All Articles

Rubber: TeX for Comic Books

Published 1 Feb 2021

While I haven’t read enough comic books for my liking, in true software engineer fashion, I read a few and decided “you know what’s better than reading comics… writing them!“. So I wrote a bad one and went to cons and convinced people to spend their hard earned cash on my silly alcohol-fueled mess of a story, rather than getting yet another hentai figurine. It kinda worked. There were still a lot of figurines bought, some of which were hentai in nature.

But I really liked the central idea, so I tried in vain over the years to re-write it. A big issue I have is adding too much text to a page. This comes from not reading enough comics. Sorta like when you learn just enough AWS to completely expose all of your company’s secrets. I wanted to use something which would show me how much text was on a page, and then to be able to pass that on to an illustrator. I got frustrated with the existing tooling. As an engineer I decided to write my own tool because I thought it would be fun/easy/profitable :)

The end result of a weekend spent procrastinating on side projects is Rubber. It turns TeX like syntax into PDFs with each page having the text for the page on the left and a big blog for a sketch of the comic page on the right. So the artist can see what should be happening on the page and can then do their magic.

I’ll put it up on GitHub soon, but for now, see screenshots below. And be kind to the writing!

Rubber: Tex for Comic Books Screenshot