View Full Version : The Ordo Morde needs your critique/help!

12-26-2015, 11:35 AM
Hey guys, I was lettering the first two pages of my new comic and I want to make it as perfect as can be before I ship it off to Heavy Metal Magazine. I was wondering what you guys thought of the lettering job I did. Placement, colors, style, etc. Anything would be appreciated. Please only critique the lettering or writing though, I'm not going to send the art back :p



Art by the talented SickJoe: http://sickjoe.deviantart.com/

Steve Colle
12-27-2015, 12:10 AM
Ferretti, I'm going to comment on both the writing and the lettering in my comments, as you've opened up that opportunity. Given the fact that you won't be redoing any artwork, let's see what can be done to make what you have stronger.

First, the writing:

I don't know what your story is about beyond what's happening in these two pages, but I'll give you my thoughts based on what I'm seeing.

I think the intention of what your character is saying vs. the effectiveness of how it's being said is a bit of a problem. I'm understanding that your character has been affected by death (single or plural) and that he's determined to turn off his emotions to get past it in order to effectively do his job, but waxing poetic can detract from the story you're trying to convey.

Instead of doing this, take the opportunity to tell your character's story and lead it into this current situation. Why is he on the trail of these people? Is it his job or is it more personal? Give some backstory through his captioned thoughts, some exposition to clarify for the reader what is happening and what has led to this moment. Bring the reader up to speed through your character's words. Realize that exposition doesn't need to be an information dump, but something that can, piece by piece, divulge some previous knowledge integral to your reader's understanding and enjoyment.

With this said, the use of "Death is a tough pill to swallow" still works well as an opening statement and helps to set up how he talks and gives a glimpse of his personality. However, elaborate upon it with situational details instead of wasting valuable storytelling space with self-banter that doesn't move the story forward.

I'm getting the impression that this is personal for him given his level of distractedness and how quickly he is attacked (oddly enough, not from the character he has his back to, but rather from the one he is facing). As an aside, the pacing is off in these pages as the last panel of Page One should have stopped at where he tells them to "respect the badge!" (which almost sounds comedic, unfortunately). The retaliation/attack shouldn't have happened until the reader turned the page. This would have left his command as the "what-will-happen-next" hook.

I suggest you go back and do some rewriting to work with the visuals you have.

As for the lettering:

- Don't round off the caption boxes. There's a time and place for this look, but this isn't it. Consider also that the character is firm, rigid, and authoritative, not to mention an apparent cyborg. Rounded corners on the captions goes against that message.

- Keep ample distance in your caption boxes and balloons so the letters don't get too close to the border.

- Stick with the same size font throughout your pages. I noticed the text in the word balloon has a larger font size which did two things when I read the content: 1) It gave me the impression that the character was trying to raise his voice, but the font wasn't large enough nor was the balloon the right shape to convey this properly, and 2) it made my eyes readjust to the smaller font of the text in the captions that followed. Make the difference obvious or don't do it at all.

- Don't step away from the use of caption boxes in the second panel of Page One. Maintain that consistency. Yes, there are exceptions to this rule, but just because you have negative space doesn't mean the best choice is borderless text.

- Because of the dark colors in the artwork, the fill of the caption boxes and balloon should be white with black text, not black with white. On both pages, the black fill actually creates a lack of visual clarity for the captions in Page One, Panel 3 and both captions on Page Two. This is exacerbated by the low word count in those boxes. Also, consider the connotation of black fill: Evil, possessed by evil, ghostly or phantasmic, and the like. That doesn't apply to your character, does it?

- Placement of text needs to be considered. Mike Carlin, an Eisner award-winning editor who has worked for both Marvel and DC, stated in an interview in a book entitled PANEL DISCUSSIONS that editors are typically the ones to decide on text placement. There is a lot that goes into deciding where to place text, with examples including:

1) A symbolic meaning (a person who is depressed may have dialogue placed below their heart instead of above their head);

2) Directionality (leading the reader to the next panel);

3) Position in relation to details in the art (covering up key or incidental details that help relate the story);

4) Pacing in speech (distance, or lack of such, creating immediate follow up or a pause);

... and much more.

I won't go into specifics in these pages until you have decided if you will be making changes to the text.

Looking forward to your thoughts on my comments.

Take care,


12-27-2015, 07:37 PM
First I'd like to thank you for such an in-depth critique. It's so awesome to get this, Steve. Thank you.

So, I took your advice and re-worked the page but I'm just not sold on reversing the colors. I feel like it doesn't contrast well with the strong darkness of the comic. It kinda looks like the captions were pasted over the page or something. Maybe a different color other than black/white?

http://thehappymountain.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/Page-1-white-783x1024.jpg (http://thehappymountain.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/Page-1-white.jpg)

As for the story comments, I probably should've linked the script. At page four, I clarify that he joined a bounty hunting organization, maybe that's a little too late, because I've got a lot of people wondering exactly what's happening in the comic. In panel three I'm probably going to add something involving him explaining that he's jumping into the middle of an arms deal. I'm also thinking of adding a speech bubble for the arms dealer to change up the pace of the retaliation. Something like "Fuck the Ordo!"

Here's a link (https://www.dropbox.com/s/4vokrg8y39b12vh/Sid%20MASTERSON.docx?dl=0)to the script if you're curious. We've changed a couple of things while discussing in person and plan to change a little bit more. For example, the battle scene is going to be two pages long instead of one.

Thank you again!