I don’t think I’ve told this story enough times for it to be old hat, so here it goes.

I was around four years old. I couldn’t read yet, but my cousin Jason (who was basically my idol, and in some ways still kind of is, 18 years later) had just pulled down a comic book from his shelf. It was Spider-Man. I don’t remember what was going on in the story, but I remember seeing the pictures and losing my four-year-old mind. The seed was planted, although it would take some time for it to grow.

Fast-forward eight years. I was twelve or so, in Stop and Shop with my mom, waiting for her to come to the checkout line. I wandered towards the magazines, as was my wont, and a Wizard magazine cover caught my eye. The main story was “Writing Comics”, and something told me that was something I wanted to see. I picked it up and read the article. It had general pointers about scripting and a couple famous writers weighing in on process, and then at the end of the article it had links. One of the links was Digital Webbing’s forums. I decided to check that out when I got home. Score one for awesome decisions made at a tender age.

Over the next seven or eight years at Digital Webbing, I learned. I was there every day for hours, at home and at school. I talked process, form, style, pacing, working with artists, submitting — basically anything you have to know about creating comics, I covered it, with industry professionals like Tony Lee and extremely gifted and knowledgeable up-and-comers (at the time) like Richard Nelson. All for free. It was literally a 5-star comics creation education and whatever happens to Digital Webbing’s forums (it’s been slowly but surely sliding towards demise; that’s a story for another day), I will always, always remember how it helped me out in the golden days.

Through Digital Webbing I encountered a whole bunch of people, projects, and contests. At 15 I came in the top 10 of the Global Comix Jam Script Jam (a semi-professional script writing contest), and three years later came in 42nd out of hundreds of contestants in Dimestore Productions’ Small Press Idol 2008. Through that experience, I forged a good working relationship with the man in charge of Dimestore, Ian Shires, and was subsequently published twice in Dimestore’s anthology series, Mysterious Visions. That same year I became involved in Skipper Martin’s “Bizarre New World” miniseries (from APE Entertainment), writing a nine-page webcomic story for “Tales from a Bizarre New World” web anthology. And a year later, purely on a whim before heading out to class, I replied to a thread on Digital Webbing asking for pitches for futuristic takes on fairytales, which, three years later, would become Once Upon a Time Machine, and see my name in print in a Dark Horse book with some of the finest known and unknown creators I have ever had the fortune to encounter. A year after that post, I was made aware of the 215Ink Anthology by folks on Facebook that I had met at Digital Webbing, and will have a story in that, which will come out either later this year or sometime next year. And just this past year, I helped form the Small Press Commandos over on Digital Webbing (and they have since moved to Facebook and WordPress), putting out a series of mini comics as a Kirby homage, with the comics going from idea to finished product in a week. It was my first foray into editing, and it was quite the challenge but I enjoyed every frenetic minute of it. The Small Press Commandos also went on to make FUBAR, a New York Times Best-Selling Graphic Novel about World War II… with ZOMBIES.

All of these opportunities and relationships due in direct or indirect part to my affiliation at Digital Webbing. I go back every now and then to check out the writing board and see what’s what. If something catches my eye or has zero replies I’ll look at it and comment. Just trying to give a little back.

Looking forward, I have the Bizarre New World and 215Ink Anthology spots still coming out, another miniseries in the early planning stages, and an invitation to participate in the New York Times Best-Selling FUBAR anthology.

So that rambled a bit more than I’d intended. Hopefully I’ll be able to keep it a little briefer next time.

Stay classy out there

-Fred

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