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Ventura comic shop offers local artists a space to be creative and get published

Members+of+the+Arsenal+Art+Collective+work+on+their+illustrations+at+Arsenal+Comics+and+Games+in+Ventura+on+Oct.+21.+Photo+credit%3A+Oliver+Manzano
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Ventura comic shop offers local artists a space to be creative and get published

Members of the Arsenal Art Collective work on their illustrations at Arsenal Comics and Games in Ventura on Oct. 21. Photo credit: Oliver Manzano

Members of the Arsenal Art Collective work on their illustrations at Arsenal Comics and Games in Ventura on Oct. 21. Photo credit: Oliver Manzano

Members of the Arsenal Art Collective work on their illustrations at Arsenal Comics and Games in Ventura on Oct. 21. Photo credit: Oliver Manzano

Members of the Arsenal Art Collective work on their illustrations at Arsenal Comics and Games in Ventura on Oct. 21. Photo credit: Oliver Manzano

By Oliver Manzano

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Arsenal Comics and Games launched a brand-new creative program that serves to highlight Ventura’s art community.

The Arsenal Art Collective is a new monthly initiative for artists of all ages and experience to join.

All of the participants signed up and created their own comics or illustrations that will print in a new monthly magazine sold by the shop.

Comic book professionals Chris Northrop and Travis Ames lead the collective. Both of them shared the idea of the program and handled the responsibilities of saving everyone’s work and printing them in the magazine.

Northrop is no stranger to designing a magazine for local artists. His past experience came from leading a similar program for the now-closed Meltdown Comics in Los Angeles.

When Arsenal Comics expanded to a second location in Ventura last month, the two colorists found the store perfect to host the collective.

“The Ventura art community is different compared to Hollywood,” Northrop said. “Nobody’s trying to distract me with pitches for their own stuff. People here know how to put in the real work.”

Northrop and Ames said they saw a great sense of spirit among the local artists. Their first meeting was an opportunity for local artists to get their work published for a wide audience.

Aaron Cornelius, manager of Arsenal Ventura, joined the collective with a story that is set to continue in future magazine issues. As an aspiring artist who also runs a comic shop, Cornelius was a strong advocate for the local art community.

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Arsenal Comics and Games manager Aaron Cornelius shares his zine contribution. Photo credit: Oliver Manzano

“The art scene is very hands-on in Ventura,” Cornelius said. “The art collective aims to broaden our focus as a comic shop – to create a fun experience for everyone.”

The Ventura location for Arsenal Comics is related to the other shop in Newbury Park, but Cornelius and Ames have a handful of ideas in development to create a separate identity for the store.

They are preparing events that are focused on the tabletop role-playing franchise, “Dungeons and Dragons.”

Cornelius will launch a live stream series titled “The Premier Dungeons and Dragons Experience with Dungeon Master Aaron Cornelius.” This series will follow campaigns led by Cornelius and played by everyone who wants to join.

Ames’ event is called “Doodles and Dragons,” which will have an emphasis on players creating their own art and game pieces in order to play the game.

The Arsenal Art Collective meets again this Sunday and every third Sunday of the month. The shop is located at 3431 Telegraph Road, Ventura, CA 93003 and can be reached at (805) 620-0543.

To stay updated on the various subjects from this story, follow them on Instagram: @ArsenalComicsAndGames, @ArsenalArtCollective and @SpaceWolfStudios

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