Apr 192016


It’s been a busy month or so at Meltdown University.  We’ve been to conventions, seen lots of progress on students’ comics in the classes, and just finished an Inking series.

On Sunday March 6, I had a table at the LA Zine Fest at The Majestic in Downtown LA.  It was a HUGE affair and was packed to the rafters with zinesters, comickers, and fans. The table was filled with Melt U student comics from the past few years and sales were the best yet at any con or fest.

LA Zine Fest seen from the Mezzanine level at The Majestic.

LA Zine Fest seen from the Mezzanine level at The Majestic.

Also there was Melt U grad and consistent-comics-maker Sarah Bitely.  Sarah’s been working on her comic Pimpkillah for years (the first issue was done in a Melt U Creating Comics class) and is in the planning stages of making it into a film.

Sarah Bitely with the latest issue of Pimpkillah at LA Zine Fest.

Sarah Bitely with the latest issue of Pimpkillah at LA Zine Fest.

From March 25 to 27, WonderCon was going on at The LA Convention Center, having moved up from Anaheim. This was an even bigger show than last year and attendance was high (Saturday tickets sold out before the con started).  I was there making connections for some comics projects I’m working on, buying back issues of Jack Kirby comics, and as usual, ran into some past and present Melt U students.  I also managed to find a group of very cheeky Spider-Men (Spider-Mans?).

BUT — there were Melt U grads there selling their comics, too!  Laraine Mestman shared a table with Bibi Davidson for the three days.  They made new comics friends, networked a little, and sold copies of their comics — Laraine’s Being Frank and Bibi’s Pyper.

Laraine and Bibi at WonderCon 2016.

Laraine and Bibi at WonderCon 2016.

Back at Meltdown in the Melt U classes, in the latest Creating Comics class, student Matt Buga is working on a pretty surreal story about a duck who takes a boy and his Legos on an adventure.  Here’s an example of his layouts, which are the type of things YOU’LL be doing if you take the class!

Matt Buga's layouts.

Matt Buga’s layouts.

The Drawing Basics class is starting again THIS SATURDAY, April 23, from 11:30am to 2:00pm.  It’s a six session class where you’ll learn drawing fundamentals, everything from figure drawing, to perspective, to light and shadow, to drawing the face.  Below is a page from Jack Hamm’s Drawing the Head and Figure, a book I use material from for the class.

How to draw the face.

How to draw the face.

Also coming up is the next Creating Comics class on Thursday, April 28 at 7pm.  The class is for both writers and artists looking to learn how to make comics. It’s 14 sessions just like a college class.  The writers learn scriptwriting skills, story structure, get info on how to work with artists, and will complete a short comics script by the end of the class.

The artists also learn story structure, as well as visual storytelling techniques, page layout, panel composition, and more. They finish the class having completed an 8 to 10-page minicomic. All while having fun and learning about comics!

For more information and to sign up for the classes, go here: 


And who am I, you ask?  I’m Jim Higgins, Meltdown University’s program director and founder.  I was an editor at DC Comics for six years, am a small comics publisher, have written comics, and done some screenwriting.  I’ve taught comics classes for 18 years at places like Otis College of Art and Design, CalArts, UCLA Extension, The Society for Illustrators, The School of Visual Arts in NYC, and more. I’m presently a freelance writer and comics editor.

Thanks for reading and I’ll see you around the store.

Yours in comics,

Jim Higgins


Nov 252015


Greetings, Soon-To-Be-Turkeyfied Meltdown Maniacs,

It’s time for a bunch of Meltdown University classes to start, so check out the descriptions below and see if there’s one that’s right for you.  I suspect that some of you have heard about the classes, thought about taking one, but haven’t taken the leap.  Well now’s the time to get down to making some comics!  Why wait?

The next Creating Comics class starts on Saturday, December 5 and goes from 2pm to 5pm. This is a 14-week series that is set up like a college class and is a kind of crash course in doing comics. Writers take the class and learn script format, script writing skills, and more. They finish the series with a 15-page script for a complete comics short story. Artists in the class learn about sequential art, composition, and more. They finish with an eight to ten page minicomic. Both learn the elements of visual storytelling that are specific to the comics medium and about marketing and selling their comics. It’s a fun environment but a place where a lot of work gets done.

The next Art of Inking class starts on Saturday, December 5 and goes from 11:30am to 2:00pm.  Here, students learn the various techniques involved in taking penciled art to the next step — fully finished, inked work.  The focus is on real-world (non-digital) techniques of inking on paper.  Students learn how to use various tools like the crowquill, other types of dip pens, various brushes, and all kinds of disposable marker-type pens.  The class runs for six weeks.

The next Writing Longform Comics starts on Tuesday, December 8 and goes from 7:00 to 10:00pm. In this seven-week comics writing class, students will learn to map out a long-form story – either for a planned series (print or web) or graphic novel.  They’ll learn how to work within the structure of the two formats and how to plan either a long story arc or episodic chapters that make up one long tale.  There will also be discussions about how to get and work with an artist and how to approach potential publishers with a pitch or proposal.  Students will finish the class with a detailed story outline and written proposal that’s ready to show a publisher.

Pre-requisite: To sign up, you must have taken the Creating Comics class.

All three classes are $30 for each session payable at the beginning of each one.  The ones above are taught by me, Meltdown University Program Director Jim Higgins.  I’m a former DC Comics editor and have been teaching writing and drawing comics for over 15 years at art schools like The School of Visual Arts in NYC, Otis College of Art and Design, CalArts, The Society of Illustrators, and UCLA Extension.

