The Caption Box Mystery

Posted in alignment, ben katchor, caption boxes, centre, daniel clowes, left, manu larcenet, marvel, text, word balloons on January 25, 2015 by sonnyliew


I’ve always tended to center-align text in caption boxes in my own comics… but recently realised that most comics seem to left-align their text in boxes… for example, here’s Ben Katchor and something from the Fantastic Four (featuring Ben Grimm!)



(who also deal with the last line in different ways: Katchor centers the orphan “Alarms”, whilst the Marvel letterer cropped the box itself).


In the english translation of Manu Larcenet‘s Ordinary Victories however, the text is center-aligned.



… whilst samples from Daniel Clowes suggests that he follows the shape of the box/balloon.

So… are there are principled reasons for picking either choice within a rectangular caption box?

Some theories I’ve heard:

1. Left-alignment looks more like a journal or diary entry (via Gene Yang)

2. Left-alignment was technically easier to execute when hand-lettering (via Janice Chiang)

3. Eyeball tracking means readers process left-aligned text more quickly (via Jesse Hamm)

What do other comics creators and readers out there think? :)


Posted in cmyk, dc vertigo, gene yang on January 24, 2015 by sonnyliew


There’ll be a new story by Gene Yang and myself in the upcoming Vertigo Quarterly!

Do check it out! :)

Adventure Wars

Posted in comics alternative, podcast with tags , , , , , , , , on January 17, 2015 by sonnyliew

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A couple of sketches done at Atom Comics… It’s Han the Human and Chewie the Dog, plus Ice King Vader and Princess Marceleia,  I guess :p

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Meanwhile, for an early word on the Art of Charlie Chan Hock Chye, here’s a podcast from Comics Alternative, at around minute 35 to 39 :)


Je Suis

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on January 11, 2015 by sonnyliew


Nothing’s really straightforward in life anymore :/

Bad Company

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on December 24, 2014 by sonnyliew


Been working on The Art of Charlie Chan Hock Chye for quite a while, past deadlines and cancelled grants, always wondering where the book was headed… so it’s with a sense of relief and a dose of giddiness to be able to say that the book is being picked up in the US and UK by Pantheon Books.

Their back catalog is several kinds of amazing, from Maus to Persepolis, Asterios Polyp to Jimmy Corrigan, Ice Haven, Mr. Wonderful and the Ben Katchors…

I’m hoping Charlie Chan is not some kind of outlier; but even if it was, I’ll just ride the wave for a bit before the wipeout :p

Readers in Singapore and Malaysia will get a first look at the book, with Epigram Books publishing what might be called the Singaporean edition in early 2015.

For the Real Bad Company : Bad Company


Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 4, 2014 by sonnyliew


The Shadow Hero has made several best of lists of late, including…

1. NPR’s Best Books of 2014

2. Salon’s 10 Spectacular GN of 2014

3. Washington Post’s Top 10 Graphic Novels of 2014

4. Amazon’s Best Books of 2014

5. The Goodreads Choice Awards 2014 (vote now! :p)

And there’s exciting news on The Art of Charlie Chan Hock Chye pending soon too!


I haven’t had a chance to read too many new comics this year, but Beautiful Darkness by Vehlmann & Kerascoet did stick in the mind with its combination of childrens book illustrations and dark, dark deeds.

Favourite movie of 2014 is a tossup between Edge of Tomorrow and Boyhood, though Koreeeda’s I Wish on DVD was excellent too.

And then there was the belated discovery of Adventure Time :p


Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on November 15, 2014 by sonnyliew


The Shadow Hero makes the Amazon Selection for Best Books 2014! (Graphic Novels category)

It’s also on the Goodreads list that you can vote on if you feel so-inclined :p

The Edge of Tomorrow meanwhile remains my fave blockbuster of 2014 – with Boyhood the best movie overall :p


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