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Student guide chapter 3: The Strip Club

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Chapter 3 explains the basics of the daily comic strip. Once you’re into multi-panel storytelling, there’s no turning back: you’re a cartoonist!

In this section you’ll find versions of “The wrong planet” that you can print out and use if you’re working alone or in a small group. You’ll also find examples of the homework.

Prep guide

Questions to ask yourself

  1. What are some of the differences between single-panel comics and comic strips?
  2. What are some of the comic strips you've run across? What was their function (humor, political commentary, other functions, multiple function)?
  3. What can comic strips do that single-panel comics can't do (if anything)?

Supplies you will need

  • several pads of 3"x3" white or light-colored Post-it notes
  • several sheets of office paper
  • pencil
  • eraser
  • pen

Optional but recommended

Nothing extra this time


The wrong planet

"The Wrong Planet" is about editing and pacing. It's not common for you to develop a story with each panel on a separate piece of paper, but that's what you're doing here, with the advantage that you can more easily change your mind about how you tell the story.

For Ronin and small groups:

Choose one of the five stages of the plot of "The Wrong Planet" to draw yourself, and do that first, before looking at the examples we've provided. Then, click below to find examples of each of the five stages of the story. Print out the stages you didn't draw yourself, then cut them apart to make sets of panels to manipulate along with your own.

Strip it down

This will be your first critique of a full story, albeit a short one. Take the time to really look for the main points we discuss in the crit guide:
  • Clarity
  • Story structure
  • Reading order
  • Rhythm
  • Writing
Click to see examples of the homework by students with some comments from Matt and Jessica.

How to read Nancy

Bill Blackbeard, ed., Smithsonian Collection of Newspaper Comics Robert C. Harvey, The Art of the Funnies: An Aesthetic History ———, Children of the Yellow Kid: The Evolution of the American Comic Strip Jerry Robinson, The Comics: An Illustrated History of Comic Strip Art

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