By Scott McCloud
Published by Harper Paperbacks
Slugline: Everything else you need to know about making comics .
I've said before that we will occasionally review stuff here that are not precisely manga, but will be of interest to manga fans even if they do not seem to at first blush. In the western comics, Scott McCloud is one of the foremost theoreticians of comics. Calling him a theoretician makes him sound very dry and possibly boring, but he approaches his work in a very entertaining style, packing it with ideas that explode like grenades in your consciousness just a few minutes into reading the book. And reading the book is not a very difficult task, considering it is a comic book with Scott McCloud himself guiding you through the work.
Making Comics is not about art, or how you draw chibis, but instead about the more abstract and more important issues about what you draw, how you frame, how much space should be between panels or should there even panels at all. He doesn't give you any concrete answers, but points out what the questions should be. If you have ever looked at a page and wondered why it just didn't feel right, Making Comics offers a concrete list of questions you can ask to help you discover just why that is.
While he does mostly focus on western comics, McCloud has been looking at some of the regional differences between comics, and he does have a short section about some of the differences between American and Japanese comics.
Considering just how many "How to Draw" books there are on the market, and how many of them are manga-focused, if you want to learn how to draw that is well covered. But if you want to do more than just arrange them one after another, if you want to tell a story with your pictures, to turn something good into something great, Making Comics is an invaluable toolkit to have, just as important as pencil and paper.