Tuesday, September 12, 2006


Here's the punchline to Making Comics:

He never actually gets to the making of comics.

Sure, there's whole chapters on facial expressions, body language, character design, perspective, backgrounds and wacom tablets, but he leaves out the whole process of actually making the comics.

He talks about web publishing (and there's more online! about web publishing! because you can't talk about it in a book... or something). He devotes a panel to a xerox machine, but acknowleges that this isn't how serious peoples do it. They use a professional printer, through an arrangement with a publishing concern.

They never use their home printers. Or silkscreens. Or stickers. Or glue. Or staplers. Or bookbinding tape. Or yarn. Or wood. They might use cutting boards, but only to cut bristol board for drawing on.

And they'd never paint their original pages. Or photograph them. Or create multimedia pieces. Or work on canvas. Or scratchboard. Or letterpresses. Or illustration board. Or use crayons.

You either do it on bristol or you do it in photoshop. Actually, he seems incredulous that there are still people making comics on paper at all. Why use a pen or brush when it can all be done in wacom?!

He knows there are comics without facial expressions. Or body language. Or perspective. Or figures at all. He even mentions them. But they're not normal.

I still like the book. And there's plenty of fun to be had. Many of the chapters focus on things we cartoonists sometimes forget (like detailed backgrounds! you got to have them if you want McCloud to like it!) that we can benefit from being reminded of every now and then.

Two of the books in EMAW #7 have the backgrounds and the good word-to-picture ratio. The big story doesn't. Some of those panels drown in words and the backgrounds are almost as non-existent as backgrounds get. He actually yells at you for doing something I did. I admit, it wasn't the best solution, but it was something I wanted to mess with. I think McCloud will accept #8 as proper comics. He won't really like it, though. A wacom might never touch the page...


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