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Old 06-01-2006, 09:51 PM   #1
Xavier2501
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Narration in comics

When writing a comic, how much narration (captions) is too much. I personally get bored if it seems too heavy with explainations and all the blocks.
I feel it usually slows down the flow of the comic when more is used Unless the captions are of the persons thoughts as in Nightwing or something like that.
Does it bore you guys out there? or does it depend?

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Old 06-01-2006, 09:56 PM   #2
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Whatever serves the story. If it's not a crutch or the writer not trusting the artist, it works. Also works for location and time. Though some would argue I suppose that can be relayed with landmarks, newspapers, etc.
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Old 06-01-2006, 09:56 PM   #3
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for me it depends. if it's just inane running off at the keyboard type narraration, then yeah it drives me up the wall. but if it advances the story, then i don't mind.
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Old 06-01-2006, 11:10 PM   #4
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as a reader (as opopsed to a writer), it works when done right i guess, like many things in regards to creating
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Old 06-01-2006, 11:14 PM   #5
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I like to read my comics,so I like text.
I'm int he midst of reading the Cerebus High Society TPB and each issue takes about 20-30 minutes to get through. That's a nice quality read.
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Old 06-01-2006, 11:48 PM   #6
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Thought balloons and the like are okay when used properly. Unfortunately, they rarely are. I was re-reading one of the Days of Future past issues and Claremont has Kitty pride falling down a ramp thought-bubbling "A trap door! No! This can't be happening now! Not when we're so close! Not with so much depending on us!" NOBODY does that! A proper thought would have been "What the fuck...?!" or "Ah!"

All those so-called classic X-Men stories are filled with that junk! Not to mention the panel where she's kicking a guy and she's monologing a two-minute conversation to herself. GAH!
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Old 06-02-2006, 12:07 AM   #7
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I think that as a rule, narration should be used sparsely. It comes across as exposition in many instances, I'd rather see the story happen than be told what happened/is happening.

That said, all rules are meant to be broken. Just tread very carefully over that bridge.
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Old 06-02-2006, 12:19 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr.Musgrave
Thought balloons and the like are okay when used properly. Unfortunately, they rarely are. I was re-reading one of the Days of Future past issues and Claremont has Kitty pride falling down a ramp thought-bubbling "A trap door! No! This can't be happening now! Not when we're so close! Not with so much depending on us!" NOBODY does that! A proper thought would have been "What the fuck...?!" or "Ah!"

All those so-called classic X-Men stories are filled with that junk! Not to mention the panel where she's kicking a guy and she's monologing a two-minute conversation to herself. GAH!
it's funny still, can't remember where i read it, but just a week or two ago, i remember reading an interview, and they were saying how before at Marvel, the pencil would draw the page BEFORE the writer wrote the script, so often the writer would have to write enough so that word balloons would cover up certain parts of the picture.

like if the artist drew a picture of Rogue in the background, but Rogue wasn't supposed to be there, the writer would have to write enough script for the word balloon to be big enough to cover up Rogue completely.

don't know if that's how it was in the classic X-Men stories you're talking about, but was interesting when i read that
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Old 06-02-2006, 12:36 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr.Musgrave
"A trap door! No! This can't be happening now! Not when we're so close! Not with so much depending on us!" NOBODY does that! A proper thought would have been "What the fuck...?!" or "Ah!"
Yeah, but that second example is what's wrong with comics nowadays. Who wants to read a comic where a superhero beats on a bad guy and all they do is grunt through 22 pages?
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Old 06-02-2006, 12:57 AM   #10
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Narration is fine if it doesn't explain what the art should be telling, like Musgrave's example. It just depends and there's no clear-cut answer because every story is different. Like someone said above, whatever serves the story.

And yeah, Marvel used to write plot style then the artist would illustrate and they would write the dialogue in afterwards. In fact, I have read statements from some old pros who refuse to work any other way. I've never tried it as I much prefer full script beforehand.
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Old 06-02-2006, 01:04 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eDuke
Yeah, but that second example is what's wrong with comics nowadays. Who wants to read a comic where a superhero beats on a bad guy and all they do is grunt through 22 pages?

Nobody monologues a full description of their powers and how they're being held back by an inhibitor collar while kicking a guy once in the stomach. It's retarded. I can understand witty banter but that kind of shit is for the birds.
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Old 06-02-2006, 01:07 AM   #12
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Well, like mr. L. Jamal here, I tend to value my comics into "minutes" read...

That is, if I spend less than 20 minutes reading a comic, it's better be a "quarter bin" issue. The only moment I will judge a few-worded issue worth 20 or more minutes of reading, is when the artist puts lots of interesting details in the pictures, in a efficient way (I'm NOT talking about cross-hatching or texturizing human skin until it feels like solid rock -- I'm talking about rich images). But since not everyone is George Pérez or Chris Bachalo or Jim Mahfood, I would eventually press any creator to "word" their comics up. I used to read Dazzler back when I owned the original issues. It took like 40 minutes to read a single issue (the first few), because it was jam-packed with words, eight to sixteen full paragraphs a page!!! Once done, I felt like I had read a longer book than it really was, and this was a very satisfying feeling...

My conclusion? Give your books pretty pictures and flashy colors, so that, when browsing through, the random buyer will pick it up - but make sure to get the best and richest prose material outta that 24-pager, so that your reader comes back to you asking for more!

At least, that's my customer's point of view.

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Old 06-02-2006, 10:18 AM   #13
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I like to read comics too. I hate paying $3 a book and whipping thru it in 15 minutes or less.

Heh! Remember when captions were actually prose text that described the story and not just someones thoughts?

independent comics creators have the opportunity to do what the big guys are afraid of; innovate and advance the artform. We don't have to copy the formats that they've set up. You can use word balloons, thought balloons, captions and so forth in a variety of ways. Or you can say 'screw the captions, I'm writing an entire panel of prose to advance the story faster.'
Prose has some value and impact that pictures dont have. We shouldn't think that just because comics have pictures that words are unnecessary. Don't use captions only for narration!
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Old 06-02-2006, 10:21 AM   #14
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Captions should only be used for paid endorsements.
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Old 06-02-2006, 10:41 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dano
independent comics creators have the opportunity to do what the big guys are afraid of; innovate and advance the artform.
Indies, good indies, for the most part have. But some have taken it to the extreme (Cerebus). I personally find too much prose in a comic book to the boring. If I wanted that much prose, I would read a novel.

Indies should focus on done in one stories as you don't have the luxury of spreaing a story too thin.
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