Any cardinal rule that exists in comic books has to be inverted.
I've been a reader of American comic books for most of my life, mainly because these were the only comic books you can find in Egypt and for the lack of a local alternative when it comes to the genre of superhero comic books, the reason why we wanted to do El-Osba (Arabic for The League) in the first place. El-Osba was my first professional comic book work, and I remember, after drawing the first few pages, I realized I made a mistake: I was drawing them the other way around...
See, Arabic, unlike English, reads from right to left. So does an Arabic comic book, the pages go from right to left. Panels go from right to left, and any cardinal rule that exists when it comes to comic books has to be inverted. Example: there is a rule that the first person to speak has to have their speech bubble at the top left of the panel. In an Arabic comic book, it's the other way around. But I would say it's slightly more complicated than that - when you are laying out a page, you have to keep in mind that the reader's eyes will be moving right to left, top to bottom across your page. So say you are doing a perspective shot, and you want an object to look like it's moving towards the reader. In an American comic book, the object would be slightly inclined towards the edge of the page - towards the right. But in an Arabic comic book, it's the other way around. It is all small stuff, but it can also easily slip your mind if it's not what you are normally used to read/draw.
When I first took my portfolio to a UK comic con, the bulk of my professional work was for Arabic publications. I labelled every page with a disclaimer saying "these pages were published in Arabic, so the page reads from right to left". After a couple of editors looked at them, they advised to reverse the pages rather than put a disclaimer, because even if the person looking at the page consciously knows this information, subconsciously they will feel something is wrong or off with the page.
Reversing the pages of course can be tricky, especially if it's not just for a portfolio and is for publishing the work in an English or Anglo language. Everything is the other way around: suddenly your story has a rather unusual number of left handed people, and every car is British. While working on translating El-Osba, we looked at a much bigger market with a very similar problem: Manga. Like Arabic comic books, Manga, in its native language, reads from right to left. So when translating their work, the creators are faced with a similar challenge: reverse the pages and compromise part of the art, or leave them as they are and risk disorientating the reader. We have found examples of both, and the conclusion we drew is that it depends on how popular the original work is and how much the reader is willing to put up with an odd layout to read it.
Ahmed Raafat is an Egyptian comic book artist currently based in the UK. He is the co-creator of El-Osba, an independent Egyptian superhero comic book series, and has worked on various comic book projects in and outside the UK. He is currently illustrating the web comic Gorilla My Dreams.
Deviant Art: http://ahmedraafatart.deviantart.com/
El-Osba is an independent Egyptian superhero comic book project created by John Maher, Maged Raafat (writers) and Ahmed Raafat (Artist), about a team of Egyptian superheroes who fight against the kind of evil and corruption that is part of the daily life in Egypt. The word "El-Osba" is an Arabic word which means "league", and the team is comprised of 6 core members, each of them representing a different aspect of Egyptian folklore/society. Issue #1 came out in October 2015.