I had a long discussion with Not a Lost Wanderer inspired by Neil Gaiman’s lecture.
She wrote one very sad thing:
My mom once said to my little sister (kind of push her, to be honest) that she would really love to see her reading books that related to her school than see her reading comics. Guess what? She didn’t read comics now, she even said she doesn’t like to read for pleasure anymore!
Obviously, banning a person from reading what she/he likes can destroy the pleasure of reading other things or reading at all. I dislike such attitude.
I was reading comic books when I was child, teen and I’m still reading them, as an adult. I was always reading books too. I wanted to support reading comics so I’ll write my own thoughts and from my own experience, because the scientific backup can be easily found in the internet. You just have to look for “benefits of reading comics” in your favourite search engine.
Continue reading to see what are my 15 reasons to read comics.
1. Parents reading books to children is an important way of spending time together. It can also help develop the love for reading in the future. But… A child can read a comic without words, alone. Now, that’s an accomplishment and possibly can give them the pleasure of reading, spending the time alone with a book. Of course, comics without words aren’t only for children.
2. Do you know the saying “Image is worth a thousand words”? How often it’s easier to just show something than trying to describe it and fail? How often did you skip those lengthy descriptions in the book that made no sense? When there was an interesting book, and I wanted to know what happened next but I had enough of the descriptions of settings, no action or the action was too long, I often skipped to the dialogue. I don’t skip much on the comics, and even the long fighting scenes are easier for reader. The graphic parts in comics both serve as a (short) description and action. What is left to read is all the important stuff.
3. Book writers often get the “show, don’t tell” advice. For example it’s about not telling directly the person is rich, but show it the other way. Well, that’s what the comics do. They show, not tell everything directly. You can see a person is rich, by the way she/he were drawn, or by her/his accessories. You see it and “translate it” in your mind to get a bigger picture of situation and person. Yes, that’s the same thing what well written books do.
4. The image and text fusion makes it easier to understand. The image helps with understanding the text. It’s understanding from the context. This is also very useful when learning foreign languages. There are also comics that help you learn foreign languages.
5. Some think that there isn’t a lot of text in comics and that the vocabulary isn’t complicated. That’s not true. Depending on a comic, it can be as rich in a text or having complicated vocabulary like a book. Not all the books are long, nor all of them have difficult vocabulary.
6. Just like books, comics are for different people. Comics cover a lot of different genres, topics and styles of writing and drawing. There are suitable comics for children and adults. Yes, there are serious comics, about difficult matters. It’s not just easy stories for children. One of those serious comics is Blue Pills about relationship with a HIV positive partner.
7. Comics can be educational. There are historical comics like Maus or on social matters like Persepolis giving a personal view on Islamic Revolution. Comics can also explain the way how an organisation operates. The European Commission often uses comics to explain their programs or legislation matters in European Union. An example is “Take Two“. I also remember clearly that the first time I’ve heard about Erich von Daniken’s theory that aliens influenced early human cultures was through a comic. You may find this theory as a fraud, but comic is a good medium to easily explain ideas and theories.
8. Some topics are better suited for comics. Can you imagine things like Yakitate!! Japan a comic about young people from Japan and other countries having rivalry in bread-baking, written as a novel? I can’t. Because often the reaction that are given after eating a bread, are just… hard to describe with words. There are also a lot of information about baking bread or confectionery in this comic.
9. Comics can be inspirational. Hikaru no Go, a comic about a boy possessed by ancient go player raised the interest of young Japanese and people abroad in the game of go. You can read about in BBC article “Young Japanese go for Go“.
10. Nowadays it’s easy to read comics from different countries. Online or printed. Foreign comics accustom you with foreign cultures. If the comic is set in modern times, you can learn about the modern society and its customs. Or, if set in ancient times, about their history and customs at that time. If the publisher/translator gives the explanation about the culture in the translated comic, it’s even better. I’m in love with my Indian comic titled Devi, which gives in comments a bit information on Indian beliefs. Plus it’s more interesting to read about Indian superheroine than about USA superheroines made to please the male eyes .
11. Comics are a part of pop culture and also gain a status of “classic”. I’m not only saying about Spider-Man, Batman, Asterix, Tytus, Romek i A’Tomek (Tytus… being the Polish classics) etc., which are currently big brands, which started as comics. Hana Yori Dango, a Japanese comic made into TV series in several countries (Japan, Taiwan, South Korea, China, and the newest in USA) has a huge fan base in many countries.
12. It’s more interesting to read the old uninteresting classic novels in a form of comic. It saves you from the dull and long descriptions and gives you all the best things in them. Who knows, maybe a comic of classical novel can actually show that classic isn’t that bad and the reader will become interested in reading the original novel.
13. Comics teach how to follow the story, the sequence of the plot. From left to right, from right to left, etc.
14. Comics teach about perspective and focus. It has all to do with graphic parts.
15. It’s fun to read comics, be it a short story, one volume or a long series. It’s good when somebody reads for pleasure, no matter the type (book/comic) or genre.
Do you agree with my reasons? Did I miss something?
Enjoy reading the comics and share that pleasure with others.