagues in our online workshops and courses. We hope to see you there!

Posted by Nicole Boose


Comics Experience at C2E2!

Earlier this month, Comics Experience and Source Point Press staffers and creators gathered at C2E2 in Chicago to celebrate the release of four new titles, present panels, sign books, and attend a meetup. From April 6 through 8, comics fans got a taste of the exciting new stories that our partnership has to offer.

Debuting at C2E2?

  • Achilles, Inc., by Comics Experience founder Andy Schmidt, Daniel Maine, Francesca Zambon, and ET Dollman
  • The Family Graves by Tim Bach, Brian Atkins, et al
  • Grief by Frank Gogol and various artists
  • Wretched Things by Devon Wong and Ken Perry

Andy, Brian, Tim, Brian, Ken, Devon, and Frank all worked the booth, signing issues or trades of their stories. This provided them with a chance to meet Comics Experience members, former classmates, and students. Everyone who took part enthusiastically relayed how the convention crackled with energy!

In addition, Comics Experience and Source Point Press creators, staffers, and some friends whose names you might recognize participated in panels to both promote their new books as well as carry on the community’s spirit of education encouragement, including:

  • Get Published!, with Andy and Source Point Press’ Travis McIntire, announcing the details of the Comics Experience/Source Point partnership and what aspiring creators need to know.
  • Comics Creation: Writing for Comics, with Andy, Tom King, and Kyle Higgins dishing out advice on how to craft strong characters and stories.
  • Breaking Into Comics and Staying In!, with Andy, David Pepose, Justin Jordan, and Paul Allor

With such a successful launch and the resulting joy with which friends and fans embraced the new books, we’re all looking forward to the next venture and the next convention! Will we see you there?

(And if you’re a member of the Creators Workshop, you can read up on even more C2E2 awesomeness here and here.)

Thanks to Tim Bach for the photos!

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If you want to make comics, write, draw, letter, and color comics, or improve as a comics creator, you’ll find like-minded friends and colleagues in our online workshops and courses. We hope to see you there!

Posted by Meredith Nudo


Creators Workshop Members Band Together in New Kickstarter, Out of the Blue!

Comics Experience alum Marta Tanrikulu joins Marcus Muller and Corey Fryia on editing duties for the latest From Out of the Blue anthology: Colossal Chaos, now on Kickstarter! Fans of giant monsters, giant robots, and the total havoc they wreak should check out this cavalcade of breakneck action from a wide range of exciting creative talent.

Marta’s duties include “looking at each submission that comes in, then evaluating the strengths of the story and how well it fits the theme.”

“The three editors each rate the stories, and if ratings vary significantly, discuss why. Then it’s a matter of selecting the strongest stories within the page count limitations,” she says about the process of compiling an anthology.

But Marta isn’t the only Comics Experience alumnus and current or former Creators Workshop member to take part in this city-stomping good time. Rob Anderson, Nick Valente, Marco Della Verde, Chas! Pangburn, Eduardo Camacho, Rich Foster, and Emily Elmer are all contributing.

Although the anthology did not come together within the Workshop, Marta does credit the networking lessons she learned on the forums with providing the experience needed to create a stunning anthology.

“I was encouraged to make these types of connections through being a member of the Workshop,” she says.

You can support From Out of the Blue: Colossal Chaos on Kickstarter here!

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If you want to make comics, write, draw, letter, and color comics, or improve as a comics creator, you’ll find like-minded friends and colleagues in our online workshops and courses. We hope to see you there!

Posted by Meredith Nudo


Shaun Manning Goes Medieval in Macbeth: The Red King Kickstarter!

Creators Workshop member Shaun Manning partners with artist Anna Wieszczyk once more for a haunting (pun intended) new look at a Shakespeare classic. Macbeth: The Red King, now up on Kickstarter, provides an alternative view of what sort of man Macbeth really was

Comics Experience: The campaign mentions The Red King’s potential as a valuable educational material. What are some of the ways you recommend teachers, parents, librarians, and students engage with the narrative to get the most out of it? What is the educational potential of comics in general?

Shaun Manning: For one, I can imagine this would be an engaging way to get reluctant students interested in Shakespeare. I’ve really enjoyed Shakespeare for as long as I can remember, especially as someone who’s really interested in language and the way it works. But I know that’s also a hurdle for a lot of folks, the unfamiliarity tripping them up. Macbeth: The Red King is in modern English, and is a bit more action-focused that Shakespeare’s tragedy. I’ve also got a good deal of family and political drama, but it’s all different from what’s in the play.

What I think could be really valuable, though, especially in our current age, is the opportunity to contrast the story Shakespeare tells about Macbeth to what Anna and I have done, to demonstrate that writing history is all about choosing what story to tell. Teachers might mention that Old Billy wrote the play to please the new King James, but they might not get into as much who the “real” Macbeth actually was. Here, you can see that it’s very possible to portray him as the hero. Macbeth: The Red King is still fiction, and there are a few episodes that are entirely my invention, but I actually think it tracks a bit better to what we know of the historical Macbeth’s acts and deeds than does Shakespeare’s play. Someone who could reign for 15 years, who could make a long pilgrimage to Rome and come back to find that he hadn’t been overthrown, was probably a pretty strong ruler. He and his wife built monasteries, and his name — Mac Bethad, which is his first name rather than his surname — can be read as “Son of Life,” an overtly Christian name. So there was at least some aspiration to holiness, whatever that might have meant for an 11th-century Scottish king.

So yes, I think there’s a media literacy lesson here. I’m not telling the whole truth, but neither was Shakespeare.

