Creating A Comic
—by Nathan on September 18, 2008—
What is the first thing that pops into your when the name "Stan Lee" is mentioned? How about Bob Kane? What hits you when you hear "Will Eisner"? This is what hits me: Stan Lee is the creator of Spider-Man, The Hulk, and the Fantastic Four. Bob Kane made one of the oldest super heroes ever: Batman. And Will Eisner is the man who brought The Spirit to life. Besides creating famous heroes, these mentioned men (And others) can be credited with another thing: They all wrote comics. Though I am not a pro, I have begun doing what these guys did. Hopefully, my works will be published like theirs someday. But, right now, I'll tell you what I know about these action-packed, hero-filled books:
PLOT: Every story need a plot, right? Well, since comics are stories, they need plots. Here's an example: Say a super hero (Let's call him "The Syndicate Slayer") finds his arch-nemesis ("The Evil Idiot") holding up a library, saying he'll shoot the main librarian in the head with a squirt gun if he doesn't get all the books on bathroom products. Since we don't want the librarian to get wet, we cheer when the Slayer comes in and beats up his enemy. This is the usual comic book plot goes: Hero goes looking for crime, finds foe, fights foe, and either defeats the villain or the villain runs away. If he runs, he'll pop up sooner or later (Hopefully sooner) and confronts the hero. This time he's beaten and hauled off to prison. If this doesn't happen, it's probably safe to say that 1: Fine, he got away. He show up in a later issue, 2: The story will continue to the next issue, or 3: Obviously your hero is a bigger dumb-bell than the Evil Idiot.
PROTAGONIST: The protagonist is the hero of the tale, the good guy. He's the dude who flies, swings, or leaps around looking for baddies to beat up. He usually has a main foe, power, weakness, and goal.
ANTAGONIST: This guy's the villain, the bad guy, the I-will-do-everything-and-anything-to-kill-that-stupid-super-hero guy. He's the character who will cause trouble: rob a bank, kidnap someone, or blow up something. He's also the person who gets beaten up and hauled off to jail at the comic's end.
So, now I have the plot and the guys I need for my story. But how do I actually write a comic? Good question, Here's the answers:
PANEL: The panel are the boxes in the comic that contain the speaking, captions (we'll get to that later), and the art.
CAPTION: Captions are usually contained in boxes at the top left-corner of the panel and are usually used to describe what happens in the picture that is shown. (Picture this: The Syndicate Slayer lunging at the Evil Idiot. The caption might say: "The hero leaped at his foe, preparing to tackle the Idiot).
SPLASH PANEL: Have you seen an entire page dedicated to one panel? Well, that's the splash panel. They usually appear as the first page and describe who the hero is going to fight and the title. Most splash panels show the hero fighting his enemy, laying in defeat while the antagonist is chuckling at his victory, or facing an evil weapon or machine his foe has built. Example: Picture The Syndicate Slayer being held above the head of another foe of his: The Mighty Muskrat. Since splash panels have multiple captions, one might say: "Has our hero fallen at last to evil?" The 2nd may say: "Shall evil triumph over the Slayer?" 3rd: "Or will our favorite gang-grappler be destroyed by..." Then The title would make its debut: "The Menace Of The Mighty Muskrat!"
This is not everything comic is made of: If I told you everything you needed, it would take a LONG time to explain. If you want to know more about writing comics, consult a library and find a book on how to write a comic.