Old Archie Comics Are The Best Primer On How To Write

I’m reading through tons of old Archie comics which you might have seen me talking about over on the channel.

They’re great stories. The 1940s-1970s Americana elements have a truth and beauty in culture which are lost to a lot of current comic books on the stands.

But each of these stories is an interesting lesson. They’re 5-10 pages, which is short in the modern comic world where a typical writer can’t get in a decent beginning-middle-end even in 120+ pages, they tell complete stories, they introduce all of the characters who are memorable in each one of them.

It’s exactly what a writer should hope for. You want your characters dialed to a point where they’re instantly recognizable just from the dialogue and their actions, and Archie accomplishes this better than almost every comic out there. It’s not just the main character who’s fleshed out like most superhero comics, but every side character has such a distinct personality the stories almost write themselves as you’re reading them.

The succinctness is another beauty to the books, showing comic writers you don’t need to expand a story to where there’s 9 panels of a single head talking like a lot of modern comics do. Every panel is filled with movement, a change in scenery, action, even in a comic that’s mostly about relationship comedy.

Writers should be reading these in order to learn how to make comics effectively, not the latest DC issues. It’s the only way we’re going to get good culture back again.

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