In a recent episode of the podcast we spoke in passing about the “future of comics,” in the context of digital releases. In that conversation we touched on both motion comics and infinite comics, and I wanted to speak about both types of comics a little bit more and the future of digital comics in general, because I think we are in an important moment of transition right now in terms of the way that graphic narratives are presented.
Comics possess an entire visual language with its own particular lexicon and kind of grammar. Word balloons, for example, are a piece of visual grammar. They do not correspond to anything in reality, but they are a commonly understood element of the visual language of comics. By the same measure so are the breakdowns of panels and pages, as well as graphic elements such as motion lines, swirlies, anger fumes, and any number of other visual flourishes which artists employ to depict certain actions or emotions. There are even dialects, of sorts, within comics. Japanese comics depict rapid motion differently than western comics do. They also have their own visual language for depicting emotions like embarrassment or extreme anger, such as the enormous sweat drop.
But imagine for a moment a comic which could change to reflect where the reader is when it is read. Read it in one place, and it is set in New York City. Read it in another and the panels magically change and it is set in Seattle. Read a panel and watch a character actually blushing red, or hear the click as a gun is cocked. Instead of turning a page, tap on a panel and watch it expand to fill the screen as a whole new page. Continue Reading