Formed in February by a group of college buddies, Old College Comics is a group of like-minded writers and illustrators, all trying to make their way into comics, proving that collaboration is stronger than competition. ‘The Freshmen Fifteen’ is their fifteen story comic anthology, containing stories of varied focus and genre, ranging from humor and slice-of-life to high-paced action and battle. Alongside that is ‘Afterman’ #1–the first issue in an eventual series–telling the story of a young man coming into his own, against a backdrop of heroes, villains, and the diverse city of Long Beach.
Mike Pallotta writes;
A few friends and I were sitting in a booth at a bar talking about our comics. Possible comics. Nothing had been done yet. We had spent years working together at a college paper, so we knew how to write, design, and publish, but we wanted to bring that into something we loved. The thought came up on how to actually see these comics through to completion, and the only way that was going to happen was if we worked together.
The thing is, we’re poor. We work, but we’re still poor. American poor. Lucky enough to have clothes and cheap burritos and some comics each month. But we realized if we collaborate on comics, pool our funds, pool our motivation, and rely on each other to get them done, maybe then we could have a start at something—careers doing what we love.
Doing the first issue of a superhero comic was something Joe Bryant, Jeff Chang, and I had been kicking around, but we finally realized there wasn’t anything keeping us from grasping at the carrot dangling in front of us. Just our own malaise. Why not just do it?
And the same went for putting together an anthology with everyone involved. People were jazzed on creating their own comics, and being completely open-ended creatively to making any kind of comic they could. We didn’t hold back at all. So we had the impetus for Afterman, our superhero comic, and our anthology, The Freshmen Fifteen.
With 15 comics by 24 writers and artists, The Freshmen Fifteen features: “Ragnar,” an otherworldly Viking adventure; “Alex Elwood,” a journey through a dreamscape with a guy and a giant skeleton; “Lonely,” an autobiographical comic following an only child who makes a brother out of blankets and pillows, “Rocket Arms,” about an asshole Genie who fulfills a man’s terrible wish of having rockets for arms; and “Child Gone Wild,” the tale of a demon-fetus teleporting from womb to womb, destroying relationships along the way. That should give you a good idea of the gamut our stories run, and there are still 10 more.
We wanted to have as much done as we possibly could before running a campaign on Indiegogo, all to show that we meant business. Luckily enough, people were willing to support us and our campaign was a success, both in reaching our goal and as motivation. From there we were able to use those funds to publish the comics and get a website up and running. All to take the books to this year’s Long Beach Comic and Horror Con, November 3rd & 4th.
Working on our comics whenever we could, we met weekly or multiple times a week, whenever necessarily to move things closer to completion. Come Halloween, we finally had our comics back from the printer.
From there we debuted at Long Beach Comic & Horror Con, which was both a rewarding and grueling experience. To have someone look at your work, look you in the eye, and then just walk away is… humbling. That’s a good word for it. You could have all the confidence and the quick pitch down, but if someone lost interest, you’d just have to turn and meet the next pair of eyes walking towards you with a smile. You’d have to do it over and over again until you met someone who takes an interest. And damn, that felt good.
We want to do more.
On our site, you can read our weekly webcomic ‘Gutter’ by Eric Bryan and Andrew Wilson, and about each one of our comics. You can read our comics digitally at Graphicly.com. And if you’re interested in print copies of our books, please shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.