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A Page of Graphic Narrative

Comics are a medium of storytelling making use of pages of images subdivided into individual frames (or panels), generally supplemented by text.


Comics have their origins in European political cartoons in the 18th century which introduced such concepts as dialog balloons. With the rise of newspapers and magazines and an increase in general literacy with the rise accompanying public education during the 19th century, many began incorporating basic strips of graphic narrative to gain viewers. These strips were occasionally compiled and sold in magazines. Modern comics got a major boost in popularity with the release of Superman #1 in 1938. In the last thirty years, due to developments in printing technology, communications, globalization, and several landmark titles such as Watchmen, a boom has happened in the comic industry. This has also seen the rise of comics targeted towards a more mature age group.

Comics have generally had a connection to science fiction and fantasy. Their are historical reasons for this, as well as the fact that it is a cheap way to publish visual science fiction. Unlike live action, all that is required to put down the visuals of a science fiction universe is at most a team of competant artists.

Categories of Comics

  • American Comics American Comics are notable for giving birth to the Superhero genre, which to this day dominates the American Comic Industry. (Examples: Marvel Comics, DC Comics, Watchmen)
  • European Comics (Examples: Asterix, Tintin)
  • Manga Manga refers to comics coming from Japan. Manga covers a very broad selection of subject material from material intended for toddlers to hardcore pornography. Manga has also influenced other East Asian comic producers. In the last 30 years, like anime, Manga has been imported to the western world and has had its effect on Western Comics.
  • Web Comics Web Comics are posted online and are generally free to view.

See Also