Deriving from the Greek term, prologos, meaning, “before word”, a prologue is an opening of a story, or in this context, a comic, that establishes the scene, theme and/or tone of the rest of the narrative. It’s a mini story that happens before the main one unfolds but still relates to the overall events in some way.
A prologue can take place any time before the story takes place. That might be days, months, years or even a century ago. But the events in the this minisode, directly impact what is going to happen and, in turn, can add much needed context. If the main story can be told without a prologue then maybe you need to skip on altogether.
To keep it interesting and, of course necessary, the prologue needs to be an event rather than an infodump. This is the start of your comic and the last thing you want is for readers to tune out before you’ve even properly begun. If you must include some lore or world building, try and weave it into an event. By doing this you’re keeping the reader interested and the prologue essential to the rest of the story.
But most importantly, the prologue needs to be short. It is a short chapter that sets up how and why the events unfold. If your prologue is too long, maybe you need to write a prequel rather than tack it onto the front of your comic. The prologue is the trigger. So fire it quick.
Do you have a prologue in your comic? Do you think comics should have prologues?
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