“I believe it all started with the ending,” says former Creators Workshop member Glenn Møane.
“An image came to me, and it showed a mother in her kitchen, looking at a photo of her deceased daughter. From there I began exploring who they were, the state of their relationship, and why one of them had died. It took a few tries, but in the end I found the approach I thought would serve the story best, by focusing on the grieving father and his relentless quest for closure.”
That end began The Love She Offered, the three-issue miniseries from Comics Experience and Source Point Press whose third and final installment comes out September 25. Glenn’s team includes Tirso Llaneta on art, Monte Thompson and Marco Della Verde on colors, and Sean Rinehart on letters.
The Love She Offered follows father Brian Thompson and his friend Ross seeking revenge for the murder of Brian’s daughter. This leads to the kidnapping of her boyfriend, the primary suspect… but he claims he didn’t do it. And he very well may not have done it.
Glenn developed his thriller during his stint in the Creators Workshop, and attributes his success to the support provided by the community.
“The critiques I received helped tremendously and the scripts ended up a lot more polished than their first drafts. For example, the original opening to the first issue depicted Sean coming home at night with a bloody knife in his hand. A workshop member pointed out a problem with the scene, which made me take another hard look at the issue’s structure,” he says.
“I ended up ditching the scene altogether and replaced it with a new one, which took place much later in the story… Overall, on the story front, The Love She Offered is a series that would not be in the shape it is if I hadn’t joined the Comics Experience workshop.”
And, of course, he shares the credit with his collaborators!
“I usually just let them do what they do best. This depends of course if we have worked together previously or not, but when reviewing a new page, my comments often boil down to ‘Thumbs up!’ or ‘I loved how you pulled off this particular panel!'” he says.
“I guess I’m boring that way, but I also believe in not micro-managing the artists I work with. Ideally, I want my scripts to be a pleasure to work on, something that doesn’t feel like a chore for my collaborators.”
Issue #3 of The Love She Offered – the last in the miniseries – will be released on September 25! Make sure to pick up your copy!
Creators Workshop member and course alumnus Frank Gogol‘s Grief is a 2019 Ringo Award nominee in the Best Anthology category! His compatriots include artists Nenad Cvitcanin, Kim Holm, Ryan Foust, Bethany Varni, Jey Soliva; colorists Luca Bulgheroni, Esther P. Gil-Munilla, Emily Elmer; letterer Sean Reinhart; and cover artist Dani Martins.
“It’s pretty surreal [to be nominated], actually. It’s incredibly gratifying and humbling to be nominated,” Frank says.
“But at the same time, it doesn’t feel like it’s real. Once a week since the nomination, I’ve had my partner, Catherine, slap to me in the face to see if I’m dreaming.”
He’s up against other familiar names to Comics Experience friends and fans, too! All We Ever Wanted: Stories of a Better World contains stories from our own Paul Allor as well as Creators Workshop member and alum Rich Douek. Luckily, the competition is a friendly one… we hope…
Frank says, “I found out when a fellow creator, Eric Palicki, reached out to congratulate me. Eric–who edited All We Ever Wanted: Stories of a Better World, which is also nominated for Best Anthology–is, of course, now my mortal enemy.”
Oh… oh dear… well, we definitely hope everyone stays friends! Frank seems to be taking things better than his throwdown would attest, of course.
“I’m very honored to even be being considered alongside books that industry veterans, like Shelly Bond, worked on,” he says. “The category is absolutely stacked with talent. So if Grief wins, more than likely, I’ll be celebrating in a state of complete disbelief. Honestly, I’d probably call for a recount.”
Ringo Award winners will be announced at Baltimore Comic-Con on October 19! Good luck to all the nominees and thanks to Frank for speaking with us!
Love. Elvis. and Crime. Sounds like a recipe for a memorable night out, but in David Pepose‘s case it’s the plot for his new Action Lab: Danger Zone miniseries Going to the Chapel, which released its first issue this week!
