In a previous blog post, we discussed how editors in the comic book industry have their work cut out for them. While they’re certainly not the only type of editor who deals with multimedia editing, comics and graphic novel editors face unique challenges compared to those who deal with more traditional texts like children’s books or even textbooks. One of the key differences in this type of editing is that graphic novels utilize sequential art to tell the story. While other editors still have to look at whatever images they’re using, comics editors need to pay equal or even greater attention to the art.
While the first webcomics began popping up in the mid 1980s, the medium exploded in popularity starting in the mid-to-late 1990s. Numerous long-running series got their start around this time, many of which are still going strong over twenty years later.
I worked as an editorial intern at Dark Horse Comics in Milwaukie, Oregon, during PSU’s winter term this year, and while I was there, I ended up learning more than I ever anticipated. In my previous post on my time at the Dark Horse offices, I focused on explaining DHDPs and work orders. In this entry, I’ll continue my detailed look into what exactly a comics editor does, and I’ll focus on two more editorial tasks: creating bookmaps and comp lists.
I recently spent three months as an Editorial Intern at Dark Horse Comics in Milwaukie, OR earlier this year—here’s a bit of what I learned while interning there.
Although editing might seem straightforward, there is a greater difference between traditional editing done for novels and written work than editing for comics than one might think.
There are a load of micro-reasons that comics need editors, but they all boil down to the same thing in the end. It’s the same as editing anything else: quality, timeliness, and clarity. Like any form of writing or art, it’s hard to see the flaws of something you’ve made without a pair of outside eyes, but I think comics have a way of making that even harder. It’s not just missing a serial comma or using the wrong stylesheet. It’s making sure that not just one person–the writer–knows the story and expresses it well enough that a reader knows what’s going on. All the pieces of the puzzle have to fit together almost flawlessly, and if they don’t you will almost always end up confusing someone or losing an emotional beat.