Four Rules for Happier Comic Book Reading


  1. You don't have to read all the comics.
  2. You don't have to like all the ones you read.
  3. You don't have to like the ones everyone says you're supposed to.
  4. Like what you like.

The Internet would lose a few fights if we all followed these rules, but I could live with that. Spread the word with this handy image, suitable for most major photo sharing sites:


I think of all those classic comics where two teams fight, and it's a 5 on 5 or better brawl. It's a hard thing for a comic book artist to choreograph, but there are ways to sort of work around it:

Man to Man: Everyone pairs off. We've all seen those fights, where the fire guy of one team fights against the fire guy on the other, the strong guy takes on the strong guy, etc. Over the course of however many pages the fight goes on, the story shifts focus from one fight to the next.

Focus: You need an establishing shot to show the teams going after each other, and you'll likely want one at the end to show one team victorious over the other. Everything in between, though, can stay focused to the matter at hand to the exclusion of everything else. Focus on the strong guy fight for a couple of pages before shifting over to the fighting armored guys and losing the strong guys.

Forget the Backgrounds: When you're focusing on one match, eliminate the backgrounds which might show one of the other fights. Put that fight over in a corner away from everyone else. The flying characters will fight high in the sky. The strong guys will be grounded. The martial artists will be fighting close together, hand-to-hand, over to the side.

Non-Linear Storytelling: The story doesn't even have to be linear this way. It likely isn't. Five fights are happening at the same time, but drawing them all at the same time would be hellish. It's too much more for the artist to handle in a month, and too messy for a reader to clearly understand what's going on.

Thinking of all that, picture what "Captain America: Civil War" has to manage. Look at what they're setting up in the most recent trailer:



  • Picked up a new computer last week. Decided to not just transfer everything over from the old one, but rather install stuff as I needed it and copy as I go. It's been slow going this week, but I think I'm mostly up to speed and Pipeline should get back to its usual length next week.
  • The final issue of the first story arc of "Codename Baboushka" (#5) does a nice job in wrapping up the story with a bow on top. But, even more important that that, my fan art appears in the letters column. That's pretty cool.

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