The Comics Experience Blog
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A new script has been added to the Comic Book Script Archive, presented by Comics Experience!
- The Vesta, originally published in Womanthology: Space, was written by Comics Experience’s own marketing manager extraordinaire Jennifer de Guzman! Leigh Dragoon contributed the artwork, and Robbie Robbins lettered the work.
She says of the story and her process:
“When I wrote the script, I didn’t know who would be drawing it, so I’m very specific in it, right down to font choices. (The amazing Leigh Dragoon was chosen as the artist, and she blew me away with her awesomeness.) Since the story was short, I wanted it to be a concise illustration of a specific theme — that of dissociation. There’s something called Solipsism Syndrome that people who live for some time in space can experience. When their environment is so tightly controlled and unchanging, they can begin to feel like it isn’t real, that everything is almost like a set in a play that doesn’t really exist outside of their own minds. NASA produced a study about living in space that describes it very vividly: ‘The whole of life becomes a long dream from which an individual can never wake up. Each person is trapped in a nightmare. Even friends are not real, they are a part of the dream. A person feels very lonely and detached, and eventually becomes apathetic and indifferent.’ So Shriya’s story in The Vesta is of a woman who is losing touch with her surroundings and is trying desperately to reconnect, to feel something.”
We encourage any and all aspiring creators out there to check out both The Vesta and the Comic Book Script Archive as a whole for inspiration and information about writing compelling comics.
Major thanks once more to Jennifer for her generosity!
The archive, founded by Tim Simmons, showcases more than 100 comic book scripts written by some of the biggest names in the comics industry in order to educate aspiring professionals.
Comics Experience is working to continue building this free resource. If you are a pro writer for one of the top comics publishers and you’d like to donate a script, please contact Comics Experience at email@example.com.
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
The Comics Experience Creators Workshop is a community of aspiring and professional comic book creators. The Creators Workshop boards are full of discussion about craft and the industry. In addition, there is a lively workshop, where members post scripts and art for critique. If you want to join the conversations, meet new people, and improve your skills, check out details and membership information.
In this new feature on our blog, we’re getting to know some longtime members of the Creators Workshop. Our latest creator:
Tell us a bit about yourself. What do you do in your day job?
I’ve been fortunate enough to work in publishing for most of my adult life, first at the Art Institute of Chicago’s publications department and now at University of Michigan Press. The variety of roles I’ve held have given me a pretty holistic view of what makes a book, which is nice. I’ve lived in Chicago, New York, and Glasgow, but now make my home in Ann Arbor with my wife, daughter, cat, and a few fish.
How did you discover that you want to be involved in creating comics?
I’ve always wanted to tell stories, and a lot of that has involved comics. I remember coming up with a Blue Beetle story as a teenager that was remarkably similar to what DC ended up doing with Grayson many years later — visionary! I wrote my first full-issue comic script in college and found an illustrator for it shortly after. I pitched this thing to Image’s Eric Stephenson at Book Expo; it was… not good, but Eric was supportive.
I also tell stories in other media, and have had my work performed on stage and on BBC Radio 4. I also won a bottle of whiskey at an authors’ festival in Edinburgh for reading my comedy novella Pizza Good Times.
What is your area of interest in comics? (Do you write/draw/color, etc.?)
I’m a writer primarily, though I can also do lettering and production.
What do you most enjoy about the Creators Workshop?
I like the community and the feedback on my scripts. It’s also interesting to see what others are working on and how these projects eventually come to fruition.
What projects are you working on now?
Macbeth: The Red King is making the convention rounds now and will be widely available early in 2018, with preorders available on my website. I’m also working on the optimistic superhero legacy story Descent from Olympus with Ross Taylor and a few other things at various stages of development. And looking for work. 😉
What’s an example of help with your comics creation that you’ve gotten in the Creators Workshop?
The live sessions have featured some very useful information on the business of comics, as well as craft lessons. I also remember receiving some very good crits on Macbeth early on and pacing notes for my short story “Nice Dream,” which I had submitted in one-, two-, and three-page configurations; a version of the one-page variant appeared in 2015’s Thought Bubble anthology.
Who are some of your creative role models? What do you learn from their work?
