Author: Eric Wong

“I Think You Have More to Offer As An Author.”

This sentiment was said to me twice regarding my first assignment for my workshop class. I decided to make a comic deconstructing the Dirty Harry/Judge Dredd type of protagonist in Hollywood action movies and ’90s superhero comics: violent, brutal enforcers of authoritarianism and fascism masquerading as relatable anti-heroes. I was trying to critique the manipulation of sympathy in these stories by way of revealing these characters to be the kind of unsavory maniacs they would be in real life. The first time, it was said by my professor who utterly failed to understand what my story was doing. But I admit that my execution fell short in the first draft and she was trying to be encouraging, after a fashion. It was a backhanded compliment, but still a compliment, so I took it in stride. I heard this phrase again after a round of revisions, but from one of my  classmates. This time, it was less compliment and more backhand. He didn’t like reading a story with such a cynical tone and unsympathetic protagonist, saying …

School’s In For Summer

It speaks to the newness of comics in academia that my MFA program is only four years old, with this summer being only its second graduating class. You’d be hard pressed to find any comics graduate programs created further than five years ago. It’s this nascent quality I found most appealing and why I chose to pursue comics instead of a more established field of creative writing. There’s no established canon of comics, no prevailing school of thought, no ivory tower. Everyone is still figuring out what to teach, how to teach, and there’s a willingness to experiment with curriculum and structure that I didn’t really see looking at other fields of study. The unconventional structure of my program is a testament to that alacrity. It’s low residency, with the classes all happening in the summer and the fall and spring terms carried out online. This past July, I kicked off my first year of grad school in San Francisco, and will be back there again for the next two Julys. San Francisco. A city …

Photo credit: https://www.facebook.com/ccamfacomics/

Eric Wong Introduction (California College of the Arts ’18)

Image: CCA MFA Comics What exactly is an MFA in comics? It’s the opportunity to be on the cutting edge by learning and refining one’s storytelling capabilities in a medium that’s only just starting to be explored. It also means a lot of sleepless nights cranking out comics as you spend July doing a semester’s worth of work in the span of four weeks, for four courses. Then after the summer classes are done, you spend the month of August on the summer assignment which is to create a twelve page diary comic, fully drawn and inked, due literally a day before the beginning of the fall term in the first week of September. If being an MFA student is like being thrown into the deep end of the pool to see if you sink or swim, then an MFA student in comics is like being thrown into the English Channel. In winter. For someone whose undergraduate background is in creative writing and comics theory and has took only one art class since middle school, …