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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!

Episode #154 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 #154 – Licensed Properties with Heather Antos
Heather Antos (Star Wars, Deadpool, Gwenpool) talks licensed properties, including storytelling with scheduling, working with an license holder and more.

List of All Episodes

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 Books in Diamond Previews!

Comics Experience’s publications are now appearing in Diamond Previews! Now, in addition to buying our books at conventions, ordering online, or buying in digital format, you have the option to purchase directly from your favorite comics retailer. All titles are part of our publishing partnership with Source Point Press.

In stores August 2018:

First up is Griefappearing in the June 2018 Diamond Previews catalog for an August 29 in-store date. This anthology explores experiences of grief and loss, with stories written by CE alum and Creators Workshop member Frank Gogol, and art by a various artists. Pre-order it from your retailer using Diamond Code JUN181984.


In stores September 2018:

The Family Graves and Wretched Things will both launch #1 issues in September, and will be available for store pre-order starting in July. Both are four-issue limited series helmed by Comics Experience community members.

The Family Graves is a story about a mismatched family of monsters tasked with protecting humanity from a power-hungry vampire. The creative team features CE alum Tim Bach on scripts, Creators Workshop Pro Member Brian Atkins on art, Dijjo Lima on color, and CE alum Marco Della Verde on lettering.

Wretched Things explores a world where spiders, mice, and other creatures struggle through complex relationships and the conflicts that ensue. The series features writing by alum Devon Wong, art by alum Ken Perry, and colors and lettering by John Hunt.

In stores 2019:

Achilles, Inc., penned by Comics Experience founder Andy Schmidt, is set for an early 2019 release. This limited series introduces a world with plenty of super powers… but NO superheroes. Artist Daniel Maine, colorist Francesca Zambon, and letterer Marco Della Verde round out the creative team. Look for pre-order info in the months ahead!

We look forward to offering all four titles through Diamond at comic shops everywhere! In the meantime, you can also find them at Source Point Press’ convention tables at cons throughout the U.S., on comiXology, and at the Source Point online store.

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

Pete Rogers’ SEVEN SHADES Now Available!

Deadstar Publishing is now accepting orders for Comics Experience alum and Workshop member Pete Rogers and artist David Clifford’s 7 Shades #1 and #2! Issues #3 and #4 will be available later in the year at the Independent Comics Expo in Birmingham this September.

Originally launched at the Cardiff Independent Comic Expo, the series merges supernatural thrills and chills with a western setting. It’s a story that’s been long gestating with the creative team, who live near one another and met on the UK convention circuit and the small press comics crowd in South Wales. Appropriately, they often meet at a nearby pub to build the story out, and work “Marvel-style” with Pete providing David with a rough outline of what he wants, then writing the final dialogue to the painting.

“The idea for the series actually came from Dave… the artist on the book. He mentioned a crazy supernatural western series concept to me in the bar at a comic convention about five years ago and asked if I’d be interested in collaborating on it with him,” Pete says.

“It took a few years after that until we were both available to work on it. Dave has enough ideas for this book to run for about fifty years! So my role on the project has been to pull together Dave’s relatively disparate and often abstract, but very clever thoughts into something cohesive for the reader.”

7 Shades follows protagonist Sammael Jehosephat Hicks’ attempts to separate himself from his six brothers, all criminals, and mixing up with madame Adixillo Sephera. The plot twists and turns to tie in all the madness to be found in the dusty old town of Seven Shades.

Pete says, “Samm has been an interesting character to write, as on the surface he’s quite two dimensional and the series definitely has its tongue firmly in its cheek. Much of my work on the book has been finding the hidden depths and finding ways to build empathetic characters in a world where anything goes.”

As a Workshop member and alumnus of Comics Experience courses, Pete drew from the lessons he learned and the relationships he forged to get inspiration for the 7 Shades story.

“I think my time with Comics Experience helped make me approach the project in the most realistic way possible and meant my inner voice was telling me the right things! Helping Dave to break the book into manageable arcs (not one long sprawling epic with no definite end), then constantly thinking about how easy it was for the reader to follow the story, did the multitude of characters get enough time on the page, did we need to make anything clearer, could we foreshadow things etc.,” he continues.

“It also gave me the discipline to stick with the plot first and not full script approach, as I don’t think that working in that way would have been right for this artist lead, painted project. I’m really proud of how the book has shaped up and the third issue in particular feels like Dave and I really found our stride working together.”

