Best Comic Book and Graphic Novel Printing

February 8, 2022

Best Comic Book and Graphic Novel Printing

Best Comic Book and Graphic Novel Printing

February 8, 2022

Comic books and graphic novels have been around for decades and weaved much of our cultural tapestry. Many of the icons we know and love got their starts on the uncoated pages of a comic.

For comic artists looking to print comic books or graphic novels for personal use or distribution, there are several considerations to make before you’re ready to print. From paper choices to graphic novel printing costs, here are some of the decisions you’ll need to make to ensure high-quality graphic novel printing or comic book publication. 

Comic Book vs. Graphic Novel

If you’re not clear on the difference between these two, you’re not alone. Both of these book forms use words and images to tell a story. However, a graphic novel is not just a fancy way of saying comic books. There are some  real differences between them. Before you start down your publishing path, you need to know which one you are writing.

Comic books have plots that are somewhat simpler than graphic novels and stretch a storyline out over three or more issues. They are serialized short stories that typically focus on a superhero or a distorted sense of reality. To appreciate a comic book, you likely need to read the ones that come before it in the series, whereas a graphic novel can stand alone. 

Graphic novels, on the other hand, are much more complex plot-wise and tend to wrap everything up in a single, self-contained story. Since they explore the story in-depth, they are usually longer than a comic book, though many comic conventions still apply to writing and creating graphic novels.

Think of graphic novels as a movie with intricate plot points, all of which conclude within a two-hour time frame. In this analogy, comic books are like a television show that spans a few seasons and may have a more uncomplicated, straightforward plot than a movie.

Once you’ve figured out whether you have a graphic novel or comic book on your hands, you can choose a publishing company that suits your needs.

Publishing and Print Process 

The digital world of publishing and self-publishing can become complicated quickly. It’s hard to navigate this territory if you’ve never done so before. One of the most crucial decisions you’ll make on your journey to becoming a published comic book author is what company you’ll choose to publish your work.

With superb quality and excellent customer service, Comix Well Spring has offered authors the opportunity to work with the very best since 2011. With 7,000+ customers worldwide, we know how to bring your ideas to life.

For your venture to succeed, choose a publisher who understands authors and appreciates comics. You want someone to guide you who has been in the business before, and Comix Well Spring is there every step of your publishing journey.

Once you’ve landed on the publisher you’ll use, you get to pick out the formatting options for your comic or graphic novel.

Color Options

One of the options for your print project is whether you’d like your panels printed in vibrant color or black and white. You can also employ a combination of both rich color printing and black-and-white panels.

Stories that depict a lot of action and are mainly plot-based look great in high-quality color because the vibrancy makes the action on the page pop.

If your creative work is more cerebral or theme-based, like a noir detective thriller, black and white can complement your narrative with stark contrasts and moody lighting. Choosing black and white ink over rich color printing can make publishing your comic or graphic novel at an affordable price more doable.

You also have the opportunity to choose some full-color pages and some black and white ones in different combinations.

Paper Options

When deciding how to print your graphic novel, there are many paper types to consider. These paper characteristics affect the way readers enjoy your comic or graphic novel, from the texture and sheen level of the page to the thickness of the printed book.

You can get your comic book or graphic novel printed on uncoated or glossy paper. Uncoated paper is used for older comics; it’s cheaper and flimsier but does an excellent job for a baseline product. You can also get uncoated pages printed in color.

Glossy paper is more substantial and shinier than the uncoated option. Colors jump off the page with this option, but the paper is heavier than the standard uncoated pages and costlier. You may not want to invest the extra money when it means your printed graphic novel or comic book is too bulky for readers due to the combined paper thickness. You may want to consider uncoated paper and a glossy cover if you’re on a budget.

The other aspect to consider when you’re thinking about what kind of paper you want is to determine the size of the paper. Standard comic book sizes are available, but you can also order your books in custom sizes.

The standard comic paper size is 6.875” by 10.438” inches bleed, or  6.625” by 10.187” trim. Standard sizes are usually more cost-effective to print than custom sizes, but custom sizes also make your finished product stand out.

When discussing your publication with the print shop, be careful not to confuse sheets with pages. The number of pages in your comic book or graphic novel is double the sheet count. This is because every printed sheet equates to two pages once you consider the binding in the center of the sheet.

You’ll also need to think about your paper weight. The heavier the paper weight, the thicker the sheet. Look at paper samples before choosing the thickness you’ll print on to ensure you’re happy with the final high-quality product.

Print Options

The differences between print options are subtle but essential. The number of books you want in the initial print runs can help determine the best printing option for your project.

Digital printing is perfect for those who only print a small run of comic books, around 200 to 300 copies. Since set-up costs are much lower for digital printing than for offset printing, if you’re only producing a few hundred, digital printing is the best printing process for your budget.

Offset printing is desirable when you need more than a few hundred copies of your comic or graphic novel. This option is the best choice for anyone needing over 1,000 copies. The offset printing method involves the images offset from a plate to a rubber blanket and then the page.

Binding Options

When you’re binding your graphic novel, consider perfect binding and saddle stitch options for a simple binding method that looks professional. Because the page count in a comic book is generally low, they often have saddle stitched bindings.

These bindings are constructed with folded papers and staples down the center. Saddle stitching is cheaper and allows the comic book to lie flat when opened, which works well for crossover images spanning two pages.

Perfect bound bindings are considered the best binding option. This type of finish is better suited for graphic novels because these usually have a higher page count. Perfect bound books are glued together at the spine with a strong, flexible glue. The other three sides are trimmed to fit the book size, creating succinct edges.

Perfect binding looks professional and allows for printing on the spine, which is aesthetically pleasing on your bookcase, but is slightly more expensive. You may find that saddle stitch binding is a limited option depending on the length of your publication.

While it may work for a comic book, if your  graphic novel exceeds 64 pages, you’ll need to use a perfect binding to secure your printed book. Conversely, you cannot choose perfect binding for fewer than 60 pages for a print project.

The Takeaway

When you’re preparing your  comic book or graphic novel projects for print, you need to fully understand all the decisions that go into the finished, published product. Having a friendly customer service team guiding you is beneficial whether you’re a self-publishing veteran or a relative novice.

Comix Well Spring provides excellent quality printing products with various turnaround times, delivery options, and attentive customer service. We’ve been helping clients make their custom printing dreams a reality since 2011.

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