The most unique aspect of comic books?

This might have been covered before, but I’ve never stumbled on the discussion, so bear with me. The other day a unique, if not the most unique aspect of comic books (sequential art as storytelling) hit me.

The comic book is the only storytelling medium which does not work as a social experience.

Meaning: Experiencing the story in comic books can only be done individually. It can’t be shared socially at the same time.

Comic books, as conveyors of stories, are the lonesome readers’ medium.

Films and TV are experienced socially. Literature can be socially enjoyed by reading aloud. Games can be played together with a friend. Looking at galleries/paintings is a shared experience. Theater is a social event. Verbal stories are the cornerstone of social storytelling.

But the comic book, sequential art with pictures and words combined to create a story, is the individual’s medium. It can’t be shared socially and simultaneously with the same effect, as all other storytelling mediums.

Comics is a medium to be enjoyed individually. It is a private experience, not a social one. Read a comic book out loud and showing the pictures to someone does not work, as they are not experiencing the story, you are dictating the story – like explaining a joke.

Comic books is the only true individual storytelling medium.


Captain Obvious to the rescue, or have you not thought about this before? Agree? Disagree?

A graphic novel in the making

The seed of a new project grew out of a hole, so to speak. Mesmerized by the humongous sinkholes that appeared in Guatemala, and particularly a minor one, appearing in the bedroom (!) of an elder woman, a story about a girl’s struggle to be both carer and child in her family came to life. A dark and scary story, with heart and soul.


This was back in 2011. And while I was working on my main screenplay for my Master’s degree, the story about Rosanna and her dog Ciko, Jesus, her little brother and her grandfather, Arturo, slowly started filling the pages.


Late 2011, an artist who I was keen to have with me on the story came aboard, but disappeared after a while. The project was on ice for quite a few months, as I was busy with other scripts and screenplays. But I finally, as spring arrived in 2012, found the energy and time to look for the perfect artist.


Nothing turned up, really. This was a collaboration, no upfront pay. My offer was splitting the property 50/50 with the right artist. Which means it was hard, next to impossible, to find someone who had the level and commitment the project needed. Several of my fellow comic book creators really liked the project and would gladly have joined, had their schedules allowed it. Summer came, and I had almost forgotten about my “call to artists” for the project. My energy was focused on screenplays, on getting stuff finished, especially my MA degree.


And then, when several projects were moving ahead and my schedule was brimming, that perfect artist answered my call. The lovely character designs and sketches you’ve seen accompanying this article come from Steeven (@YdAofficial on Twitter), a fantastic illustrator, letterer and graphic designer.


We are working on the so-called “pitch package” at the moment, which means a document with the sole aim to “sell” the project to publishers and editors. In broad strokes it consists of the pitch, which summarizes the story into a short sweet paragraph with punch, a brief synopsis/outline of the story that reveals more details than the pitch, but only the important parts, and last, but definitely not least, a bunch of finished pages, meaning coloured and lettered. All this is supposed to give the editor/publisher a good sense of the story, the quality of the product and the potential it has in today’s market.


I’ll blog more about the project in the future and reveal the story, with some pages and script snippets. Maybe I’ll even reveal the title and which publishers we are in contact with. Meanwhile, follow Steeven on Twitter and check out his website!


Now, watch your step…