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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!

CE Alum Shaun Manning launches “Hell, Nebraska” Kickstarter

Hell-Nebraska-titleComics Experience alum and Creators Workshop member Shaun Manning has launched a Kickstarter campaign for hist comic book project, Hell, Nebraska.

Hell, Nebraska is a six-issue, digital-first comic book series on Comixology and iVerse Comics+ by Shaun Manning and Anna Wieszczyk about a man who discovers that Hell does not exist–and decides to do something about it.

Thanks to the power of a mysterious mask, an unassuming high school teacher is able to raise a city of the damned in rural Nebraska… but one of his students could topple his grand design.

The first issue is available for free on Comixology right here.

Shaun is looking to fund publication of a small print run and cover some of the final art costs.

hell-nebraska-pageThe intention is to debut the “Hell, Nebraska” trade paperback at the brand-new Cincy ComiCon in September, along with a con-exclusive variant (and sole print edition) of the first two issues.

As incentives, supporters can choose digital versions of the comics, exclusive print editions, a trade paperback collection, a t-shirt or custom iPhone cover.

You can even be consigned to Hell by the character Abbadon, by having yourself drawn into the comic book!

With nearly a full month left, there’s still plenty of time to jump on this Kickstarter for Hell, Nebraska!

Or check out the video below:

Best of luck to Shaun with the Kickstarter!

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!

C2E2 2013 – Comics Experience Panels & Meet-Up!

c2e2The 2013 C2E2 Convention was another great one for Comics Experience staff, alums, and friends!

On Sunday, Comics Experience founder Andy Schmidt (former Marvel and IDW Editor) moderated two panels.

writing-panelOn the Comic Art – How to Make a Living Doing It panel, Andy was joined by Chris Burnham, CE Art Instructor Robert Atkins, and Ryan Browne, who gave the inside scoop on making a career that pays in the comics industry.

And on the Writing for Comics panel, Andy, along with Mike Costa, Josh Fialkov, and CE Book Club Manager and alum Paul Allor discussed the nuts and bolts of word craft in the sequential arts.

audienceBoth panels were packed, and we want to thank everyone who joined us!

But before the panels, we had our annual C2E2 Comics Experience Meet-Up on Saturday night, which included a mix of CE alums and Creators Workshop members, pro comic book creators, friends (and some folks who fit in all those categories!)

The meet-up was attended by Andy Schmidt, Shaun Manning, Nick Dedual, Brad Thingvold, Ed Brisson, Frank Barbiere, Andrew Guilde, Paul Allor, Josh Fialkov, Ryan Browne, Amy Chu, Craig Yeung, and Brian Shearer.

Check out some pics below!

c2e2-2013-meetup01 c2e2-2013-meetup02

If you missed out, we certainly hope to see you at the next convention, whether at the panels, the meet-ups, or both!

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!

“Make Comics” TweetChat on 5/7/13 with Paolo Rivera and Andy Schmidt!

twitter_icon-by-thedesignsuperhero.comThis Tuesday, May 7th at 1:00pm Eastern Time, both Eisner Award-winning artist Paolo Rivera and former Marvel and IDW Editor Andy Schmidt will be holding a #makecomics “TweetChat” discussing comic art, the use of design in storytelling, and more.

A TweetChat is a planned, live event and anyone using twitter can join in — simply follow Paolo, Andy, or the #makecomics hashtag on Twitter. Bring your #makecomics questions, especially those related to design and storytelling…

Paolo: @PaoloMRivera
Andy: @ComicExperience (no “s” on “Comic”)

The TweetChat is part of the lead-up to Paolo’s one-day, live streaming course on The Art of Design and Comic Book Storytelling. on Saturday, May 18, 2013


The course will be held from 10:00am until approximately 4:00pm Eastern Time, with a one-hour break for lunch.

This is a one-time only opportunity to learn from a modern master of the comic art form! Paolo will be teaching you how to use design techniques–from script to finished page–to create more intense, dynamic, and thrilling comics.

Daredevil-10Rivera’s work is influencing an entire generation of comic creators right now as more creators focus on page design and panel composition as storytelling components, a trail blazed by Rivera.

“This seminar is about the true heart of comics: creating a narrative through visual means,” Paolo said.

“The fundamental ideas can be understood by anyone who can see.

“In fact, the universality of vision is what allows our readers to make such fantastic leaps of logic, turning static images into lives lived.”

While graphic design will be the primary focus, Paolo adds that, in this context, this doesn’t mean typefaces and serifs, but rather “how people see.”

“Once we have a working knowledge of the visual process,” Paolo said, “we can use it to direct and foster attention.

Paolo Rivera Daredevil

“Contrast is key, and I hope to show how its many dimensions can be utilized to convey meaning efficiently – and tell a great story.”

