Tuesday, April 30

How To Fix Printed Comic Panels

After HeroesCon 2012, I blogged about my process of making comics. None of that has changed; it's still all about resource management. And one of your resources is time. When that gets compromised, mistakes happen. That happened to me this year.

I wanted to get my 2013 comic printed and mailed to me in time for Free Comic Book Day. Originally I aimed for the 2013 HeroesCon in early June, but the chance to have the book in hand while doing sketches at the local comic store was too attractive. That forced me to wrap up the comic a month early, and errors slipped past me.

I cracked open the box from the printer this weekend, flipped through the comic, and there was the mistake. Twice. I had changed my villain name at the last minute, and I didn't catch all the instances of his name. On two panels, the wrong name appears.

I had two options:

1) Pay for a new print with the fastest turnaround time. I had ordered 150 issues. I could pay to replace them all or guess how many issues I would need before the FCBD weekend. Maybe I could order 30 or 50, and order the remaining 100 issues between then and HeroesCon. This would be expensive either way. Very expensive.

2) I could cover the bad panels with corrected panels on sticker paper. I did this before with a comic cover in 2011. A mistake forced me to cover a really small but really bad color error. I matched the color on sticker paper and cut out slivers to cover the mistake. You can't find it unless you look for it. Even I forget it's there.

I decided on the second option. Originally, I was going to print out the correct word and paste it along onto the pages. I tried that for two issues and realized it would take too long. I had enough sticker paper for all the replacement words so I didn't have to buy anything extra, making it the cheaper solution. But I decided to print both corrected panels on sticker paper instead, and that demanded I buy three more sticker packs. Yes, I'd rather have paid the extra money for a faster print turnaround originally and given myself an extra day to proof than correct the panels, print them on sticker paper and make 300 corrections. Lesson learned. Still, it's not that expensive a correction, and it wouldn't take all that long, and I'd much rather do this than let that go out into the world.

Here's my workshop floor. I have roughly 25 sheets of sticker paper with the corrected panels. The envelopes are packets of the Robot Wonderboy comics; when you order a six-pack, you get the comics in the envelope with a sticker telling you the reading order.

I cut out the panels into small stacks, open the issues, and slap them in.

Here are the bad panel and the good panel. Again, I could have replaced only the name, but those little sticker pieces would have been frustrating to work with.

Panel before.

Panel after.

Once the comics were corrected, they were put into the packs, and I replaced the 5-pack sticker with the new six-pack sticker.

It's simple, but it's not easy. But it's more than halfway done, and I have plenty for FCBD.

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