Wealthy Emily Anderson starts questioning whether or not she wants to go through with her nuptials. But before she can say, “I don’t” (or “I do?”), a gang of Elvis-impersonating thieves show up to steal her expensive jewelry… and a hostage situation ensues, with no help from Emily’s dramatic family.
“Going to the Chapel was inspired by the time I was the best man at my oldest friend’s wedding — and by that I mean I was the worst best man in history,” David says.
“The bachelor party I planned was truly cursed — everything that could go wrong, did go wrong, from the Airbnb being trashed to groomsmen bailing on paying to me getting sidelined in the hospital with a kidney stone and missing the entire event. While I was recovering on painkillers, I thought to myself, At least this didn’t happen during the wedding. But then I thought to myself, What if did?“
David brings along artist Gavin Guidry, colorist Liz Kramer, and letterer Ariana Maher on his chiffon-draped caper.
“I’ve got a terrific team of collaborators on Going to the Chapel, and we keep in close communication,” he says.
“When I first started working with artist Gavin Guidry, I already had a first issue script and full treatment for him — when hashing out character designs, I wound up writing full descriptions of each character, complete with reference art about what they wore, which actors I thought they were most like, what their personalities and quirks were. It was a good way for the both of us to get in each characters’ headspaces, to nail the specific tone of the series.
David continues, “With colorist Liz Kramer, meanwhile, we discussed a lot about what influences we wanted to bring to the table — in particular, Matt Wilson’s colors on Black Widow and Patricia Martin’s work on Secret Weapons. Because of my Comics Experience coursework, I’m able to give notes to my colorists very specifically, which I think streamlines the process and minimizes extra rounds of changes. Similarly with letterer Ariana Maher — because I’ve got a decent amount of experience with Photoshop and design work, if I can test any notes on my end before passing corrections, it winds up being much smoother for everyone. Ultimately, as long as you keep in communication with your creative team and try to think ahead, the rest tends to fall into place.”
You are cordially invited to pick up your copy of Going to the Chapel #1 now in stores!
History is her story, now! Writer and high-school student Kingsley Wallace recently completed Creating U.S.A.: The Original Melting Pot, with the help of Comics Experience’s creative services program, which packages and produces comics for a host of clients.
Written by Kingsley, with art and coloring
by Juan Romera and lettering by Paul Allor, the comic is the second issue in
Kingsley’s Creating U.S.A. series, designed
to help students study for the State of Texas’ middle school standardized
Kingsley then sought out middle schools in Texas with lower
scores on the standardized tests, and offered the comic to them as a free
“I love history,” Kingsley said. But “in eighth grade, my US
History Class was the most boring class I have ever taken. I knew there must be
a better, more exciting way to learn.”
Kingsley was an avid comics reader when she was young,
particularly drawn to “superheroes and these creative, amazing storylines that
I never imagined.”
So she combined her passion for history and comic books, and
created Creating U.S.A.
Kingsley is also a longtime mentoring
client of Comics Experience, after seeing Comics Experience founder and
president Andy Schmidt speak at Comicpalooza, a comics and pop culture
convention in Houston.
“I liked his style and work ethic, and I love his passion for
history,” Kingsley said. “I know I have much more to learn and I can see an
improvement with every issue. He is an amazing mentor and role model.”
The Original Melting Pot focuses on Colonial America, and the trials and tribulations involved in founding several of the thirteen original colonies. But there’s plenty of American History left to explore, and Kingsley shows no signs of slowing down.
“Working with amazing artists and mentors created a new passion in me to go from reader to author,” she said. “I find the process inspiring and an outlet for my creativity. I want to continue to research and learn more as I create more issues, especially for this project.”
By the Power of BloodBlade, writer Perry Crowe’s He-Man inspired humor comic, Stud… and the BloodBlade, is now on Kickstarter!
The campaign funds the first issue of this madcap comic book adventure, set to be published through Comics Experience and Source Point Press. With art by co-creator Jed Dougherty, colors by Mark Dale and D. Forrest Fox, and lettering by Anthony Rella, the book serves as a deconstruction of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe.
