Printing Companies
  1. About Printing Industry
  2. Printing Services
  3. Print Buyers
  4. Printing Resources
  5. Classified Ads
  6. Printing Glossary
  7. Printing Newsletters
  8. Contact Print Industry
Who We Are

Printing Industry Exchange (printindustry.com) is pleased to have Steven Waxman writing and managing the Printing Industry Blog. As a printing consultant, Steven teaches corporations how to save money buying printing, brokers printing services, and teaches prepress techniques. Steven has been in the printing industry for thirty-three years working as a writer, editor, print buyer, photographer, graphic designer, art director, and production manager.

Need a Printing Quote from multiple printers? click here.

Are you a Printing Company interested in joining our service? click here.

The Printing Industry Exchange (PIE) staff are experienced individuals within the printing industry that are dedicated to helping and maintaining a high standard of ethics in this business. We are a privately owned company with principals in the business having a combined total of 103 years experience in the printing industry.

PIE's staff is here to help the print buyer find competitive pricing and the right printer to do their job, and also to help the printing companies increase their revenues by providing numerous leads they can quote on and potentially get new business.

This is a free service to the print buyer. All you do is find the appropriate bid request form, fill it out, and it is emailed out to the printing companies who do that type of printing work. The printers best qualified to do your job, will email you pricing and if you decide to print your job through one of these print vendors, you contact them directly.

We have kept the PIE system simple -- we get a monthly fee from the commercial printers who belong to our service. Once the bid request is submitted, all interactions are between the print buyers and the printers.

We are here to help, you can contact us by email at info@printindustry.com.

Blog Articles for PrintIndustry.com

Archive for the ‘Comic Books’ Category

Printing Comic Books Through the Ages

Saturday, October 13th, 2012

I hadn’t really looked closely at a comic book since I was a teenager, but the advent of graphic novels piqued my interest, so I did some research into how comic books are printed.

I assumed they would be like a small-format magazines printed on newsprint with a gloss cover. I was a little behind the times.

Comic Books: A Grand Tradition

First of all, I was surprised to learn that comic books harken back to cave paintings, tapestries (think of the Bayeux Tapestry that tells the story of the events leading to the Battle of Hastings), and the illuminated manuscripts painstakingly illustrated by monks. Throughout history, it seems that people have recorded important events with pictures.

In addition, those of you familiar with the British Romantic poet William Blake might recall his work “The Marriage of Heaven and Hell,” which he also illustrated to match the poetic storyline, creating a work not unlike a graphic novel.

Paper Choices for Old School and New School Comics

Starting in the 1930s and for a number of decades thereafter, American comics were printed in 4-color ink on newsprint, often with a thicker, gloss-stock cover. Apparently this has changed a bit over time, since the comic book custom printing vendors I researched offer multiple options for commercial printing stock, usually starting at around 40# to 50# text weight for the interior pages and 40# to 80# text weight for the covers (coated and uncoated).

One of the commercial printing suppliers I called preferred to print sheetfed work on 60# or thicker stock. From this I assumed that the thinner comic book papers would only be appropriate for longer press runs printed on web presses. With a ribbon of commercial printing paper from a web press roll traveling through a web press, it is possible to keep tension in the paper and therefore use a much thinner substrate than a sheetfed press would tolerate without jamming.

Size and Format for Comic Books

Based on my research, I learned that comics tend to be 16 to 32 pages (in even 16-page signatures), either self-cover or plus cover. One comic book printer offered three separate formats ranging from 6.625” x 10.250” (standard) to 5.5” x 8.5” (digest) to 8.575” x 10.875” (magazine). Based on these specific dimensions, my assumption is that this particular custom printing supplier uses a web offset press.

Ink Choices for Comic Books

Traditionally, comic books have been printed in 4-color process ink. Interestingly enough, since the art is drawn (i.e., illustrated rather than photographed), “Ben-Day” screens were used in the 60s and 70s to create tinted and shaded areas. These were screens of equal sized dots—unlike halftone dots, which are of varying sizes—overlapping and printed in the four process colors to simulate areas of flat color.

