How do I decide how much script can fit on a page? I guess the way I think of it is as “story beats”. There are natural pauses in the story that help me figure out where to start and stop a page. It’s kind of like when you have a conversation with friends: you wouldn’t want to interrupt someone’s story about how their car broke down so you can talk about your brand new iPod, but you know there will be pauses in the conversation when it’s all right to jump in and change the subject. That would be a conversation “beat.”

So in comics, sometimes the “beat” is framed by a change of topic, sometimes by a change in emotion, and sometimes by a change of scenery, as in this script page when Aria and Fusella enter the bridge. I could have put the page break one panel earlier, to have the first view of the bridge as the top panel of a page, but I decided that it would be better to have that moment as the last panel (well, almost the last panel) instead, to encourage the reader to spend more time on it and appreciate just how much of an appalling sight the bridge in shambles is to our poor Fusella.

Having just said all that about carefully picking the “beat”, though, page 11 here has got to be one of the most dialogue-heavy pages I’ve done. After I realized how squished the finished art looked, I tried not to do that again!