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How To Draw Comics The Marvel Way Paperback – Sep 14 1984

4.2 out of 5 stars 59 customer reviews

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Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
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Frequently Bought Together

  • How To Draw Comics The Marvel Way
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  • Stan Lee's How to Draw Comics: From the Legendary Creator of Spider-Man, The Incredible Hulk, Fantastic Four, X-Men, and Iron Man
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  • Stan Lee's How to Draw Superheroes: From the Legendary Co-creator of the Avengers, Spider-Man, the Incredible Hulk, the Fantastic Four, the X-Men, and Iron Man
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Touchstone; Reprint edition (Sept. 14 1984)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0671530771
  • ISBN-13: 978-0671530778
  • Product Dimensions: 21.6 x 1 x 27.9 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 408 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars 59 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #19,655 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

About the Author

Stan Lee is known to millions as the man whose Super Heroes propelled Marvel to its preeminent position in the comic book industry. His co-creations include Spider-Man, The Avengers, Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, The Fantastic Four, as well as hundreds of others. He introduced Spider-Man as a syndicated newspaper strip that became the most successful of all syndicated adventure strips and has appeared in more than 500 newspapers worldwide. Stan currently remains Chairman Emeritus of Marvel, as well as a member of the Editorial Board of Marvel Comics. He is also the chairman and chief creative officer of POW! Entertainment, a multimedia entertainment company based in Beverly Hills.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Chapter 1



Since very few of us draw with just our fingernails, let's start off with what you'll need. Then we're got to make sure we're all speaking the same language. This part's the easiest.

Here we go! On these two pages you'll find just about everything you'll need to get you started. One of the nice things about being a comicbook artist is the fact that your equipment is no big deal. Let's just give the various items a fast once-over...

Pencil. Some artists prefer a soft lead, some like the finer hard lead. It's up to you.

Pen. A simple drawing pen with a thin point, for inking and bordering.

Brush. Also for inking. A sable hair #3 is your best bet.

Erasers. One art gum and one smooth kneaded eraser -- which is cleaner to use.

India ink. Any good brand of black india ink is okay.

White opaquing paint. Invaluable for covering errors in inking.

A glass Jar. This holds the water for cleaning your brushes.

Pushpins. Handy for keeping your illustration paper from slipping off the drawing board.

Triangle. A must for drawing right angles and working in perspective.

T square. Invaluable for drawing borders and keeping lines parallel.

Ruler. For everyone who says "1 can't draw a straight line without a ruler." Now you've no excuse!

Illustration paper. We use 2-ply Bristol board, large enough to accommodate artwork 10" x 15".

Drawing board. This can be a drawing table or merely a flat board which you hold on your lap. Either way, you always need some such thing upon which to rest your sheet of illustration paper.

Rag. This plain ol' hunk of any kind of cloth is used to wipe your pen points, brushes, and whatever. The sloppier you are, the more you'll need it.

Ink compass. Well, how else are you gonna draw circles? While you're at it, you might as well get a pencil compass, too-even though Johnny forgot to draw one for you.

Of course, there are some things we omitted, like a chair to sit on and a light so that you can see what you're doing in case you work in the dark. Also, it's a good idea to have a room to work in-otherwise your pages can get all messy in the rain. But we figured you'd know all this.

And now, onward!

Just to make sure we all use the same language and there's no misunderstanding when we refer to things, let's review the various names for many of the elements that make up a typical comicbook page.

A. The first page of a story, with a large introductory illustration, is called the splash page.

B: Letters drawn in outline, with space for color to be added, are called open letters.

C: Copy which relates to a title is called a blurb.

D: The name of the story is, of course, the title.

E: An outline around lettering done in this jagged shape is called a splash balloon.

F: A single illustration on a page is called a panel.

G: The space between panels is called the gutter.

H: You won't be surprised to know that this "ZAT" is a sound effect.

I: Copy which represents what a character is thinking is a thought balloon.

J: The little connecting circles on thought balloons are called bubbles. (We'd feel silly calling them "squares"!)

K: The regular speech indicators are called dialogue balloons.

L: The connecting "arrows" on dialogue balloons, showing who is speaking, are called pointers.

M: The words in balloons which are lettered heavier than the other words are referred to as bold words, or bold lettering.

N: This is my favorite part-where the names are. We call it the credits, just like in the movies.

O: All this little technical stuff, showing who publishes the mag and when and where, usually found on the bottom of the first page, is the indicia (pronounced in-deeé -shah).

P: Copy in which someone is talking to the reader, but which is not within dialogue balloons, is called a caption.

Chances are we left out a few other things, but this is all we can think of right now. However, not to worry; we'll fill you in on anything else that comes up as we keep zooming along.

Movin' right along, we now introduce you to one of Marvel's many widely heralded close-ups, so called because the "camera" (meaning the reader's eye) has moved in about as close as possible.

This type of panel, in which the reader's view of the scene is from farther away, enabling him to see the figures from head to toe, is called a medium shot.

And here we have a long shot. In fact, since it shows such an extreme wide-angle scene, you might even call it a panoramic long shot without anyone getting angry at you.

When you're up above the scene, looking down at it, as in this panel, what else could you possibly call it but a bird's-eye view?

On the other hand, when you're below the scene of action, as in this panel, where your eye, level is somewhere near Spidey's heel, we're inclined to refer to it as a worm's-eye view.

A drawing in which the details are obscured by solid black (or any other single tone or color) is called a silhouette. And now that we agree upon the language, let's get back to drawing the pictures...

