To Sum it Up: Writing for Comics & Graphic Novels

The author’s name, Peter David, is almost synonymous with comic books. In addition to long runs on the X-Men, Spider-Man, and The Incredible Hulk, he’s also worked on numerous DC titles and has written a ton of prose books. If there’s one person that I would be more than happy to take writing advice from, it’s Mr. David. The icing on the cake is that he spends 187 pages dishing on writing tips specific to the art of comic books.

I’ve reviewed numerous books on writing for comics, but this was by far my favorite. David goes in depth on inspiration for stories, characters and their motivations, themes, story structure, and scripting. Within all of these sections he offers up highly detailed insights and tips to help you succeed in the industry, or in your self-published comics project. As with any good book on writing, these suggestions are strictly geared toward comics, and can be applied to writing just about any type of character-driven epic you can imagine.

To reinforce all of his ideas, Peter provides pages from existing comics — sometimes entire sections so that you understand how sequential art plays into voicing your ideas. A comic book is made up of moments frozen in time and specific beats that move the story along. David provides one of the best sections on pacing in comics that I have read to date. Though you may not be familiar with all of the pages within this book (there are some odds and ends of lesser known titles) they are all prime examples of what he is preaching within the pages.

Sprinkled in throughout the chapters are different exercises that the aspiring comic writer can use to hone and develop his or her skills. These should not be overlooked because it’s his way of saying “If you can do this, you just might be able to succeed in the comics industry.”

Whereas some Comic Writing books take the most basic approach possible, Peter understands that you’ve probably read a few hundred comics in your day and have the basic understandings. He spends more time helping the reader think about their story, their characters, and the overall moral to the story that they are trying to tell.

In addition to offering up typical writing advice, there are several appendices that detail tips for breaking into the industry as well as a section that addresses fan submitted questions. This book is currently in its second edition and is guaranteed to only get better in future releases. Pick up Peter David’s Writing for Comics (or Graphic Novels, if you’re afraid of the “C” word) and take your comic book aspirations to the next level.

TO SUM IT UP: Peter David gives you REAL advice on how to write them funny books.

Writing: 4/5
Art: N/A
Presentation: 4/5
Overall: 4/5

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