Comic Art

6 Week Live Online Course | Mondays, July 12 – August 23, 2021 | 9:00 pm - 11:00 pm ET | Instructor: Fred Van Lente

Writing for a Shared Universe

Whether in a galaxy far, far away or the world outside your window, from the ancient past to the far future, shared universes have been a mainstay of comics from the very beginning—and learning how to write in them is the most important skill you can have to make it as a pro.

Instructor Fred Van Lente has worked in the Marvel Universe, the Valiant Universe, John Carter’s Barsoom, GI Joe’s battlefields, Conan’s Hyboria, Archie’s Riverdale, and many others. He will teach you how to apply your abilities to work in other people’s worlds—and, not only that, together, in the class, we will create one of our own! This is as close to the simulation of working in a creative, multi-staffed comic book environment as we can make it, complete with editorial notes sessions and our very own writers’ summit.

Space is limited, so don’t delay! Sign up for the course today!

Online registration only. Enroll for just $795.

Buy now with PayPal

  • You will learn from professional comic book writer Fred Van Lente (Amazing Spider-Man, Taskmaster, MODOK’s 11, Deadpool vs the Punisher, Archer & Armstrong, G.I. Joe, Everything’s Archie, Conan the Avenger, Adventure Time, et al).
  • You’ll get Fred’s lessons and lectures and discussions!
  • You’ll develop comics scripts and/or stories in a series of pre-existing shared universes, some of them your choice, some of Fred’s. In the second half of the class, you will participate in a simulated “writer’s summit” to make each student’s ideas work together in a single, shared universe of the class’s own devising!
  • 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.

Professional working writers in comics, or any other media, don’t just work on their own ideas. Frequently you get hired to write someone else’s pre-established characters, whether that’s the X-Men or Batman or My Little Pony or Stranger Things. This course will challenge you to apply your skills and imagination to any writing assignment that may be lobbed your way in a professional setting. 

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

Not at all, but taking our Introduction to Writing Comics course is a prerequisite to this one. If you’ve completed Introduction to Writing Comics, you’re good to go for this one!

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 or an 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?

The general purpose of this course is to simulate the working environment at a large comics company with a number of different properties that you, the students, will be hired to write. Your instructor, Fred, will be taking on the role of editor-in-chief and company man, handing out assignments, providing feedback, and, of course, to properly simulate working at a real comics company, pitching out curveballs galore. 

Is there anything I should bring with me to this course? 

For the first class, we’d like every student to think of a character they’d most like to write from some other company’s universe or franchise: Iron Man, Harley Quinn, Red Sonja, Bumblebee, John Wick, Kratos, whomever. It doesn’t matter the genre or media. Even though you’re writing for comics, the character does not have to come from comics. It can be the Domino’s Pizza Noid for all we care. This will form the basis of the first assignment, in ways that will become obvious once you attend the first session. (No spoilers.) 

Since this is about “Shared” Universes, will we be doing a lot of sharing with other students? 

Very perceptive, FAQ questioner! Unusually, in comparison to other Comics Experience courses, students won’t just be working on their own creations, they will be collaborating with each other through in-class workshopping. And, in some cases, you may be swapping characters and ideas to literally work on other people’s stories. Remember: Sharing is caring. 

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. 

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?

This course is pretty much all practical industry advice. We’re trying to make this the closest we can to simulating the actual freelance writer experience as possible. 

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.

You must have completed the Introduction to Comic Book Writing course to enroll in this class.

  • Microsoft Word or some other writing software.

To participate in our live online sessions you will need:

Online registration only: To attend Writing for a Shared Universe, you must register online. Enrollment is limited.*

*We do not currently offer refunds after enrollment.

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