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!
Creators Workshop member J.D. Oliva is running a Kickstarter campaign for his 70-page graphic novel Red Sunrise! He is joined by Pascal Saint-Clair on art; this is their first project together.
“I put out an ad just to see what I could find as far as a collaborator goes,” he says. “I had quite a few responses but Pascal stood out far and above the others. I really liked what I saw in his portfolio, so I tried to tailor my writing toward what I thought would play to his strengths and challenge him.”
Available only in a digital format, Red Sunrise takes place in feudal Japan and follows the survivors of a murdered kabuki theatre troupe as they exact revenge on demons, vampires, and the oppressive shogun controlling them. A lonely warrior joins up to help out with the bloody battle. For fans of revenge and horror stories tinged with history, Red Sunrise offers plenty of thrills!
J.D.’s previous Kickstarter, for Deluge, served as a template for the direction he plans to take this one.
“I studied other campaigns, I enrolled in Tyler James’ ComixLaunch Course. I really maximized my talents and no how to create some cool updates and rewards tiers. I think I found a good base to build on for future campaigns,” he says.
One of the most intriguing rewards? A commentary track! An unexpected treat, but one that provides some valuable insight for aspiring comics creatives.
J.D. says, “I shamelessly stole the idea from Ryan K. Lindsay! When I was studying how to build a digital-only campaign, I came across Ryan’s work and as a big fan of DVD commentaries I thought it was genius,” he says “I’m going to use it as essentially a behind-the-scenes, making-of commentary where I talk about how we created the book and the stories behind its creation.”
You can make your pledge here!
Comics Experience is pleased to announced the next session of Advanced Comic Book Writing, taught by Comics Experience founder and acclaimed comic-book editor Andy Schmidt! This seven-week course is now open for enrollment, with classes beginning August 30th.
While previous Advanced Comic Book Writing courses have focused on a certain aspect of the writing craft, this session will provide a comprehensive overview of the art and craft of writing comics, buildings on the skills taught in Comics Experience’s Intro to Comic Book Writing course.
Andy noted that this class will focus on as much information about storytelling and comic books as we can pack into seven weeks. As in the introductory course, Andy starts with your story ideas, and builds up from there, teaching you how to bring your unique vision to life. While the introductory course provides you with the fundamentals to write a five-page comic, this class will provide you the tools you need to launch a long-form story. And by the course’s end, you will have a full first-issue script, ready to pitch to artists or publishers.
Advanced Comic Book Writing is available to all who have completed the Intro to Writing Course. But enrollment is limited, so check it out now! There are plenty more details available on the Courses section of our website, including an in-depth FAQ for each course listed.
Comicpalooza took place May 12-14 in Houston, TX, with Comics Experience founder Andy Schmidt, Social Media Manager Meredith Nudo, and Creators Workshop member Milton Lawson in attendance. Milton offered the following recap.
This weekend, Andy was at Comicpalooza in Houston, TX. It’s a relatively new show but it keeps growing each year. Andy had lots of fans check in at his booth:
I was able to attend a couple of his panels, a Breaking into Comics panel, which was well-attended and Andy handled it (reasonably) well when he prompted the audience with a question asking for an example of a comic creator that folks think doesn’t have much talent, and an attendee shouted out “John Romita Junior.”
Andy paused in the face of such blasphemy, composed himself, and continued on with the panel.
I also got to attend the Writing Fundamentals panel, which CE Social Media Guru Meredith Nudo live-tweeted the heck out of.
Speaking of Meredith, she’s involved with a local improv comedy theater, the Station Theater in Houston. She managed to get Andy and Gene Ha to participate in one of their shows. I tagged along, and discovered along with Andy what it was all about.
Here’s Andy, backstage before the show, discovering what the format of the show was going to be, and he was a bit relieved to learn he wouldn’t be asked to do improv comedy stuff:
The format of the show is simple: they bring on someone of note, interview them on stage, and then the comedy troupe performs some improv comedy based on the details obtained during the interview.
As you can imagine, the topic of comic books made for fun conversation:
The troupe did a pretty hilarious bit, interpreting Andy’s tale of taking his wife to the “Guardians of the Galaxy” world premiere. In their version, a character’s spouse threatens to divorce them if their debut performance at a theatrical play isn’t a rousing success:
After the show, they posed for a photo with some of the cast – note this pic includes CE’s Meredith Nudo and also the comic creator Gene Ha:
The theater itself was pretty cool, with some interesting art painted on the building’s facade. There was a great pic of Gene Wilder as Wonka but when we saw this one, we knew that was the one we’d have to pose in front of (that’s me, btw, with Andy):
Thanks to Milton for the write-up!
Andy weighed in on the experience too, saying, “I just enjoyed the interaction, talking about the business of comics…helping people navigate some stumbling blocks with publishers and whatnot. It was really great to re-connect with some creators as well as connect with fans.
“On top of that, Milton and I probably hung out for about 8 hours all told, which was super-cool, I mean, not as super-cool as his hat, which is like extra-super-cool, but it was a lot of fun.”
Thanks to Milton, Meredith, Andy, and to all who came out to meet us in Houston!
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!
Comics Experience workshop member Justin Phillips is bringing his unique take on Sherlock Holmes to comic shops, in the new Action Lab comic Kid Sherlock! With art by Sean Miller and colors by Lesley Atlansky, Kid Sherlock hits comic shops in June, with the first two issues available for pre-order now.
