When publishing a book, authors are challenged with catching the eye of a potential reader, whether its through captivating cover artwork or a interesting title. Physical books copies are scarce these days with the use of electronic readers in the market, so everything counts.
Art very well known part of the Asian culture, everything from ink canvas paintings to intricately designed pottery and clothing. Among the current younger Asian society, animated art styles are very popular. Manga covers various themes and relevant topics just like print books do, however, they present said topics and themes in a different manner which then allows a stronger imprint in the memory of the reader (2). These graphic novels have eventually made their way into western culture. Wolverine and the X-Men from Marvel, Superman and Batman from DC, and even The Walking Dead started off as graphic novels before becoming famous on the big screen.
Marshall Mcluhen had stated in his book, The Medium is the Massage, “The wheel is the extension of the foot, the book the extension of the eye, clothing an extension of the body, electric circuitry an extension of the nervous system” (1) The way his book was written is similar to a graphic novel by using a combination of a story and pictures. Mcluhen used pictures to emphasize his story instead of telling a story by using pictures. The way Mcluhen used images was clever in that the images were so odd and random that they were memorable, or maybe he would say: Images are the extension of the mind.
Graphic novels have the same affect on the mind as a children’s picture book does; these novels allow cross-curricular development of the mind, think of it as language arts and art class combined. Children’s brains are still developing and reading text and processing images help the brain develop the necessary comprehension skills. Normally, when reading a novel, the reader will have a mental image of the story playing through their head as they read. Graphic novels put those images down onto physical paper so readers are able to see precise details as well, in short the images replace the text and tell the story, leaving only the dialogue and minimal descriptions as text.
In a way, visual literacy is more useful in the classroom because it not only uses text to engage, but also images and progression frames as well (2). There are generally two types of students: the visual learner and the book-worm. Visual learners need hands-on activities and pictures, lots of pictures. Book-worms are very book-smart and can learn just by reading the facts. Graphic novels make reading easier for visual and disability children and brighten the imaginations of adolescents. Graphic novels are a way to “[…] enable the struggling reader, enable the motivate the reluctant one, and challenge the high-level learner” (2). They also reach out to students like me who are very visual and don’t like to read large chunks of text and would prefer a diagram or a picture of how something is done.
1. Mcluhen, Marshall. “The Medium is the Massage”
2. Francis, Kym. “Getting Graphic”