Comics historian, artist, and visionary Jim Steranko described the genesis of modern comic books as a “dream that instantly developed into a full-scale industry.” More than just a cultural phenomenon, comic books became, along with jazz, a uniquely American art form. Like jazz, comics suffered through a long period of time when they were considered disreputable.
Although the comics form entered into popular culture far more swiftly than jazz, it was never accorded any degree of respect and was usually dismissed as an example of completely disposable art. People who found value in the comics medium, either as fans or creators, were viewed as little better than subliterates.
But, as the old song says, time was on our side. In the form of the graphic novel, the comics medium is now a legitimate expression of both art and literature. The creative urge can find its full outlet through the marriage of narrative and sequential art, melding drawing and story elements into something unique—a tale told through pictures and dialogue, separated into single images confined by panels.
Although comic books have been traditionally produced by a team (writer, pencil artist, inker, colorist, and letterer), very often graphic novels harken back to the older production method of newspaper strips. These features were created by writer-artists like Milton Caniff, Will Eisner, and Hal Foster. They were artists, but they were also blessed with the talent to spin gripping yarns. These were young men who started out with a dream and many pictures later found themselves to be the authors of enduring pieces of Americana, parents of cultural icons that have outlived their creators. The authors of today's graphic novels may very well find that their own dreams will achieve a similar sort of immortality.
The Everything® Guide to Writing Graphic Novels outlines the process of comics’ creation, from story to panel layout to finished, printed production. Graphic novels have entered the mainstream and are a hot category for both established professionals and aspiring creators. From superheroes to werewolves, Hollywood is increasingly looking to adapt graphic novels into films. V for Vendetta, Road to Perdition, A History of Violence, The Watchmen—these are just a few graphic novels that have enjoyed immense popularity and translation into big-budget films.
This book breaks down the process into easy-to-follow steps, from the creation of characters to gripping storylines to the ins and outs of publication and production. You'll find examples of comics’ artwork by famous, even legendary, artists to use as guides and inspirations. At the same time, you'll get a little of the same kind of emotional nourishment provided by comics themselves—a sense of fun and adventure.