Comics Writing 102: Creating Great Characters
Great comics start with great characters. From the Golden Age of superheroes to last week’s indie darling, when you think of your favorite comics, you’ll most likely think about the fantastic characters within.
In this course, comics writer Paul Allor will take you, step-by-step, through the techniques he’s used to create memorable characters in a wide range of critically-acclaimed comics, both licensed and creator-owned.
Topics include building your cast from the ground up, tying your characters into the theme of your story, using your characters’ background to craft dialogue that is both compelling and unique, creating complex characters with limited space, making your villains empathetic without softening their evil ways, breathing life into minor characters and much more!
Not only will you learn directly from Paul (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, GI Joe, Monstro Mechanica, Tet, Past the Last Mountain and much more), live and online, but you’ll also be given assignments each week that will help you embed the week’s lessons and fully add the tools to your writing arsenal!
You’ll have access to our dedicated course message board where you’ll be able to review each others’ work and receive feedback from the instructor.
If you want to craft the best characters you can, this is a must-take course, offered for the first time right now!
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- Course meets between 8:30 and 10:30 pm EST, for five weeks
- You will learn from critically acclaimed and highly respected writer and editor Paul Allor (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Monstro Mechanica)
- You’ll get Paul’s lessons and lectures and discussions, and exclusive access to a dedicated class member-only online forum
- You’ll have access to recordings of all classes in the series for the duration of the course and a few weeks after its conclusion—so you never have to miss a class
- There will be weekly assignments reviewed by the instructor
- Class size is limited to keep it awesome!
Paul Allor is a critically-acclaimed writer, editor and letterer who began as a Comics Experience student and workshop member, seven years ago. Since then, he has written for Marvel Comics, AfterShock Comics, IDW Publishing, BOOM! Studios, Dynamite Entertainment, Monkeybrain Comics, and the rap-metal band Hollywood Undead, which hired Paul to write a comic telling the band’s fictional superhero origins.
Paul’s comics writing is known for balancing intensely character-driven stories with bombastic ideas and dynamic plotting. His creator-owned books include Monstro Mechanica, from AfterShock Comics; Tet, from IDW Publishing and Comics Experience; Past the Last Mountain, from Gov’t Comics and Comics Experience; Strange Nation, from Monkeybrain Comics; and the self-published comics Orc Girl and Clockwork, the latter of which included Paul’s five-page story from his Comics Experience Introduction to Writing class!
On the work-for-hire side, Paul is perhaps best known for his extensive work in the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles franchise for IDW Publishing, including the opening arc of TMNT: Universe; TMNT: Mutanimals; TMNT: Utrom Empire; Turtles in Time and TMNT: Microseries – Shredder, among others. He has also worked on GI Joe for IDW, including the Siren’s Song arc of the main GI Joe title, and the GI Joe: Deviations issue. More recently, he completed a six-issue mini-series based on the board game Clue and in 2019 he released GI Joe #1 through IDW.
Other work-for-hire comics include Secret Empire: Brave New World; Uncanny Inhumans: Monsters Unleashed; Year of Marvels: Iron Man and Nova; and Marvel Universe Presents, Guardians of the Galaxy for Marvel Comics; Pathfinder: Goblins, for Dynamite Entertainment; and Bravest Warriors for BOOM! Entertainment.
Paul’s editing work includes Sheltered, from Image Comics, created by Ed Brisson and Johnnie Christmas, and Creature Cops: Special Varmint Unit from IDW Publishing and Comics Experience, created by Rob Anderson.
Since January 2017, he has served in various capacities with Comics Experience and in 2019 became Managing Editor. He is teaching assistant for the Intro to Writing courses and the instructor of courses on Writing a Mini-Series, Creating Great Characters, Discovering Genre, Freelance Writing for Comics and Writing Creator-Owned and Indie Comics: Building Your Comics Library and Career! You can follow him on Twitter at @PaulAllor.
Besides the live sessions, what do I actually do in this course?
You’ll be given assignments each week based on the topics covered. You’ll discuss the course and the work of your fellow classmates (and your own) on the dedicated message boards. It’s as intensive as you want it to be, but the learning potential in this course is huge!
What else will we be doing?
In addition to talking with Paul and my classmates during the class sessions—and they are recorded if you have to miss one or more—you’ll also have exclusive access to a dedicated class member-only online forum where your class can meet online 24 hours a day, seven days a week for the duration of the course.
The forum is where you’ll be able to post your work for your class to review, comment on, and make suggestions. And likewise, you’ll be asked to comment on your fellow students’ work as well. You’ll problem-solve together and find new ways to craft an amazing cast!
Do I need to know a whole lot about comics?
Absolutely not. All introductory level courses are designed for total beginners and those seeking to improve their craft. The class has a quick pace, so if you’re very new, be prepared to work, but one thing we pride ourselves on at Comics Experience is our ability to teach to an individual’s skill level.
These courses aren’t about the instructor, and that’s why we keep them small. We have an excellent track record with our students, and it’s our top aim to keep it that way. So—new to comics? Come on in, we’d love to show you around! Old pro? Let’s sharpen those skills and learn a few new tricks! Everyone’s welcome, and the group learning will help everyone improve!
Do I need to be a computer whiz for the class?
Nope. Not one bit. You need to have high-speed Internet access. We recommend that you have headphones with a microphone to plug into your computer, but that’s by no means necessary. Ultimately, you don’t have to speak if you don’t want to, though we like hearing your voice!
It’s simple; once you’re in your first class, we’re sure you’ll get comfortable very quickly. Do check the “Requirements” tab to see specific system requirements.
What computer programs do I need for this course?
None. Our system has a plug-in, so you don’t need anything. Although a word processor of some kind is recommended—and you will, of course, need Internet access.
When does the class meet and for how long?
The Introduction to Character Building course meets once a week for five weeks. It meets between 8:30 pm EST and 10:30 pm EST. The course is held live.
What happens if I can’t make a class one night? Can I make it up?
Have no fear—each class session is recorded and you’ll have access to the recording for the duration of the entire course. If you miss one night, no problem! In fact, we have students from all over the world and it’s not uncommon for some to never attend a single session live—but they still get a great class experience through the recordings and interactions on the private class online forum!
If I don’t live in the United States, can I still take the course?
You bet. We’ve had students jump in from Europe, Asia, Australia, Africa, and South America—that’s every inhabited continent on the planet! Some of these students have not been able to attend live, but they’ve viewed the recordings and interacted with their classmates online, getting everything they can out of the courses.
What do I learn here, that I can’t learn someplace else?
I’m glad you asked! With all of our courses, we pack as much information into every session as humanly possible. But we also do something that no other comics teaching institution does—we create our own methodology and approach to the creative experience and endeavor. In other words, the actual process that you’ll go through is not taught anywhere else and was specifically created for comics! Not movies or TV. Not novels or short stories—but for comics. And that’s why we are confident when we say that Comics Experience courses are simply the best courses about comics available today.
How do I sign up?
Click on the PayPal button and you’ll get an email confirmation and instructions within two business days giving you everything you need to get started with the course.
There simply is no better course offered on professional techniques for comics writers—on the Internet or live. This is the best—period. If you want to make comics for fun or become a pro, your comics career starts here. Go ahead and reserve your spot today. Space is limited.
To participate in our live online sessions you will need: