How to Read Comics


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While it’s true that not every geek has more than a passing interest in comics, fans of art and history (and art history?) will definitely enjoy the How To Read Comics series on the Best Damn Creative Writing Blog. Rob Vollmar is some kind of comics genius with the gift of ‘splain.

The first installment, simply titled “How to Read Comics“, explains among other things that the word comics is singular, a factoid I’ve been trying to work into daily conversation since. (“I just love this comics!” doesn’t impress at my local coffee shop, BTW.) Installment two, “How to Read Comic Strips“, offers up a nice history of the form with examples of early works. Those are followed up by “How to Read Comic Books” and “How to Read Graphic Novels” (wherein Vollmar explains the difference–or lack thereof–between the two), and today’s “How to Read Manga“, all full of clear explanations, visual examples, and wit.

Rob Vollmar’s first graphic novel (with artist Pablo G. Callejo) The Castaways (2002) was nominated for an Eisner award. His most recent, Inanna’s Tears (with artist mpMann) is a proto-historical fiction set in ancient Sumer. Rob began writing about comics online before contributing to the Comics Journal. Vollmar is now a contributing editor with World Literature Today and has joined the editorial staff of Crosstimbers, a liberal arts magazine published by the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma where he works as a media writer.

[source and images: BDCWB]





3 Responses to How to Read Comics

  1.  I think I've been reading one type of comic or other since I was a wee child. Which is why I'm always astonished when I meet people who simply can not read them. They are baffled by which direction on the page they're suppose to start and how to read the text bubbles. It's the same with either comics or manga… there are some people who simply do not know how to read them.

    For them, they really DO need a How To!

  2. When I first started reading manga I was confused by the little how-to guide at the back of most–if not all–of them.  It just seemed intuitive but now I realize that a lot of people don't see it that way.