Written By Durwin S. Talon
Many an aspiring comics creator would find themselves wondering how the professionals do their thing, because as an art form, comics is pretty much an amorphous creature, and putting one together is predominantly a subjective process. There isn’t one “right” way.
Despite this, comics creators need to be aware of how they want their readers to go through their stories, and consequently know how to translate this knowledge to the comics page. Page design and panel composition are vital disciplines in making comics, and they go much more beyond common sense.
Panel Discussions is part-inspiration and part-instruction, composed of a series of essays put together by Durwin Talon, from his interviews with some of the industry’s top creators, including Mike Wieringo, Mike Mignola, Walter Simonson, and Brian Stelfreeze. The book takes you through most of the comics creation process from the points of view of these creators, and includes a few anecdotes from the professionals about their personal experiences in the field.
As its title implies, the book isn’t a how-to. Rather, it provides guidance on the functions of the various comics elements (lettering, colors, shadows, paneling, etc.), how they interrelate with each other, and how they affect the way readers read a comics page. Because all chapters are written in essay form, some may find it difficult to go through the bodies of text to get to a point. But anyone who has the patience for this will find loads of insight that can positively influence the way they view a comics page, whether from the standpoint of a creator or a reader.