- Posted by Johanna on January 28, 2006 at 8:57 am
- Category: Books and Prose
- CREDITS: Edited by Nat Gertler
- PUBLISHER: About Comics; $20.95 US
Panel Two is a followup to Panel One, a book collecting sample comic scripts by notable writers, that improves on the first in two ways: it covers even more diverse ways to write comics, and it includes commentary by many of the artists involved. As well as learning basic information (pros and cons of full script vs. just panel descriptions, for example, or a list of art reference books), you’ll be entertained by the occasional horror story (such as Mark Heike’s experience doing Nexus fill-ins).
If you’re interested in creating your own comics, or simply studying the craft of comic construction, this book is an essential reference because it has so many examples collected in one place. Even if you skim the scripts, it’s well worth the investment, due to the forewords (by the writers) and afterwords (by the artists). Mark Evanier’s two pages alone contain priceless advice for aspiring creators about working relationships.
The most interesting sections to me were Mike Baron’s script, which he drew as page layouts; the Otto Binder Fatman script, because the reproduced final pages bear little resemblance to what was written; and the Bill Mumy/Miguel Ferrer “Trypto the Acid Dog” section. That one is most complete, including a description of how the idea came about, an annotated plot, page layouts, final dialog pages, and notes from the artist. Although I’m guessing that copyright concerns and space limitations prevented the use of more final pages, it’s really beneficial to be able to compare what was printed to the original text.
Scott McCloud contributes layouts of an issue of Zot! (with finished art by Chuck Austen) that looks better than some final comics I’ve seen. Other scripts include those by Judd Winick (Barry Ween), Gail Simone (Killer Princesses), Peter David (Spyboy), and Sara Ryan (Me and Edith Head).
I also appreciated the subtle design touch of how the names were presented. If the creator provided his own comments, their name appears in a word balloon. If they’re written about by the editor, it’s a thought balloon instead.
More information is available at the publisher’s website.