Saturday, July 6, 2013


An on-going, evolving series collecting my thoughts on the craft of telling stories through comic books. These posts do not document rules; these are the ideas passing through my mind when I'm making comic books.

6. Work off the six-panel grid

• If it's good enough for Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko, Wally Wood and Steve Rude, it's probably good enough for you and me.

• It's the clearest way I've found to convey information on a comic book page.

• I can't remember the exact quote, but it was from somewhere in the Strunk and White Elements of Style I believe (I think White was quoting Strunk), saying, "the reader is in a sea of confusion and it is up to the writer to save them." The point being it's the job of the comic book writer/artist to use every tool of clarity to save the reader from confusion.

• It's flexible enough to customize and accommodate multiple solutions to narrative information problems.

• Do not focus on complicated or inventive formal techniques of comic book storytelling, focus on the story itself, for Story is God.

• Do not focus on the shape of the panel frame, focus on the content of the panel, what information is being communicated inside the panel.

• I don't like comics that have crazy page layouts. I find it self-indulgent and not in support of the story. I've heard comic artists in interviews say they create wild page layouts to support the story. I don't see how this can be true since it just creates confusion. I believe they create these confusing page layouts as a reaction to the story.

• I read comics to read the story and look at the drawings, not marvel at the page layouts. Layouts that don't follow a system like the 6, 8 or 9 panel grid impede the readers absorption of the story.

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