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Although Preview Night is still hours away, there’s still plenty of Comic-Con International news and miscellaneous tidbits, ranging from early announcements and last-minute preparations to convention exclusives and recommendations. We’ve rounded up just some of them here.
• Fox has partnered with BOOM! Studios to produce a convention-exclusive Maze Runner comic. Written by the film’s director and screenwriter, Wes Ball and T.S. Nowlin, and illustrated by Marcus To, the one-shot will be given to attendees of the studio’s Hall H presentation on Friday.
• Dark Horse rounds up its pre-convention announcements of 12 new creator-owned comics, including Hellboy and the B.P.R.D., by Mike Mignola, John Arcudi and Alex Maleev, EI8HT, by Rafael Albuquerque and Mike Johnson, The Black Hammer, by Jeff Lemire and Dean Ormston, and Fight Club 2, by Chuck Palahniuk and Cameron Stewart.
• The online comics education resource Comics Experience has partnered with IDW Publishing to release creator-owned titles by new talent, beginning in January with five miniseries: Drones by Chris Lewis and Bruno Oliveira; Creature Cops: Special Varmint Unit by Rob Anderson and Fernando Melek; Gutter Magic by Rich Douek and Brett Barkley; and Tet by Paul Allor and Paul Tucker.
For a long time, there were limited options to become a professional comic book creator. Option 1 was to just figure it out yourself, with lots of mistakes along the way. Option 2 was to go to a proper school to study fine art, which usually meant discovering on your own how to co-opt what was being taught for your own comics purposes. Option 3 was to buy How to Draw Comics the Marvel Way by Stan Lee and John Buscema.
But as the years have passed, more options have surfaced, reflecting the richer comics field that now exists. More colleges have courses or majors that specifically focus on comics, but if that’s not a deep enough immersion, there are now a number of alternatives. Sure, you could still choose between those original three options, or you can consider one of these five venues of learning, each fitting different styles and budgets for all kinds of creators. After all, everyone learns differently.
1. The Kubert School
Originally named The Joe Kubert School of Cartoon and Graphic Art, The Kubert School was the first and remains the only accredited school in the United States devoted entirely to making comics. The three-year vocational college for cartooning and graphic art is located in Dover, New Jersey, about 45 minutes from New York City. Founded in 1976 by comics legend Joe Kubert (Sgt. Rock, Tarzan, Hawkman), it is now run by his sons Andy and Adam Kubert, who have had a string of hit comics at Marvel and DC.
A generation ago, becoming a comic book creator was usually a solitary and self-guided process. Sure, there was How to Draw Comics the Marvel Way, The Kubert School (still going strong), and a few other tools, but for the most part you were on your own. Today there is a blossoming variety of resources that are building a smarter and more skilled community of tomorrow’s comics makers.
One of the most recent additions is Comics Workbook, a new web magazine set up by cartoonist Frank Santoro (Storeyville, Kramer’s Ergot). As he explained on his own Tumblr, Santoro intentionally set out to put together a team of contributors that consisted of more girls than boys to “flip the script on this comics magazine thing”. Instead of looking to other comics sites, he turned to girls roller derby and the supportive community those teams create, and is trying to “copy their model.” The results are a rough yet immediate DIY vibe that displays comics and minicomics in-progress (such as “The Great” by Alyssa Berg, pictured here), brief yet hilariously brash reviews in comics form, a series of reflections on Ernie Bushmiller’s Nancy, links to interviews and reviews, and more.
Santoro is in the middle of teaching an eight-week correspondence course for comic book makers, and has written a series of columns examining layouts and color for The Comics Journal. So the guy definitely knows his stuff and has some interesting theories (even if they are beyond me as a non-artist).