Jul 09 2009
After the first issue, comic books often include a page-long recap so that new readers can figure out what’s going on and who’s who. Here are a few tips.
1. Make your recap stylish and inviting. It needs to convince a prospective reader that this series is worth his time. Ideally, it will interest him so much that he goes back to look for the old issues he missed. The most effective recaps tend to be funny. Failing that, at least make it easy to follow and exciting. If it feels like the backstory is hard to follow, readers are probably going to put the book down.
2. You can make the recap feel fresher by doing something that fits into your story. For example, most of the characters in Superhero Nation work for the Human Resources department of a top-secret agency. So we do our recaps as personnel files and mission debriefings written by the head of Human Resources, who is a bit crazy.
For example, the main character’s “file” might contain blurbs like these.
Superpowers? None known. We’ve ruled out intelligence and usefulness.
Main contributions to team? Could be used as a battering ram.
That’ll help remind readers that he’s the guy without superpowers and that his co-workers regard him as useless. Just as importantly, we want to show to prospective readers that this series is witty and comical.
3. Make us feel the appropriate emotions. If your series is a horror, the blurb should feel eerie and chilling. If your writing is supposed to be remotely funny, make us laugh. If it’s a romance, focus on why we should care about the characters and their relationships. Etc.