Just Because We Have Computer Lettering, You Shouldn’t Fill the Page With Text

Coming out on Wednesday from Action Lab Entertainment is the first issue of a new series, Midnight Tiger, by Ray-Anthony Height, co-written by DeWayne Feenstra. This is the first panel on page 3, taking up 2/3 of the page.

Midnight Tiger by Ray-Anthony Height

While a new series and concept needs a certain amount of exposition, this is way too much text to dump on the reader. It’s physically hard to read, with those large caption boxes and dialogue balloons. I haven’t read the whole comic, but this doesn’t even seem like necessary information. It’s just setting the stage. Creators, don’t do this.

There’s no editor credited, so I’m guessing no one took a look at the book beyond the creators. Sometimes, a separate pair of eyes and some additional professional guidance can be useful. It’s hard to tell any more whether that’s a service publishers provide.


7 Responses to “Just Because We Have Computer Lettering, You Shouldn’t Fill the Page With Text”

  1. Thad Says:

    Ha. I just read the first issue of Thief of Thieves, and when I made it to a page like that, I found myself thinking, “Yep, this sure is a Robert Kirkman comic.”

  2. James Schee Says:

    Man that’s a lot of text. Reminds me of a Wonder Woman comic years back. She’s jumping up to slash her sword down while fighting and has like 4 paragraphs worth of dialogue while doing it.

    Still at least there is art there. Remember the days when entire comic pages was nothing but words?

  3. hapax Says:

    Not only is the Stevie Wonder joke in poor taste, but it is *dated*. I don’t think he has even released an album in the last twenty years or so. I wonder who their target audience is?

  4. Dwight Williams Says:

    Close to ten years actually. His albums still seems to move steadily, though…

  5. Dwight Williams Says:

    As for the text issue…different reading audiences have different preferences for this sort of thing. I’ve heard of formulae covering text-per-panel ratios, but again: personal taste, right?

  6. Johanna Says:

    I guess you can say that if someone never draws a character’s feet or hands because those are too hard to do, that’s personal taste, too, but at some point, I as a critic say “that’s wrong”.

    Here, as I said, all that text is physically hard to read and follow, because there aren’t enough pauses (using more balloons or line spacing).

  7. Tommy Raiko Says:

    Heh. I am reminded of the oft-quoted advice from Strunk and White’s Elements of Style: “omit needless words.”

    Even if that verbosity is vitally necessary to convey the character or propel the story, I do agree that it could/should have been laid out better in terms of spacing, additional balloons, etc.

    Also, without knowing anything else about this story, I suspect that the mentioned “Super-Human Enforcement Reconnaissance and Incarceration of Fugitives Force” is going to eventually be called by its acronym. If that’s true, it’s an extra pity that those important-for-readers words aren’t given weight (subtly or otherwise) amid the sea of text.

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