Comics is the marriage of words and pictures.  While it can be done with big splash pages alone (see the Stan Lee/John Buscema Silver Surfer graphic novel for example) but it’s rarely done that way.  Generally the story is broken down into individual pages, and those pages are split up into panels telling the story.  Most books have one or two splash pages for effect, but it’s not the general story-telling page.  Here are some examples.

From Daredevil #156 – pencils by Gene Colan, inks by Klaus Janson, words by Roger McKenzie. A great example of a big, bold splash page. Gene uses this page to setup the big fight that’s about to start. © Marvel Entertainment. Daredevil is ™ Marvel Characters.
Here’s a panel page by that same group…note Gene’s use of “panels” is often not the rigid square boxes that most of use are used to seeing. It adds a fluidity to his panel pages. It was perhaps also used for this particular scene because this is a dream sequence. Regardless, it works well here and I’ve seen Gene employ non-rigid frames very, very often elsewhere as well.  © Marvel Entertainment. Daredevil is ™ Marvel Characters.
This is from Daredevil #198, pencils by William Johnson, inks by Danny Bulandi, words by Denny O’Neil. This is a more traditional panel page. Varying the size and shape of the panels can focus the readers attention and establish pacing.  © Marvel Entertainment. Daredevil is ™ Marvel Characters.

So, if comics are words and pictures telling a story, it got me wondering why people rarely ever commission a story-telling panel page.  99.99% of commission requests are for a single scene, pin-up splash.

A very unusual panel page commission from the great Neil Vokes. Neil took my scene description and made a panel page out of it. I didn’t ask for that, but was thrilled when I saw the results. Why don’t more artists and commissioners do this?  © Marvel Entertainment. Daredevil is ™ Marvel Characters.

While established professionals may get plenty enough work doing sequential work, younger, not-yet-established artists need as much work and practice in sequential story-telling art as they can get their hands on.  THAT is what the comic companies are looking for.  #1 – can you tell a story?

I’m going to follow this blog entry up with another one in which I’ll upload a short script I’ve written.  It’s only a page and a half outline of a story that should be drawn in 7 pages.

The offer is this:  Flex those sequential art muscles.  You need to be able to tell a story in pictures.  The script has only six lines of dialog which all take place on one page, so you’ll really need to keep the story telling very clear, as you aren’t going to get help from dialog.  You retain the art for your portfolio, and I’ll post all entries here on the site for all to see.

I think we can have a lot of fun with this.



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