Blah Blah Blog – Comic Tutorial, Part 2

A piece from my old Marvel blog, one of a series walking readers through how a comic book is put together.

Comic Tutorial pt. 2

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

Continuing on with our progression of a sequence from concept to execution, using DOCTOR STRANGE: THE OATH #1 as our example.

Even before moving into breaking down the storytelling proper, Marcos Martin gets a feel for how he’s going to depict each of the main characters, doing a couple of pages of simple sketches of each character (seen at left.) These quickje sketches are really just for Marcos himself, and not intended for publication–Marcos can sometimes be a bit concerned about their relative crudity. But he agreed to let me share all of this stuff with you in this instance.

Thereafter, Marcos begins to break the story down into what we call thumbnails, small compositional sketches of each page. It’s at this stage that most of the major storytelling elements are worked out, including pacing, eye flow across the page, visual panache and readability.

When he sends his thumbnails over to Brian and myself, Marcos will sometimes include a little bit of explanation about why he made a particular choice, so that we know what he was thinking and we can decide whether there might not be a better way to do things.

In his e-mail containing the first thumbnails to issue #1, Marcos said:

Hola everyone!

Okay, here are the sketches for the first 12 pages of Dr. Strange #1. I’m sorry it’s taken me this long but it usually happens to me whenever I start a new project.

Anyway, here it is finally and everything is open to discussion, of course. I hope everything’s clear but just in case here are a few notes just to clarify some points.

Page 1: In panel one the Empire State has its trademark spotlight illumination of the upper floors. And I’ve added the background music as it adds to the atmosphere of the waiting room and also increases the contrast between the exterior and interior shots.

Page 3: I know it goes against the lettering logic but here it’s important that the last balloon in panel 3 is placed in the lower left corner since it places the Night Nurse in the door opposite to Wong’s (as seen in the establishing shot in page 1).

Ok, I think this is it for now. Please feel free to let me know your comments and opinions. I’m ready to argue with anyone that doesn’t agree with me to the death. πŸ™‚

Hope you like them.

Take care,


Once Brian and I had chimed in with our feedback (and unfortunately, I no longer have those e-mails on hand), Marcos made a few minor revisions to the layout of the first two pages–and then he was ready to move into actually penciling the final pages, full size.

More on Thursday.

Tom B

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