In addition to artists, this day-long seminar is open to all comics creators and fans, from writers who want to consider design at the script stage to color artists, letterers, and more.

All are welcome for this live, online streaming session, and there are no pre-requisite courses.

Along with Rivera, former Marvel and IDW Editor Andy Schmidt will co-host the day’s event, and the course will include a Q&A from the audience.

Rivera has graced the pages of dozens of Marvel Comics over the years and has constantly been evolving his art–starting as a painter, doing painted comics, and evolving into a line art style that recently earned him an Eisner Award along with Mark Waid for Daredevil #7.

Rivera’s laid-back manner, and deep knowledge of comics storytelling as well as graphic design and color theory make him the ideal creator for teaching this Master Seminar.

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!

CE alum Paul Allor’s story in Free Comic Book Day’s “Red Ten #0”; Store signings by CE members

TheRedTen-0-FCBDComics Experience alum and Book Club Manager Paul Allor (TMNT: Fugitoid, Orc Girl) will have a story appearing in the Free Comic Book Day 2013 issue of The Red Ten #0, published by ComixTribe.

ComixTribe is a 2013 Silver Sponsor for Free Comic Book Day 2013, the publisher’s Free Comic Book Day debut. The Red Ten #0 will be distributed for free at thousands of participating comic book shops across the country on Saturday May 4, 2013.

The Red Ten is a ten-issue superhero re-telling of Agatha Christie’s classic whodunit And Then There Were None.

Included in the issue is an Oxymoron back-up story by the critically acclaimed team of Paul and artist Aaron Houston entitled “Quiet Riot”. Paul and Aaron previously collaborated on the graphic novel Clockwork.

Paul, as well as other Comics Experience alums and Creators Workshop members will be signing at comic book shops on Free Comic Book Day 2013.

If you’re in the area, check out the following signings:

* Paul Allor (TMNT: Fugitoid, Orc Girl) – Comics Cubed, Kokomo, IN
* Rob Anderson (Rex, Zombie Killer, Great Zombies in History) – Laughing Ogre, Landsdowne, VA
* Amy Chu (Girls Night Out, The VIP Room) – The Comic Book Shop, Wilmington, DE during the day, and then at Carmine Street Comics in the West Village, New York City from 7-8pm.
* Nick Dedual (Torchbearer) – Manhattan Comics, New York City from 7-8pm.
* George O’Connor (Healed, Baby) – New England Comics, Malden, MA
* Brandon Seifert (Witch Doctor, Hellraiser) – Collectors Corner, Baltimore, Maryland

Congrats to all our members!

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!

Hicks Discusses Emotion and Action in “Friends With Boys”

friends-with-boys-coverRecently, comics writer/artist Faith Erin Hicks joined the Creators Workshop Book Club to discuss Friends With Boys, her original graphic novel from First Second Books.

Based in Halifax, Canada, Hicks’ work includes Zombies Calling and The War at Ellsmere for SLG Publishing, The Adventures of Superhero Girl for Dark Horse Comics, and the forthcoming Nothing Could Possibly Go Wrong for First Second Books, which is serializing now online.

Topics discussed during the session included…

Conveying Emotion Visually

Hicks said that in her comics work, it’s very important for the emotional core of the story to be conveyed through characters’ actions, body language and facial expression, rather than through words.

“I always want the reader to be feeling what the character is feeling.”

If characters simply say how they’re feeling, Hicks said, “I feel like that’s not utilizing the comics format. But if you can draw a picture and convey what that person is feeling through their body language, through their facial expressions, through their emotion, I feel like that’s what’s awesome about comics.”

Manga Influence on Hicks’ Layouts

When asked about the Manga influence on her work, Hicks noted that she started to read manga late in her career, after her visual vocabulary was largely developed. But, she said, the influence does often come out “in the paneling, and in the way I compose my stories.”

She noted that Boys’ Manga is often very action-oriented in its layouts, and “composed to drive the story forward. That’s something I’m very attracted to.”

She noted that mainstream superhero comics can often be extremely detailed, and a bit overwhelming.

“I admire the work that goes into it, but sometimes I literally don’t know how to read it,” Hicks said.

By contrast, Manga can often be a little simpler, using a variety of techniques such as bleeds, square panels and tilted panels, all designed to create clarity and keep the story moving.

friends-with-boys-pageCapturing Facial Expressions

Hicks has been praised for her excellent use of emotion and facial expressions, and she provided some tips on how to achieve this.

“It’s really important to be able to observe people, and observe how they convey their emotions,” Hicks said. “Everyone conveys emotions differently. Some people are very repressed and quash their emotions and push them deep inside, and other people are very open with their emotions. I think if you observe people and understand how they emote, then it’s a lot easier to put that down on the page.”