I would say Grant Morrison and Neil Gaiman inform a lot of my dramatic or action-based work, with the novelist Tom Sharpe inspiring my comedy. The various Hellblazer creators have also been an influence. Grant’s comics are kinetic and bizarre; there’s a ton going on, and you just want to take it all in. That’s something to aspire to. It’s one of those things where I think Alan Moore is probably a much deeper and intelligent writer, but Grant is so much more fun. I look to Neil Gaiman for his use of literary and mythological reference, building something intricate and complex, and often sad.
Tom Sharpe is just about horrible, over the top things happening to horrible, over the top people.
What comics are you enjoying right now?
WicDiv [The Wicked + The Divine], Saga, Paper Girls, Monstress, Squirrel Girl, Hellcat, Ms. Marvel, Supergirl: Being Super, Batman, Assassination Classroom.
Do you have a website or any other project you want to promote?
I’m at shaunmanning.com and on twitter @FasterthanShaun. Buy Macbeth!
Comics Experience founder Andy Schmidt has announced the next topics for upcoming Live Workshop sessions!
Our Live Workshop sessions are online events held at least once a month, and they’re available exclusively to Creators Workshop members.
Each Live Workshop discussion focuses on a unique topic geared toward helping comic creators achieve their personal best. Past sessions covered subjects like maximizing income, reinventing characters, negotiating collaboration agreements, and plenty more!
Current Workshop members can find details by logging in here.
For more benefits of Creators Workshop membership, head over to our Top Ten Reasons Why the Creators Workshop Is Awesome post! For additional details or to join, please visit our Creators Workshop page here.
Details about our next three Live Workshop sessions are below. We hope you’ll join us!
Tuesday, October 3, 2017 at 9:00 pm ET
How to Find Your Artistic Strengths in Any Script
Every script presents challenges for the artist who illustrates it. Join artist Phillip Sevy(Tomb Raider, Paradox) and Comics Experience Founder Andy Schmidt (Marvel, IDW editor) for a one-hour, live workshop on how to dissect the script and adapt it to your artistic strengths. All artist needs to attend this Live Workshop on how to get the most out of your script and create the best possible project, no matter what!
Tuesday, November 7, 2017 at 9:00 pm ET
Andy Schmidt explains this rarely discussed aspect of comics storytelling and it’s incredible influence on the artist and the reader. Once you become aware of dead space and what it can do for you as a storyteller, be that writer or artist, you’ll find that it’s a powerful tool in your toolbox and that your comics start looking and reading better almost instantly!
Tuesday, December 12, 2017 at 9:00 pm ET
Layering Information on the Comic Book Page
Andy Schmidt takes you through how to layer information in panels and across a page both in script and in art so that you can be sure to keep your readers completely clear, informed, and entertained and you can spend more time and space with on your story, and NOT on your exposition. Increase your efficiency as a creator and the density of your content!
There will be events on October 17, November 28, and December 12 as well, but we are still working on the details! Please keep checking the blog for further information.
One of the unique features of Comics Experience is the opportunity comics creators have to work with the same instructor throughout the development of their craft. CE offers Advanced Studio courses in writing, art, and coloring to build on the fundamentals students learn in our Introduction classes, so comics creators can find the right course what they want to do in comics.
In order to give those who are considering taking a course examples of what they will learn, we’re showing off some our students’ work. These students began in Introduction classes and went on to Advanced classes. Because they want to share what they learned, they’ve have been kind enough to let us use their work, as well as answer some questions about their experience at Comics Experience.
The first student whose work we’re presenting is Claude Policart, who was a student in Chris Soto’s Introduction to Comic Book Coloring and Advanced Comic Book Coloring.
Claude Policart – BEFORE
Claude Policart – AFTER
Claude Policart – BEFORE
Claude Policart – AFTER
Claude Policart – AFTER
Claude Policart – AFTER
Which coloring skills did you find the greatest help with in Chris Soto’s Intro to Coloring and Advanced Coloring courses?
CP: I learned how to work the values of dark and light. I also learned how to use cool and warm colors to create depth. I never really thought about using color that way before Chris’s class.
What’s a great quick tip you learned that you can share?
CP: Flatting the right way is really important. It will save you hours of work if you make a mistake.
Whom would you recommend the courses to?
