Your New Coffee Table Friend no. 1: Comic Book Design

comic book design

Continuing this informal daily (-ish) holiday series on Wow Cool, that highlights some cultural objects that may have flown under your radar, but are well worth a look for one reason or another, we move on to a few lovely (comic) art books that were published in 2009. In other words, if you have some leftover holiday cash and need a coffee table book, you could do far worse than to get these.

Being a former comicbook designer (for most of the 1990’s at Tundra, Fantagraphics and elsewhere), Gary Spencer Millidge’s Comic Book Design: The Essential Guide to Creating Great Comics and Graphic Novels immediately caught my eye. I have never seen a book similar to this one. Considering the scope of it’s topic, it does a pretty good job with it, offering samples from an impressive array of genres, eras and publishers. The book is of a decent size to do justice to the material (11×10″) and the reproductions are generally of a high quality. Although, as pointed out in this more detailed review on Comic Book Bin, the art is sometimes victim of the format (or more specifically, trying to make the page design grid accommodate different publication sizes), resulting in a few examples that are either too small or are distorted. Such is the later case in one I am far too familiar with (having done the color separations back in 1997), the reproduction of the cover of Chris Ware’s Acme Novelty Library #8 from Fantagraphics books, which appears to be stretched out to fit the books layout. Apart from that, of the many times that I have seen that cover reproduced, this is the first that came close to the book’s actual appearance. Not an easy thing to do, as it was printed with a gold foil plate in addition to the usual CMYK.

Mr. Millidge is also the creator of strangehaven and he maintains a website and blog.