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Richard Fisher
Byrne Robotics Member


Joined: 17 April 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 1125
Posted: 26 February 2021 at 4:01pm | IP Logged | 1 post reply

I have always wondered how long it took to make a comic, and since a search on the net doesn’t give a definitive answer I thought I would ask someone who knows the answer.

 

Assuming a monthly comic has a writer, penciler and inker who can work that schedule, how long are they giving to produce their work?

 

In other words, if a comics was scheduled to come out in December what month was the assignment given to the writer? When do the penciler and inker start their work?

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Richard Fisher
Byrne Robotics Member


Joined: 17 April 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 1125
Posted: 02 March 2021 at 9:15am | IP Logged | 2 post reply

One Bump Only*



*Paraphrasing Sean Connery.
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John Byrne

Imaginary X-Man

Joined: 11 May 2005
Posts: 123892
Posted: 02 March 2021 at 9:25am | IP Logged | 3 post reply

It used to be approximately one month for each of the three main jobs, writer, penciler, inker. Couple of weeks each for the letterer and colorist. Maybe a month for “office time.”

Ideally, all those jobs would be finished a few months before the complete issue had to get to the printer.

I have no idea how it works now.

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James Johnson
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Joined: 16 March 2009
Location: United States
Posts: 1487
Posted: 02 March 2021 at 10:23am | IP Logged | 4 post reply

I wonder how difficult is the job of a colorist.

To determine what shade of each color is there to apply to the hero/villian costumes?

To ordinary characters clothing?

To objects?

It would have to boggle the mind!


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Dave Kopperman
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Joined: 27 December 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 2181
Posted: 02 March 2021 at 12:08pm | IP Logged | 5 post reply

I find it difficult enough coloring digitally, but the traditional method was a much bigger pain in the ass - the colorist's job wasn't just to color the piece and then be done with it.  What they provided was a color guide, which meant they colored the artwork and then also indicated what the specific CMYK mixes were from the available, and limited, palette. So the colorist was also part of the production line (see attached from an old Aparo Batman).  After that, the guide was followed by the teams whose job it was to manually cut the film for the printing plates - who I'm sure weren't all that thrilled when digital printing took their jobs, but, anyway.

The limited palette wasn't because of actual limitations of print technology at the time, but more of a budgetary concern.

Of course, this is all based on second-hand knowledge, so I could be off on some of the details.


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John Byrne

Imaginary X-Man

Joined: 11 May 2005
Posts: 123892
Posted: 02 March 2021 at 12:17pm | IP Logged | 6 post reply

When Roger Stern was reprint editor at Marvel in the 70s, he resurrected an old story with some tweaks, and Dr. Droom became Dr. Druid.

One of those tweaks included a modification of a panel in which the hero, a White guy, became Asian. “My eyes are becoming slanted! My skin is becoming yellow!” Rog removed the race change and had the guy referring to how his mind was being expanded.

He did joke, tho, that in that original panel he wanted to have the guy say “My skin is becoming Y instead of Y2R2!”

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Rebecca Jansen
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Joined: 12 February 2018
Location: Canada
Posts: 2632
Posted: 02 March 2021 at 2:25pm | IP Logged | 7 post reply

I think the colorist being last in line, if the comic was late, might've had to rush. I try to be forgiving of colorist mistakes (and sometimes something would go wrong at the printer in terms of color too). The physical page used to go from penciller -> to letterer -> to inker -> to editor -> and then coloring on mechanicals or photostats, but I'm less familiar with that. I've seen really old '40s pages with numbers and letters written on the originals in grease pencil, guides for the printer, also photostats fully colored in with Dr. Martin's dyes. Now with computer lettering and coloring I (I don't understand how computer inking works really) someone scans the page and those parts are not physical but virtual.

Like comic strips, comic books are written and drawn well in advance of the time they will see print, and I understand some like Mr. Byrne were usually well ahead of schedule, while others were chronically behind, and the last minute panics would make people not want to work with those people so much. It was often the inker who had to work fast to keep a book by someone late on schedule so as with colorists I keep a soft spot for those poor sods too, yes even the oft reviled Mr. Coletta. it was a thankless job and it seems that Mr. Coletta would always do it (and get paid of course).

In the '70s Marvels you will see unscheduled surprise reprints pop up, or if you were really lucky, an inventory story commissioned just for the possibility of things going this badly wrong, and hopeful the inventory story wouldn't be dated, but if it was there'd be some kind of intro that the events took place previous to such-and-such a story, or maybe be framed as a dream or flashback. X-Men #106 was a last-minute emergency replacement (on a bi-monthly yet) with an old unused story banged into shape to barely pass for a regular issue under a new Cockrum cover at least. The worst reprint might've been in the War Of The Worlds comic which hadn't been going for too long before hitting a schedule snag (and artwork being physically lost in 'the mail' may or may not be a real thing). They took part of an issue maybe only a year old and added a three new pages framing it as a flashback, and the new cover was nice too, but I bet that burned a lot of buyers who likely would've had that issue! Avengers #136 stuck in a solo Beast story and cover from another title that had Iron man as guest, but still only a couple or so years previous.

Jim Shooter promised to fix this problem that had been plaguing Marvel (but it would happen at DC sometimes too) when he got promoted to Editor-in-Chief with more inventory stories readied (and some appeared later in Marvel Fanfare that weren't needed in that role).

Generally I guess the penciller might be working on something anywhere from months before publication to the inker or colorist working overtime right up to the extreme limit of it being replaced or simply not appearing or shipping. Printers needed prep time and had a slot scheduled for each job that had to be made, so if you didn't make that slot, something else nearly identical in press run and format would have to be ready early that could. I dont think Charlton had to worry about that though as they owned their own press.

I shut up now. :^)
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Craig Earl
Byrne Robotics Member


Joined: 13 July 2019
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 297
Posted: 02 March 2021 at 3:22pm | IP Logged | 8 post reply

Ah, Glynis Wein, one of the best...
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Richard Fisher
Byrne Robotics Member


Joined: 17 April 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 1125
Posted: 02 March 2021 at 5:43pm | IP Logged | 9 post reply

Holy Crap! That's a longer timeline than  I thought it was!

8 to 9 months. So if the comic was supposed to come out it December,(back in the day) it was stared in April. 

I didn't even think about the few months buffer.
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