Scott McCloud’s ‘The Right Number’ Online

I saw this over at Boing Boing and it triggered my interest as we’ve talked a lot about digital comics and how they may present themselves. One creator who is best known for his books on explaining how comics work in Understanding Comics, Scott McCloud has experimented with this possible medium, notably in his online presentation of “The Right Number”.

Check it out – its actually a good read and the execution online isn’t that bad at all, in fact, it’s kinda cool…

I have to admit, I’m not a huge fan of flash but I recognize how it could help the experience of reading comics online. I haven’t been thrilled with the attempts Marvel has made in this area with their use of flash – but this method of scrolling through panels is really fluid and actually quite fun to read.

The one difference between traditional comics and online comics of this nature, is the idea of the “page” in that a page is a collection of panels and their organization, whereas when you show individual panels in this style, I think you may lose something in terms of the presentation of a layout as an aspect of the story and the art. I’m not entirely sure that can be solved online or not and may just end up being a unique attribute of online comics.


  1. I like it. I don’t know if I want it to be the new standard, but it is better than Marvel’s digital attempts. It loads smoothly and tells the story well. I can’t tell if my preference for print layout is me just being resistant to change or that a print page has an advantage that I am over looking. I think some art styles may not work so well in this set up. Splash pages would seem less impressive. I want to try one of my weekly books in this format.

  2. Another attempt at what digital comics could do is demonstrated at my site

    it’s a digital comic set to music. think of it as a comic book music video.

  3. Gotta hand it to McCloud for constantly rethinking what digital comic means. For me the zooming thing felt weird, and is gimmicky, but I admire his efforts in this area so much

  4. I, for one, welcome the digital comics revolution.


  5. marvel isn’t the only one dabbling in digital comics. Image uses a viewer similar to acrobat and out of all the digital comics i’ve seen theirs is by far the easiest to read.

    McCloud’s comic was cool but i got dizzy initially. i think digital comics should be embraced b/c not only is it better for the environment, but an independent comic creator can get his/her work out there more easily and for cheaper than they could if they relied on paper.

  6. I liked the zoom, I didn’t like the smaller version of the next panel appearing in the middle of the current panel.

  7. Digital comics seem inevitable in a way. I think the interesting thing will be what price the industry decides on for a digital issue. It had better not be 2.99

  8. I admire the “thinking outside the box” attempt but, Digital comics just doesn’t do it for me the same way the old ink and paper does. (Am I getting old?)

    the Tiki

  9. sorry to but in, and i know the thread is about McCloud’s work, but what did you guys think of mine?
    i would love to hear feedback on it. it’s my first comic. the site it is on is posted above but its

  10. Luke, if I were you, I’d go to the Rev3 forums, and start a thread there asking for feedback.

    Good luck.

  11. I just read it. It was a good little short story. There was a little “La Jetee” moment at the end, for those of you film students out there.

  12. I loved it. I guess I am not sure if the story is improved using this method of digital, and zooming at that, but overall I think it was effective. Homeboy is a freaking stalker! and the zooms into his eye really worked to bring you into his head, I thought. I also thought that the sort of mathimatical-insanity aspect worked with the the panel numbers at the bottom.

    “the new standard…” I don’t know, but it worked for me more as a FLASH.

  13. I think THIS particular comic is served very well by this method, because it was designed to use it. But, at that point, is it comics? Or is it something new, somewhere between comics and animation.

    I watched Luke’s comic above, and I felt vaguely the same. Is it really comics?

    But then, do they need to have a set definition? I don’t have an answer for that.

  14. I say use McCloud’s own deffinition of “sequential art.” So, YES, by all accounts, this is a ‘comic’. But who cares? Maybe it is just art, or just a story. Point is it worked on both levels. At least it did for me–and that is all I ask for.

  15. Luke– I just watched yours. I liked it. Cool how the banjo pipes in along with Jesus and all that. But I am with Josh–it is crossing the line with animation. Not that that is a bad thing. Something about no words I guess, and not having the power to go at your own pace… and the music. It looks and sounds cool.

    Critically, though the zooming was good, it was obvious that you made this as a comic and then put it into a FLASH. Right? The black sides on some of the screens looked a little sloppy and took me out of the experience and into how you put it together.

    Good art though. You have talent. Keep it up.