What’s been keeping me company in the studio this workweek:
Danzig – Deth Red Sabaoth
Ryan Adams – Orion
Raphael Saadiq – Stone Rollin’
Airbourne – Runnin’ Wild
Word Balloon with John Siuntres – Jonathan Hickman SDCC 2011 Spotlight Panel
Note: The Word Balloon Podcast with Hickman was EXCELLENT. Great perspective from Jonathan on creator-owned comics, working for the big two, breaking into comics and the craft of writing.
Last time in Part 3 of “Comic Pages Drawn Per Year Series” (Part 1 & Part 2) we looked at Jeff Smith and Eduardo Risso. Guys who had done a big project that spanned many years — 1,342 page/55 issue and 2,200/100 issue stories respectively.
I started wondering about guys who had worked on even BIGGER projects than Bone or 100 Bullets. That led me to weekly serialized manga, and specifically Katushiro Otomo’s Akira and Eiichiro Oda’s One Piece (the highest selling manga series of all time). Manga series come in all shapes and sizes, but most manga are around 16-20 pages and are serialized in collections (like Shonen Jump) each week (with a few weeks off during the year). Most manga artists (known as mangaka) employ assistants (generally 3-5) to help them get their work done under such tight deadlines. Since there are ton of unknown variables when looking at these numbers for Otomo and Oda, I’m positive the stats are nowhere near accurate, but they’re still interesting nevertheless.
- by Katsuhiro Otomo (& his assistants)
- 120 Chapters serialized in Young Magazine
- December 20th, 1982 – June 25th, 1990
- That’s 2,744 days or 392 weeks- Akira 1 = 352 pages
- Akira 2 = 296 pages
- Akira 3 = 280 pages
- Akira 4 = 392 pages
- Akira 5 = 408 pages
- Akira 6 = 440 pages
- TPBs = 2,168 pages
- (actual number of pages is probably slightly less, as each trade included titles, credits design matter etc.)
= 2,168 pages
= 289 pages a year (for 7.5 years)
= 24 pages a month
= 6 pages a week
- Otomo began working on the Akira anime in the middle of the manga series (so he was pulling some serious double duty).
- Akira anime was released July 16, 1988, two years before the manga ended.
- by Eiichiro Oda (& his assistants)
- 629 chapters (as of this writing)
- August 1997 – now (14 years and counting)
- That’s 5,073 days or 724 weeks
- 20 pages a chapter (roughly)
= 12,850 pages
= 918 pages a year
= 76 pages a month
= 18 pages a week
For comparison’s sake:
- Bone was 1,342 pages
- Akira & 100 Bullets are both roughly 2200 pages
- Akira finished in 7.5 years (with assistants and doing a movie)
- 100 Bullets finished in 9.5 years (unknown if any assistants and doing other comic book mini-series)
- One Piece is 12,850+ pages
- That’s like 10 of the Bone: One Volume Editions!
- Or 5 Akiras (and counting)!
“Too many people spend their lives climbing the ladder only to realize when they reach the top
that they climbed the wrong ladder.” - Simon Sinek
After a lot of soul searching and deliberation, I’ve decided to make some big changes in my life. I’ve reached the point where I feel I must make the choice between being a teacher/administrator, or a an artist/creator.
And when put in those terms, it’s really no choice at all.
So I’ve decided to leave the Kubert School to focus full-time on being a creator.
Don’t get me wrong. I can’t begin to tell you what an incredibly difficult decision this was to make. As those that know me will attest, I have an absolute PASSION for teaching. It’s part of my DNA. I can’t NOT do it.
But I don’t want to be the world’s best administrator. I want to be the world’s best cartoonist.
I’ve spent 13 years attending or working for The Kubert School. It’s a huge chapter of my life. And it will continue to be. I’ll still be involved with the school here and there, consulting and helping out. Definitely gonna miss everyone at the school, they’ve become my family away from home. Great people, one and all. And my sincere apologies to all the students coming back in the fall that were looking forward to my class. I really do feel guilty that I won’t be there for you next year, but I’m always available if you need help.
