Stan Lee’s How to Draw Comics
First thought when seeing the cover of this how-to-make-superheroes book: Someone seems to be confused about just what Stan Lee was known for. But his name is still a big draw, and his presence (even if it’s unclear how much is by him and how much by contributing writer and artists’ agent David Campiti) allows for the inclusion of work by “superstar artists Jack Kirby, John Romita Sr., Neal Adams”, and more. The majority of art is by a younger generation, though, and I suspect a number of them are repped by artists’ agent Campiti.
Those who dream of working for Marvel will find the copious art a treat. Stan Lee’s How to Draw Comics is being pitched as a long-overdue update to the 1978 How to Draw Comics the Marvel Way, only without the use of the publisher’s name. I admit, Stan’s good humor and enthusiasm is infectious, and aspiring artists need a good deal of that “you can do it!” encouragement.
The subject matter is wide-ranging, with short, readable chapters on comic history; tools (starting with the computer and scanner — Stan and co. want to be “cutting edge” — for both creation and delivery of art “to your editor”); perspective; anatomy and action; costume design; backgrounds; layout and page flow; and the assembly-line breakdown crafts of inking, lettering, and coloring. Actually, I was surprised at how much information they packed into this volume, given how many pages are full pictures.
There are plenty of sample illustrations from known artists, making for gorgeous eye candy, all accompanied by Lee’s trademark breathless prose. Because of all the images, this would make a great gift book for the aspiring adventure comic creator. Note, though, that with the presence of various sample covers from Red Sonja and Jungle Girl comics, parents may not feel comfortable giving it to the younger boy. (Girls will find more to recognize and appreciate in a “how to draw manga” book or a more general comic creation inspiration.) (The publisher provided a review copy.)