Content of the material
- Support For Comic Book Herald:
- C.9) Where To Start With 2000 AD (Judge Dredd)
- What Are the Elements of a Good Comic Book?
- How to Outline a Comic Book in 6 Steps
- 7. Consider what format you’d like to read in
- For fans of Into the Spider-Verse and Spider-Man PS4
- Jumping-on Points
- Marvel Now!
- All-New All-Different Marvel!
- How to Get Your Comics
- Final Results
- 4. Don’t just look at the Big Two
- What Kinds of Comics to Get
Support For Comic Book Herald:
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C.9) Where To Start With 2000 AD (Judge Dredd)
2000 AD is a mainstay of British Comics, best known for excellent science fiction and Judge Dredd.
You can find Comic Book Herald’s complete Judge Dredd comics guide below.
What Are the Elements of a Good Comic Book?
A comic book is typically composed of a number of elements which all work together to tell the story.
- Panel. A panel is one illustration on a page usually surrounded by a border. A comic book page is made up of one or more panels. Each panel moves the story along, by depicting an action with figures and speech bubbles.
- Gutter. This is the space between the panels. These spaces can be large or small, impacting how easy it is to read the pages.
- Tier. A single row of panels.
- Splash. A full-page illustration which often is used at the beginning of the comic book to introduce the story and establish setting and mood.
- Spread. An illustration that is spread out over more than one page.
- Caption. A box that is separate from the rest of the panel usually used to provide context for what’s happening through the voice of a narrator.
- Speech bubble/balloon. These contain the dialogue of the characters and inside the panel. Each balloon has a “tail,” which points to who is speaking the dialogue.
"Comics community can be quite hard to follow as a beginner. There’s so many choices out there, it’s difficult to know where to start. When I got into comics, I only knew about the two big giants that are Marvel and DC. For some reason, I thought I had no choice but to go with their products… And boy was I lost. I wanted so bad to love them. I wanted so bad to go in a store and be fascinated by their comics. But you know what? I wasn’t."
"Not only was I lost because I didn’t know where to begin, but I also…. Dare I say it? Hated it. I tried picking up some of their books. Randomly choosing superheroes stories (that was my first mistake) and when I realized I wasn’t able to enjoy it for different reasons, I thought comics just wasn’t for me (my second mistake)."
"I was bumped out to feel like I didn’t fit in. I couldn’t share and talk about comics with others like I wanted to because, well, I had no knowledge of the universe. That was until I met my real first crush: I purchased my first HELLBOY in a random bookstore because I liked the movies. I still have it: Hardcover, French version of the 4th volume. That’s when the door of Indie Publishers opened in front of my eyes. And I fell in love. Hard. This was a whole new world I didn’t know about."
"I started exploring more of Mignola’s work. At some point, the owner of my local comic store suggested me different writers and stories. That’s when I met my second big love: PREACHER. This was so disgustingly awesome. I realized how much I loved horror genre – Ironic since I hate horror movies."
"Here comes my second advice: never be afraid to ask question to your LCS. They know their stuff. And if they don’t, then go to a different store. Find one you like. You can also read reviews on the internet if you’re curious about some titles. I like to pick random books and I like the cover and the art, I’ll read reviews: I like the Goodreads app, a quick and easy way to find short reviews and ratings and you can keep track of what book you liked or want to read! My random pulls are always my favorite ones, like a surprise treasure. "
"I know it can be overwhelming and intimidating."
"I think my best advice for beginners (and even if you’re an avid reader of comics, who knows) would be: do not be afraid to be different. Do not be afraid to go out there and ask questions. I know it can be overwhelming and intimidating. It was hard for me to understand every term and vocabulary. It still is sometimes. But don’t let that stop you. You won’t look like a fool if you ask questions!"
"The world of Indie Publisher is so vast, you don’t have to stick to superheroes if you don’t like it. Find your genre. Do you like Horror? Sci-Fi? Romance? Crime?"
"Comics are not only about superheroes, there’s plenty for everyone and every taste. If I had some titles to recommend outside of the superheroes zone, it would be"
If you like action\adventure and fantasy: Saga – Brian K. Vaughn (like Shah said: anything with his name on it is a safe choice)
If you’re looking for old-school crime stories with a touch of sci-fi: Fatale – Ed Brubaker (one of my favorite writer)
I have a soft spot for this humor\cartoons-ish and gore: I Hate Fairyland – Skottie Young
And if you want to see a different superheroes story: Black Hammer – Jeff Lemire (I would also say that Jeff Lemire’s work is a safe choice).
