Comic Art

6 Week online Course | Instructor: Fred Van Lente

Story Arcs and the Art of Serialized Storytelling

Learn how to create epic stories that captivate readers and have them coming back again and again!

Now that you’ve mastered the art of writing a one-shot, it’s time to up your game and start thinking big – really big, like world building big.

Hooking a reader for one story is hard enough — but hooking the reader throughout an entire epic made up of many parts is one of the most challenging aspects of a comic writer’s job. But whether you aspire to create web based, direct market, or mainstream comics, it’s a skill you’ll need to master.

The goal for every writer is in creating the hook for a first issue/chapter that will draw the reader in, and then building action, revealing character, and landing killer cliffhangers that will have your fans clamoring for more.

This course from New York Times bestselling comics scribe Fred Van Lente (Astonishing Spider-Man, Marvel Zombies, Deadpool vs the Punisher, GI Joe, Archer & Armstrong, and many more) will have you developing a compelling initial series arc, with an emphasis on structuring story beats, crafting characters and creating individual scenes that will provide you with the best beginning, middle and end acts your initial arc can have — as well as providing you with a story bible that can carry your story beyond comics and into other media.

This course is currently closed.

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  • You will learn from professional comic book writer Fred Van Lente (Amazing Spider-Man, Marvel Zombies, Weapon X, GI Joe, Conan the Barbarian, Archer & Armstrong, Making Comics Like the Pros).
  • You’ll get Fred’s lessons and lectures and discussions!
  • You’ll learn to identify character arcs and pace their emotional arcs to best effect throughout a serialized story.
  • You’ll understand how reveals and cliff hangers can be used to keep your readers for coming back for more at the end of each issue/episode.
  • You’ll see how to lay out a “beat sheet” to bring an artist, editor or producer (and any other stakeholder) through the progression of your arc — not to mention tips for adhering to that beatsheet, and when to throw it out altogether!
  • You also get exclusive access to a dedicated class member-only online forum.
  • You’ll have access to recordings of any class in the series for the duration of the class and a few weeks after its conclusion—so you never have to miss a class!
  • Class size is limited to keep it awesome!

Fred Van Lente

Fred Van Lente bio

Fred Van Lente is the #1 New York Times bestselling, award-winning writer of many, many comics, including The Amazing Spider-ManArcher & Armstrong (Harvey Award nominee, Best Series), Action Philosophers! (American Library Association Best Graphic Novel for Teens), and Cowboys & Aliens (with Andrew Foley), the basis for the feature film.

His many other comics and graphic novels include Weird DetectiveThe Comic Book History of ComicsThe Incredible Hercules (with Greg Pak), Taskmaster, and Marvel Zombies. Pak and Van Lente also wrote the popular how-to book Make Comics Like the Pros for Ten/Speed Random House.

In 2017 Van Lente branched into the world of prose with his debut novel, the stand-up murder mystery Ten Dead Comedians. His follow-up novel, The Con Artist, set in the comic book industry, arrived in 2018.

There is no other course like this one on the internet (or in person) that we’ve been able to find. This is all about putting you in the place of the comics creator!

Do I need to already be a comics writer to take this course?

Not at all! In fact, taking this course will help build your understanding of pacing and story development—something that applies to more kinds of writing than just comics. And best of all, there is no prerequisite for this class, taught be a master storyteller!

Wanting to work in comics is great, but what if I just want to tell my own stories?

Our courses are geared for this exact purpose. No matter where you are on the spectrum, beginner as well as experienced writer, learning from someone who has achieved these same goals and can personally guide you is invaluable!

What do we do in this course?

You’ll work with the instructor (Fred Van Lente) to pitch and develop your arc or storyline from 10,000 feet, and then together with the rest of the class, we’ll break that story down into the best possible serialized segments, using such tools as a map to chart your character’s growth throughout episodes/issues. By the end of the course you will have a “beatsheet” for the entire arc that will be ready for scripting — or submitting to other companies.

Do I need to know a whole lot about comics?

Having at least an interest in comics and a basic knowledge as a reader is helpful, but not mandatory. This is about the craft and the form, so we’ll be going over all of the things you’d need to know.

What if I miss a class?
All of our classes are recorded and available to view via streaming link for the duration of the course. And on top of that, you’ll have exclusive access to the Comics Experience forum set up just for the class. You’ll be able to interact with the rest of your class all week long at any time!

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, and South America and Africa. Not Antarctica yet, but give us time! Some of these students have not been able to attend live, but they’ve viewed the recordings and interacted with their classmates online!

Do we get any practical industry advice?
You’ll get a LOT of practical industry advice. Networking is one of our main topics in all of our introductory courses. It’s, simply put, essential for anyone who wants a career in comics. We discuss relationship building and ways to get your foot in the door and where to go to meet the right people and so on.

How do I sign up?
Click on the Paypal button above and you’ll get an email confirmation and instructions within two business days giving you everything you need to get started with the course.

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.


In order to complete the work, the following system requirements are recommended:

  • Microsoft Word or some other writing software.

To participate in our live online sessions you will need:

John Luzar

“Making comics is something I’ve wanted to do my whole life, but it always seemed too intimidating, too big. 

So I just finished my very first comic. There were a hundred different things I had to do for the very first time. What’s really crazy is, thanks to the classes and Forums at Comics Experience, I’ve felt totally prepared every step of the way. It’s all there!”

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