Meet a Creator: Shaun Manning

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:

Shaun Manning

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 and on twitter @FasterthanShaun. Buy Macbeth!