You can purchase issues #1 and #2 of 7 Shades here.

New Live Workshops Announced for June through September 2018!

ComicsExperience_logoOur next Live Workshop session topics have been announced!

Our Live Workshop sessions are online, monthly events for Creators Workshop members. We focus on unique topics geared toward helping comic creators achieve their personal best.

Details about our next Live Workshop sessions are below. We hope you’ll join us!

June 26 at 9:00 pm ET
Book Club: The Vision (2016), Complete Series
PAUL ALLOR: Once again, we’re turning the floor over to Creators Workshop members to discuss, dissect and analyze (bet you thought it was going to be a third ‘d’ adjective, didn’t you?) Tom King’s and Gabriel Walta’s acclaimed run on THE VISION. For information on how to participate, go here! (Login required.)

July 17 at 9:00 pm ET
Comic Creator Workshop: 5 Keys to Integrating Characters Into Your Scenes
ANDY SCHMIDT: Sometimes we look at a comic, and the art just looks…. off. Often, it’s not the figure work, but rather how the figures are (or are NOT) integrated into the environment or the scene itself. One of the biggest ways to complete the illusion that this is all real is by seamless integration of our characters into the world they inhabit, regardless of art style. In this live workshop, Andy will go over five keys to making sure your characters don’t just appear in a scene, but live in your world.

July 31 at 9:00 pm ET
Craft Presentation: 6/9/16 Panel Grids
PAUL ALLOR: In our next Craft Presentation session, we are once again turning the workshop over to Workshop members, to discuss panel grids! Some of our medium’s greatest stories have been told using a strict grid — but how can we best take advantage of this approach? Hosted by PAUL ALLOR, volunteers from our community will be sharing their thoughts and provide concrete examples.

August 7 at 9:00 pm ET
Comic Creator Workshop: Controlling Time with Panels
ANDY SCHMIDT: If I could control time, that would be awesome. And in comics, I can! Well, sort of. I can at least manipulate your perception of time in a number of ways. One of them is by using panel layout or arrangement. In this tutorial, we’ll cover how layouts can affect the reader’s perception of time, and why you might want to do that…. from time to time (groan…)

September 11 at 9:00 pm ET
Comic Creator Workshop: Dynamics! Pushing Your Art/Artist to Blow the Reader’s Mind!
ANDY SCHMIDT: I’m working with a wonderful storyteller and everything is super clear and happening just how the script intended. So why isn’t it jumping off the page as the best comic ever to me? Maybe this has happened to you, and maybe it hasn’t. I’ve seen various versions of this complaint, but what it comes down to is that there’s more to comics than just storytelling. Dynamics are some the tools that you can use to turn the volume of your pages up to 11, as they say. And in this one-hour workshop, we’re going to go over just a few techniques to use to make sure your art/artist’s art pops off the page.
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

New Pages 2 Pictures Podcast: Solo

A new episode of the Screen Experience Pages 2 Pictures podcast has been posted!

Each episode features a lively discussion of a film adapted from comics or other media. We’ll talk about the source material, along with the film in question.

Episode: Solo
In this episode, James, Skid, and Andy review the effects of delving into established continuity in the film SOLO. They tackle the following questions: This film plays with structure more than any previous STAR WARS film, how does that play against our expectations?

Join co-hosts James Janowsky, Skid Maher, and Andy Schmidt as they discuss the page-to-screen process. Presented by Comics Experience and Screen Experience.

List of All Episodes


Posted by Nicole Boose

Alum Lex Wilson’s Uninvited Quests Out Now!

Comics Experience alum Lex Wilson’s exciting new prose and comics project with Victor Rosas II, Uninvited Quests, is out now! You can pick it up on a plethora of platforms, including Amazon, Kobo, Nook, iBooks, and Smashwords.

We spoke with him about his craft and the benefits of an interdisciplinary approach to writing.

Comics Experience: Why the decision to build the Uninvited Quests stories with both prose and comics?

Lex Wilson: I initially saw this as an ongoing series of standalone comics, something between Groo the Wanderer and Usagi Yojimbo, with a Discworld sensibility. But that scope wasn’t looking realistic for an indie writer at my level, given the probable economics of indie comics earnings, the importance of compensating collaborators fairly, and the sheer number of stories I wanted to tell in this universe and with these characters.