If you look at the Pop Art parodies of comic book images that Roy Lichtenstein painted in the 1960s, you will see enlarged dot patterns for the tinted and shaded areas. (These enlarged dots simulated the coarse line screens needed for printing comic books on newsprint stock.)

Based on my research, I found that modern comic book printers offer either process color or b/w printing for their comic book magazines.

Binding Methods for Comic Books

Most comics are short, so they are saddle-stitched magazines. However, for graphic novels (much longer comic books), perfect binding is a more appropriate option. In the comic book world, however, a perfect bound book is referred to as “squarebound.”

Graphic Novels

Wikipedia refers to graphic novels as works of nonfiction, “thematically linked short stories,” and “fictional stories…bound in longer and more durable formats.” Essentially, they are actual print books or pictorial novels, and they are aimed at adult readers. Japanese “magna” would fit in this category. (Interestingly enough, these Japanese print books are read from back to front, and from right to left on each page.)

Where to Print Comic Books

Comic books are essentially magazines. If they are printed on newsprint, they are essentially small tabloid publications. Therefore, the best pricing for such a print job would come from a custom printing vendor that specializes in magazines or newspapers. Printers that produce advertising supplements would be ideal as well. In contrast, both quick printers and commercial printers might be able to print these jobs, but their prices might not be as competitive.

If the comic book needs to be printed on very thin coated or uncoated stock, or newsprint, a printer with a web press would be the ideal vendor.

If the comic book is a graphic novel, with qualities more akin to a perfect-bound book, your best bet would be to engage the services of a book printer.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, if you will only print a few hundred copies of a comic book, you might want to look at digital printing (printing based on laser imaging, also called “xerography” or “electrophotography”). This will be much more cost effective than offset printing.

The Final Arbiter

It’s all about how the book feels in your hands as well as how it looks. That is the tradition of the comic book.

Archives

Recent Posts

Categories


Read and subscribe to our newsletter!


Printing Services include all print categories listed below & more!
4-color Catalogs
Affordable Brochures: Pricing
Affordable Flyers
Book Binding Types and Printing Services
Book Print Services
Booklet, Catalog, Window Envelopes
Brochures: Promotional, Marketing
Bumper Stickers
Business Cards
Business Stationery and Envelopes
Catalog Printers
Cheap Brochures
Color, B&W Catalogs
Color Brochure Printers
Color Postcards
Commercial Book Printers
Commercial Catalog Printing
Custom Decals
Custom Labels
Custom Posters Printers
Custom Stickers, Product Labels
Custom T-shirt Prices
Decals, Labels, Stickers: Vinyl, Clear
Digital, On-Demand Books Prices
Digital Poster, Large Format Prints
Discount Brochures, Flyers Vendors
Envelope Printers, Manufacturers
Label, Sticker, Decal Companies
Letterhead, Stationary, Stationery
Magazine Publication Quotes
Monthly Newsletter Pricing
Newsletter, Flyer Printers
Newspaper Printing, Tabloid Printers
Online Book Price Quotes
Paperback Book Printers
Postcard Printers
Post Card Mailing Service
Postcards, Rackcards
Postcard Printers & Mailing Services
Post Card Direct Mail Service
Poster, Large Format Projects
Posters (Maps, Events, Conferences)
Print Custom TShirts
Screen Print Cards, Shirts
Shortrun Book Printers
Tabloid, Newsprint, Newspapers
T-shirts: Custom Printed Shirts
Tshirt Screen Printers
Printing Industry Exchange, LLC, P.O. Box 2238, Ashburn, Virginia 20146-2238 info@printindustry.com, (703) 729-2268 phone · (703) 729-2268 fax
©2012 Printing Industry Exchange, LLC - All rights reserved
Website by Ashley Cyber Services, LLC