Blah Blah Blog – Comic Tutorial, Part 4

A post from my Marvel blog of the past, part of a sequence going over how a comic book is put together.

Comic Tutorial pt. 4

April 28, 2007 | 1:00 AM | By Tom_Brevoort | In General

Finishing up on our quick walk-through of how a comic book sequence is put together, using DR STRANGE: THE OATH #1 as our example.

Once the inked line art is finished, it’s scanned and set up by the Marvel Bullpen, and sent to the letterer and the colorist to work on. While the letterer is working off of Brian’s updated script, Javier Rodriguez is coloring the individual pages at the same time (see left.)

Here’s Brian’s lettering script for this sequence:

Page One

Page One, Panel One

No Copy

Page One, Panel Two

No Copy

Page One, Panel Three

1) Araña: Um…

Page One, Panel Four

2) Iron Fist: Yes, I’m Iron Fist. No, I don’t know where Power Man is.
3) Iron Fist: We’re partners, not a COUPLE.

*[Guys–Is this mini going to be in mixed-case lettering? I like that best, but I’m cool with whatever. Either way, whenever words are supposed to be bolded, I put them in ALL CAPS (unless I want to be clear about which letters need to be capitalized in the word, then I’ll just bold it). Is that cool? Feel free to drop me a line if you have any questions!]

Page Two

Page Two, Panel One

1) Araña: Yeah, I… I know. I’m a superhero, too. Araña.
2) Araña: What happened to you?

3) Iron Fist: Pulled my hammy fighting a bunch of ninjas. You?

Page Two, Panel Two

4) Araña: I got hit with a MACE. And not, like, the spray that nervous old women carry. I’m talking about the friggin’ MEDIEVAL WEAPON.

5) Iron Fist: Who was it, Human Cannonball?

6) Araña: No, some racist super-villain. Kinda had a Space Ghost thing going on?

7) Iron Fist: Ah. Flag-Smasher.

Page Two, Panel Three

8) Araña: Yeah, that’s it. Anyway, Spider-Man swung in and saved my tocino. He saw that I was hurting and gave me this joint’s address.
9) Araña: I mean, I’m pretty sure I get health care through my dad or whatever, but something like this is kinda hard to explain to a REGULAR doctor, you know?

Page Two, Panel Four

10) Iron Fist (from off): Don’t sweat it, kid.
11) Iron Fist (from off): This is where ALL the masks in New York City come for a little T.L.C. You wouldn’t believe the crazy stuff I’ve seen come bleeding through that do–

Page Two, Panel Five

12) SFX (of door alarm, from off): EHN EHN EHN

13) Wong (from off): Please! Somebody HELP us!

Page Three

Page Three, Panel One

1) Wong: My master… he’s been SHOT.

Page Three, Panel Two

2) Iron Fist: Oh, God.

3) Araña: Is that…?

4) Night Nurse (from off): Afraid I’ll have to ask you two to come back later.

After both the lettering and the coloring has been completed (and the lettering has been proofread and corrected as needed), all of the individual files are handed over to the Marvel Bullpen for compositing–actually marrying all of the elements into a single page. Once the first pass composite is done, the editors will again go through the book, and make any additional corrections or adjustments needed. For example, Aubrey Sitterson suggested adding in the lyrics to “The Girl From Ipanema” to the music playing in the waiting room on page one. If you look closely at the composited page at the left, you can see the little word-balloon icon where a note from us was placed back to the compositor–usually concerning the positioning of an element, or the color of a sound effect, or whatnot.

Once every correction has been made and the ads and such have been dropped in, the final book is transmitted electronically to the printer for printing.

Also, I got one brief clarification from Marcos Martin about yesterday’s post:

Just wanted to clarify those inked pages you’ve posted are indeed my “pencils” (inks actually, before turning them into blue line for Álvaro to ink) and not the final inks as you mention.

More next week.

Tom B

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