Part of focusing on creating involves me leaving New Jersey to move back home to Illinois (someplace more affordable) so the last couple weeks have been pretty hectic. Once I’m settled in, I’ll start posting a lot more art and progress on how The Happy Samurais is coming along.
So the bad news is I won’t be teaching or helping develop the Kubert School’s program anymore.
But the good news is, you’ll get to see a lot more comics from me!
For part 3 of “Comic Pages Drawn Per Year (Part 1, Part 2) I wanted to look at a couple guys who had worked on a single project that spanned many years of work. I remember stumbling across a figure somewhere on the internet — 1,342 pages. That’s how long Jeff Smith’s Bone series is. Seeing that figure is actually what started me down this path of looking at different creators and seeing how many pages they’d drawn during various points of their career.
When Jeff started Bone, he was writing, penciling, inking, lettering promoting and publishing it! To say he wore many hats is a ridiculous understatement, but I point that out to give a context to the amount of pages he was producing. He wasn’t just penciling, he was doing 10 other things at the same time.
As I started looking at Jeff’s numbers on Bone, I realized that while the series was 1,342 pages, it was “only” 55 issues. Now obviously 55 issues is a hell of an accomplishment, but when I see page counts in thousands for some reason I was thinking it had have been like 80-100 issues or something. But it was roughly 55 issues at 24 pages each. Seeing that number 55 immediately made me recall another of my all-time favorite artists, Eduardo Risso. Eduardo had penciled and inked 100 issues of 100 Bullets (written by Brian Azzarello). What was his output like over a project that was nearly twice as long as Bone?
So below is the breakdown on Jeff Smith’s Bone, and Eduardo Risso’s 100 Bullets. Now for the usual disclaimer: Remember these are just ballpark numbers and don’t take into account all the other comics, covers and other gigs they did during the time they were on these projects. Oh, and by the way, this July marks the 20th anniversary of Bone.
Jeff Smith on Bone
- 55 issues all written, penciled and inked by Jeff
- July 1991 – June 2004 (13 years)
- That’s roughly 4,700 days or 674 weeks
= 1,342 pages of Bone
= 103 pages a year
= 8.6 pages a month
= 2 pages a week
= 10 Eisner Awards
= 11 Harvey Awards
Update: After this was posted, the awesome Katie Shanahan (fellow ACAer) and a friend of hers met Jeff at this year’s San Diego Comic Con. They actually brought up these posts and he thought 2 finished pages of Bone a week sounded about right for his production. Thanks Katie and mystery friend!
Eduardo Risso on 100 Bullets
- 100 issues all penciled & inked by Eduardo
- August 1999 – April 2009 (9.5 years)
- That’s 3,531 days or 504 weeks
= 2,200 pages of 100 Bullets (that’s assuming each issue was 22 pages, which I know they all weren’t. So this number is probably way low.)
= 18 pages a month
= 4.5 pages a week
= 4 Eisner Awards
= 3 Harvey Awards
- during his time on 100 Bullets, Eduardo contributed to dozens of other comics including the 6-issue Batman: Broken City arc and the 3-issue Logan mini-series.
In Comic Pages Drawn Per Year – Part 1, we looked at 6-issue a year artists, 12-issue a year artists and some ROUGH estimates of Bryan Hitch’s output for a few projects. Again, the reason for this series of posts was my curiosity about how fast other comic book artists were producing pages during a year, or even over the course of a multi-volume project.
Today’s post looks at Stuart Immonen and Chris Samnee’s 2010 output. These guys are not only blindingly fast artists (12-issue a year guys), but they also always do absolutely phenomenal work.
- 2010 (in the first 301 days of the year)
= 271 pages of pencils
= 28 pages a month
= 6 pages a week
- link to Stuart Immonen commenting about his productivity