Comics: Diversion or Something More?
When was the last time you read a comic? Or at least spotted one while walking past a corner store? It is generally accepted that comics used to be much more popular before the Internet and the technological revolution. Some would say that the cowboy days are long one. Nowadays, some other images keep our fingertips busy and our eyes focused. However, there is still something magical about good ol’ comics, but few people will know about it.
And, yes, there have been a few geeks who have approached comics from another, scientific perspective. Because, like any other medium, comics communicate certain information. And they have their own, unique way of doing this: by combining words and images. We won’t delve here into how exactly and to which extent. Images and text work so well together that they usually manage to present information in a clear and unambiguous way. Think of car or in-flight life vest manuals (hopefully you won’t have to read either of those because that would indicate you’re already in some kind of trouble and I highly doubt you’d read them for pleasure). Or if you just bought a new gadget or a piece of furniture at Ikea. This unique succession of images/frames/panels, accompanied by an explanatory piece of text (sometimes redundant) is really appealing to the human mind: it helps us unite these singular elements into one meaningful whole. This is the reason why children love picture books or cartoons: they understand these messages effortlessly at the stage when their cognitive and mental capacities are not fully developed. Oh, and comics are actually forerunners of most cartoons we know, FYI.
Now, the branches of linguistics that aim to explain comics better are semiotics and multimodality and discourse studies. The former deals with signs of all kinds whereas the latter… well, it is rather self-explanatory. One trait that makes comics so interesting is that it is an art that allows its practitioner to express himself without adhering to many limits or constraints. This is why comics have often included other aspects of human expression: independent comics resemble well-written books and other works of literature, underground “comix” are intended for adult population, even investigative journalism and satirical work could be filtered through this medium (cf. work of Joe Sacco or the French Charlie Hebdo). Comics are also peculiar in the sense that their users contemplate information in 3D while perceiving it in 2D. In this regard, it is similar to literature and painting but different from film or performing arts. And they have made some people quite wealthy, too: no, not the ones who are selling them at a corner store, but the ones who drew inspiration from them and created movies and/or popular video games. Unfortunately, this all but confirms the fact that superheroes are the only subgenre of comics that has the capacity to generate income. Otherwise, it is but a hobby. In addition, comics allow their readers to infer the reality of what they are reading (and watching) thus making it more personal. I find the onomatopoeic part particularly intriguing: I just wrote “Kaboom”, “Splash” and “Gulp” and your brain automatically played those sounds in your head. You see, we played a trick on you. High-five! (If you said this in Borat’s voice, I got nothing to do with that)
In the world where all aspects of human life are becoming increasingly automated, creativity still has a role to play. I know that this text won’t make you start reading comics more frequently. I may not do it myself. After all, we got some more important, existential questions to worry about: let’s not forget that most of us are pursuing a career in humanities. But, since we are all on Instagram, you may draw some inspiration from one of these accounts: https://semi-rad.com/2016/06/9-cartoonists-follow-instagram/
I have tried not to make this essay overly comic-al but I believe that not all things in life should be taken too seriously. Piece out.
Филозофски факултет у Нишу задржава право избора коментара који ће бити објављени, као и право скраћивања коментара.
Коментаре који садрже говор мржње, псовке и увреде, као и било који други вид непримерених или коментара који се директно не односе на чланак који коментаришете, не објављујемо.
Задржавамо право да коментаре којима скрећете пажњу на словне грешке, техничке и друге пропусте, као и коментаре који се односе на уређивачку политику не објавимо, али такви коментари су доступни за увид администраторима и уредницима, и на њима се захваљујемо.
ЗАКОН О ЈАВНОМ ИНФОРМИСАЊУ, члан 38: Забрањено је објављивање идеја, информација и мишљења којима се подстиче дискриминација, мржња или насиље против лица или групе лица због њиховог припадања или неприпадања некој раси, вери, нацији, етничкој групи, полу или због њихове сексуалне опредељености, без обзира на то да ли је објављивањем учињено кривично дело.
Мишљења изнесена у објављеним коментарима представљају приватне ставове њихових аутора и не представљају званичне ставове Филозофског факултета у Нишу ни аутора чланка.
Слањем коментара потврђујете да сте сагласни са правилима коришћења.