Comics in general can be used a lot of ways. My daughter really enjoys Reading with Pictures, which was designed as a textbook that uses comics stories, but she’s also deep into the Babysitter’s Club graphic novels. On the most basic level, comics get kids reading when there are a million things competing for their attention, and that’s valuable in itself. And then there’s things like Brad Meltzer and Chris Giarusso’s I am… biographies, which can teach about history in an accessible way. It’s been encouraging to see how folks are coming round to the potential of comics.

CE: What is your working relationship like with Anna Wieszczyk?

SM: Anna and I started working together nearly ten years ago on Interesting Drug. I had a first issue script from the Comics Experience Advanced Writers Workshop, and was casting about for an artist. I put out an ad, thinking I knew what I wanted, then Anna’s work came through and blew me away. And that sold the book. When I showed a sample to an editor at Archaia, he literally said out loud, “holy shit!”

Since then, we’ve also done Hell, Nebraska and now Macbeth: The Red King. She’s done stellar work, and keeps getting better. I think we have a good shorthand going now, where if I describe a panel a certain way I know she’ll give me something better than if I gave her paragraphs of description.

CE: What aspects of the Macbeth story do you find most compelling? Why the decision to deepdive into his backstory?

SM: I love the dark, obscure corners of history, and I was fascinated by the idea that we’ve been getting this infamous villain wrong for more than 400 years because the Greatest Writer in the English Language cast him as a tyrant. I mean, the vilification of Macbeth was already complete by Shakespeare’s era, 500 years after the events in question, but without Shakespeare he’d probably be a footnote in history. There’s no reason to look at this blip in Scottish history if Shakespeare hadn’t written the play. But when you look at what’s there, it’s fascinating. A life takes shape. And then there’s the bit about his stepson Lulach — whose epithet is “The Stupid!” — and how that family came together. There’s nothing about him in the play, except for Lady Macbeth’s line about caring for infants and then dashing their brains out.

CE: How did you work with Comics Experience and the Creator’s Workshop help shape this project?

SM: I’d workshopped the first issue way, way back, so that was very helpful in getting early comments about the shape and tone of the story. Workshop discussions and live sessions were also a big help in sorting out how and where to pitch the book. I’ve always found the group’s comments and critiques incredibly valuable to the revision process — so thanks!

You can support the Macbeth: The Red King Kickstarter here.

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If you want to make comics, write, draw, letter, and color comics, or improve as a comics creator, you’ll find like-minded friends and colleagues in our online workshops and courses. We hope to see you there!

Posted by Meredith Nudo


EPISODE #149 OF THE COMICS EXPERIENCE “MAKE COMICS” PODCAST POSTED!

CE_podcast_logoA new episode of the Comics Experience Make Comics podcast has been posted! Each episode provides ~15 minutes of advice on all aspects of creating comics and breaking in to the industry.

Join Comics Experience founder and former Marvel and IDW Editor Andy Schmidt and his co-host Joey Groah as they discuss making comics!

Subscribe to our podcast via iTunes! Or check out the latest episode below or on our Podcast page!

Episode #149 – What’s Next: Continuing Your Education
Andy and Joey talk about ways to continue learning about making comics and your creative growth.

List of All Episodes

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If you want to make comics, write, draw, letter, and color comics, or improve as a comics creator, you’ll find like-minded friends and colleagues in our online workshops and courses. We hope to see you there!

Posted by Nicole Boose
nicole@ComicsExperience.com


COMICS SHORT STORY COLLECTION GRIEF EXPLORES LOSS

Trade paperback from Comics Experience and Source Point Press to debut at C2E2

Comics Experience and Source Point Press are excited to announce the publication of Grief, a comic book short story collection written by Frank Gogol, with art by Nenad Cvitcanin, Kim Holm, Ryan Foust, Bethany Varni, Jey Soliva, colored by Luca Bulgheroni, Esther P. Gil-Munilla, Emily Elmer, lettered by Sean Reinhart, and with a cover by Dani Martins. The Grief trade paperback will debut at the Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo, known as C2E2, on April 6 through 8.

Gogol’s Kickstarter campaign to bring in pre-orders for Grief reached its funding goal in just ten hours. The anthology explores the various ways in which people experience and express grief, using Elizabeth Kübler-Ross’ outline of the five stages as a framework. Grief, an intensely personal work for Gogol, began as a direct result of Gogol taking Comics Experience founder Andy Schmidt‘s Introduction to Comic Book Writing course.

“Creating Grief was cathartic in a lot of ways and sharing it was meant to be my small contribution to help others who are grieving. And I channeled those things into the book and into the campaign and it resonated with people,” Gogol said in an interview on the Comics Experience website.

Beyond the introductory writing course, Gogol also found the Comics Experience Creators Workshop community a pivotal source of support and growth as he worked on Grief and other projects. The connections he forged during his time guided the story to Kickstarter, and then on to Source Point Press.

“Top-to-bottom, the Comics Experience community, especially the Creators Workshop, is a place designed to help members succeed,” Gogol said. “The CE community is a place full of people, who just like me, want to make comics. It’s pros and amateurs and everything in between as peers.”

Grief will debut at the Source Point Press booth at C2E2, taking place on April 6 through 8. It will then be available through retailers who carry Source Point Press publications, at Source Point’s convention appearances and their online store, as well as digitally on comiXology.

The publishing partnership between Comics Experience and Source Point Press gives alumni from Comics Experience’s Creators Workshop, education courses, and mentorships the opportunity to have their comics published and distributed. The publishing program was announced in January 2018 and four titles will be released in April: the miniseries Achilles Inc. and The Family Graves, and the trade paperbacks Grief and Wretched Things.

Click through to read previews of some of the stories in Grief!

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