Andy Schmidt left his associate editor job at Marvel Comics about a year ago with thoughts of pursuing his other passions: spending time with his growing family, writing, and teaching. In the months following he's created The Comics Experience, a school teaching writers and artists how to break into comics; he's writing a Cyclops story in "Marvel Comics Presents" #8, and a Havok story in "X-Men: Divided We Stand" #2, all while finding the time to spend with his eight-month old son, Cale.
"Comics Experience has really taken off better than I expected," Schmidt told CBR News. "I'm teaching classes on writing and art for comics and they keep filling up with really talented people. It's been an awesome experience for me and my clients are very enthusiastic."
Though he misses his time at Marvel, upon finding out he was going to be a father, Schmidt found himself asking, "Is it more important for me to be a great comic book editor or a great father? When put that way, it wasn't much of a decision at all.
"[Leaving Marvel] allowed me to start Comics Experience, which combines comics with one of my other loves, teaching. I was a college professor before I was a comic book editor and I get to dabble in freelance writing, all of which is new to me and wonderfully fulfilling."
Currently, Schmidt's dabbling has brought him back to Marvel, which the former editor characterizes as "like coming home." His upcoming story in "Marvel Comics Presents" #8 features Cyclops' reaction to the death of Corsair in the Emperor Vulcan storyline of "Uncanny X-Men."
"In Ed Brubaker's run on 'Uncanny X-Men,' Cyclops's father died and he wasn't around to see it or react to it," explained Schmidt, "and Ed didn't have time to follow up on it in the book before we were running into 'Messiah CompleX,' so I asked him if he was okay with me tackling how Corsair dying affects Cyclops. He was open to the idea so I cleared through him, then X-Men editor Nick Lowe and finally through Marvel Comics Presents' editor John Barber."
Following the Cyclops story for "MCP," Schmidt is working with Frasier Irving ["Gutsville," "Seven Soldiers of Victory"] on am "X-Men: Divided We Stand" story, following what happened to Havok in the Emperor Vulcan storyline called "The Hole." "Starts off with Havok, [also known as] Alex Summers, in a prison at the bottom of the ocean on a world that is an ocean world," said Schmidt. "Cut off from cosmic rays. You go in there, and you pretty much don't come out. He's in a prison cell, except there isn't any real point to have him in one. He's in one because they want to keep him isolated, to break him, more than anything else. Not because they're afraid he's going to escape, because if he opens up the door they all die."
Coming up, Schmidt has a short story coming out from Th3rd World Studios that hasn't yet been announced, but that readers should be hearing about soon.
When asked, Schmidt spoke about the stigma subscribed to by some comics readers regarding former editors who become writers; that those writers' work isn't particularly great. "I think that notion stems from that [editors] already have an unfair advantage in that they already know people in the industry," he said. "The assumption is that former editors are getting work because they are friends with the people who are still with the company, [and not on their own merits as writers]."
With Comics Experience winding down until after the New York Comic-Con, Schmidt has plenty of time to write, read comics and spend time with his son, Cale. "I've found that he [Cale] likes to eat [comics]," Schmidt laughed. "He took a nice bite out of the recent 'Amazing Spider-Man.' He's developing into a little man right before my eyes and it's incredible to watch and be a part of."
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