Copyright © 1978 by Stan Lee and John Buscema

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I had this as a kid so it brought back many fond memories. I bought this for my boy and he loves it too. It's a great way to encourage kids to get them into art. He loves superheroes so this book helps him draw them.
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Format: Paperback
I remember when this book came out years ago, and was always curious about it. But other of life's callings caused me to never pursue it. Now that I have a six-year-old boy who likes to draw, it renewed it's interest with me, and yes, I picked up a copy from I'll review it on two fronts.
First, I looked through it myself. I was impressed with the way they started you off with the basics, and got progressively harder. One could say "Duh!" to this, but the good point about it is that it gets you into actually drawing the famous Marvel characters relatively early. Like with the second lesson. It also takes you into the world of the things to look out for if you were involved in putting an actual comic book together. So not only do they cover how to do the action figures, it shows how to draw backgrounds to provide prospective, covers the topic of inking, and even has a chapter on drawing covers! So it does cover the entire spectrum.
Second was how the boy took to it. While he has a busy schedule, and while no, he doesn't spend every waking hour with it, when he does he has been known to spend a couple hours per sitting practicing the drawing. Once I got him past the idea that the first one had to be perfect, and that practicing over and over again was what made you a good illustrator, he took to it very well.
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By A Customer on May 23 2004
Format: Paperback
For anyone wanting to just start drawing, then this is a pretty good book to start with. It starts out with basics like figure drawing and perspective and moves on to subjects such as composition and panel creations. However, don't expect to come out an expert artists after reading this book. It merely is a stepping stone to get you started on drawing really cool comics. The exercises are presented really simply and almost systematically so that it's easier on a novice drawer. What the book lacks is any information on technique. You'll notice that the artist's drawings are much better than your's, but don't feel bad, that's because he's probably holding the pencil differently or is using a technique other than just holding the pencil like he's writing an essay (which is how all us beginners start out). Bottom line is, it gets you aquainted with drawing and the step by step exercises makes sure that you have reference to work off of so that you can compare your work and progress with the illustrations in the book.
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Format: Paperback
I bought the book under influence from a friend of mine who said it was essential if you wanted to draw superhero comics. I can tell you, I was NOT disappointed. It starts off with the basics. Later going into the obvious subject, how to draw great superhero comics. I learned alot from this book, e.g.the human head and the vital information on the stance of the character you draw or create.
If there is a down side to the book, you could say it is also it's greatest aspect. It is the variety of subject it goes into. This book will help you become good at ALL (or at least most) of the subjects it goes into. Which is a great thing. But it doesn't teach you to be great at any of them. Which is pretty obvious since this is a book that teaches you every aspect of drawing great comics. After you've read this book (and you want to keep progressing), you really should check out the books which the authors suggest on each subject "touched upon in this volume" (quoting the book).
A must buy, an essential if you will.
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By A Customer on Sept. 5 2002
Format: Paperback
No one is more qualified than Stan "The Man: Lee and "Big
John" Buscema. Stan's trademark prose and Buscema's art
establish the foundation for what will become a good learning
experience for any aspiring young artist. Got my copy back
in 81 or 82. Had to replace it in 92 (things get lost when
moving.). And it still has an honorary place on my shelf.
If you are a kid with an interest in learning to draw, this
book is a good place to start. It keeps things simple.
However, you probably don't want to make it your bible.
The Marvel Way as outlined in this text was established by an
older generation of creators who are now mostly retired
or died off.
(Indeed, John Buscema passed away earlier this year)
The new jack fandom of artists is proven to have their own
aesthetics and principles and may clash with some of what
this book teaches. And BTW, this all started to
happen long before the intrusion of the manga/anime style,so
there are other aspects to blame.
As pure nostalgia, this book isn't bad at all. And you could
always give it to your kids.
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Format: Paperback
First I wanted to see when I was looking for a drawing book is a review wich tell me if this is a good book and I tell you something ¿Why do you think I give five stars to this book?... exact!!, the book explains everything of the basics needed to draw comics. Oh, you can draw your own characters but you can't draw them in action, or you can't draw faces, or you can't make them keep the proportions, or they don't have the right perspective or anything like that, well I tell you something: YOU NEED THIS BOOK. The only "weak point" I find in the book is that the comic style is a little old (70-80) but as the great Stan Lee says: "You can bend the rules when you've learned them perfectly" ¿what does it mean?, after you know the basics you can draw your own super heroe/villain with the actual style [I preffer the John Buscema draws GREAT ONES!! :)]
So ¿do you want to know what you will learn or when you need the book? ok I'll tell you:
If you don't know how to start drawing
"Lesson 1: The Tools-and The Talk-of The Trade!"
If you draws seems flat and unreal
"Lesson 2: The Secrets of-Form! making an object look real"
If your stuff seems out of place
"Lesson 3: The Power of-Perspective!"
If your human characters seems anormal
"Lesson 4: Let's Study the-Figure!"
If you CAN'T draw a human being
"Lesson 5: Let's Draw the-Figure!"
If you can't draw heroes/villains in action, think in a lesson name
"Lesson 6: The Name Of The Game is-Action!"
If your heroes/villains seems out of perspective guess what
"Lesson 7: Foreshortening! The Knack of Drawing the Figure in Perspective!"
If your heroes/villains seems with horrible heads
"Lesson 8: Drawing the Human Head!
Read more ›
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