A Monster for Every Season: Summer 2
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    Dr.Epic's Avatar

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    Default Average Comic Book Length

    So, I'm just wondering to those of you who frequently read comics, what is around the typical comic book length? I mean specifically single issues of a comic and not a graphic novel as a whole. I'm just wondering because I'm planning of making my own and I'm trying to figure out a good amount of pages for each comic issue. In terms of plot, I just remaking a comic I did a few years ago that'll follow basically the same plot with a few changes and upgraded art work. Anyway, each comic differs in length but none is shorter than 20 pages. I can easily make each comic 30 pages long, but I'm wondering if I could just do the panels in a certain way that each is 40 pages. Again, I'm just wondering what is a good length for a comic book issue. I don't have much experience reading them: Watchmen each chapter is 32 pages with bonus material at the end. League of Extraordinary Gentlemen's issues (at least for vol 1-2) are 40 pages. So I'm just think 30-40 for each of mine and I'd like the number to stay the same for each comic. So, any input as to the average comic book length (or, at least a good length for an issue)?

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    Titan in the Playground
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    Default Re: Average Comic Book Length

    Another one of those things that varies between countries. In Sweden, comic books are either 32, 48 or 64 pages thick with no ads inside the comic book. American comic books tend to be much shorter, and full of ads.

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    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: Average Comic Book Length

    Depends on who you're dealing with. Marvel and DC are pretty much strictly 24 pages + ads for their serials which is the "industry standard" when dealing with someone who pays per page. Other publishers typically pay a lump sum up front then give you royalties once the total sales exceed what they pay you so they have no restrictions on page length. Of course self publishing means you can do whatever you want.

    The length of a comic depends entirely on the pacing. If you feel like you've written an acceptable story in 20 pages or 40 pages, go with that. Generally speaking, longer is better because people like getting their money's worth but understand that a 24-page serial is the traditional length.

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    Default Re: Average Comic Book Length

    Quote Originally Posted by jmbrown View Post
    The length of a comic depends entirely on the pacing. If you feel like you've written an acceptable story in 20 pages or 40 pages, go with that. Generally speaking, longer is better because people like getting their money's worth but understand that a 24-page serial is the traditional length.
    I can see what you're saying with "more for their money" (assuming this ever takes off and I sell them) but to quote William Shakespeare "Brevity is the soul of wit." I just don't want to prolong the comic with pointless dialogue of frames. I know I can do each comic in 30 pages.

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    Default Re: Average Comic Book Length

    Quote Originally Posted by Dr.Epic View Post
    I can see what you're saying with "more for their money" (assuming this ever takes off and I sell them) but to quote William Shakespeare "Brevity is the soul of wit." I just don't want to prolong the comic with pointless dialogue of frames. I know I can do each comic in 30 pages.
    Shakespeare was also a playwright, not a comic book writer. The power of books lay in the fact that you can read them at your leisure. In the comic book world, we call pacing "compression." I'm sure you've seen comics where word balloons dominate a page and entire paragraphs are said in a single frame. These comics are highly compressed. Other comics will break up the action over several panels to focus on the environment, setting, or characters reaction. What could be said in one panel is said over five or more. These are uncompressed stories.

    People like different things and if you're self publishing your material you have room to experiment. If breaking up the dialog with action suits your story, do it. If you need to have a tight series of events happening one after the other, do that. You're not a slave to an editor, only to yourself and good design practices.

    There's a lot to the art of comics that go beyond drawing panels and sticking word balloons in them. I recommend reading Scott McCloud's Understanding Comics and Making Comics which are widely accepted as being the definitive source to the art. It's even presented in comic book form for easy reading.

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    Dwarf in the Playground
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    Default Re: Average Comic Book Length

    The standard single issue in North America is 22 pages of story with another 10 pages of ads, totalling 32 pages. Non-Marvel/DC books tend to vary a fair bit (Image and Dark Horse books, for example, have fewer ads and the ones that they do have are for other Image/Dark Horse books).

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    Default Re: Average Comic Book Length

    Half as many adds as there are comic pages? Damn. I mean, the only comics I've read as a kid were french or belgian ones, and they had maybe a a page or two of adds at the back, after up to around sixty pages of comic.
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    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: Average Comic Book Length

    Quote Originally Posted by Eldan View Post
    Half as many adds as there are comic pages? Damn. I mean, the only comics I've read as a kid were french or belgian ones, and they had maybe a a page or two of adds at the back, after up to around sixty pages of comic.
    Two different markets. The American mainstream comic is churned out like an assembly line. You have one guy who writes it, another guy who creates the layout, another guy who pencils, another guy who inks, another guy who colors, another guy who letters and then it's sent to the editor for final approval. The average European comic rarely has more than two people working on it meaning cheaper production and fewer people to pay. The level of detail, stringent deadline, and strict demands of the rights holders keeps mainstream American comics from doing that.
    Last edited by jmbrown; 2010-08-29 at 07:51 AM.

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    Default Re: Average Comic Book Length

    Two different markets. The American mainstream comic is churned out like an assembly line. You have one guy who writes it, another guy who creates the layout, another guy who pencils, another guy who inks, another guy who colors, another guy who letters and then it's sent to the editor for final approval.
    And they're paid more like an assembly line workers, too.

