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comics journalism

Thoughts, quotes and links on comics journalism.
Feb 5 '13

Why comics? Advantages and disadvantages of comics journalism

Here are some advantages of journalistic comics over other media (emphasis added):

  • Comics show how things work  ”The linear-panel structure and visual orientation of comics make the form an ideal educational tool for showing how to do things.“ (McAllister, 1992, p. 17)
  • Comics are fun – ”They are supposed to be not just easy to read, but, above all, fun to read, no matter what the content“. (Jüngst, 2010, p. 53).
  • They combine the power of written language with the power of pictures […] comic books combine visual and verbal forms of communication […] comic book messages may be reinforced both verbally and visually“. (McAllister, 1992, p. 17).
  • Comics are „harmless“  „[comic books] may deal with frightning subjects in a very down-to-earth yet non-threatening manner“. (McAllister, 1992, p. 18).
  • They are personal – ”[…] comic books are a personalizing medium“. (McAllister, 1992, p. 18). “In comic books […] stories tend not to focus on high levels of abstraction, but rather they focus on people, on individuals […]“. (McAllister, 1992, p. 18).
  • Comics are concrete – Complicated, abstract concepts and ideas can be easily shown by using “[…] visualisations and analogies to present the facts in attractive pictures. Briefly, they turn the abstract into the concrete.” (Jüngst, 2010, p. 19).
  • They make the invisible visible  “With ‘invisible worlds’, I refer to the depiction of worlds which are normally invisible to the human eye because they are too small, too big, too far away or hidden from sight”. (Jüngst, 2010, p. 182)
  • They can make the visible invisible – "[you can] keep people anonymous.” (Bors, 2012)
  • Sketching comics is unobtrusive – ”[…] Sometimes just having a sketchbook can lend a real intimicy and trust to the connection you have with an interviewee […]” (Archer, 2013)
  • Comics and interactivity fit together perfectly (see Archer, 2013)

And now some disadvantages (emphasis added):

  • Comics can be manipulative - The personalizing quality of comics can be misused to manipulate the reader.
  • They are childish - “[…] the primary connotation oft he comic book is that it is a medium for children“. (McAllister, 1992, p. 21).
  • Comics and serious topics do not fit together – ”The idea of fun and entertainment is no inducement for a widespread acceptance of comics with serious and sad topics […]” (Jüngst, 2010, p. 58.)



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