How to Outline a Comic Book in 6 Steps
The following step-by-step guide for outlining comic books comes from award-winning author Neil Gaiman’s MasterClass.
- Gather paper. Anywhere from a handful to 15 sheets, and staple the pieces down the spine.
- Create a numbered list of your pages. This will help give you an idea of what should go on each page. As long as you have a beginning and end jotted down, you’ll be able to navigate the rest.
- Determine the beats of your story. A good starting point is to allocate one page per beat, though some beats can occupy more pages. Jot down the story beats next to the corresponding page numbers.
- Turn story beats into panels. Starting at the beginning, determine how you will use each panel to tell that specific part of your story. Be mindful of the amount and type of information you need to present on each page, and try to attribute space accordingly (play with panel size to give more room for beats like establishing shots and less room for beats that don’t need to present as much detail).
- Sketch out action and note dialogue. These sketches are seen by you and you only; they can be stick figures or symbols, as long as they make sense to you and show an estimate of what should be in each panel. Think of what your dialogue needs to do to help the reader transition from panel to panel. Write notes to accompany the images in each panel.
- Write your script! Using your thumbnails as a reference, write a script for your story which will eventually be turned over to your artist. Work panel by panel communicating things like framing, point-of-view, scene and character description, and dialogue. Think of this script as a letter to your artist in which you give them all of the information they will need to visually create the story you have in your head.
Whether you’re creating a story as an artistic exercise or trying to get the attention of publishing houses, making comics is an iterative and collaborative process. Award-winning author of The Sandman series Neil Gaiman has spent decades honing his comic book-writing craft. In his MasterClass on the art of storytelling, Neil shares all he’s learned on how to make a comic book, including finding inspiration, drawing panels, and collaborating with other creatives.
Want to become a better writer? The MasterClass Annual Membership provides exclusive video lessons on plot, character development, creating suspense, and more, all taught by literary masters, including Neil Gaiman, Dan Brown, Margaret Atwood, David Baldacci, and more.
7. Consider what format you’d like to read in
For fans of Into the Spider-Verse and Spider-Man PS4
Maybe you just saw the unbelievable Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse movie or played the fantastic Spider-Man PS4 game and decided you want some more of that, but when you google “Spider-Man comics” you’re inundated with “Amazing,” “Fantastic,” “Spider-Geddon,” oh my! There’s so much to choose from, and it can be overwhelming, but some quick digging can help cut through the web of Spider-Man comics.
If you absolutely loved Into the Spider-Verse and want your first comic to come from that movie, Spider-Man: Enter the Spider-Verse is the comic for you. It features a similar ensemble of Spider-Folk on a new Earth with a new mission. It screams fun and accessible without sacrificing character and heart, and you will be blown away by Flaviano and Erick Arciniega’s eye-catching art and colors.
Maybe you loved Miles Morales and want to read more about him. Luckily, you don’t have to look far because Miles Morales: Spider-Man #1 came out a month ago and features excellent character-building and storytelling from writer Saladin Ahmed and artist Javier Garrón. If you’re like me, however, and want to go all the way back to the beginning of the character, check out Ultimate Comics: Spider-Man #1, where writer Brian Michael Bendis and artist Sara Pichelli show how to give a character a proper introduction.
Maybe you’re a good ol’ fashioned Peter Parker fan but don’t know where to begin. Travel back to 1962 for the story that started it all in Amazing Fantasy #15 and see why Stan Lee and Steve Ditko are considered revolutionaries, or, for something more contemporary, travel back a few months to catch the beginning of Nick Spencer’s run, The Amazing Spider-Man #1, which features layers upon layers of world-building and character with the same core of the original Lee and Ditko creation.
No matter what Spider-Man, woman, or pig you’re into, there’s a comic out there for you.
In October 2012, Marvel began its Marvel Now! initiative which, similar to DC's New 52, saw the relaunch of many of Marvel's titles. Unlike DC, however, this relaunch initiative was not a reboot of Marvel's continuity. Instead, it serves as a good jumping on point for those somewhat familiar with the Marvel universe.
A full list of titles launched in this initiative, including "All-New Marvel Now!", will be coming soon.
All-New All-Different Marvel!
Secret Wars will, more or less, completely destroy the Marvel Multiverse and leave it in a brand new single continuity. Or so it claims. The All-New All-Different begins in October 2015 just as Secret Wars comes to a close and jumps us 8 months into the future of this new universe.
Marvel is completely relaunching their entire line with this endeavor, easily compared to DC's New 52 reboot. Everything from this point forward is a new #1, whether that's returning series in the new status quo, or the plethora of new titles being launched.
A complete guide to this relaunch will be linked here once it is underway.
