The Book That Made Me Love Comics: ‘How To Draw Comics The Marvel Way’

Okay, first off, I acknowledge that this website is pretty much outright theft, but it is an excellent opportunity to share some memories from my past.

I found a site which has basically posted every page from How to Draw Comics the Marvel Way.

I had a copy of this book when I was a kid, and I basically wore it out. It taught me how to look at comic book art very early on for the kinds of things that make them exciting and dynamic. I never did learn to draw like this, but I made many attempts at copying many of the pages in my sketchbook.

I can imagine that even for an artist starting out today, this is such a great look into what makes comic book art work, and what’s just boring. So many of these pages have been burned into my head from hours of reading them over and over. I know Conor had the same experience, and even though neither of us grew up to be artists, the stuff Stan and John taught us in this book certainly made a lifelong impact. From body types and angles, to page composition, I still mentally refer to this when I read comics today, whether I’m aware of it or not.

Seriously, if you ever see this in a bookstore, or a comic shop, leaf through it, and you’ll see what I’m talking about. And while it’s fun to look at the pages on the web, this is a book you should buy, rather than rip it off the web.


  1. I loooove this book. My dad got me an old copy of it a couple of years ago.

  2. I’ve had this book since I was a kid. I was so inspired by it then that I convinced my dad to take me to the art store to buy all the drawing supplies I didn’t really need (a triangle, gum erasers, different pencils, etc.).

    If that book taught me anything, it’s how to make a comic page dynamic in the old school Marvel way (though, it could be said the over the top 60-70’s approach isn’t always the best). I, too, vividly remember some of the pages in the book, like that comparsion of the non-dynamic scene with the Avengers and the scene re-drawn in the dynamic “Marvel way”.

    I haven’t used it much when I started getting serious about learning how to draw, but I think the important lessons of the book are ingrained in my head from my childhood.

  3. Kudos. This book sits proudly on my bookshelf.

    I think it was Scott McCloud who talked about it in one of his books: He said that when the book first came out, the industry loved it. Later, everyone hated it. Now, everyone loves it again.

  4. My personal favorites are the Wizard how to draw books
    they are very similar to HTDCTMW (that doesnt abbreviate very well) but updated with the new artists and expanded into multiple books
    even if you’re not big into drawing check em out. they are a feast for the eyes

  5. I loved this book. This brief article brought a smile to my face. Thanks.

    the Tiki

  6. I didn’t really start reading comics until several years ago, but when I was a kid, I pored over this. One of my friends had a copy, and I’m sure I got more use out of it than he did. Plus, he was kind of a jerk.

  7. Wow. I haven’t thought about this book in years. I have always really liked that picture of Namor for Chapter Six. I have to dig up my copy of this.

  8. I had a copy of this book when I was a kid. My folks got it for me when I first got into comics because all I talked about was how I wanted to draw comics when I grew up. My fledgling career was cut short though when one of my comic book buds told me the guy that I was drawing looked like he had “tits.”

    On a side note, I actually did a speech in my sixth grade english class over this book. I taught the class how to draw Spider-Man. I really thought this was going to be the speech that finally gained me acceptance and accolades because I figured, “Hey, who doesn’t like to draw?” Apparently, all the hot girls didn’t. Sigh…

  9. I’m not sure if I’ve ever been more connected with the iFanboy community as I am right now.


  10. I totally loved this book as a kid! So much so that I bought a copy for my 8 year old nephew (who I have gotten into comics), and he loves it now too. It’s great to see.

  11. I did not have the book but i had the VHS of this with Stan Lee and John Buscema.

  12. I did not have the book but i had the VHS of this with Stan Lee and John Buscema.

    Man, I’m super jealous of you.

  13. They have the DVD version of it on Netflix, I’m pretty sure.

  14. This really is a great book. I think the body outlines and how to draw the human figure are priceless lessons. The human body really is a challenging thing to draw, and this is such a simple way in if you are a kid or an oldster. I’m sure many of us thought that drawing a human body looked so easy, then you try it and…

    Would make a great gift for anyone with kids. There is lots there to get someone started. From the body outlines and skeletons for initial sketches, a kid (or adult) can then detail to their own original drawings… I think I may order the book for a refresher course….

  15. Oh man, my mom bought me this book all those years back. Should still be at my folks house actually.

    Man my mom bought me cool shit when I first got into comics.

  16. love that book. still have my sam copy from when i was 10 years old.

  17. I was at Borders this weekend looking for a copy of this (which I found, but the cover was messed up) and noticed the DC Comics Guide to … books. As I read the spines for the books, I noticed that they had “DC Comics Guide to Writing Comics,” “DC Comics Guide to Coloring & Lettering Comics,” and also “DC Comics Guide to INKLING Comics.”

    How bout you run those kinda things by an editor, huh? Or take a good look at the color proof, maybe?