“It’s breaking He-Man down to its core elements — or at least the elements that appeal to me: the most powerful man in the universe, a fantastical world of dragons and astronauts, big bold colors and monsters and heroes with over-the-top names that often involve wordplay,” Crowe said. But Crowe and his co-creators then built several layers of humor and pathos over that basic framework.
When asked for the book’s elevator pitch, Perry gave a very… literal answer:
“Ding! First floor: He-Man with bloodshed and booze!
“Ding! Second floor: If you don’t know He-Man, think alien world perched at the bend in space-time where the far future becomes the primordial past, protected by a moody barbarian whose strength is matched only be his poor decision-making.
“Ding! Third floor: To tip the scales for good before the world begins again in the Next Bang, the mighty Stud must defeat all challengers: vicious volcanic vixen Lava-Voom, humanoid cockroach gym teacher Roach Coach, and the hopeless ambiguity of life!”
Perry is a longtime member of the Comics Experience community, and a graduate of several classes, including the Kickstarting your Comic course taught by instructor Heather Antos. He met the books letterer, Anthony Rella, on the workshop when they critiqued one another’s scripts.
Perry’s own script critique process helped shape and form the book. He originally wrote Stud… and the BloodBlade as an eight-page short based on Masters of the Universe minicomics from the ‘80’s. Perry described this first script as “more about evoking those compact stories of monsters and funny names, and the blend of science-fiction and fantasy that I loved so much about He-Man. I thought of it as the minicomic that accompanies the non-existent toy Stud… and the BloodBlade.”
But in their critiques, workshop members seemed to enjoy the comedic aspects of the story, while being frustrated by its brief nature, viewing it more as a tease than as a fully-fleshed story.
“One guy’s critique talked about being on an aircraft carrier in the middle of the ocean and laughing when he read the script and explaining Roach Coach to a fellow sailor who asked him what was so funny and they both laughed,” Crowe sad. “So that was encouraging enough to try tease out a miniseries.”
Crowe continued to workshop each issue and each draft of the comic, soliciting feedback from his peers and comics pros every step along the way.
“Sometimes it would be just a cool little detail,” Crowe said. “Like (workshop member) Todd Matthy told me ‘Stud should punch Wolfpack here,’ and I was like, ‘Yes, he should!’ Sometimes it was just letting me know what wasn’t working. The pro critiques were so helpful. Paul Allor gave me a great tip to make Astro less of a blank everyman and give him some personality. That was big help in taking the story out of that sort of totemic parodic approach I had with the minicomic.”
Additionally, instructor Marc Sumerak taught Crowe about revising and tightening up the script, in the Comic Book Editing class, and then provided a professional critique of nearly every script, “and really helped me elevate the work,” Crowe said.
“Marc told me that this big action piece near the beginning of issue two was just inert,” Crowe said. “Like, it was going through the beats of action but lacked investment. And he was so right. I have a bad habit of structuring pages with what I think is cool stuff, but then forgetting to have the characters really inhabit the space. So Marc’s note just flipped a switch, and I rewrote the scene significantly, put in a ton of action and craziness and comedy, just let loose and decided that Stud was going to be outrageous.”
Creators Workshop member, course alumnus, and filmmaker Milton Lawson (Roger Ebert and Me) recently released his full-length film Tabling: A Comic-Con Documentary on Vimeo! As the title implies, he sets out to offer glimpse at what life is like for creators behind the tables at comic book and pop culture conventions. Milton mostly focuses on the vantage points of writer Rick Quinn and writer/artist David Chisholm at HeroesCon in Charlotte, but the movie expands to encompass the perspectives of other creators – some of whom might be more than a little familiar to those of you who hang out on the forums!
Milton spoke with us about Tabling!
Comics Experience: How did you come up with the idea of Tabling and what did the organization process look like?
