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Academy of Art University Student Set to Enthrall Judges at 2007 Comic Book Challenge

The 2007 Comic Book Challenge has yet another contender from the Academy of Art University and he’s ready to bewitch judges with the captivating illustrations in his entry, Black Thursday. Chris Weiermiller’s comic, a collaborative effort with his roommate Navin Prasad, is a top 50 finalist in an international competition known as the American Idol for comic books, giving him the chance of a lifetime to have his work published.

Chris began creating the artwork as a Graduate Illustration student at the Academy of Art University. After receiving positive feedback from classmates, he continued to improve the concept. With the support and help of his Directed Study instructors, his artistic skills flourished.

A Page from "Black Thursday"

Directed Study, a unique feature of the Academy of Art University’s MFA program, allows students to work one-on-one with advisors to develop specific conceptual and technical skills to help them successfully bring their final thesis project to completion.

“The one-on-one help during Directed Study was invaluable. It gave me more confidence as an artist and really challenged me to get better,” Chris said.

The sage industry knowledge his Directed Study advisor Walden Wong and Dan Cooney offered was priceless.

“They told me about the industry of comics, what works and doesn’t, all the while teaching me how to ink comics and tell a better story,” he said.

Chris heard about the contest from Academy friend and fellow Comic Book Challenge finalist Kevin Buckley. Chris and Navin decided to take a chance on Black Thursday and entered it into the competition. To their surprise, they were announced as Top 50 finalists and given a stipend to travel to San Diego to pitch their comic in front of a panel of judges.

Black Thursday chronicles young stockbroker Philip Broadwood's descent into madness and damnation as he searches London for his missing mentor who disappeared during the great stock market crash of 1929.

“As the stock prices drop, so too do his chances of survival,” Chris explained.

An Early Cover Concept

The hunt takes him to occult shops, opium dens and other mysterious locations in London where he learns the dark secrets of his vanished mentor. To reflect the story’s themes of fear and imprisonment in the artwork, Chris used heavy vertical black bars in various frames. Keeping the backdrop of London consistently sinister and dismal throughout the artwork was significant as well.

"Our focus was making London as grimy as possible. It kind of plays a character in the story," he said.

If Black Thursday wins, they will land a publishing deal that includes multi-platform distribution, as well as the creation of a licensing and merchandising program. And if it doesn’t, Chris wants to continue to enhance Black Thursday and possibly find other outlets for publishing. In addition, Chris and Navin have a couple of other projects in the works and are constantly coming up with new comic ideas. One can be assured that this is just beginning of Chris’ very successful artistic career.

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