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"Need Opinions on a Thought", 4 days ago, 9:32 PM #1
NickWithAShotgun

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So I've been thinking a lot about this comic I'm making, and I'm in the middle of having the main character designs drawn up.

I want to know what people's thoughts are on having character information at the start of a comic, likely placed before the Prologue. It's more of a way to introduce the reader to characters they won't know about. It'll be simple stuff like their name and age and a bit of information about them, but not reveal everything I want to do with them.

So what are you guys' thoughts on this? Either way, I still will make the character info sheets for personal use so be honest with me.
4 days ago, 9:38 PM #2
GMan003
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Personally, I'm not a fan. It's very useful on a cast page, but if you just slap it in front of the story, it means you don't have confidence in the actual story to introduce them properly. It's about as blatant a tell-don't-show as you can get.
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4 days ago, 9:42 PM #3
ratt
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Disclaimer that i have a pretty short attention span but if i click through to a webcomic and im not hooked on a story within the first 5-10 pages i will not be able to keep reading. If i click though and i have to go through 3-5 pages of intro first... For me i'm just not that into it.
I DO however really appreciate about pages and character pages to refresh myself when i come back to comics. Otherwise if youre telling a story correctly i'll find out about the character along the way just fine
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4 days ago, 9:45 PM #4
wesley-draws

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I don't think there's anything wrong with it if it's just for fun, like the sort of thing you'd see before an RP. As long as it's not required reading. Like a reader should be able to skip them and still be able to care about the characters.
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4 days ago, 10:25 PM #5
Firefly Jelly

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NickWithAShotgun:So I've been thinking a lot about this comic I'm making, and I'm in the middle of having the main character designs drawn up.

I want to know what people's thoughts are on having character information at the start of a comic, likely placed before the Prologue. It's more of a way to introduce the reader to characters they won't know about. It'll be simple stuff like their name and age and a bit of information about them, but not reveal everything I want to do with them.

So what are you guys' thoughts on this? Either way, I still will make the character info sheets for personal use so be honest with me.


Every creator is different. For me, though, stat pages and intros are the last thing you should do.

The terrible truth is that at first, no one cares about your character, except you. This is because the readers don't know them yet. The best way to get to know them is not to give them a name tag and a list of stats- it's to place them in a story environment and have them interact with each other, or with their environment. The reader will pick up clues from what they say and do. If we don't learn your character's name until page 6 (or 60, or 600), it's no foul. Same goes for not learning their age, their life history, and the history of the evil empire by page 3. Avoid text walls and intro pages- show us, don't tell us. Show us who they are, what they do, what problems they face, and give us a reason to root for them. Save the character pages and pinups for supplemental material.
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4 days ago, 11:54 PM #6
mitchellbravo

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This is going to sound judgmental but when I see intro pages I tend to think the writer is either really really young or doesn't have faith in their own ability to introduce the character through story.
A lot of it is often stuff I as a reader don't even want to know, really. I don't need to know the character's specific age, if the comic takes place in high school or they look like a teenager I can safely figure they're a teenager, if the comic centers around working a shitty job and living in a lousy apartment I figure they're a young adult or, if drawn this way, old adult falling on hard times.

I don't know that it would automatically make me *not* read a comic, but I don't think I've ever read some introduction pages and gone to myself "I'm sure glad I read all that."
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3 days ago, 12:27 AM #7
BlueDragon

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I kinda agree that the cast page is probably the best place for that.

One thing you might consider, is having a character page between chapters. Say, like if you are taking a break or working on the next chapter, you could plop in a character sheet. By this time, people will be more invested in the story, and the post will act as a way to keep people immersed and give them some additional information.

I tend to agree that having the character pages first isn't going to draw a reader in. The story first, then extras ;) That's how I feel about it.
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3 days ago, 2:28 AM #8
Mopruk

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It’s a pretty cool idea and I’ve seen other people do this with stories before, but every time I see it I always just end up forgetting the characters anyways, at least until they’re actually introduced in the plot. I agree with the people above that you should totally still have this, but keep it in a separate part of the website so that people won’t have to click through it. This way will also have it be way better at serving its intended purpose as being a place for readers to refer to when they want some information about a character.
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3 days ago, 2:57 AM #9
jellyfishin

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I would have to agree with others here previously that having a cast page is more ideal than sticking the character info right at the start.

