Sunday, October 31, 2010

Eagel Award Winner!

Wow, that's cool to write! As it turns out, my book "The Insider's Guide to Creating Comics and Graphic Novels" just won the Eagle Award for "Favorite Book About Comics." My book was up against some pretty great competition, so I honestly didn't think I had a chance of winning it, but I'll take it! It's really awesome to have a book like this recognized. It has been the most difficult undertaking in my career in comics and this seems like a cool way to find out that it's had an impact. Thanks to everyone who supported the book and me throughout the years.

And I'm not knocking the award itself, but what makes me feel even better is getting notes directly from people who have read the book. Who were inspired by the book, who used the book, who learned from it. That's the really great thing. I got this note just the other day:

"I owe my entrance into Zuda to Andy's book. It was my bible when I wrote that script. It is, literally, the most complete book on the topic of making comics." That was written by Janine Frederick, who is also a Comics Experience alum. And every time I go to a convention, someone mentions this book and how it helped them in some way. That is a really amazing thing to hear, and while it's not why I teach, it's a really inspiring bit of feedback to receive.

If you're into comics and want to check the book out, you can find it here on Amazon or contact me directly, and I can autograph it and send it to you (but it's full price plus shipping if I do it...).

Thanks again to everyone who has supported me and Comics Experience and, of course, to the Eagle Awards. I'd like to think you chose wisely...


Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Comics and Movies

So why don't big hit movies make more sales in comics? Or why is it that when folks see an X-MEN movie and then go to a comic shop that they don't instantly share my obsession with the medium? Or at least with the characters?

Well, Marvel Entertainment main-stay Ben Morse, the former Wizard reporter, has written an article on just such a topic. I recommend you check it out. He says a lot of great things here at The Faster Times which boil down to, "Most folks just don't know what comics to pick up" and he suggests some good ones.

Read his article, and then circle back here for a minute for my two cents...

Beyond not knowing the specific trade paperback to read, there is also a problem of market saturation of titles--and I am far from innocent on this, myself. I publish three or four G.I. JOE titles per month. And the same for TRANSFORMERS, so when a fan of the movie, or cartoon, or toy walks into a shop and wants to see where the story lives on a month-in-and-month-out basis, how are they supposed to know which comic to pick up?

Look at WOLVERINE or even SPIDER-MAN or BATMAN, they've all got seven or more comics every month. How does a novice or new reader have any idea which one to buy? I'm starting to consider literally putting a bar across the top that reads: "New to TRANSFORMERS comics? BUY THIS ONE!" or some such thing. It's not a bad idea, honestly. It'd help retailers just as much as it would prospective fans.

Title saturation has become more talked about lately. Especially with Marvel and DC Comics announcing their drop in retail prices. We're asking a smaller and smaller audience to spend more and more money. Is it possible that the shrinking comics market is due to comics publishers pushing too hard on its most loyal customers?

Would it be better for the comics market--and most importantly to potential new readers--if there was just one Marvel continuity? If there was just one Wolverine comic, or one Batman comic? Maybe it would come out weekly or perhaps every issue would be double-sized? I don't know--anyway you slice it it means revenue goes down for the publisher, which in turn means revenue goes down for retailers... and most retailers can't afford to lose much more revenue. It's a catch-22 for sure. But anyway, at least Ben answered the awesome question, "Now that my friends have seen THE DARK KNIGHT, here's what they should read!"

Thanks, Ben!


Sunday, October 24, 2010

Andy Earns Haller Award at NYCC!

In a stunning surprise and honor, I was given a Haller Award at the New York Comic Con this year. The Haller Awards are given out by the Comics Artist Guild to a select few and I'm amazed to be counted among them, especially in this category.

I'm not exactly known for my "indy" credentials widely. In fact, it's hard to get "indy cred" once you've worked for Marvel Comics and on major licensed books like X-Men and Transformers. But, since I founded Comics Experience in 2007, I've been working steadily with indy creators. To say that I was shocked to receive an award for "Outstanding Contribution to the Comics Industry" is putting it mildly.

Fortunately, Comics Experience alumnus Joe Sergi (Creator of "Sky Girl") was there to give me the award and do a presentation which you can watch here. Sadly, I wasn't able to be at the presentation as I had to get on a plane to make it back in time for another Comics Experience Class!

So, again, I'd like to thank The Comics Artist Guild, the fans, and everyone who has taken the leap into a Comics Experience course or the Creators Workshop for their time, faith, and support.


Saturday, October 2, 2010

What's Coming Up This Month!

Thought some folks might want a report on what's been going on lately:

Our first two months of Comics Experience Creators Workshop are coming to a close and we've been steadily growing, which is awesome. We've had two live sessions where scripts were critiqued by me and we've had general discussions about breaking into comics and the changes the industry is undergoing right now--from Wildstorm closing, to layoffs, to new opportunities.

But what's really exciting is that each month one writer gets his work reviewed by a working comics writer. JD Oliva was the lucky recipient of a script review from PETER DAVID (Hulk, X-Factor, Supergirl, etc.) and now Don McMillan is having his script reviewed by JASON AARON (Scalped, Wolverine, Astonishing Spider-Man & Wolverine). Who will be the lucky winner next month?! Could be you!

We also had both CHRISTOS GAGE and CHRIS SAMNEE join us for our book club review of AREA 10, their Vertigo Crime Noir graphic novel that was just awesome. And in just two weeks we'll be looking at and dissecting JOE HILL and GABRIEL RODRIGUEZ's LOCKE & KEY: WELCOME TO LOVE CRAFT. Great pick for Halloween month!

The book club has also started a movie night. They started last month with DAREDEVIL--a fun night of... analysis... was had by all. And just this week they reviewed MANHUNTER by MICHAEL MANN.

We're a few weeks into ROBERT ATKINS's (Amazing Spider-Man, G.I. Joe) INTRODUCTION TO COMIC BOOK ART class, which has just been phenomenal. KLAUS JANSON (Daredevil, Batman: The Dark Knight Returns) will be stopping by Monday night to give portfolio reviews to the class--how cool is that?!

We began our LETTERING AND PRODUCTION class with DAVE SHARPE (Marvel, DC Comics, and every other publisher ever). And of course CHRIS SOTOMAYOR is currently wrapping up the INTRODUCTION TO COMIC BOOK COLORING class for his third time in a row!

There's a ton going on here at Comics Experience! So if you've ever thought about joining us, do it now! Get in while the getting's good! Lot's of fun! Tons to learn! And in a supportive, encouraging, and professional environment!