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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!

Comics Experience at Fan Expo Boston!

If you’re headed to Boston this upcoming weekend for Fan Expo, Comics Experience founder Andy Schmidt will be in attendance and running multiple panels to help aspiring – and even established – comic creators take their projects from great to greater.

If you’re interested in hearing what he and his fellow panelists and presenters have to say about the industry, stop by one (or more!) of the following panels:

Breaking Into Comics and Staying In

Date: Friday, August 16
Time: 4:00 p.m.
Room: 253A
Schedule Description: With the shifting landscape of the comics industry, this is your INVALUABLE guide to breaking into the comics industry. Join Comics Experience founder and former Marvel Comics and IDW Publishing Editor Andy Schmidt, along with industry veterans, for an in-depth discussion about workable strategies to launch your comics career!
Panelists: Soo Lee, David Pepose, Kasey Pierce, Andy Schmidt

Writing for Comics

Date: Friday, August 16
Time: 6:00 p.m.
Room: 253A
Schedule Description: Join top comic writers for a discussion and instructive tips on the art of writing for comics. Writers and Editors speak about the process of writing and how the game is played. We’ll cover significant differences between writing for the screen and prose versus writing for comics! Want to know how stories come about and learn how to do it yourself? This is the place to start! Presented by Comics Experience’s Andy Schmidt.
Panelists: David Pepose, Matthew Rosenberg, Andy Schmidt

Pitch Perfect: Designing a Comic Pitch that Grabs the Publisher’s Attention

Date: Saturday, August 17
Time: 11 a.m.
Room: 253A
Schedule Description: This might just be the hardest thing you’ll ever write. It’s got to be perfect–summing up your story in a single page and selling it to someone else. The art of writing a pitch, no matter the medium, is a tedious, difficult task. We will break down the component pieces that every pitch needs and discuss why. If you’ve got a story to tell the world, you need this panel!
Panelists: Heather Antos, David Pepose, Andy Schmidt

The New Comic Creator

Date: Sunday, August 18
Time: 11:00 a.m.
Room: 253A
Schedule Description: The face of comics isn’t just changing, it’s expanding. There isn’t just one face of comics anymore, it’s now a diverse line-up of faces of different shapes, colors, creeds, and so on. Join Comics Experience’s founder Andy Schmidt and several professional creators, to learn how the diversification of comics creators and comics content go hand in hand, and what advantages to new comics creators this diversification holds. Learn what kind of background and training/education these new comics creators come from, and you’ll see why comics are changing and why it’s a good thing!
Panelists: Enrica Jang, Kasey Pierce, Andy Schmidt

Surviving Collaboration

Date: Sunday, August 18
Time: 4:00 p.m.
Room: 253A
Schedule Description: Comics is a collaborative medium. Do you know how to bring out the best from your collaborators? Join former Marvel and IDW Editor/Writer and Comics Experience founder Andy Schmidt and a host of established comic pros as they discuss collaborative best practices, tips for writers and artists, and strategies for handling editor feedback. Become the kind of creator everyone wants to work with!
Panelists: Michael Cherkas, Larry Hancock, Ash Maczko, George O’Connor, Andy Schmidt

Please note that the dates, times, and rooms may be subject to change based on last-minute adjustments at the convention itself. We wish all attendees and creators the best of luck in Boston next weekend!

Alum Russ Gartz publishes Vetala Buddha on comiXology!

Vampires both ancient and modern are coming your way in Vetala Buddha! All six issues are available on Comixology, featuring writing by Comics Experience alum and Creators Workshop member Russ Gartz, and art by Comics Experience veteran Nick Valente

The fantasy series also features coloring by Brian Skipper and lettering by Adam Wollett.

According to Russ, Vetala Buddha features a world where people are reborn as vampires when they die. The book follows two such vampires — one an ancient monk, the other a newly-reborn vampire in sunny California.

Furthermore, this project truly shows the strength of Comics Experience, when it comes to developing projects and networking with fellow creators.

Russ first came across Nick’s work when Russ’ Comics Experience Introduction to Comic Book Writing class was working on a class anthology. They worked together on a short comic, and when the time came for Vetala Buddha to go into production, Russ reached out to him again. Nick suggested Brian Skipper for colors and Adam Wollett for lettering (both had also worked on the short comic), and the team was complete.

But before that, Gartz developed the series on the Comics Experience Creators Workshop.

Russ said that he viewed the workshopping process as three separate phases. First, he posted the scripts on the Comics Experience Workshop, and in his Advanced Writing class forum, gaining valuable insight from fellow creators and pros alike.

Then, Russ further developed the script through Comics Experience’s mentorship program, working with Stephen Pakula.

