Among the best-kept secrets on our old website was a page built around my comic book writing guide and a list of related resources. Redesigning the site gave me an opportunity to expand and update that page. It’s now a whole section devoted to resources for comic book creators, educators, librarians, students, and young readers.
Compared to when I was a kid back in the 20th century, these days it seems like everyone’s interested in comics. If you want to learn about them, there’s a veritable sea of tutorials, books, apps, and websites to wade through. My intent with these pages, linked below, is to give you a curated web portal as a jumping-off point.
Writing Comic Books
Here you can find a link to the comic book writing guide that started it all, created for a workshop I taught at a writers conference, along with recommended books. Friends in the comics business tell me they still send students to read my guide, so I’m keeping it available online. It covers a lot of ground concisely, from character development and visual storytelling to pitches and IP ownership.
There are different ways to create a comic book. For one thing, comics can be written “plot first” (the writer describes the story, and then the artist decides the panel breakdown) or “full script” (the writer describes each panel for the artist). This page has links to examples of both types of scripts and to the Comic Book Script Archive.
Learning to Make Comic Books
When Paul and I started working in comics, there were few opportunities to share information with other creators and learn about the business. You mostly had to learn on the job, or by talking to other pros at comic-cons. But today, there’s a wealth of information available about making comic books and making a living in comics. An embarrassment of riches, even.
Collected on this page are some of the resources I found worth sharing. I’ve included links to tutorials on art, lettering, and coloring; recorded panels and workshops; schools with comic book programs; and articles on the business side of being a comic book professional. (Also see the “Writing Comic Books” page.)
Learning Through Comic Books
Similarly, the educational use and scholarly study of comic books have exploded in recent years. This page is for anyone interested in using comic books as an educational or literacy tool, looking for graphic novels to add to library shelves, or pursuing research or academic studies in comics. You’ll find links to lesson plans, discussion guides, reading lists, handbooks, research archives, conferences, and much more.
Growing up with Comic Books
Despite the common misperception that comic books are exclusively a children’s medium, for a while there actually weren’t enough comics aimed at younger readers. Happily, that’s changed: Now there’s a diverse assortment of comics suitable for different age ranges. If you’re wondering how to find age-appropriate comics for kids, this page has links to recommended reading lists and other resources. You can also ask your friendly local comics retailer or librarian for advice.
I’ll keep updating these pages, so feel free to bug me if there’s anything you think I should add.
Photo above by Charles “Teenie” Harris.