Look for announcements for start dates for our next Photoshop For Comics, Kids Make Zines, Watercolor Painting, and Marketing and Promoting Your Project classes soon.

For more info and to sign up for classes, go here!


Nov 232015


Stop me if you’ve heard this one before – so a Dog, Two Brothers, a Soulweaver and George W. Bush walk into a Comic Book Store…

Wait, you HAVEN’T heard this one before? Well head on down to Meltdown Comics on December 2 and experience it for yourself!

Four talented, diverse indie comic book creators converge at Meltdown Comics for an epic signing extravaganza! This signing is an extra special one for us as all of our books were born at the Meltdown University’s Creating Comics Class that Meltdown offers. It’s a homecoming of sorts for us and we’d love it if you could join us there! Come for the amazing comics, stay for the FREE WINE and FREE SNACKS! Under 21? That’s okay, we’ll have plenty of goodies for you too! Check out this incredible lineup of comics available at the event:

“BEING FRANK” by writer/artist Laraine Mestman is a touching true life tale about the struggles she had in the early stages of her relationship with her rescue dog Frank.

DEPARTURE, written by Jeane Wong, is a poignant, coming of age story about two brothers and their journey growing up in the South.

TEATRO PULPO is an ongoing series by writer/artist Bill Neal. The first three volumes feature damaged characters, twisted plots, and dark, surrealist horror.

In GEORGE W. BUSH: VAMPIRE HUNTER, written by Steve Wadinger, see the hilarity unfold as George W. Bush reads the book “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter” and believing it to be a true story, becomes a real life vampire hunter!

The creators will be signing from 7:00 – 10:00, so come on down and grab a book or four and then relax afterwards with a refreshing beverage. Plus if you have any questions about the Meltdown University’s Creating Comics Class let us know and we’ll be glad to answer them! Comics and beverages on a Wednesday night – who could ask for anything more?!

Oct 172015


Alert!  The next Meltdown U Creating Comics class is starting on Saturday, October 31 at 2pm.  That’s a DATE CHANGE from the previously announced starting date.  Learn to write and draw comics in a fun environment (you’re in a comics store, just for starters) with an experienced instructor (me), Jim Higgins.  I’ve been teaching college as an adjunct since 1987 and teaching comics at art schools since 1998, including CalArts, The School of Visual Arts, and UCLA Extension.  I’m a former DC Comics editor (in the Paradox Press imprint), a comics writer, film consultant, and someone who is passionate about the comics medium.

You can learn about writing, you can learn about drawing, but learning about those two disciplines as they relate to comics?  That’s something hard to find.  But it’s here for you in the Creating Comics class!  Writers take the course and finish a 15-page script, and also get lots of info on how to find artists and how to best work with them.  Artists take the class and write and draw their own 8 to 10-page minicomic.  Everyone learns the essentials of visual storytelling as it relates to comics.

ALSO — the Drawing Basics class is starting on Saturday, October 24 at 11:30am.  The class is six sessions and is pretty much described by its title — it’s about the fundamentals of drawing.  You’ll learn figure drawing, perspective, how to use light and shadow, basic anatomy, and more.  You’ll get a solid foundation in drawing in a short period of time.

For more information and to sign up, go here:



Sep 232015


Meltdown University is expanding!  We’re doubling the amount of classes we have, offering brand new ones on making comics and on creating art.  We have detailed descriptions on the Meltdown University web page at this LINK.  See below for a list of what’s coming up in the next couple of weeks.

Watercolor Painting starts next Monday, September 28  at 7pm.  It’s an eight-week class that will give you all the basics skills to do your own paintings in this fast-finishing medium.  Taught by comics editor and illustrator Suzannah Rowntree.

Photoshop Basics for Comics starts a week from Thursday on October 1 at 7pm.  In this eight-week series, you’ll learn specific Photoshop techniques that will help you to make comics whether you’re looking to do original art digitally, tweak and correct your art, color it letter it, or any other thing to make the work better.  Taught by graphic designer and ComicsFix chief Felix Kiner.

Writing Longform Comics starts Tuesday, October 6 at 7pm.  In this eight-week class, you’ll get instruction and guidance on writing a comic book series or a graphic novel.  Students will finish the class with a detailed outline, some script pages, and a completed pitch.  Taught by former DC Comics editor, long-time comics professor, and Meltdown U Program Director Jim Higgins.

The No-Failure-Anything-Could-Happen Class On Marketing And Promotion is certainly the class with the best title.  It’s also a series where you’ll learn techniques, tips, and solid strategies for promoting whatever creative project you might have.  It’s a six-week series that starts on Friday, October 9 at 7pm.  It’s taught by bestselling cartoonist C.W. Moss.

AND DON’T FORGET these classes, which you can sign up for on the Melt U web page:

This Friday, The Kids Make Zines class starts again for ages 7-12.  The class begins at 4pm.

The next Creating Comics class, where writers learn to script a short comic and artists learn to write and draw a minicomic, starts on Saturday, October 24 at 2pm.

The Drawing Comics for Kids class is ongoing so you can join any time (if you’re between the ages of 7 and 12!).  It meets on Thursdays from 4-6pm.

Drawing Basics teaches you fundamentals like anatomy, perspective, composition, and more.  It starts on October 24 at 11:30am.

Start this back-to-school season by treating yourself to instruction in how to make art or comics here at ever-growing Meltdown U!