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Panel Discussions: Design in Sequential Art Storytelling Paperback – November 1, 2007

4.5 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

After developing a fondness for comic books at an early age, Mark Schultz began writing for the strip in November 2004. In addition, he scripted DC Comics's "Man of Steel" from 1998 to 2003, and he continues to participate in a number of comic book projects including "Star Wars, Aliens", and "Predator". He calls northeastern Pennsylvania home.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: TwoMorrows Publishing (November 1, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1893905144
  • ISBN-13: 978-1893905146
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 0.6 x 10.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,324,791 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Glen Engel Cox on December 12, 2002
There's a presumption among people that if something looks easy or simple, that it must have been easy or simple to create. Most people look at a page of a comic book and think, "Anyone could do that." But until you actually try and write a comic or draw a comic page do you start to understand the painstaking craftsmanship that is the hallmark of most comics out there. This need to actually "try it out yourself," is a reason why I have my students write a comic script (and also the reason for the existence of creative writing in the high school and undergraduate education). Although we are creating stories and scenes in our heads all the time, being able to translate that to the page is the difference between consumer and producer.
With that in mind, let me suggest for everyone who ever wanted to learn about the tricks of the comic trade to look for Panel Discussions, a series of interviews conducted by Durwin S. Talon, a professor of sequential art at the Savannah College of Art and Design in Savannah, Georgia. While it shares some similarities with other dissections of the comic art like Scott McCloud's Understanding Comics and Will Eisner's Sequential Art, Talon's book is slightly less formal in its structure, but makes up for that in the diversity of its points-of-view. The title itself is a pun, for not only are we discussing the panels of a comic, the format is similar to a panel discussion at a comic convention. Talon goes one-on-one with some fine artists like Will Eisner, David Mazzucchelli, and Mark Schultz, and has them break down the way they structure a comic page, how they get the reader's eye to move from point A to point B, and how light and dark play into the design.
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Lots of good comics creators are represented here, but on the whole this book suffers from poor editing and worse design. Too much space is given to talking about what attracted Artist X to comics, or how Editor Y never thought he'd be an editor when he was a kid. Who cares? I bought this book to hear professionals talk about their trade. Durwin Talon's interview style is very softball, and you don't get the impression that he's much of an artist himself. Overall, the book's text has a feel of "gee whiz, aren't these artists great?" rather than the serious discussion about craft between peers that its title and presentation would suggest.
The worst part about the book is the reproduction of the art itself, however. There are lots of pages presented here, but though there are a couple of brief color sections, the vast majorty are b&w halftone reproductions of color art -- which is to say, they've been shot from the pages as they appeared in print, rather than from the original art. Even worse, there's not a single page that was reproduced at print size, yet alone the size at which is was actually drawn. Most of the pages are reproduced at about 1.75"x2.5" -- barely large enough for the lettering to be legible. This seems a real shame for such a visual medium.
Overall, I'd say this was a good concept poorly executed. It could have benefited from the input of an experienced book designer who could have made better use of the pages available. A good, impartial editor would have been of immeasurable assistance here, too, to trim out some of the chaff in the text (and thus leave more room to display the comics themselves, which is what the book is supposed to be about anyway).
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This has been one of the best books I have run across on the subject of Sequential Art. Tells discusses one of the essential ablitlities that a comic artist needs to understand to tell good stories in this format. I really have not run across a better document that helps destribes the in's and out's of how panels and their intelligent use help with story flow and understanding of the storyline to control the speed and emotion of the story telling...
Told from the interview style from many of the great Comic Artist of our day
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