Has itcrossed you mind why comic books or graphic novels were considered dumb? Whysuch avid readers were called nerds, derogatorily, yet were considerablysmarter than you? Think back to how geeky their speech was and how they touchedon such complexities even for a simple book. Shortly, reasoning will tell whycomic books are the best. Over the years, from the 20th to 21stcentury, research and documentation has been stacking up to prove that comicbooks make their readers smarter. Comics make you want to read, and they usecomplex language which progresses verbal intelligence. Like steroids for themind, comics can take struggling readers and make them stronger.
Comics havebeen crazed with obstruction and ridicule. In the 1950s, they were slandered asbase entertainment for children and immature adults which would turn readersinto hoodlums and degenerates. It’sbeen stupefied that comic books are a toxic factor to children and that theybecome lazy and unwilling to put forth the effort in daily activites and schoolbecause of their needful desire to read comic books every day and to an extentof reeacting certain senerios that could prove to be harmful not only tothemselves but the people around them because children are so impressiotive. It’sbeen harboured that children become violent, but contrary to those beliefs thereasons for childrens viooelnce is not because of comic books, but otheroutside forces and personal sitiuations that have scientifically been proven tocause such aggressive behavior.Andwhile that has all changed and comics have risen to become the string sectionin the symphony of our culture, with even whole franchises and their expansionspraised as high art and for their exerting storytelling and expulsion ofvisions and complex concepts (especially sci-fi and mystery thrillers).
Yet,ages ago they were obnoxiously colored and if they were so enjoyable for peopleto dedicate their childhoods, to endure such stereotyping that pinned such anegative view on comic books then they mustn’t be good at all for children toread, right? However, research provided and credited to literacyprofessors at California State University, Northridge by Anne E. Cunningham, aprofessor of cognition and Human Development in the Graduate School ofEducation at the University of California as a psychologist and Keith E.Stanovich Emeritus,Professor of Applied Psychology and Human Development at the University ofToronto, who discovered numeral fascinating benefits from implementing comicbooks or graphic novels into a person’s hand or curriculum, such as linking thereading of comics to greater literacy skills (Perret).Comic booksare not only a great advantage for kids with learning disabilities, but forstudents who struggle to understand intricate text in literature. Childrenafflicted with autism can learn a lot about identifying emotions through theimages in a graphic novel.
Additionally, for children with dyslexia, while itmight be very frustrating for them to finish a page of a traditional book, theyoften feel a sense of accomplishment when they complete a page in a comic book.Many schools with a special needs programs to regular core classes have used orare currently having this medium inducted into their classrooms as a way to helpstudents. Accomplishment is important to child as much as it is making theirparents proud. It’s a huge self-esteem booster and leads to kids naturallywanting to read more which eventually contributed to comics becoming anotherforum for political and social activist. “Foryoung men and women, interpretation brings a consciousness of subtext to a moreadult understanding of the emotion expressed in thought and action,” (Perret). However,when kids have low self-esteem, they aren’t strong readers and that candiscourage them from wanting to read. But these type of books are a great wayto promote literacy.
Naturally, administrators do not want to give ESL or ELA studentspicture books. Kids would reject that and call it embarrassing because that ishow comic books were so generally perceived. However, a comic book at a lowerreading level might give kids the reading confidence they need while boostingtheir reading and language skills this is true even as far of filling the gapof racial division and curving the tension which can become a hot port forviolence between children as young six because they are so impressionitive, “comicbooks… are a powerful medium that successfully raise awareness about manydifferent races, ethnicities, subgroups, and cultures” (Lipiner). There is moreexposure in the comic and graphic novels than film a adaptations or scripting in the past 15+ years and will alwaysbe so.
A more competent awareness has been raised about specific minoritygroups that were either previously stereotypes or excluded altogether. Evenmental illness and impairments are represented and given some empowerment tothe character and the familiarity to these characters by people garners someawareness and understanding to people who suffer from these things. Anexperiment conducted on children from a multicultural and diverse school, astudent reading for fun feels a certain amount of control. The life of anArchie reader cuts across ethnic and linguistic boundaries, in this conduct ofstudy many of the children were also ESL students. It provided a common linkbetween children of different backgrounds and bond that would have beenstippled by racial boundaries and stereotyping (Norton).
