Comics Experience alumnus and Workshop member Rich Douek‘s indie success Gutter Magic is back in print as of last week (September 25, if you want to be all exacting about it) thanks to Source Point Press! The four-issue fantasy series – whose team includes Brett Barkley on art, Jules Rivera on colors, and Nic J. Shaw on letters – now features four new covers by Fei Chen to celebrate the re-release.
“One of the reasons we wanted to rerelease the original issues is so that new fans can get into the series from the beginning, and not be confused by feeling we’re starting in the middle of something. But, we also wanted to give existing fans something new to get excited about, so we started to look for artists who could bring something new and awesome to the table,” Rich says.
“We found that in spades with Fei Chen, who created a slate of new covers highlighting the main characters in some of our favorite scenes from the book. She’s got a style that’s different from anything we’ve done before, but undeniably feels like Gutter Magic, and we’re really excited to get them out there.”
Gutter Magic started off as a 5-page short in the Introduction to Comic Book Writing course, and grew into a full series – first as single issues, then a trade paperback from IDW. A spinoff series, Tales from the Gutter, met its Kickstarter goal and expanded the alternate history steampunk universe further.
Rich says, “During the publishing process, Andy was an invaluable resource as an editor and advisor. It’s safe to say that Gutter Magic wouldn’t be what it is without Comics Experience, and I’ll always be grateful to it for helping to get my comics writing career off the ground.”
Make sure to keep your eyes out for the Tales from the Gutter, coming soon from Source Point Press! This will be the anthology’s first time in print.
If you’ll be at New York Comic-Con this weekend, make sure to catch Rich at Andy Schmidt’s Writing Comics Like the Pros panel, and pick up the new Gutter Magic at the Source Point Press booth, #2243.
New York Comic-Con runs October 3 through 6, and Comics Experience founder Andy Schmidt will be on hand to dish out advice on working in the comic book industry! He’ll be at the Source Point Press booth, #2243, when he’s not out and about sharing his knowledge on panels.
Andy’s panel schedule is as follows:
Writing Comics Like the Pros
Date: Thursday, October 3
Time: 2:15-3:15 p.m. EST
Description: A comic book script does NOT look like a screenplay! Lesson #1—how to write for comics—learn the dos-and-don’ts from top of the line comics writers and editors – everything from crafting a character-driven story to how to write effectively for your artist! Join comics veterans Greg Pak, Frank Gogol, Vita Ayala, Rich Douek, Tini Howard, and Writer/Editor Andy Schmidt for an in-depth discussion that will have your scripts popping off the page in no time!
Panelists: Vita Ayala, Rich Douek, Tini Howard, Frank Gogol, and Greg Pak
The New Comics Creator Panel
Date: Thursday, October 3
Time: 4:45-5:45 p.m. EST
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: Andy Schmidt, Heather Antos, Mags Visaggio, Sanford Greene, Tini Howard, Vita Ayala
In addition, if you’re a member of our Creator’s Workshop, an alumnus of one of our courses, or one of our mentoring clients, there will be a meetup just for you! At a secret location at a secret date, no less. If you’re interested in attending and want to RSVP, send us an email.
“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.”
“Andy brought me into Marvel with the “Drax” project, then put a largely untested artist without a huge fan-base on his dream project. Andy believed in me as an artist, and I will always be grateful. It says a lot about the kind of guy Andy is.”
Mitch Breitweiser Marvel exclusive artist of Captain America: The Chosen, Ultimate Fantastic Four, Drax the Destroyer)