The power of storytelling in the graphic novel


I think there’s a prejudice against comic
books and I think it comes from our youth. That was you are wasting time, read a real
book, so we start with that notion. That notion gets in the way because as it
turns out, graphic story telling is a very powerful way to tell a story. Or how I do it, which is text leads to drawing
leads to text leads to drawing. It gives you a whole — it’s as powerful
to literature as, say, movies to just still photos. It’s like a director has all these tools
he can show you, you can hear it, you know, you can do all these things. With a book like that, I get an extra tool. I get not just the written word, I get the
drawing. So I can reach people in a bunch of ways,
and if I interact the two correctly, if I integrate it all correctly, then it really
works. So in the case of a lot of those graphic novels,
it’s really powerful. Like Mouse or like – it’s really powerful. I think we just have to get past the notion
that some people still have that that’s not reading. It’s reading, like there’s words there. You’re reading it. And also a lot of it is taking place in your
head. You know, they don’t show you the transition
from panel to panel. That occurs in your head. So for people who say, you know, watching
TV is a very passive activity, reading should be one where you’re engaged. You’re engaged. It’s not moving for you. You make that leap. So it’s powerful. It’s a great way to tell a story. It requires a particularly odd set of skills
where you have to be able to draw and to write at least a little bit of each well. But yeah, I think that’s why it’s effective
and I think the sooner we get past that prejudice that comes with us from our youth, the better
we’ll be, you know? Yeah. And also you can really have fun, like in
the case of Timmy, Timmy is what somebody in literature would call an unreliable narrator. You just don’t know what you can believe. So what I have fun with is Timmy says one
thing and you see something that’s not what he just told you. So you see right away how in left field he
is and that’s something I would have trouble doing in just a straight textbook unless I
switched narrators or, you know, and that’s really fun. There’s a whole bunch of stuff you could
do with it. Yeah, it’s powerful. Like there’s a scene in the first Timmy
book where his mom makes him give up the bear and so they have to part. And you know because of the way the book is
what a chapter should look like but in this chapter there’s no words. He only gives you the drawing of him hugging
Total. And there’s something powerful about that
because you know he normally talks to you, so if he doesn’t talk to you in this one
chapter and he only shows you a picture, it must be something too painful to talk about. So that’s what it can do. Like I couldn’t have done that with straight
text.

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