    The average European comic rarely has more than two people working on it meaning cheaper production and fewer people to pay. The level of detail, stringent deadline, and strict demands of the rights holders keeps mainstream American comics from doing that.
    This is totally not true. It might have 2-3 names on the page (usually, people responsible for drawings and scenario), but many more work on them. Entire publishing houses, actually.

    The other difference is format - US comic has 22 pages, European usually from 48 to 64, and they're all A4 (double the size of US one), so it's more like 96 to 144 in US terms. That's why most prolific series have at best 2 issues per year, to one issue per 2 years.

    The level of detail is far higher, too - some French comics are works or art, drawn by people with professional painter skills, who (big names, mostly) can ask several dozen thousand Euro per issue, so the production is not cheaper, either. In fact, some individual pages can be sold for as much as 100.000 Euro, but that's only the case for biggest names and work-of-art like drawings.

    Pretty much only the newcomers get the american wages. But then again, competition is really fierce, even if you are only to keep yourself on the market.
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    Dwarf in the Playground
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    Default Re: Average Comic Book Length

    I've worked with both North American and A4 pages, and A4 is nowhere near double the size of an NA page. It's about 2 inches taller and wider, which doesn't equate to much extra in terms of page count. It looks nicer in collected format, though, and makes more sense than the weird dimensions of NA pages (I've read that A4 is the typical printer paper size in Europe, which would make it much easier to work with than the NA dimensions).

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    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: Average Comic Book Length

    Quote Originally Posted by Trixie
    And they're paid more like an assembly line workers, too.
    The average American penciler receives $120 per page. That's $2,640 per finished book and very few artists work on a single project at a time. When you're penciling two or three books per month that's way better than a blue collar worker's salary.

    Quote Originally Posted by Trixie
    This is totally not true. It might have 2-3 names on the page (usually, people responsible for drawings and scenario), but many more work on them. Entire publishing houses, actually.
    I can say this about any market. Dozens of assistants contribute to the average manga or comic but of course they're only going to credit those that contribute the most.

    Quote Originally Posted by Trixie
    The other difference is format - US comic has 22 pages, European usually from 48 to 64, and they're all A4 (double the size of US one), so it's more like 96 to 144 in US terms. That's why most prolific series have at best 2 issues per year, to one issue per 2 years.
    They're printed on A4 paper. This is an important distinction because the American industry standard is 11x17" paper. If you work for DC/Marvel/Image you will use this size paper when creating your work. American comics are printed smaller but that doesn't mean they aren't drawn on larger stock.

    Quote Originally Posted by Trixie
    The level of detail is far higher, too - some French comics are works or art, drawn by people with professional painter skills, who (big names, mostly) can ask several dozen thousand Euro per issue, so the production is not cheaper, either. In fact, some individual pages can be sold for as much as 100.000 Euro, but that's only the case for biggest names and work-of-art like drawings.
    That's completely variable. I wouldn't say Spirou or Asterix are chock full of intricate details and meticulous cross hatching. I also don't remember Trondheim, Geraud, Manera, or Bilal flaunting their hundreds of thousands.

  12. - Top - End - #12
    Titan in the Playground
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    Default Re: Average Comic Book Length

    My comment about Swedish comics size also applies to translated American comics; Swedish X-men for example used to contain material from all the American titles (and they often band together crossovers and cross-title stories into one thick single issue).
    Lately however it seems Marvel has taken over the publishing in Sweden themselves, so that means thinner issues and no special editions ( When I was a kid, it was not uncommon that a "special event" was released as a single 128 pages double-price issue). Now it seems both Spider-Man and X-men never gets more than 32 pages an issue.

    (Disclaimer: I do not buy the translated comics anymore, and haven't since dedicated comic book stores started importing the original comics in the early 90ies, but I usually walk by the comic stand on my way to the computer game mags)
    Last edited by Avilan the Grey; 2010-08-30 at 02:08 AM.

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    SamuraiGuy

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    smile Re: Average Comic Book Length

    Quote Originally Posted by Dr.Epic View Post
    So, I'm just wondering to those of you who frequently read comics, what is around the typical comic book length? I mean specifically single issues of a comic and not a graphic novel as a whole. I'm just wondering because I'm planning of making my own and I'm trying to figure out a good amount of pages for each comic issue. In terms of plot, I just remaking a comic I did a few years ago that'll follow basically the same plot with a few changes and upgraded art work. Anyway, each comic differs in length but none is shorter than 20 pages. I can easily make each comic 30 pages long, but I'm wondering if I could just do the panels in a certain way that each is 40 pages. Again, I'm just wondering what is a good length for a comic book issue. I don't have much experience reading them: Watchmen each chapter is 32 pages with bonus material at the end. League of Extraordinary Gentlemen's issues (at least for vol 1-2) are 40 pages. So I'm just think 30-40 for each of mine and I'd like the number to stay the same for each comic. So, any input as to the average comic book length (or, at least a good length for an issue)?
    I am also working on a comic, but more in the Japanese manga style. These typically run between 160-210 pages per volume, unlike a lot of western comics that run under 100 pages. The few american comics I do read (The Walking Dead and Brody's Ghost) are usually above 50 pages with little to no advertisements. If you want to get published and have full reign over your series, I would strongly suggest using CreateSpace self publishing by amazon. They have many different services you can choose to help your story grow, or you can go with the almost completely free route, and do everything yourself.

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