“It was great!” Russ said of the experience, noting that Stephen helped him expand the series, and dig deeper into certain subplots and characters than in his original drafts.

And, finally, Russ gained insight from artist Nick Valente, describing this as the third step of the workshopping process.

“As Nick’s artwork can in, I would get inspired to write a detail I hadn’t thought, expand a storyline, develop a new idea about vampires, etc,” Russ said.

Vetala Buddha is available now!

Creators Workshop Needs Your Feedback!

The Comics Experience Creators Workshop is an online community designed to help professional and aspiring comic creators reach their goals. And now, we’re striving to make our members’ experience even better, beginning with a brand-new member survey!

Workshop member David Schechter has partnered with Comics Experience to develop a short questionnaire for Workshop member feedback. David is a Creators Workshop member himself, whose background in marketing made him the perfect person to author the survey.

“I’ve been doing work like this in my day job for a long time,” David explains. “I was hoping to apply the same skills and process to help improve the Creators Workshop.”

The Creators Workshop offers ongoing, membership-based professional support and career development for comics creators of all levels. Highlights include:

  • Expert advice and resources shared among creators. Our members’ diverse professional and personal backgrounds provide an unparalleled range of expertise!
  • An “Ask the Pros” forum, where working professional comics creators answer all your questions.
  • Exchange of critiques on members’ scripts and artwork.
  • In-depth, inclusive, and respectful discussion on comics and entertainment industry topics.

As the Workshop heads into its second decade, we’re continuing to find ways to best serve our members. Says David, “The more responses we get, the more we will learn about how to improve the Creators Workshop going forward. That could mean more of something specific or totally new things we haven’t tried offering yet.”

We urge current Workshop members to contribute feedback to the member survey here (login required). Your responses will help us create the best possible experiences for all members, now and in the future!

And as David and other Workshop members know, creators’ needs change and evolve along with our growing industry.

“As I’ve grown as a creator over the years, what I’ve gotten out of the Workshop has changed a lot,” David says. “At first it was learning (craft) and practicing/sharing work. Now I find learning about the industry and the connections I make through the workshop to be the most valuable aspects as I can continue to develop as a creator.”

Make your voice heard! If you’re a current member, be sure to fill out the survey by logging in here. Or become a member now by visiting our Creators Workshop page!

Our thanks to David and to all members for helping our Workshop thrive!

James Janowsky, Screenwriting 101, and the Relationship between Film and Comics!

James Janowsky moderates a Q&A at the New York City Apple Store with Academy Award winning director Danny Boyle.

Pop Quiz

What does screenwriting have to in common with comic book writing?

…OK. We really don’t need to grade you. We all know you’ve passed. But here’s the thing – aside from the obvious, comic book writing and screenwriting share some novel connections that you might not realize.

What are they?

That’s what signing up for James Janowsky‘s Introduction to Screenwriting 101 is for!

His course will cover all the basics of writing for film, and for this iteration he plans to switch up the focus a little bit to push a necessary element of the writing process.

“This class I’m going stress that a writer needs to be flexible with their story, and willing to alter or change certain story points that seemed critical in the first draft,” James says.

“Basically, learning the ‘art’ of the re-write, and how important it is to be flexible going into the re-write process.”

The Columbia graduate is excited to be back teaching with Comics Experience and sharing everything he knows with aspiring creators, no matter their chosen medium.

“I love teaching. Love it! And opening the eyes of new writers on how to write for this particular visual medium is a pure joy,” he says.

“My goal is always the same: After taking the class I want students to tell their story with confidence, imagination, and a firm adherence to the language of film.”

Want to learn more about James’ thoughts on screenwriting, comics, and the way the two overlap? Check out his recent guest spot on our Make Comics Podcast here!

(Spoiler: He has a lot of kind things to say about Comics Experience students who transition over to film! And Heather Antos joins in with her filmmaking background as well!)

Ready to go? For anyone interested in branching out into film or building up their comics writing skills by learning a new writing technique, you can sign right up for Screenwriting 101 here. Do it quickly, though. Our courses have a habit of getting booked fast!

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!

Comics Experience at Comic-Con International 2019!

CE Founder Andy Schmidt leading a convention event

Headed for Comic-Con International San Diego this week? Don’t miss our Comics Experience panels, led by CE founder/instructor Andy Schmidt and a host of expert participants!

