Comic Strip / Comics

What Is a Strip in a Comic Strip?

A comic strip is a form of storytelling that involves combining images and text to create a narrative. Each panel in a comic strip typically contains a single scene or action that contributes to the overall story. One important element of a comic strip is the “strip” itself, which refers to the horizontal or vertical sequence of panels that make up the entire piece.

What is a Strip in a Comic Strip?

In the context of comic strips, a “strip” refers to the series of panels that appear in regular succession within one line or column. A strip can vary in length depending on the artist’s preference and publication requirements. However, most comic strips consist of three to four panels arranged horizontally along a single row.

Vertical Versus Horizontal Strips

Comic strips can be presented vertically or horizontally, depending on their intended format. Vertical strips typically have one panel per row and are read from top to bottom. This format is commonly used in online comics and webcomics because it allows for easy scrolling on mobile devices.

Horizontal strips, on the other hand, have multiple panels arranged side by side within one row. This format is commonly used in print newspapers and magazines because it allows for easy placement within columns.

The Importance of Strip Structure

The structure of a comic strip’s panels can greatly impact its effectiveness as a storytelling medium. By carefully arranging panels within a strip, artists can control pacing, create suspense, and emphasize key moments.

For example, an artist might use larger panels to draw attention to important actions or dialogue within a scene. Alternatively, they might use smaller panels to convey rapid motion or quick dialogue exchanges between characters.

Common Strip Layouts

There are several common panel layouts used by comic strip artists:

  • The Tier System: This layout consists of three evenly spaced horizontal rows with one panel in each row. It allows for a clear progression of action and dialogue from left to right.
  • The Grid System: This layout consists of multiple panels arranged in a grid pattern.

    It allows for greater flexibility in panel size and placement.

  • The Splash Panel: This layout consists of a single, large panel that takes up the entire strip. It is often used to introduce new story arcs or highlight important moments.


The strip is an essential element of comic strips, providing structure and organization to the narrative. By carefully arranging panels within a strip, artists can create dynamic and engaging stories that capture the reader’s imagination. Whether presented vertically or horizontally, the strip remains a fundamental component of this unique storytelling medium.