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Learn How to Introduce Your Comic Characters with a Bang

A tip from the pros: never write dull character introductions.
October 23, 2016, 12:15pm
Bits of information are revealed about the protagonist, “flashcard style,” in this panel selection from Romulus by Bryan Hill and Nelson Blake II. On shelves now from Image Comics. Screencap via

This week’s episode of the comic masterclass Strip Panel Naked, courtesy of Hass Otsmane-Elhaou, is a continuation of a conversation with acclaimed comic artist Nelson Blake II. “We’re going to be looking at a page from the middle of his Image Comics book, Romulus,” explains our host, Otsmane-Elhaou, “co-created with writer Bryan Hill. We talk about the superhero reveal, building cool moments for characters, and how to get your audience to be part of the storytelling process.”

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The protagonist leaps from the page and into the story. Panel selection from Romulus by Bryan Hill and Nelson Blake II. On shelves now from Image Comics. Screencap via

The video focuses on the page above, where the main character is “really jumping out into the story now,” says artist Nelson Blake II. Of he and writer Bryan Hill’s sensibilities, Blake gives fair warning. “Full disclosure here, Bryan and I are cheeseballs. So all of this, all the esoteric secret society stuff… we are eighties kids cheeseballs. So our characters are gonna have theme songs, and hero moments, and villain moments, we live for that stuff.” This leap from a rooftop into action is a true “hero moment,” and it brings an urgency to the page while being a hell of a way to introduce a character.

Another big hurdle for some artists and writers is the need for exposition when introducing characters, but Blake isn’t worried about it. “Exposition doesn’t have to be bad or boring,” the artist explains. “And in the case of a comic book, or story, I think it’s very easy for it to be interesting either when something’s at stake or it’s very personal. So having that kind of personalized exposition, it really works to keep it flashcard style.”

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For more on character building and crafting exciting introductions from Nelson Blake II, watch the second part of his “Creator Edition” episode of Strip Panel Naked below:

To see more, visit the Strip Panel Naked YouTube page, and check out its Patreon page to support the series.

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