If you don't feel like setting up a cast page and want to stick the character info sheets in the comic itself, it might make more sense to have the character info at the end of a comic instead of at the start of it. Most paper comics books that have a character info blurb set it up this way. You could easily set it up this way in Comic Fury by toggling on the chapter system and setting up the chapter holding all the character info pages to be the last chapter.
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3 days ago, 6:46 AM #10
NickWithAShotgun

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Thanks for all the responses guys.

it might make more sense to have the character info at the end of a comic


I actually really like the idea of this, so I think that's what I'm gonna do. Other then that, the character info will be more for myself so thanks guys.
3 days ago, 6:51 AM #11
BeeMKay

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Personally, having those pages at the beginning is a turn off for me. The same goes for a lengthy prologue. I want to explore your characters through the story and world they are in. I mean, consider watching a TV show, say, a crime story. The very first scene you are watching is not one of someone being murdered or our detectives chasing someone, but several slides of statistics.
That said, I do use those character info panels during hiatus times to fill gaps between releases. I also put them into their own character section page, and have a "Who's Who" chapter that they are filed into.
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"Not recommended in general; here are the alternatives...", 3 days ago, 10:24 AM #12
xwindows
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NickWithAShotgun:I want to know what people's thoughts are on having character information at the start of a comic, likely placed before the Prologue.

As a rule of thumb: Don't do it this way.

There are multiple approaches on introducing the cast; what you mentioned is actually the least interesting way to introduce your reader to your comic; however there are two exceptional situations I could come up with, that before-story cast information would be suitable:

- When you are using existing characters that are already well known to your reader (e.g. fancomic, biography, historical), or...
- When you are speaking of non-first printed volume (or non-first season of webcomic), as a part of recap.

With that out of the way; as a reader, these are multiple ways I have seen authors, in webcomics and printed comics, show extra character information; sorted by how early the character information appeared:

1. Character information as an insert panel, off-panel content, margin note, or footnote; at the page of character's first appearance.
2. Character page(s) inserted just after the page of that character's first appearance.
3. Character page as extra page(s) at the end of chapter, showing (extra) information of characters who have first appearance in that chapter.
4. Character page as intermission page(s) between chapters, showing (extra) information of characters who have appeared so far.
5. Character page at non-first volume/season start, to re-introduce them as a part of recap/story-so-far summary.
6. Characters information in a separate Cast section.

Note that "first appearance" here usually don't count cameos (that is, unless you meant to point it out). Also, choice 1 and 2 don't seem to be very common.

If you decided to go with choice 6 (Cast section/Cast page), it implies that reading Cast section is optional, so you would need to do the relevant in-story exposition properly; or the readers would keep wondering "What's up with that guy?" after finishing your comic.

P.S. I also wrote about essential elements of the Cast section back earlier in the year. (Drama Warning: Read other posts in that thread at your own discretion; and don't reply to Comic Fury forum threads that their last activity are older than a month)
3 days ago, 3:06 PM #13
Travis

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I'm over 100 pages into my comic, and I still haven't introduced the whole cast. I introduce a character through storytelling. I'll focus a story around them, and give them space to show who they are rather than tell everyone in a memo. Currently I'm Focusing on Mae Harm, Bruno's wife. But it's not important that people know how old she is or what her favorite color is. She's interacting with characters and we're getting a sense of her personality as we go. Heck I'm still learning who she is. I don't want to lock myself into something in the beginning, when I can add to a character more organically. Heck, I've got Characters that were pretty much throw away characters that I am finding much more interesting as I write. Also, if you plan on working with characters for a long time, there is no hurry in getting everything out there. Save some material for down the road.
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Forum > Webcomic & Art discussion > Need Opinions on a Thought
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