Comic Books 101: The Finale

My Comic Books 101 series, which detailed all the wisdom I learned from my comic book writing class this past semester, sort of faded away without much explanation. Long story short: I graduated.

Happily, I finished the class with a professional portfolio that contained the entire script for my graphic novel Fusion (which, admittedly, I also wrote as my senior thesis in English), the first six pages penciled and inked by an artist, a springboard, and other goodies (like character profiles, visual references, etc.). So while I’m certainly no expert at the comic creating process, I’m at least considerably more experienced than I was four months ago.

So here’s my plan. This post will act as my transition from the Comic Books 101 series to my new series, I Can Write a Comic Book and So Can You! (which will detail the adventure of creating my first ever graphic novel).

And to pretend like this post contains serious content, here’s a list of what you’ve learned in Comic Books 101:

Resources for Comic Creators

Writer-Artist Collaboration

Selling Your Comic

Breaking Into the Comic Book Industry

Writer Rights

The Elements of an Effective Comic

Pearls of Wisdom

Comics Are…

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Comic Books 101 — Part One

Fridays at 8:30 in the morning, I sit in a class filled with fiction, gaming, art, and film majors to learn about comic books. More specifically, how to write them. I recognize that I’m insanely lucky to have this opportunity, so I’m going to share my experiences. Let’s call it Comic Book 101. And this is part one.

The first class blew my mind. I was told I’d have to write a script, a proposal, an elevator pitch, and convince an artist to draw the first six pages of my novel for my final project.  HOW COOL IS THAT!?

I was told there’s no money in comics (I’ve been told this before). I was told it’s difficult to find work as a comic writer.

I was also thoroughly convinced this is something I want to pursue.

So what did I learn?

Comics are special. They have their own unique culture, cliques, and genres.

Comics are corporate. Comics are about doing whatever you need (even if that means writing Scooby Doo) to get work.

Comics are commercial. You can make a lot of money off licensing. Or, you can make no money at all.

Comics are changing. People don’t read comics like they used to or in such volume.

There is nothing shameless about working in a comic book shop to break into the industry. Self-publishing isn’t only for losers who can’t get their stuff published; it’s for serious writers who want to attract some serious attention from publishers.

Comics are a community. It’s a small world.

Comic writing is not poetry (mostly). It’s creating a foolproof script any artist could understand. Comic writing is the foundation of comics, but it’s like being the drummer in a band.

That’s what I learned this past Friday. Check back next week for what I’ll learn next.