This is true even among a higher level ofeducation or corporal business as explained in a graphic presentation of anempirical examination of the graphic novel approach to communicate businessconcepts by authors; Aaron McKenny, assistant professor of management at theUniversity of Central Florida whose research focus is in strategic managementand entrepreneurship. Mr. B. Randolph-Seng, a professor in Management at Texas A&M University at Commerce and Jeremy Short the Rath Chair in Strategic Management atthe Price College of Business at the University of Oklahoma. Mr. Short alsoco-authored the first Harvard Business Case in graphic novel format.
Veryheavily credited people of interest if there is ever a doubt on mind.Graphic novels have been increasingly as ofrecent years incorporated into business communication forums, includinguniversity courses in business and management, “comics often reflect the timesfor which they are written,” (Branscum) so corporate marketing can reflect onhow to reach certain audiences because these mediums have become so universalas a way to illustrate current news and new perspectives on political, socialand economic subjects. Comics books have contributed to communication design andfine art majors in colleges as well because of their discreation in opening upa new form of dialectical analysis and have more of astounding effect than atextbook because it keeps it simple, driven, and hitting all the right pointsbecause the authors tend to be their own intellectuals and scholars apart ofcertain movements or communites, often sharing their own opninons and essays informs of comics books or strips.There is record of a study in which over ahundred business major undergraduates participated—unbelievable right? Twoquarters of the students were asked to read a graphic novel on importantmanagement concepts, while the other half were asked to read the same conceptsin textbook format—all the students were quizzed. Those who had read the graphicnovel were more likely to recognize direct quotes than those who had read thetextbook because the novel consists of comicart in the form of sequential juxtaposed panels that represented individual sceneswhich in my personal experience helped break down the process of the contextwhere—for example; theme—the interrelated conditions in which something exists,but remains too obscured between the traditional lines of print that givesstudents such a hard time especially if the said book is very descriptive,lengthy, maybe even outdated from the middle ages to colonial times, differentlinguistics and grammar.
And in a related study, over a hundred students were asked to givefeedback on a graphic novel they had been assigned to read in a business class;80% said they preferred the graphic novel format to a textbook. The articleincludes a quote from the lead author of the study, Jeremy Short. “With thatkind of information in the study, that really has a lot of implications abouthow we should be teaching business, how we should be teaching a lot of things,really.”More research remains to be done regarding theneurological benefits of reading comic books, but the facts are evident withcreditable sources.
For a decade now, itis common to hear talks about swapping out a dry anthropology textbook for a juvenilecomic book that touches on relevant themes in a classroom. If textbooks cancarry pictures and figures now, why not take a leap and get students to becomemore engaging by relating to them on a level they can comprehend and learnfrom? This can even influence students to double check in their textbooks tomake sure they were on the right track and evidently produces more of aconversation students can become more involved in. With a combination ofliterature and visual art, its counts as one schema—a diagrammatic presentationof the work they are dealing with in which the information processed is a partof a set of stimuli—a word learned from a comic book!Goingback to Cunningham and Stanovich, they determinedly removed the notion that thelanguage of comics writing was low-based. To learn language and improvevocabulary, readers must be exposed to complicated language.
To measure thisend, Cunningham and Stanovich analyzed the language used in differententertainment outlets such as television, children’s books, adult books, andcomic books. They also analyzed the oral language used by college graduatesbecause supposedly their vocabulary is more extensive. In the analysis, thepair uncovered the fact that the language used by comics were and even to thisday far more advanced than the oral communication of college graduates, anduses almost twice as many rare words! Fascinatingly, comic books often usemore challenging language than children’s literature. Cunningham and Stanovichclosed their case by stating, “We should provide all children, regardless oftheir achievement levels, with as many reading experiences as possible. Indeed,this becomes doubly imperative for precisely those children whose verbalabilities are most in need of bolstering, for it is the very act of readingthat can build those capacities… Those who read a lot will enhance their verbalintelligence; that is, reading will make them smarter.” Initially, comic bookshave long been flayed and flagged from long hard critics.