I was also juggling enough other comics collaborations, and was more interested in adding a new writing project than a new project management, um, project. Best practices in indie prose publishing right now encourage a “freebie” story or short novel to help build an audience for a series, and I thought: what better business model than to give away free comics, and use the prose novels as a way to fund their creation?

So I get to do both! And I hope to tip the ratio toward doing more of the stories as comics and OGNs as the series goes on. It’ll be a fun business model experiment, no matter what happens. (Yes, yes. I know. All business model experiments are fun. I’m right there with you.)

CE: How does a multimedia approach add texture to the characters and the world they inhabit?

LW: Editors have assigned illustrators to some of my prose stories, for Analog Science Fiction and the like. It’s always a treat to see these, usually just before publication!

But this is the first time someone actually designed the characters while I was still revising the prose of the first book, so it was wild to be fixing paragraphs and considering whether descriptions were compatible with the book covers already completed.

I think readers will notice a tonal difference in the humor already, between the comics and the prose, and I’m eager to figure out for myself how much of that is the influence of Victor’s art. When I collaborate with other artists with these same characters on subsequent comics, what will shift and what will change the same? I admire television series where guest directors have to match a “house style” to keep the look and feel and pacing consistent, but I don’t think that’s how I want to work.

CE: What is your working relationship like with Victor Rosas II?

LW: We’ve now done 5 prose novel covers and five comics pages together. He’s now doing the sixth with me, and I hope prose readers don’t find the style too comic-booky for their taste, because I want to keep working with this dude forever.

I tend to give him three or four ideas per cover, along with a general description of the book. He picks one or two that speak to him, and plays with it/them, gets back to me with what he’s thinking. And he blows me away every time.

Like for this first one, I thought I had a clear picture in my head of what I wanted: the blocking pretty much what you see in the final version with the dragon (head and body on opposite sides) and two characters, only flat and maybe even background-less, like a screenshot from a side-scrolling video game. And he was all “what if I did all that, but made it slightly more dynamic” and that quickly taught me that I’m more interested in the pictures in his head than the ones in mine.

As we’ve continued to work together, I think we both have a tendency to overcomplicate things, like kids with too many toys to play with, like “ooh, since there’s also goblins in the book, wouldn’t it be fun if we added…” but it’s almost always the case that a simpler cover is the stronger choice. The guy does it all. Pencils, inks, colors, and (for the comic) letters.

Victor is fantastic, both as a collaborator and as a creator of great finished product. I’m at least as excited to share his next covers with you as I am to share my prose.

CE: How has your time with Comics Experience helped shape Uninvited Quests?

LW: Though I’d already participated in half a dozen short comics collaborations, making comics as a writer still felt crazy-impossible before I joined CE. And, okay, it still felt crazy impossible. But, hey, these people were doing it anyway, so all of the sudden I’m reaching out to more potential collaborators, I’m stepping further outside my comfort zone, and I’m tackling more and bigger challenges.

I think of CE as an ongoing convention conversation. For about what it would cost me to spend a weekend at a con halfway across the country, I get a year of hanging out with really smart people doing the kind of thing I want to get better at doing. And many of them–past and present members–are friends I can look forward to seeing when I do get to actual conventions.

CE’s not a magic bullet. But surround yourself with people who are doing the thing you want to do, and all of the sudden it feels a little more possible for you to do it, too.

How has your work in video game writing and acting impacted your prose and comics writing? What lessons do you feel aspiring comic book and prose writer can take from these disciplines?

Working in multiple media in a variety of roles has crystalized for me my love of story. When working solo on a project, I get to develop a story from the idea phase to complete project, and as an actor I get to be a small part–sometimes little more than set dressing–in bringing a collaborative story to life.

I get something from every collaboration, and here I’m including the best end results (where maybe I could do little but sit in awe at what my co-creatives were doing) and the worst of them (where my takeaways are a lesson in what not to do next time and maybe a nutty story to tell at parties if it doesn’t violate the NDA).

The great ones are not only full of fun and respect and new friends, but a resulting project that we can all be proud of. With each collaboration, I get better at doing my part to foster such an environment. I learn so much from teammates about how to work well, and how to make something great. And even with the spectacular failures, I can’t wait to apply what I’ve learned to the next one.

Pick up your copy of Uninvited Quests at Amazon, Kobo, Nook, iBooks, and Smashwords.