Comics Experience founder and instructor Andy Schmidt called Kid Sherlock “everything you love about classic Holmes stories but with a whole new tone and attitude. A great way to get kids into comics and mysteries at the same time.” The story kicks off when John Watson starts class at Baker Elementary. The only dog in school, Watson has to face down bullies and loneliness, until he meets a young boy named Sherlock Holmes.
Phillips describes himself as a lifelong fan of Sherlock – and the Sir Arthur Conan Doyle stories in particular. Several years ago, he began to write a series of one-page Kid Sherlock comics, eventually developing them with artist Sean Miller into a webcomic. What’s more, Phillips developed those early pages – and the Kid Sherlock lettering style – by workshopping them in Comics Experience, receiving ample feedback from his fellow members, each step of the way.
“There may be a lot that goes into turning an idea into a fully developed story but I would say there is an equal amount if not more work in actually getting that story published,” Phillips said. “I learned so much from Comics Experience about world building and story and character development, but the ability to talk to others with experience on projects from all aspects of publishing is invaluable. I can honestly say that I’m not sure I would have gotten to this point without Comics Experience so to Andy and everyone else at the workshop, thank you!”
The first issue hits comic shops June 17th, and is available for pre-order now. Congrats, Justin!
Posted by Paul Allor
Former Comics Experience Operations Manager Marta Tanrikulu and her co-editors Corey Fryia and Marcus Muller will be seeking submissions for Colossal Chaos, the fourth volume in the Out of the Blue comics anthology series. Colossal Chaos will feature “unique, original, surprising and (perhaps most importantly) strange stories” about gigantic creatures and machines. The editors are looking for stories in the vein of King Kong, Godzilla, The Iron Giant, and Pacific Rim. Submissions will be open from June 10 through June 30.
The previous volumes of Out of the Blue feature stories by Comics Experience workshop members past and present, including Marta Tanrikulu, Yutaka Dirks, Emily Elmer, Toni Harrison, Martin Plsko, Terence Anthony, Matt O’Keefe, Michael Gordon, Federico De Luca, Tomas Marijanovic, Nic J Shaw, ET Dollman, Sean Rinehart, Marco Della Verde, Glenn Møane, and Ramon Gil.
Out of the Blue is published by Stache Publishing. Royalties from the anthologies are donated to The Comic Book Project, a child literacy program that teaches young people how create their own comic books. Previous volumes are available on Amazon and comiXology. Colossal Chaos’s estimated release date is November 2017.
If you want to make comics, write, draw, letter, and color comics, or improve as a comics creator, you’ll find like-minded people in our online workshop and courses. We hope to see you there!
Posted by Jennifer de Guzman
Comics educator will host five panels at Houston convention from May 12 through May 14
Andy Schmidt will be a guest of the comic book convention Comicpalooza in Houston, Texas on May 12 through May 14. Over the three days of the convention, Andy will be presenting five panels about creating comics and working in the comics industry. These panels will give attendees a chance to experience the kind of instruction Comics Experience’s members and students benefit from in our courses and mentorships .
Below is a full schedule and descriptions of Andy’s panels. He will also be available at the Comics Experience booth, #33 on the convention floor.
Breaking Into Comics
Friday May 12, 2017 4:30 pm to 5:30 pm
So you want to make comics? This panel is your first step towards actually doing it! Top comic book creators discuss the ins and outs of the comic industry—specifically, what it takes to break into comics and how it’s done! This is the panel that no writer and no artist dare miss. BONUS: In addition to breaking in—learn how to STAY IN the comics business! Presented by Comics Experience’s Andy Schmidt. 351C
What Is Story?
Saturday May 13, 2017 12:00 pm to 1:00 pm
You want to make comics—an artist or a writer—the one fundamental truth about working in this business is you have to tell great stories. But the whole concept of a “story” is remarkably mystifying. Definitions of “story” range from person to person—usually on matters of taste. Join former Marvel Comics and IDW editor, comic book, video game, and prose writer Andy Schmidt for the de-mystifying of “story.” The one thing you absolutely must understand to work in comics! Presented by Comics Experience. Room 351A
Fundamentals of Writing for Comic Books
Saturday May 13, 2017 4:30 pm to 5:30 pm
Join top comic writers for a discussion and instructive tips on the art of writing for comics. Writers and editors speak about the process of writing and how the game is played. Want to know how stories come about and learn how to do it yourself? This is the place to start! Presented by Comics Experience’s Andy Schmidt. Room 372A
Fundamentals of Comic Book Art
Sunday May 14, 2017 12:00 pm to 1:00 pm
The greatest comic book minds of our time divulge the greatest secrets of all time. Join our featured panelists for the top tips for telling a clear and great story in comics. These insights are not to be missed. How can any comic artist—or fan—afford to miss this panel? Presented by Comics Experience’s Andy Schmidt. Room 372A
Budgeting Your Comics Project
Sunday May 14, 2017 3:00 pm to 4:00 pm
Andy Schmidt, former Marvel and IDW editor and Comics Experience founder, won’t just tell you how to budget a comic, he’s going to SHOW YOU! On Screen! He’ll walk you through the very real costs of creating a comic book, publishing it and distributing it through certain channels. It’s eye-opening and fear-inducing—but then he’ll give you some serious tips on how to save money and get back to black! Presented by Comics Experience. Room 371C
Posted by Jennifer de Guzman