“Make Comics Like the Pros,” really cuts to the chase with common sense advice on how to join the ranks of the professionals. Start with the golden rule: Treat others as you would want to be treated. It’s a pretty simple rule but an essential one. It’s time to get over yourself because the comics industry involves a multitude of skills, including people skills. You’ll need them not just to pitch your project (hold on, don’t get ahead of yourself) but to create your project in the first place as this business of creating comics is very much a collaborative activity.
Greg Pak and Fred Van Lente are here to tell you that you will need to give over all your energy to the task of going pro. It’s not a walk in the park by any means. Once you get a sense of just how much work both Mr. Pak and Mr. Van Lente have put into getting where they are today, and how successful they are, you’ll want to pay close attention.
Greg Pak and Fred Van Lente have written over sixty comics together, including work on The Incredible Hulk, and have created hundreds of issues and graphic novels on their own. Van Lente is known for such work as his #1 New York Times bestselling “Marvel Zombie” and the American Library Association award-winning “Action Philosophers.” Greg Pak is known for such work as “Planet Hulk” and “World War Hulk” and is currently at work writing “Batman/Superman” and “Action Comics” for DC Comics.
This book, I have to say, is quite remarkable in how much information it manages to pack into 152 pages. It is not only a writer’s manual but goes right down the line to all the vital roles involved in making comics: writer, artist, letterer, colorist, publicist, and distributor. You are even shown how to properly format a comics script. But, just to make sure no stone is left unturned, you go through the entire process with a case study.
We follow Pak and Van Lente as they put together a comic from scratch with artist Colleen Coover. It is a very heart felt and honest effort that lays it all out for you: not only the complete script, roughs, and finished work but a variety of behind-the-scenes descriptions of the whole process. We build step by step, beginning with a premise that will guide us through the story. And, of course, we don’t stop there. We continue onward with promotion and distribution. And as helpful as this extended example is, you’ll find numerous other examples making this book truly invaluable for anyone interested in breaking into the comics industry.
“Make Comics Like the Pros” is available as of September 9. It is published by Watson-Guptill, a division of Random House. You can find this book here and here.
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