If you’ve looked at the links section on my blog, you may have grasped that in addition to an obsession with Football Manager (which sadly is fading away), I have a penchant for reading online comics. Its not confined to just the online ones, and dead tree comics with a offbeat twist, notoriously Calvin & Hobbes are great favorites of mine.
Its not a trait I’ve found that anyone in my limited circle of friends tends to share and it’s a bit surprising with the tremendous amount of really well written and drawn material out there that no seems interested. At the same time I’m more then well aware that people are interested in their own things and that in certain circles, mainly geographically confined to the USA, there are some very big comics online such as Penny Arcade and PvP.
The magic of comics for me lies in their elegant simplicity, they have a very simple gimmick, panels, characters and speech balloons more often then not, but are combined with elegance to then create what are sometimes very perceptive and articulate points of view, showing a depth of analysis and understanding that it takes many hundreds of words to convey in literary form. It’s the art of storytelling compressed to a single potent image or sequence of images, which requires tremendous ability to pick out the one significant factor in what may otherwise be a complicated series of events.
At the same time, as a medium unashamedly proud of its genre as entertainment, they’re usually out to entertain at the same time, strengthening their message by making it more pervasive and persuasive at the same time. People are inclined to dismiss something as light, as not high culture enough because it is entertaining, but it is much more the case I think that entertaining makes the effect, rather then diminishing it. It can make the impact greater then any psuedo intellectual seriousness can ever hope to achieve
What a potent mix is entertainment and information.