What make a Great First Issue? (for a new character)

How to Write a Great First Issue?

I suppose since each character has a different feel there isn't one definitive answer to this question, but the main question I am answering is: What makes a good issue 1 for a character you know nothing about. What pulls you into that new character? What makes you want to continue picking up the comic each month?

Remember a first issue is setting up the character, plot, villains and/or side characters.

One of the most important factors in making a great first issue and an overall good series is how interesting the concept and plot is. The origins and plots have to be original. In my opinion government rouge stories bore me now because I feel like I've read the book before. An example of this is this weeks INSURGENT #1. The problem wasn't the structure or the art (even though that was bad too), It was the fact that the concept was so unoriginal and done to death that I lost interest in the book immediately, which is an example of a bad first issue. Think of situations you could give the character and try and give the plot an original twist. You need to consider whether or not the issue is an origin story. How do you want people to be introduced to your character?

When creating a character, consider their feelings, personality, setting and situation. Lets imagine we are creating an X-men type of character who is an outcast to the world. He might be an anti-hero, feeling angry and mad at the world for turning against him, or he could be a do-gooder desperately trying to make peace with humanity. It depends on your vision of the character and what you think will be most interesting. It is important you come up with a personality for your character and use that personality in his dialog. This will make the character more distinct and recognisable. Whether or not the character is relatable or a jerk, giving him an interesting personality will give the readers more interest into your character.

Another important thing in making the story interesting is side characters and villains. Giving the hero side characters gives you more story to tell and also gives the book something extra apart from the Hero VS. Villain story which will certainly be boring on its own. In future issues you can get away with an all Hero VS. Villain plot (for example this weeks Batman #16) but for an issue one, you definitely need to set up the future plot.

If you want the villain to be featured in the first issue you need to be setting up who the villain is, what is his motive how is he introduced and so on. Introducing your villain and plot will make people interested in picking up #2 which is what you want. How interesting and threatening is your villain? I posted a topic blog on What Makes A Scary Comic Villain so if you want any ideas then read the comments. Also this blog will help you distinguish what sort of villain you want him/her to be.

So now you have a plot, character, villains and side characters and you need to put it into a story. Structure is another key thing you need for an interesting first issue and there are many different ways to do it. You need to think to yourself "How do I want to put this into a story". Read through different issues and get inspiration. The structure I'm using for my first issue is: 2 page hook at the beginning which is a scene from the end of the arc, set up of charatcer, side character and origin (origin explained in dialog) and gradually leading to a cliff hanger with the villain introduced.

I hope this makes someone want to start writing a comic book. I also want to know what you think.

let me know what you think makes a good first issue in the comments!

Thank you for reading. (If you disagree or want me to change/add anything then just tell me)

4 Comments
4 Comments
Posted by Agypt2020

Origin and story plot, and a dangerous villain that is likable to the fans (such as Darth Vader or Joker). I do not like copycats as what New 52 is doing with the Bat Man Family or characters with similar powers (i.e. She Hulk, Red She Hulk, Spider Man, Scarlet Spider , Kaine). A great first issue when I write it is character development and making him/her real to the world, believable and people can relate to him/her not so far fetch and with real problems to solve. A good supporting cast also important, such as a spouse, friend, or servant. But I would push the envelope to being religious, a relationship with God. Next powers or no powers, fashion the character never before seen, something unique yet simple. Who comes to mind is a character like unto a civilian sees a store being robbed, assists and discovers can do as long as intentions stay purity. He/ she do not go out being a hero, they see a wrong and either speak out against it, change it with their hands, or harbor it in their hearts.

As for a villain, one who is just as unique, powerful, but rather use cunning and guile. (Satan-like would be excellent), a lord of his/her domain, minions, evil, and yet his/her evil desirable (Anti-Christlike). Osama Bin Laden was not ruthless, he was charismatic, well-educated,rich and philanthropic, but was most dangerous man in the world.

Posted by Pauldro

EVERYTIME I SAY HIS I MEAN HIS/HER, I'm just too lazy to enter it in.

I think for a character his first story should be one that addresses his present. It should address what he stands for, what his weaknesses are, who can be his/ her potential allies. I don't think you should right out go with an origin story because it would be too much. I think origin stories should be tackled later on. Maybe keep the identity secret for a 1-2 issues and later reveal their civilian life.

Posted by KnightRise

I had no plans to pickup Aquaman when the New 52 started. My LCBS was sold out of most other series so I grabbed one that had a familar leads: Aquaman 1. Turns out, it was smart, tongue-in-cheek, and I got a small taste of who he is. It made me want to read more and I've yet to be dissapointed. Compare that to series that I dropped after number 1; Batwing, Deathstroke, Birds of Prey, Green Lantern Corps, Justice League International, Green Arrow, and Catwoman.

Posted by AmishAvenger

$2.99. That makes it easier to pick up a new issue.