Comic book printing is a decades-old art, and like the publishing industry as a whole, it has evolved over time. One of the ways it has changed is through the use of slightly thicker and better papers to create books that can hold up longer and be cherished collectibles.
Specialized comic book printers know the best practices for printing various types of works, and make multiple paper options available for publishers and indie creators. The best option for your comic book or graphic novel depends on your budget and whether you want full color printing.
Black and White Printing
Black and white or grayscale comic book printing typically uses 60# matte paper for the sheets of paper on the inside of the book. This paper weight provides a good balance of affordability and durability. However, some creators choose to use slightly heavier 70# matte paper for added durability.
Although some comic printers use off-white paper to print black and white comics, Comix Well Spring still prints our black and white comics on bright white paper. This provides crisp, clear lines and makes the book easier to read by providing sharper contrast.
Full Color Printing
Full color printing does not necessarily require heavier paper than black and white printing. Both 60# and 70# matte paper work well for printing comics, and 60# is the standard for single-issue full color comics.
Full color comics are sometimes printed on glossy paper, which is typically 80# paper. This heavier paper is a little more expensive, but adds a beautiful final finish to your hard work. Some comics fans love this type of paper and will appreciate you using it for your work.
Your front cover is both the part of the comic that catches a reader’s eye first, and takes the most wear and tear. Comic book printers offer multiple options for cover card stock for both staple-bound saddle stitch books and square bound books, also known as perfect bound books.
Printers use the term self-cover to describe a comic book or other booklet that uses the same type of paper for the cover as for the rest of the book. Standard size comic books sometimes have a self-cover, but this is not standard for perfect binding.
At Comix Well Spring, our standard saddle stitch cover paper options are 80# gloss and self-cover. We also offer upgrades to 80# matte cardstock for sketch covers or 100# glossy covers.
Square bound books are available with 80# gloss, U.V. coated 12 pt stock, and 80# matte sketch covers. These three options are professional-looking and display your hard work beautifully. U.V. coating helps the comic’s cover hold up even better over time, so it’s a great investment for collectors who take comic storage seriously.
Comic Books vs Graphic Novels
The default paper option for both single-issue comic books and square bound graphic novels is 60# paper. However, both graphic novels and comic books may elect to use 70# paper for black and white or 80# glossy for full color print.
Longer graphic novels may take both cost and paper thickness into account when deciding on paper type. A 200-page graphic novel on 80# glossy paper will be much thicker and somewhat more expensive than the same novel printed on 60# paper, so most artists creating that long of a work will stick with the cheaper option.
Papers to Avoid
Some copy paper for at-home or office use is just 20#, making it much more susceptible to wear and tear. This paper can’t create a high-quality book for fans to enjoy and re-read for years.
Even thicker copy paper is inappropriate for printing comics, especially full color ones, because it won’t hold large amounts of ink on both sides without some of the ink showing through. Professional-quality 60# or heavier printer paper is the best option for creating a self-published comic that looks how the creator intended.
Also avoid printing companies that use paper thinner than 60#, or who don’t specialize in printing comics. Printing images is a slightly different matter than printing plain text, and even slight differences in paper quality or printing techniques can make your comic look less than perfect.
Choosing the Right Options
No matter what paper you decide on, you deserve a high-quality product that makes your readers happy. Choose a printer that has a reputation for delivering excellent print quality on time.
Comix Well Spring is a subsidiary of Greko Printing, which gives it the knowledge and skills of a comics specialist with the technical backing of a larger printing company. We produce comics, trading and sketch cards, posters, bookmarks, and even banners and tablecloths you can use to promote your comics at conventions.
We offer digital and offset printing for comic creators, and have a minimum order quantity of just 25 copies. Use our easy online ordering system to select your paper options, and call our customer service line at (734) 345-6852 if you have any questions.