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One year ago, Thomas Leopold won a comic design contest from Talenthouse. At the time, he was just a normal guy, working as a sales representative for an IT company, and living with his family in Potsdam, Germany. But then he met Stan Lee and Todd McFarlane, visited the Comic Con in San Diego and presented his ideas to publishers. The result: the 37 year-old Thomas quit his job – and started a career as freelance comic artist.
Thomas Leopold loved to draw comics when he was a child. After his A levels, he wanted to study art, but failed the exams every time. So he chose business studies. After that, he moved to Potsdam and started in the sales team of Oracle. Then one day, his wife saw an advertisement for a “Comic Design” course in the metro of Berlin. Thomas didn’t wait, he joined the course.
“It was the first time that I got professional instructions how to draw comics, how to do the illustrations, the anatomy, the perspective. It pushed me,” Thomas says. For one year, he went to the course every Saturday, and afterwards he did his homework. “After that, I wanted to do my own comic. I wanted to let my dream come true.”
Thomas started with The Angel, the project he created in his comic course. He drew in the evening after work or on weekends. After one and a half years, his first book was finished. He published it by himself, until he met the crew of THENEXTART, an independent publisher. Just a few weeks ago, Thomas aka “Tomppa” sold the third book of The Angel at an exhibition in Berlin.
But The Angel is not the only thing he works on. His first priority is now the “Counselor,” the character he created for the Creative Invite from Talenthouse. Stan Lee, the creator of Spider-Man, and Todd McFarlane, a Californian comic artist, were searching for a new superhero through Talenthouse. “When I saw the announcement, I thought: I have to participate,” Thomas says. “Stan Lee is a legend, and I read Todd McFarlane already 20 years ago.” His idea: a superhero that does not use muscles, but knowledge. “The Counselor has a book that only he can read. It includes the whole knowledge of human being.”
Stan Lee and Todd McFarlane liked his idea and invited Thomas to come to San Diego. “I had nothing, just a picture, but no story”, Thomas says. Because of that, he prepared a concept with a colleague, so that he could show at least something to his idols and the publishers at the Comic Con in San Diego. And yes: Thomas found a publisher over there. “When I first heard the idea for ‘The Counselor,’ I was instantly intrigued,” William Wilson says, the CEO of Arch Enemy Entertainment. “It’s not often that we get submitted truly innovative concepts, but Thomas had one.”
It seems like Thomas’ dream became true. First “The Angel,” then “The Counselor” – Thomas didn’t want to stop this process. So, he quit his job and started a new career this January, as a freelance comic-strip artist. “You do what you like to do, you show people your work, you get feedback and sell your own books – that’s amazing. I’m addicted.”