Is a Comic Book a Book?

A lot of work (and money) goes into creating a comic. Writing a novel also takes a lot of effort, months of sitting hunched over your laptop, typing away for hours on end. Both are books, but it’s different. Comic books are thin and readers go through them quickly while it takes a little longer to read a novel of 80,000 or 100,000 words. Is a comic book a book, though? Yes, it definitely is.

A lot of work goes into creating a comic.

After talking to fellow author Joshua Grant about The Lost Boy, the comic he published, it’s clear that creating The Lost Boy took time, effort, patience, work, and also some investment. I was surprised when he told me about it during a chat on Zoom.

By now, this has turned into a series with 6 episodes.

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As a child, I used to devour comics (Tin Tin and Asterix were my favorites, but I also read others). I never stopped to think about the publishing process, not even when a friend told me that The Path of the Stone would make a great comic.

I thought that I could hire someone to do it for me, and of course that’s possible, but it is more expensive than publishing a book.

Some Details to Consider

It can cost between $60 to $90 US to create one page in a comic book, but according to Josh it could also be cheaper. He recommends checking out various artists on Fiver and work with the one you feel comfortable with.

There are many things to consider when you make a comic:

  • For the cover, measurements of 7 by 10 inches are recommended.
  • Line art – will it be penciling or inking?
    • Or will it be traditional? (by hand)
  • You need to consider which colors you want to use.
  • Which lettertype, the size of the letters, etc.
  • How many panels do you want on each page?
    • Usually it’s 6 panels per page. ( which is the limit)
    • It should be around 42 words per panel
  • Formatting: this part can be challenging.

If you’re doing this for the first time, see it as a learning process, and be patient. Take your time to learn the ropes instead of rushing through it. Creating a comic is very different from writing a novel. Both depict stories but the preparation and formatting are entirely different.


For formatting, please pay attention to the following points:

  • Full script is the most common format. (Plot script is the other option)
  • Keep the number of story pages to script pages to a 1:1 ratio.
  • How many pages should your comic have? The rule is either 24 or 32 pages.
  • There are different formatting techniques. Pick the one that you’re most comfortable with.
    • Screenplay format – this is more popular for writers since this format resembles a screenplay. The elements are still like in a comic book but the organization of the comic is based on formatting rules that are closer to a screenplay’s formatting regulations.
    • Marvel method – this one seems a little more difficult to me. Apparently, this formatting method was successful until the early 2000s, but it never really fell out of fashion. According to Comicsbeat, “the Marvel method is a riskier way to make a comic than write a full script.”
      By Wiki Commons:
      [[File:D23 Expo 2011 – Marvel panel – 1939 – Marvel Comics debuts! (6080860629).jpg|D23_Expo_2011_-_Marvel_panel_-_1939_-_Marvel_Comics_debuts!_(6080860629)]]

      In my opinion, if you’re creating a comic for the first time, I would use one of the other methods, perhaps the Dark Horse or the van Lente’s format. The screenplay format also seems easy to use.
    • Fred van Lente’s Format – this one is quite simple and its procedure is based on common sense.
    • Comic’s Experience Format – the guidelines for this format are clear, this format is considered easy.
    • Dark Horse Format – the guidelines in this format are easy to follow.

The Difference between Full Script and Plot Script

In Full Script, every panel, line of dialogue, and scene are clearly described. It’s similar to a screenplay. So, summarized, it’s a document that gives a detailed description of the narrative and dialogue of the story.

The Plot Script provides a detailed outline or description of the story, which is divided into panels and pages. Marvel’s Stan Lee used this method.

What are the Parts of a Comic Called?

  • Margins: empty spaces without drawings or text
  • Frames (or boxes): this frames the drawings and the text
  • A tier: a series of frames
    • a standalone series of frames is called a strip (or comic strip) – you often find them in newspapers where you’ll see a strip of a few frames. Those strips don’t have to fill up the whole page.
  • Gutters: the (usually) white space between two frames
By Wiki Commons:

Fun Facts about Comics

  • The last page of a comic book is usually called an epilogue.
  • The largest market for comic books is in Japan.
  • The first Superman comic was in 1938.
  • Cartoons were the predecessor to comics, and they were popular in England and America since the early 1800s.
  • The first comic books (the ones that were considered “true” comics) were marketed in 1933 as giveaways.
  • Bob Bretall in the US owns the largest comic book collection, in total 101,822 pieces.
Representative image by Wiki Commons:
[[File:20180615 BruC 3941 (48385537032).jpg|20180615_BruC_3941_(48385537032)]]

Final Thoughts

I have never created a comic book and I don’t know if I will ever turn The Path of the Stone into one, although it is a great idea. All the info in this article is based on my interview with author Joshua Grant and my own research. I hope that this article gives you an idea and can be of some help.

To answer the question whether a comic book is a book, I would say, yes, definitely. The end result may look different and you may need less time to read it, but a lot of work goes into it before it hits the market.

If you would like to create a comic, it would be best to talk to someone who has already done it or hire a freelancer with experience in the creation of comics. If you have questions, comments, or recommendations, please let me know in the comment section below.

9 thoughts on “Is a Comic Book a Book?

  1. Hi Christine,

    I suppose the fact that it is called a comic book and not just a comic makes it a book but of course, there is a massive difference between the two. There definitely both related but anyhow when I stumbled across your post I didn’t expect it to have such great information. I used to draw comics when I was a kid. It wasn’t something I pursued into my adult years but now thinking about it never really thought too much about what went into publishing a comic book on the independent circuit. It sounds as if it would cost a few thousand pounds just to make one comic book. Sounds like quite a risky business but I guess if someone feels confident enough these kinds of ventures definitely could be HUGE!

    Probably would be a good little gig to get into as a comic book artist on Fiverr as well lol Probably a bit rusty these days from when I was younger but fortune favors the brave and all that ?

    1. Hi Alex,

      Fortune indeed favors the brave. Even if making a comic requires some investment, they have always been and will continue to be massively popular.
      In the end, the investment will be returned to you.

  2. I never knew a lot of work goes into the writing of a comic book. Truthfully, it can be fun reading one because it’s easier to read and also because it comes with pictorial animations of the characters. This makes it feel like you’re actually in the scene being described in the book. Some people who find reading more of a chore than a pleasure will enjoy reading comic books. Especially teenagers who seem to get lazy at reading. Thanks for the insight, Christine.

  3. We are sure glad that you explained that a comic book is a story and considered a book. You went into detail and we are going to write us a book.


  4. I would say that Path of the Stone could be a great comic book. Considering its story, it would fit into today’s reader’s expectations and interests. I never knew that creating a comic book would take so much time and so much money too…I mean $60 a page is quite a lot. Thanks for this info Cristine, and let us know if you decide to publish the Path as a comic book.

    1. Hi Julius,

      I was also surprised when I found out the costs of creating a comic. I guess that those costs are recuperated with sales, since comics are so popular.
      Thanks for your comment!

  5. Hi Chriistine,
    I was pleasantly surprised to learn that it can cost between $60 to $90 US to create one page in a comic book! Wow! But then it really should not. being that comics require the detailed , engaging graphics that we all love!. Comics make for an easier read than books, and keep the user transfixed enough to imagine themselves right in the midst of all the action. What I didn’t know was that it cost so much!


    1. Hi Ceci,

      When I first talked to Josh and learned how much it can cost to create only one page in a comic book I was also very surprised, but yes, it makes sense, considering the detailed graphics that are made.
      Thank you for your comment!

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