How to Draw Comics the Marvel Way. By Stan Lee and John Buscema. (1984). New York: Simon & Schuster: Fireside. ISBN-10: 0671530771


Stan Lee and John Buscema paired up in 1984 to create a fun how-to guide for comic creators, specifically. The book covers everything from basic structure to paneling and gesture drawing.

Critical Evaluation

In what other book would artists writing a how-to book gain access to Marvel’s characters? This itself is a treat, but thumbing through the pages of the book is a bit like diving into the brain of two visionary heroes, with heroes on the brain!

Stan Lee writes with the easygoing wit of of Spiderman’s Peter Parker. Things start off silly (a list of tools includes a glass jar and a plain ol’ rag,) but quickly turn informative as Lee explains the terminology used in comics-creation, which can be expanded to the art form of visual storytelling. Exercises then help the reader/artist explore the basics of form(with the drawings themselves offering tips in thought bubbles), perspective, the human figure (using superheros to examine this element is quite fun!) and gesture (lots of action poses which include rough skeletons and finished panels.) Mystifying aspects of drawing such as foreshortening are explained in later chapters, as well as composition, paneling action, the comic book cover, and inking.

The Bibliography is a bit disappointing with only a few titles included, but as a whole, this book is an exceptional study aid, with an element of fun thrown in. Serious artists swear by this book and the techniques described throughout its pages.

*There is also a video version of this title, which would be great for instructing large numbers of people.
Reader’s Annotation

If you’ve dreamed of drawing comics for Marvel, here’s your chance to learn from two men who made comics what they are today! Pair this book with the original Conan comics and some Spiderman stories and you’ll be on your way to mastering the art of comics, and basic drawing, in no time!

About the Authors

Stan Lee is the famous creator of SpiderMan, The X-Men, and so many other favorite, essential characters in comics. John Buscema is the equally influential artist of comic classics such as The Silver Surver and Conan the Barbarian.




Curriculum Ties



Programming Ideas

-Portfolio Day

-Storytelling and illustration party where patrons trade work together on art projects and play improv games in order to generate creative thinking.
Reading Level/Interest Age

Ages 12+, or younger, if skills are advanced enough

Challenge Issues


Why Did You Include This Book?

Many fans of comic books, Manga, and animation secretly would like to know how to become like their real-life superheroes: the comic book artists. This is one of the only how-to books with so much credibility that it has continuously remained in print for the past 26 years.

Fans would happily pick up any work by Stan Lee or John Buscema, but this treasure-trove of their tips and teachings has the rare qualities of serious mentorship and love of the craft.


About thesuperlibrarian

High School Librarian and obsessive reader! On a mission to read as many SUPER YA books as possible!
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