I knew going into 2019 that I wouldn’t be tabling at any large shows this year, but I didn’t want to lose a whole year of shows without an opportunity to do something productive. I was also working on another short comics-related documentary at the time, so I thought, maybe I could do something in that space. Most of the video reporting I’ve seen from conventions usually focuses on timely material, announcing new projects, what’s hot at that show in that moment, but I didn’t recall ever seeing the basic experiences of creators reflected in a raw way. HeroesCon is always very high on my list on shows I want to attend or table at in a given year, and I knew some folks who would be tabling, so I thought, this is something I can do to justify the trip out there.
CE: Did you learn anything new about tabling at conventions during the creation of this documentary? What’s something that convention attendees don’t usually know about Artist Alley?
ML: I learned a ton, but two lessons in particular struck a chord with me. First, the idea that conventions really are a great place to find niche audiences. In the documentary Lindsay McComb relates a conversation she had with a creator who was considering adjusting their art to be more “mainstream” (whatever that means) – but she advised that person to lean into their individuality, their quirks as a creator, and that through that, they will find their audience. Second, I loved it when David Pepose said that when tabling and pitching it’s important to “get in your reps,” comparing it almost to a gym workout. That analogy really resonated with me. The first time I tabled, just in the first few hours, my elevator pitch for each of my books improved exponentially. Experience matters.
This may seem a bit obvious, but I think one thing convention attendees don’t quite know about Artist Alley is just how much extraordinary talent can be encountered in relatively humble situations. Some creators who don’t have long lines of fans at their tables and have self-published work – they might actually be a hidden gem, someone they’d want to be an early adopter on. Some of them have projects they can’t discuss publicly yet. Some of them are just on such a totally independent path it might be a while before they get on everyone’s radar. Many established big name creators, though, have a good eye for that kind of talent, so if you go up to them and ask for recommendations of new talent to seek out at a show, they’ll probably have some excellent recommendations and you’ll be able to say, “I knew them back when…”
CE: Even as a long-term veteran of comic conventions, what did you learn about tabling along the way?
ML: It’s hard to put into words what a startling transition it is to experience a con from the other side of the table, which is part of the reason I wanted to do this documentary. I’ve only done it a few times myself, but I was kinda overwhelmed by the experience and was eager to have my perspective informed by others with more experience. The main thing I’ve learned is that how a person “tables” is just as individual as the other aspects of their creative output – their scripts, their illustrations, whatever. There’s no set formula that’s a one-size-fits all solution. There are some general principles that apply, but, each nugget of wisdom I found in interviewing these creators – the level at which they’d work as impactful advice for each person is going to be a unique formula. I picture all of these streams of advice as raw input – and each person, they need to take it in like a recording engineer at a studio – pushing and pulling the EQ sliders up and down according to their individual voice and needs.
CE: How is film similar to comic book writing?
ML: I never would’ve thought doing a documentary would inform my comics writing in any way, but I was surprised to find a number of similar challenges. The primary similarity I discovered was that they both involve the manipulation of a finite space. In a comic, the units are panels, pages, issues. In filmmaking, it’s shots, scenes, sequences. In the editing process, especially in the fly-on-the-wall moments, I tried to cut and hone each moment to convey the essence of the main idea. I might not have always succeeded in finding that most-efficient route, but I learned a lot through the process and I’ll try to remember those lessons in my next comic script.
Make sure to check out Tabled: A Comic-Con Documentary on Vimeo here!
“When my course ended I was left wanting more of Comics Experience goodness. So I decided to start downloading your podcasts and wow… I MEAN WOW. The amount of information you guys talk about and advice you give is simply amazing. I think I cruised through 30 episodes in day, and the only reason I am slowing down now is cause I don’t want them to stop. I particularly like your advice on setting goals for yourself and breaking them down into bit-sized chucks, so you can achieve them. Yesterday, I wrote down my short term and long term goals, and then stuck in up where I could see them everyday. By the end of the month I am definitely going the join the Creators Workshop, so I can be a part this community that Comics Experience has inspired me to be.”