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View Full Version : What's the right length for a single issue?


scrappy
11-25-2015, 10:24 PM
So I keep hearing that the standard comic is 22 pages? But I'm also under the impression that books need to be divisible by 4. That means 20 or 24 pages.

So for a standard single issue, how many pages should you plan your story for? I'm talking about pitching to publishers a completed issue. What makes the most sense? Having a comic 22 pages where they have to fill in the other 2 themselves? Or having the story be 24 pages? Or do publishers not care? Or is ever publisher different? Any thoughts?

Steven Forbes
11-25-2015, 10:55 PM
So I keep hearing that the standard comic is 22 pages? But I'm also under the impression that books need to be divisible by 4. That means 20 or 24 pages.

So for a standard single issue, how many pages should you plan your story for? I'm talking about pitching to publishers a completed issue. What makes the most sense? Having a comic 22 pages where they have to fill in the other 2 themselves? Or having the story be 24 pages? Or do publishers not care? Or is ever publisher different? Any thoughts?

Hey, Frank.

22p for a comic goes back to old-school economics: cost of production vs price. 22 was settled on as a sweet spot. It's stuck down through the years.

Printing is something else. Yes, the page has to be divisible by 4.

So, to answer your question: there is no answer to your question. What you want to do is be consistent. If you have a 20 page story for a single issue and there isn't going to be another issue after that, that's fine as long as that's what you want. If you want a 24 page story, that's going to be fine, too.

Remember that we're only talking about story pages. There's still 4 pages for the cover to consider. Most comics have some sort of backmatter. (Depending on the comic, it may seem amateurish to have a comic story go right to the rear inside cover. Backmatter, such as a note, some production stills, what have you, helps to ease a reader out of the book.)

Every publisher is different. They may not tell you how many pages you must have for your story--it's your story, after all--but what gets added to it after that, if anything at all, will be up to them.

What makes the most sense is whatever works for you.

engcheedraws
11-26-2015, 12:50 AM
Hi Scrappy, my belief is that publishers fill in the 2 pages or any other number to make the book divisible by 4. The pages they fill in can be ads, fan mail columns etc. For a one shot "standard" comic book, I think that as long as your page count is within 22 to 28 or even 32 pages, it should be fine. That being said, I tend to incline towards 24 pages. I feel 24 pages is a good balance between the economics of printing and story pacing. Of course, this is my personal preference. You should experiment to see what page count suits you the best.

Stewart Vernon
11-26-2015, 01:31 AM
You've already gotten some good answers.

The first/best is to make your story be what it needs to be. If it needs to be 20 or 22 or 24 or whatever, make it be that many pages.

IF you're going to end up as a digital release, then page count doesn't matter at all. The multiple-of-four applies to printed publications.

IF you're submitting a story to be published by an existing publisher, they probably sell ads... and they will sell ads to make it be a multiple of 4 for print purposes.

I suppose there could be a scenario where a publisher might ask you to alter a story to fit a page-count IF they have issues selling ads, but it seems like that ought to be a rare occurrence these days.

IF you self-publish, then you can figure out how to get to the multiple-of-four yourself.

luispb
11-27-2015, 12:48 AM
I would shoot for 22 or 24 as a standard issue

Desaad
11-27-2015, 01:55 AM
My philosophy is 'make it whatever best fits your story, but be ready to adjust based on editorial notes/publisher demands'

My general feeling is that publishers are willing to be flexible with first issues especially (in my opinion and experience most of the best first issues are 25-30 pages; first issues demand certain elements and the longer page count allows you to deliver them organically and still have room for the story to really move, characters to have memorable moments, etc).

If you have a brilliant piece, and an amazing completed opening sequence for a 30 page first issue, they're probably not going to reject you; but they might tell you 6 pages have to go.

Buckyrig
11-27-2015, 11:59 AM
Marvel and DC comics are 32 pages with ads.

Marvel standard is a 20 page story, while DC's is still 22. (Although DC's $2.99 books are 20 pages.)

I'm not sure where all the indie books are falling anymore . . . but probably within that range.

NILgravity
12-03-2015, 11:34 AM
My philosophy is 'make it whatever best fits your story, but be ready to adjust based on editorial notes/publisher demands'



This. Make the first issue as long as you think it takes to make the reader both satisfied and wanting more. If you don't have the reader in the first 22 pages keep going until you do.

My minicomic MENTAL is only twelve pages, and people who actually read it, tend to dig it and often get the next one or the rest of the series. So it just depends on what you can say in the amount of pages you aim for.