July 22-24, 2021


Writing Comics & Graphic Novels


From Avengers to The Walking Dead, Riverdale to The End of the F***ing World, comics and graphic novels have a rich history of jumping from the page to the big and small screen, but they are also one of the highest-growth categories in book publishing, driven by an increasingly diverse audience of readers and variety of genres. More importantly, they’re a unique medium for writers to explore, combining a collaborative process with full creative control and multiple paths to getting published—traditional and DIY, print and digital.

Writing comics is very different than writing novels, though, and this interactive workshop will teach you everything you need to know about the unique writing process and industry quirks, including how to: write and format a comic script; find and work successfully with artist-collaborators; choose the right publishing options for your original creations; pitch stories for existing characters; learn the difference between agents and managers; manage your IP for merchandising and Hollywood deals.

The workshop features individual sessions with Eisner–nominated comics and prose writer Alex de Campi; Valiant Entertainment Executive Editor Joe Illidge; and Starlight Runner CEO Jeff Gomez—and wraps up with a moderated panel discussion featuring all three instructors answering your questions.


Making Your First Comic, From Pitch to Production

An intensive session that will teach you how to write and format a comic script, highlighting the differences in process between comics, screenplay and prose; find and work successfully with artist collaborators; strategise your best place in the joyously diverse comics industry; and get that comic published. The session will also address agenting, contracts, rights, and earnings.

Alex de Campi is an Eisner-nominated comics and prose writer who has written everything from Wonder Woman and Judge Dredd to groundbreaking multilingual digital comics. She recently published the highly acclaimed Twisted Romance (Image Comics, February), and her latest book is the graphic novel Bad Girls, published by Simon & Schuster in July.




Running the Editorial Gauntlet: How To Pitch & Work with Comics Editors

This workshop will provide an editorial perspective on the do’s and don’ts of pitching, including the differences between corporate-owned intellectual properties and creator-owned works; the hurdles and advantages of finished work vs. samples; and the various methods for having distinctive, competitive work and pitches to show to comic book and graphic novel editors. This session will also offer unique insights into the writer/editor relationship and how to get the most out of it.

Joseph Phillip Illidge is the Executive Editor for Valiant Entertainment, publisher of acclaimed series including Shadowman, X-O Manowar, Bloodshot Salvation, Ninja-K, and Quantum And Woody! Illidge’s first job in comics was at Milestone Media, Inc.—the groundbreaking comic book publisher and creators of Static Shock,—before becoming an editor on the Batman line of comic books for DC Entertainment, and most recently, Senior Editor for Lion Forge Comics where he spearheaded “Catalyst Prime,” the publisher’s superhero comic book line featured in The Hollywood Reporter and Entertainment Weekly.



Turning Your Story into a Multi-platform Franchise: Criteria for Transmedia Success

At this moment, there has never been more opportunity for authors of comic books, graphic novels, and genre and young adult fiction to find success by selling or licensing their content to big media. Billions of dollars are being spent by companies like Netflix and Amazon in a desperate search for intellectual property that appeals to genre fans, and ‘tween and young adult sensibilities.

In this exclusive session, Jeff Gomez, one of the world’s leading transmedia producers and developers of multi-platform franchises (Pirates of the Caribbean, Avatar, Halo, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles), will show you what it takes to maximize your story world’s chances for success beyond the book. Using specific case studies and candidly sharing his insider experience, Jeff will examine what creative considerations are necessary to build a fictional story world that will be conducive to other media and platforms. What materials are necessary to pitch your world to the gatekeepers of major entertainment companies? Are agents your best route to connecting with film, television, or videogame publishers, or are there other kinds of representation? What issues are there to watch out for in making a deal?

Having written and edited dozens of Diamond Gem of the Month comic book titles, developed publishing programs for Disney, 343 Studios, and Hasbro, worked with every major Hollywood studio, toy and video game company, and created massive story worlds for Magic: The Gathering, Coca-Cola, Hot Wheels, and Lucha Underground, Jeff has seen it all and lives to tell you the tale.

Panel Discussion: Alex de Campi; Joe Illidge; Jeff Gomez