CP: I would recommend this course to any beginner and anyone who wasn’t been able to get work. This course will force you to improve your portfolio.
If you’ve ever wanted to watch a construction worker deck a caterpillar man in the face – multiple times! – Chris Lewis‘ Mitch Hammer is now up on Kickstarter! He is joined by Fernando Pinto on art, K. Michael Russell on colors, Nic J. Shaw on letters, and editor Dan Hill for a frenetic adventure full of monsters and mad science.
“These guys are so good to me,” Chris says.
“From the get-go Fernando just completely understood what I was going for in the script. Humor can be very hit-or-miss, but Fernando is a funny guy and he knows how to translate gags onto the page. I don’t think we had to change many of the layouts he sent, except for one sequence where a backhoe rips a science-terrorist out of a building. It’s a… delicate maneuver, and I wanted it just so. I’m nit-picky with my backhoes,” he continues.
“With colorist K. Michael Russell, we just had one long chat at the beginning of the project, talking about the big influence on the book (Warren Ellis’ Nextwave), and he ran with that and turned Mitch into a vibrant blast of pop-infused goodness. Nic J. Shaw then lettered the heck out of the book.”
Mitch Hammer isn’t Chris’ first foray into crowdfunding. His previous, the hardcover release of Karma Police, was published as part of a collaboration with Comics Experience. He lauds planning ahead as the skeleton key for crowdfunding success.
“This time I really tried to do all the work beforehand. I made a plan of what to post and when, and had all the content ready to go – posts written, images formatted, etc.,” he says.
“Also, send your work out early to creators and comics sites, get feedback, and politely ask them to spread the word when the time comes. Everybody is busy, so planning ahead theoretically gives everybody time to react.”
Chris’ time with the Creator’s Workshop community led him to the beautiful, bonkers action-comedy he presents today.
He says, “I think it was through the CE critique process that I learned to give in and make Mitch as weird as I wanted it to be. At one point early in the scripting process, somebody, I can’t remember who it was, saw what I was trying to do, and asked why I wasn’t doing it. A ‘Why aren’t you pushing this all the way?’ type of thing.”
“Now working through the critiques on the forum is always a delicate balancing act, as people are trying to push and pull your story in multiple directions, but once in a while somebody will spot the hidden meaning of the work, and in this case I was lucky enough to recognize it. I think CE helped me develop a capacity for learning when and how to listen to others. And, yeah, this also comes in really handy down the road when you’re working with an editor,” he continues.
Backing options for a PDF start at only $1, with more exciting art, comics, audio commentary, signed scripts, and more as the levels increase! You can fund the Kickstarter campaign here.
Online course gives comics creators a strong legal knowledge foundation
Comics Experience is pleased to announce that the legal expert Joe Sergi will be teaching Comic Book Law for Creators, a four-week online course beginning on October second. Sergi is a Senior Litigation Counsel for the federal government and the author of The Law for Comic Book Creators: Essential Concepts and Applications, as well as a comic book writer and novelist.
In Comic Book Law for Creators, Sergi will cover indispensable information about legal issues facing comic book creators; contract, intellectual property, and copyright law are among the important topics this course will address.
Sergi began his mission to educate creators about the law after receiving many questions from creators and finding that misconceptions and myths persist in the creative community.
“It is more important than ever for comic creators to protect themselves,” Sergi said in an interview published on the Comics Experience website. “Sadly, there are very few resources available to the creator. To make matters worse, many of these resources are incorrect or self-serving.”
Comic Law for Creators exists to correct both the dearth of information and misinformation about what creators should do to give their comics career a strong legal foundation.
“I use what I’ve learned from Joe every week in my own writing and consulting career in comics and in the entertainment industry,” said Andy Schmidt, the founder of Comics Experience.“I’ve saved thousands of dollars thanks to Joe’s openness, honesty, ability to communicate, and of course, his knowledge of the law. Because of that, I know this course’s true value,”
Comic Law for Creators will meet weekly in Comic Experience’s online virtual classroom from October 2 through October 23, 2017 from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m., Eastern time. Students will also keep the discussion about what they are learning through a dedicated online forum for the class. For more information and to enroll, visit the course’s page on Comics Experience’s website.