Mostnotably in the past was a psychiatrist by the name of Frederic Wertham,who declared ago that comic books were morally corrupt on young readers, influencing them to a life of crime—ifonly he’d lived to see video games, a shame—becauseof his “claims the U.S. Federal Government jumped into the fray in 1950as a Senate special committee was doing an investigation into organized crime.
As a part of the investigation there was inquire on the ‘effects’ that crimecomics had. A judge on that committee stated that he had cases where boys hadcommitted a crime that was patterned after ones depicted in a comic book. Nowin recent years we have had similar occurrences of people replicating whatthey’ve see in the entertainment industry, but it would be incredulous to saythat all blame is on comic books. Sadly, blaming comic books became an easy wayout for kids. They would be given sympathy, for it was the comic book that”made them do it” (Kannenberg). If so then we should rid ourselves ofall forms of entertainment, of all that we have created since the first sunset!Physiologically, we aren’t so simple for things to be just—simple.
Eventhough there were a number of people in the media who were critical of comicbooks, Dr. Wertham’s book, Seduction of the Innocent (1954), had the mostdevastating effects. This book stated that in Dr. Werthams studies withchildren, villainized comic books to be the major cause of adolescentdelinquency. But his assertions were based on association.
The vast majority ofkids in those days read comic books, including the ones who became delinquents.But according to Dr. Wertham, comic books caused this. But comics went muchfurther than just turning kids into juvenile delinquents according to Wertham,comic books were giving kids wrong ideas about the laws of physics, a physicalhuman body was never meant to genetically fly. He also charged that comic bookswere enforcing homosexual thoughts because Robin was drawn with legs bare, thatwere often wide open, and that Robin seemed devoted and attached to onlyBatman—we all know Robin by now to be Bruce Wayne’s son and nowadays we havesuch extensive nudity in the media that it’s normal. Dr. Wertham also statedthat Wonder Woman was giving little girls the “wrong ideas” about awoman’s place in society—not a shocker, now its flipped. We argue about whatshould be Wonder Woman’s message of a woman’s place and to the children andwhat she should represent.
Naturally,the comic industry and others fought back against these false accusations. Someattacked Dr. Wertham’s study by pointing out that Wertham studied only juveniledelinquents, he made an assumption without comparing them to other kids. Hestudy was nothing short of a shrewd sampling. Consequencely to his”discoveries”, the research hasbeen reprimanded (though the man has been dead for a while), a New York Times articlebrought Werthamback into the light.
Since 2010, assistant professor of Library Science, CarolTilley, reading through all of Wertham’s research discovered that he had”manipulated, overstated, compromised and fabricated evidence” (Kannenberg). The evidence that had been given credence in the arenas ofmental health and juvenile delinquency, grew obsolete—many thanks to Ms. Tilleyfor this debunker.Summarily, comic books are the greatest formof practice; comic books requirereaders to create meaning using multiple “modalities”—”the classification of logical propositionsaccording to their asserting or denying the possibility… contingency, ornecessity of their content” by dictionary definition courtesy ofMerriam-Webster. Readers of comic books must process all the different componentsjust like an artist would—visual, spatial, and textual—of what they are readingand integrate them into one solid understanding of the story. This means that,even though comic books may appeal to readers for the same reason theseindividuals are drawn to other forms of entertainment, such as television andvideo games, and yes some may even have a bit of a bite to their personality,but reading these books actually involves much more complex processing, thereis far more to this genre than simply looking at picture as some criticsbelieve, “comics have long beenmore open to racially diverse characters than some other forms of art,” (Lipiner). Hopefully, the old joke of ‘I can only read picturebooks’ as a derogatory to the child’s or persons intelligence and reference toa toddlers content will die away like an epilogue to those stereotypes andcriticism of a graphic medium.
“Todaycomic books bridge what once seemed to the educational world a chasm betweenlow and high culture,” (Perret). They bring both comfort, security,and new things to learn everyday as the world becomes to adaptive andreciprocal of comics, cartoons, etc. They have expanded to help bring to lightgreat problems in our world for students to interpret the way they see it likean analytical charm.