Hicks also shared which facial feature she often turns to when crafting a character’s expression.

“My really stupid tip is: eyebrows,” Hicks said. “I’m constantly thinking about eyebrows — and eyes as well — when I’m trying to convey a certain emotion on the page. I will literally spend like half an hour just drawing a character’s eyebrows, to get that slight tilt, ever so perfect. I feel like that can really put an exclamation point on the emotion that you’re trying to convey.”

Hicks also discussed:

* How she broke into comics;
* The development and pitch process for Friends With Boys;
* The experience of serializing Friends With Boys, and how it helped Hicks’ career;
* Hicks’ scripting process;
* Working on stories that are partially autobiographical;
* Advice for creating young adult comics;
* Incorporating sound effects into comics art;
* Breaking a story around the emotional beats;

Creators Workshop sessions take place every month, streaming live online, giving members real-world knowledge that will help them succeed in their comics career.

– Posted by Paul Allor

DeConnick, Amanat Discuss Building Relationships on the Page

deconnick-amanatRecently, comic book writer Kelly Sue DeConnick and editor Sana Amanat joined the Creators Workshop Book Club to discuss Captain Marvel, a monthly ongoing from Marvel Comics.

Captain Marvel tells the story of Carol Danvers, ace pilot and legendary avenger. One of the book’s greatest strengths is a rich supporting cast, and Carol’s complex and often endearing relationships with the people around her. During the session, DeConnick talked about how she develops these relationships, and the organic nature of her writing process.

captain-marvel-tpb“I don’t plan as much out beforehand as I should or as I would like to,” DeConnick said. “A lot of it tends to come up in the writing.”

She added that one of the few planned relationships in the book is possible love interest Frank Gianelli. But even there, DeConnick said, their relationship is developing on the page, as she writes.

“I wanted to bring Gianelli back because I loved him in the original series,” DeConnick said. She noted that he represents a certain kind of “70’s dude,” similar to Wonder Woman’s Steve Trevor, who was “so much a part of my growing up and my experience with comics.”

“So I dressed him up and put some cologne on him and put him out there,” DeConnick said. “And I don’t know if there’s any chemistry between them. It’s like an arranged marriage. I keep waiting to see if sparks are gonna fly. They’re taking their time.”

“It’s a very natural way of telling a story,” Amanat noted. “I think that’s why it works so well. Obviously there’s a lot of planning, but sometimes you don’t figure out the subtlety of certain characters and certain relationships until it’s on the page.”

captain-marvel-09DeConnick said she’s especially glad that the book is able to showcase a number of Carol’s female relationships, often with friends and mentors a generation or two older than her.

“I think both in Hollywood and in publishing, and just culturally, we have a tendency to make women over sixty disappear,” DeConnick said. “So I wanted them to be present.

Many of Carol’s relationships are showcased in issue #9 of the series, which Amanat described as “sort of hitting the reset button, to bring in more readers and introduce readers to the daily life of Carol. We wanted to show everyone the world that she lives in, and the relationships around her and her character.”

Amanat said that this issue was also a good example of Marvel’s overall desire to show the human side of superheroes.

“We want to know what they like for breakfast, and if they drink their coffee black,” Amanat said. “They’ll be punching a dinosaur a few pages later, and we need to know if they’ve had their caffeine.”

Other topics discussed included:

  • How Amanat and DeConnick got into comics;
  • The development process for Captain Marvel;
  • Crafting the first arc of Captain Marvel;
  • Balancing multiple artists on the title;
  • The challenge of keeping Danvers’ character consistent with other titles.

DeConnick has worked in the comic book industry for the last decade, writing comics for Marvel such as Osborn: Evil Incarcerated, Rescue, and Sif, as well as Richard Castle’s Deadly Storm, with co-writer Brian Michael Bendis, for Marvel & ABC.  She also has adapted many manga titles into English, including the English scripts for Kare First Love, Black Cat, Sexy Voice and Robo, and Blue Spring. She lives in Portland with her husband, writer Matt Fraction, and their kids.

Amanat was an editor at Virgin Comics, before joining Marvel Comics to edit their “Ultimates” line in 2009.

Recently, she has edited Marvel titles such as Hawkeye, Castle, Dark Tower, Ultimate Comics Spider-Man, Ultimate Comics Iron Man, and Ultimate Comics Ultimates as well as Captain Marvel. She was educated at Columbia University and resides in New York City.

Creators Workshop sessions take place every month, giving members real-world knowledge that will help them succeed in their comics career.

There’s still plenty of time to sign up before the next session. We hope to see you there.

– Posted by Paul Allor