Mar 272013



Intro by Marco Beltran

Meltdown Comics, to put it bluntly, is fucking awesome. I’m sorry for using the f-word in the description to this place, because it doesn’t lend itself much to the imagination but I felt that any set of words that my 25-year-old brain came up with did not do the place justice. I tried. Honestly, I did. I had this whole thing about how walking into the store was like walking into a dreamscape, and that it was like how the child version of me imagined my room would look like when I grew up, but how would this help someone who’d never been there or never heard of this place? The store also changes a lot. I could tell you about the big “Big Boy” statues or the area dedicated Star Wars stuff, but then I’d sound like a liar and jerk if you, dear reader, read this and decided to make a trip and these things were not there!

The truth about Meltdown Comics, as you’ll hear straight from the owner/co-founder Gaston Dominguez-Letelier, is that it’s the closest thing a building can come to being alive. It has a soul. It’s changing, adapting to the tastes of the staff and clientele, and serving as the epicenter for the LA comedic and creative scene. Several podcasts are recorded here: HarmontownMutant SeasonIndoor KidsYou Made it Weird, to name a few. You can take comic book writing, illustrating, formatting, classes taught by industry professionals. It’s a hub for nerdom, nerd culture, and nerd-centric programming. It should be the first place you visit when you make trip out to Hollywood.

Hopefully by the end of this feature you’re as inspired as we were, or at least feel validated in your pursuit of doing what makes you happy. That’s why we’re all here, right? To find happiness?

Mar 062013

NEW-MLTU-LOGOthenetworkMeltdown University Presents: The Network – Animation

Hi — Jim Higgins, Meltdown University’s Program Director here to tell you about the latest event from Meltdown University: The Network. Our subject this time is Animation!

After our last successful workshop and day of networking about comics, I wanted to continue the idea of having an afternoon where aspiring and beginning artists and writers can learn some of the basics of a creative business. This time the focus is Animation. You’ll learn what kind of jobs there are, what kind of skills the work entails (some you can learn right here at Melt U!), and how you actually apply and get into the Animation industry. Like the comics biz, it’s not easy but we’ll give you as much info as we can to help you give it a shot.

The day will consist of talks, an interview with a jack-of-all-trades animator, activities to help attendees focus their ideas about what they want to do in animation, all ending with free time to socialize, chat, network and make connections, or just talk animation and comics with like-minded humans. Here’s the schedule:

I’ll start the day with a brief overview of the animation business, some history, and a description of some of the jobs and studios.

An Interview with Kyle Carrozza
Kyle pic for Network event

I’ll talk on stage with cartoonist and animator Kyle Carrozza. Kyle is known for his web comic, Dumm Comics’ Frog Raccoon Strawberry and his Nicktoons cartoon pilot, MooBeard the Cow Pirate. He’s provided storyboards for Fanboy & Chum Chum and Disney’s Fish Hooks. He’s known in entirely different circles for the odd songs he records as TV’s Kyle and as half of the nerdcore duo Scooter Picnic.
Frog Racoon Strawberry 1
Frog Raccoon Strawberry (link)

Meet, Workshop, Charge Up Your Brain
You’ll spend an hour and a half taking some of what you’ve learned and as well your own ideas and engaging in workshop activities designed to focus your ideas, generate new ones, and to help you make decisions about what you might do or create if you entered the world of animation.

Network and Chill
The rest of the time will be spent informally, with all of us chatting and having fun. This is a good time for you to show others your artwork or portfolios, pitches or minicomics, or even see if there’s someone you might want to collaborate on a project with. Melt U will provide some refreshments and music. And a good time will be had!

When: Saturday, March 23rd, from 1-5pm
Where: Meltdown Comics! Of course!
Cost: A mere $10. Purchase Ticket Here

We had very good attendance last time so we strongly advice that you get your tickets in advance to reserve a seat.

Nov 252012

Meltdown University Presents: The Network

Melt U Program Director Jim Higgins here.  Meltdown University is moving into its fifth year of instruction in comic art. We started out with one series, the flagship Creating Comics class, and have since expanded to five (for information on the regular classes, go here).  We’re thankful to all the students who’ve participated and proud of the many comics, scripts, and great work that’s been produced.

“But what—“ you say, “is The Network, Jim?  And what does it have to do with me?”  Glad you asked!  We’re planning an event where aspiring and beginning comics artists and writers can meet-and-greet, network, and share ideas.  There will be talks, an interview with a comics writer who went from self-publishing indie creator to Marvel Comics scribe, activities to help attendees make connections, all ending with free time to socialize, chat, network some more, or just talk comics with like-minded humans.  Here’s the schedule:

I’ll start the day with a brief overview of the things you can do and should do if you want to self-publish your comics.   I’ll cover costs and money issues, ways to work successfully with a collaborator, how to promote yourself and your project, and more.

We’ll have a couple of fun activities that will allow everyone to interact and get to know each other.

A One-On-One Discussion With A Comic Book Professional (TBA)
Check back for an update for who we are bringing in.

Writers Meet Artists – Artists Meet Writers
We’ll spend an hour or so having artists show their portfolios and comics while writers look at the work and give copies of their proposals or scripts to those interested.

Party On
The rest of the time will be spent informally, with all of us chatting and having fun.  Melt U will provide some refreshments and music.  And a good time will be had!

When: Saturday, December 15th, from 1-5pm
Where: Meltdown Comics!
Cost: $10.00

That’s it!  If you’re interested, click the link to sign up. THE NETWORK

Nov 012012

Hi Everyone!

