View Full Version : Page 1 of an historical drama

10-30-2015, 02:25 AM
Hey guys,

Any thoughts on the lettering for this page?

Also, would love the feedback on the art and whether or not this would be an interesting page #1, Issue #1, for you.

Thanks in advance!


Stewart Vernon
10-30-2015, 03:33 AM
Aside from a typo I noticed in the 2nd panel "Today Spart and all of Greece..." the lettering looks sound to me.

As for the page... the art looks good, but it feels like I'm being dropped into the middle of the story... so it's hard to rate this as a good first page.

I assume the following pages would give me some of the backstory (the agreement that was mentioned in the top panel)... and if so, then retroactively that would make the 1st page okay probably as long as you give that backstory at some point.

10-30-2015, 03:46 AM
Oops. Thanks for the typo heads-up. (A bit embarrassing.)

Yeah, the backstory... My original first page was pretty much all about the backstory, but it was criticized (and I think rightly) for not starting the story or the action soon enough.

The backstory will definitely be revealed over time. And some of it should come through in the next two pages, at least that there has been a recent war between Athens and Sparta. Whether or not it will be enough detail to satisfy is another question...

Steven Forbes
10-30-2015, 03:56 AM
There are problems.

Crossbar I in the third panel.

The tails should come to a sharper point, if possible. Bring the two lines together sooner, so they form one slightly thicker line.

What is up with that angle on the tail in panel 2, when all of the other tails have a curve to them? Makes no sense.

The last line on the page doesn't make any sense when compared to the rest of the page. Why would this character say this? Who is he saying it to? "I've fucked the monkey's uncle" makes about as much sense from this character. Could it be that the tail should be pointing the other way? (Actually, it makes sense now that I thought it through. But I had to come back to it in order for it to make sense.)

The artist is lazy. I don't like it when the backgrounds drop out. And panel 5 is awkward. The hand and arm are too low for the view of tossing the helmet to be effective.

This is a bad P1. There's starting late, and then there's starting the story late. Here you just started late, but the story still hasn't started. There's no groundwork laid.

What does "behind the dolphin" mean?

There isn't enough backstory laid for this page to make much sense. And there's no reason given for me to turn the page to the next.

Hire an editor and possibly a better letterer. Or hire an editor who will be able to help the letterer get to where they need to be.

10-30-2015, 04:28 AM
Thanks, Steven. This is helpful. I'll work on the tails and get rid of that crossbar.

"Behind the Dolphin." There's no way anyone will know what that means, until they see it visually on the next page. I find it hard to believe that the whole world needs to be set up and understood on a first page.

That being said, some of the world needs to be understood. And more importantly, the action, and at least a sense of where the action is going, needs to be understood. Maybe things are still too vague here.

As far as backgrounds in the art: here a few things dropped out that I would like to still see. I had communication with the artist, but in the end, I thought some of the those details would clutter the panels, and I let it go.

Thanks again.

Stewart Vernon
10-30-2015, 02:35 PM
Steven noticed a few more glitches that I didn't see until I took a second pass at it.

I think he's also saying the same thing I felt about being dumped into the middle of the story. I'm a more forgiving reader, I guess, in that I'll flip through a few pages before giving up. IF those next couple of pages fill in some backstory then I'm retroactively okay with being dumped in the middle.

Granted, it's still better not to dump your reader into the middle of a story and make him feel like stuff is going on that he can't possibly understand... and maybe other readers won't be as forgiving as I would to give it a chance to explain itself... so it's worth thinking if you can do things a different way perhaps.

Comics Commando
11-01-2015, 10:56 AM
Good start, but...

Your balloons aren't tucked in enough to form around the dialogue. Panel 5 is a good example of this. Last-panel balloon, also. Probably since you're using simple ellipse shapes everywhere. You need more shapes to choose from rather than just scale the same old shape every time. Some should be more squared off at the sides and top. Look at top-level comics to see what I mean.

Panels 1 & 6 you have captions with one left-over word along the bottom. Either shorten or lengthen the cap box to get rid of all that empty white space.

The pointers are a tad on the spindly side, but that could be a style thing. If this is gonna be color--fine, but if the final is BW, you may want wider pointers, so they register with the reader more easily.

First cap in panel 1 should be higher and left...but inside the safety box. For a free safety-bleed guide, head on over to my freebies page to get it:

Others hit the story points, so I won't, but, yeah, fill us in more on the next few pages and we'll forgive the cold opening.


Kurt Hathaway
Cartoon Balloons Studio
Lettering • Logos • Pre-Press • Graphic Design • Video
for Print or Web • Entertainment, Advertising or Education!


11-01-2015, 02:42 PM
Hey Kurt,

Thanks for the notes. By the way, the final page will be in color.

As far as bubble shapes: I agree, especially now that you've pointed them out, these need some work. I do use Illustrator where I make an individual shape for each bubble, then I use the (white arrow, forget its name) to indent sides of the bubble. But, for instance, in panel 2, "My horses, my ride," I'm not sure how I could form a bubble around that to get rid of the majority of that white space. Maybe send second "my" to the third line?

Also, with the captions: I'm thinking (actually already made the change) of cutting out the white part of the last line. So basically it's a rectangle with a little bitty rectangle hanging down to cover the last word. Is that an acceptable practice?

Thanks again.

11-01-2015, 02:54 PM
There are a number of posts above saying that it's a bad practice to write something where it feels like a reader is dropped into the middle of a story. However, isn't that necessary for good writing? To start the action in media res, in the middle of things?

Of course, there's a difference between being dropped into some interesting action, and into the middle of the story (because then you're not getting hte whole story). But how can that distinction even be made after reading only one page?

I think the important thing here is confusion vs. clarity. Even if a reader does not know what happened before this moment, and cannot guess much of what will come after, it is important that the action of this particular moment is clear. And it looks like I'm not there yet.

Thanks again.