Screenwriting: Turn Your Idea into a Screenplay
THURSDAY 4:00-5:00, Room 11  

Join screenwriters Marc Guggenheim (Arrow, Legends of Tomorrow), Georgia Lee (The Expanse), James Janowsky (SVA), Jason Brown (Producer of The Expanse, Ben-Hur), and Jacob Robinson (Producer at Tractor Pants, Legendary Pictures) for a look at how writing for the screen differs from writing for any other medium. And more than that, we’ll discuss how the business of Hollywood works–the dos and don’ts of it all. Most importantly, we’ll discuss taking an idea and how to shape it into a coherent story and screenplay, ready to shoot! Hosted by Andy Schmidt (Guardians of the Galaxy). 

Breaking into Comics
FRIDAY 3:00-4:00, Room 11  

Your dream is to make comics and you’re willing to do the work, but the industry is a tough place to crack into. Discover where the doors are and how to knock on them. Learn what it takes to be ready to step into the world of comics writing and art–listen to the trials and obstacles that proven professionals overcame–and get ready for advice that will serve you well in your pursuit of finally achieving your dream! Join Artists Reilly Brown (Deadpool, Incredible Hercules), Phillip Sevy (Tomb Raider), writers Rich Douek (Gutter Magic), Ryan Cady (Infinite Dark, Old Man Logan), and Mags Visaggio (Eisner nominee Kim and Kim, Eternity Girl) and comics editor and educator AndySchmidt (Marvel and IDW editorial, Comics Experience) for a candid and actionable discussion on how to break into the industry and start to do what you love. 

Comics Writing: Creating Awe-Inspiring Panel Descriptions
SATURDAY 2:00-3:00, Room 11  

You’re the writer, but you’re not the artist–that means you’ve got to inspire an artist to not just draw what the story needs, but to do so in a way that brings the best out of both your writing and his or her art, while also providing what the project needs!. If that sounds hard, it’s because it is! And if you think you (or most comics writers, for that matter) know what the function of a panel description is–you might be surprised! Join writers Peter David (The Incredible Hulk), Mike Costa (Lucifer TV show, Venom comic), Amy Chu (Poison Ivy, Red Sonja), artists Phillip Sevy (Witchblade), Reilly Brown (Deadpool, Incredible Hercules) and Andy Schmidt (The Comics Experience Guide to Writing Comics and Graphic Novels) for this revealing panel that will transform your comics scripts into an inspirational manifestos for your artists!

We can’t wait for you to join us!

Creators Workshop members: we have an online forum devoted to this year’s San Diego con. Be sure to visit, compare notes and tips, and make plans to meet with your fellow members!

We wish everyone safe travels and a great convention experience! 

CE’s Phillip Sevy on His Upcoming TRIAGE!

Comics Experience instructor Phillip Sevy is taking his career to an exciting new place! His new series Triage, coming soon from Dark Horse Comics, will feature both his writing and his art. It’s his first time pulling double duty and he couldn’t be more excited!

“It’s where I’ve always wanted to go in my career, so it feels both natural and terrifying at once. Comics is such a collaborative medium. This was all understand. What I didn’t understand is how much emotional support each collaborator gives. When I’m doing nearly everything myself, I suddenly felt the lack of emotional support that you get from a team. I feel the pressure of getting the book right because if it doesn’t click with readers, that’s ALL on me,” Phillip says.

“On the upside, it’s such a naturally synergistic way to work on a book. Knowing that I’m working on nearly all aspects of the book, I’m able to visualize it from beginning to end as I’m working on any part. It’s really exciting and exhilarating. Knowing that there’s no one to save my butt ahead or behind me, I’m finding myself working even harder on this book – harder than I knew was possible. It’s a giant emotional investment.”

Triage follows the story of a nurse, Evie, who has to figure out how to save the world… despite not knowing why she’s even been summoned to do so. A superhero and a post-apocalyptic fighter come along for the ride.

Phillip says, “There’s a lot of little things that fed into Triage – but the main thing was that I wanted to do a book that was so COMIC BOOK that it couldn’t be mistaken for anything else. I grew up on ’90s X-Men – where you could do literally ANYTHING (just google Cable’s origins and you’ll understand). I wanted to work on a book that was big and crazy and imaginative and couldn’t be done in other mediums. I wanted the most comic book of comic books. I love superheroes, I love post apocalyptic stories, I love sci-fi, I love human stories, I love reality-bending stories – so I took all of that and blended it into one five issue story!”

While Phillip handles the writing, art, inking, and coloring, Frank Cvetkovic serves as his “rock and… anchor for the book” as the letterer.

“Frank lettered my horror OGN The House and did an amazing job. We’ve worked on a handful of pitches and other things and I knew I needed him for Triage. And he’s gone above and beyond my expectations. I’ve given him a lot of work on this book… He makes all the dialogue work effortlessly on the page and has become a master of sound effects. I’m blown away by his work.”

Triage releases later this year!