Just in time for Post-Halloween, you can check out our lesson from last week.  It focused on creating MONSTER characters– which meant traditional, scary Halloween types, as well as how to create one’s own monsters by mixing and matching animals and creatures (much the way the animators did when creating the famous Beast from Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast”).

As usual, scroll down to see what the lesson was, and then peek below to see the monstrously creative work the students did.  Have fun!

                                  OCTOBER LESSONS:                    

­                                   An Introduction to Creating Your Own Monster Characters!                                     .

Monsters can be very scary, but they can also be funny—much like Zombies or Zombie stories, stories about Monsters—or Monsters themselves— can be a comedy OR a drama, and they are often featured in the Horror Genre.  If not Horror and Halloween, Monsters can show up when it is a fantasy story.

What do you think of when you hear the word “Monster?”  What are some differences between different types of Monsters? 

Historically, when movies about monsters first came out, the monsters were often somewhat smaller- vampires, werewolves, and Frankenstein’s monster are not much bigger than humans.  Interestingly, after the Second World War, monsters such as King-Kong and Godzilla became more popular.

Some studies suggest it was a response to war and weapons in the world– think of Godzilla, who is a huge monster that only science and weapons can defeat. Continue reading »

Oct 262012


ROOKIE day in LA with Tavi Gevinson.

Come down for: Workshops • Readings • Signings • Conversations

Saturday, November 10, 2-5 PM at Nerdist Showroom at Meltdown 

In partnership with L.A. Zine Fest, Meltdown Comics & Drawn and Quarterly.

(Live cast worldwide via Stickam)

Oct 252012

Halloween is near, and that means– some Comics for Kids lessons that are on theme for this October!  Last week, we learned about creating stories and characters on a very popular theme right now: ZOMBIES.

Scroll down to see the lesson we had, and then scroll below that to see what the students created this week!

OCTOBER LESSONS: Creating Zombie Characters  –!!

Right now, Zombies are very popular—whether it’s Halloween or not!  However, since it is October, we’re going to have some upcoming lessons dedicated to types of characters, and creating characters, that are especially popular at this time of year.  While Zombie stories can be funny or serious, they always fall into the genre of HORROR: that means stories that are scary, include monsters, and sometimes, characters that are only semi-alive. Continue reading »

Oct 242012

Hello everyone!  Thanks for tuning in, for this slightly late blog recap.

This Comics for Kids Lesson was all about focusing on visual storytelling– meaning, relying on pictures, sound effects, and picture bubbles to tell your story.  Words are vital to storytelling– but when it comes to comics, it’s actually a very important skill to be able to storytell, and have the pictures speak for themselves.  We learned about this fact, and also used the all-ages comic “Owly” as a teaching tool.


Please scroll down to see the lesson we had, as well as the great work that the kids did this week!

QUESTION:  Is a comic story still “written” if it does not have speaking with words?


ANSWER:  One definition of writing is, “that which is written;  characters or matter written with a pen or the like.”


Technically speaking, the definition does not require one to use words.  “Characters” can mean letters.  Yet, it can also refer to symbols—other languages, such as Chinese and Japanese, and old Native-American languages, use specific symbols or drawings that communicate an entire phrase.

Continue reading »

Sep 192012

Thanks for reading our latest blog recap, for Meltdown University’s Comics for Kids:  This week’s lesson (and this blog post) focuses on DIALOGUE, and WORD BALLOONS.

Dialogue can be a lot more complicated than just what a character says.  The same line of dialogue will be different depending on the facial expression of the character who says it– or how the dialogue box itself was actually drawn.  Some dialogue boxes are barely there, and others are very important to the entire LAYOUT of the comic.

Scroll down to read the lesson plan and what we learned on this front.  As usual, scroll down below that to see what the kids came up with.

Thanks for reading!



Using the SHAPE of Word Balloons to help your characters talk, and using DRAWINGS and DIALOGUES together to tell your story!


Continue reading »

Sep 132012

Hello everyone!  Welcome to the latest Comics for Kids MeltRecap!

This past week, we learned about creating animal characters– whether that means talking dogs, realistic cats who just meow (and beg for food– perhaps even hissing if you don’t give it to them), or ANTHROPOMORPHIC animals– those cool, cartoon characters with fur, and animal heads– but the ability to walk, talk, dress, and act like people.

Scroll below for the lesson itself.  As always, Below that, is the week’s great work of the students.

Thanks for checking out the blog, and enjoy  –!!


Continue reading »

Sep 042012

This week’s Comics for Kids Class here at Meltdown was a ton of fun!  We reviewed some character design principles, while learning a new thing that’s important when drawing comics, and characters that are going to look as if they are moving:  The Line of Action.

Read on, to see the lesson we went through.  And scroll beyond that to see everyone’s stellar work this week!    

                                                                                     CHARACTER DESIGN:

                                                                How to DRAW Characters  in Motion, and THE LINE OF ACTION! 

A character is who a story is about– and designing your character is very important when you want to make a comic.

Returning students, and those who have started their own stories outside of class—you have characters you have already created.  A little of this lesson will be “Character Design” review, but it mostly is full of new stuff!

This lesson can help you CONTINUE to work on the drawing and design of those characters—or, it can help you decide how to create NEW characters.

For those of you who have not yet created a character—or created characters, but not sure which ones you want to tell stories about— this will help! 

Continue reading »