How to Get Your Comics
You might be asking yourself, as I once did, "Where can I buy comics?" Well, there are several different ways:
- I took the Trade Paperback approach. If you're lucky enough to have a comic book shop nearby, then great. Support them! You can pick up single issues and Trades there. If not, your local bookstore usually will have various Trades.
- In case you're not of a mind to collect and store a bunch of physical comics, most publishers, including the Big 2, offer digital comic services to pick up back issues and purchase ongoings.
- Another great option is your local library. Seriously, you'd be surprised at the Trade Paperbacks you can check out there while saving your wallet a little heartbreak.
In just 8 easy steps, you are able to turn your favorite photos into a comic. Take a look at how we turned this photo into a comic!
4. Don’t just look at the Big Two
What Kinds of Comics to Get
- You don’t have to read superheroes. Seriously. If you think that comics are just home to the big bruisers and babes that make it onto the screen, you should know the capes-and-cowls set isn’t all the medium has to offer. Memoir, historical non-fiction and beautifully allegorical creativity all thrive in comics. Comics remain a relatively cheap field to produce work in, which means that there’s a plethora of styles, voices and viewpoints to experience.
- Don’t ever buy anything because it will be “worth something.” Anything touted as a collector’s edition is most likely going to be so mass-produced that it won’t actually ever be rare enough to fetch an astronomical price at auction. There will probably plenty of copies of the Get-It-Now-Edition of the “Death of Captain ZOMG” twenty years from now.
- If you want a true collectible, get a commissioned sketch or page of original art by an artist you like.
- Read some webcomics. The best part about comics work designed for the internet is how it can use pacing and technology differently than paper comics.
- Buy trade paperbacks, or TPBs, for short. Sorry, monthlies lovers, but there are no ads and you get a story all at once, making them a much better way to read a comic.
- If you’re reading this guide, don’t go jumping into continuing superhero storylines without guidance. They’re a tangled mess of canon and backstory that will just confuse you. Aim for classic, standalone pieces. So, don’t just pick up Superman. But Superman: Red Son? Pick it up.
- Follow your favourite writers and artists, not favourite series or characters. More specifically, follow writers and writer-artists as opposed to artists. Everyone likes cool illustrations, but it’s a far worse experience to read a badly-written comic with good art than it is to read a well-written one with bad art. So learn which writers you like; most of the best have excellent runs on a surprising array of creator-owned and company-owned work. Maybe you’re a Garth Ennis person. Maybe you’re a Brian Michael Bendis person. Or maybe Warren Ellis is more your speed.
- Don’t worry about starting in the middle. Publishers of serialized super-hero comics sometimes advertise that such-and-such issue is a great jumping on point for new readers. Non-readers, meanwhile, fret that most ongoing comics will be too impenetrable for them to understand. Forget about all of this. Jump into the middle of something. See if there’s anything you like about it and then, if you’re intrigued, load up on back issues.The longest-running arcs in comics right now are things like Brian Michael Bendis’ 8-year run on an array of Avengers comics and Grant Morrison’s 6-year run on a batch of Batman books (both concluding in the next 12 months by the way). Even those massive runs are chopped up into 4 or 6-issue arcs, so you’re never more than a few issues from being at the start of something. You can always go back and fill in from the way beginning if need be.
- Size up your wish list and plan to fulfil it accordingly. Many of the books people will rave to you about — Watchmen, Maus, Ice Haven, We3, to name a few — can be read in an afternoon with time left to read a second. These comics are no bigger a risk to your time and budget than a dinner at a restaurant you’ve never tried before. Longer, iconic series such as Sandman, Preacher, Transmetropolitan, Y The Last Man or The Walking Dead run 60-100 issues (and still going, in the last one’s case). These longer runs take much more time to read can cost more than $US100 to obtain in print. This may drive you toward piracy. Avoid temptation!; comics creators get paid crap money as it is. Consider either getting the trade-paperbacks, which is still pricey or doing legit digital downloads, which, if you catch a sale, is way cheaper. But, remember, you probably have a friend who can lend you a collection of one of these longer runs so that you can see if it’s your thing.
- Read some modern comics, and then read some Will Eisner’s The Spirit (look for a best-of collection; skip the early part of the run) or Jack-Kirby-drawn Fantastic Four (sampling the first few issues of that is fine). These two guys are seen as the pioneers of the field and probably the two greatest artists in its history, but both did work that’s an acquired taste. The same holds true for alt-comics godfather R. Crumb. Trust us. It may seem backwards, you should try to attain your literacy in modern comics before going back to try to appreciate the masters. But, when you do, you’ll be in for a treat.