In the spirit of my superhero course and all the graphic novels and comics I have been reading recently, I wanted to talk a bit about my reading practices. Something that I've observed when I read comics or graphic novels is that I always pay attention to the text first, as opposed to art. I find this detail interesting, because the main component of graphic fiction is that there are graphics attached to the text. If anything, the text is not intended to be the focal point of where your eye goes, as the art is much bigger, much brighter, and would typically catch someone's attention. So I wonder, why is it that when I read graphic fiction, my eyes immediately go to the text? Why is it that sometimes, I forget that there's art at all?
I want to make clear that I love graphic fiction dearly. I read graphic fiction because I find that it's really easy for me to absorb and be entertained by, and usually I pick graphic fiction that aligns with my interests such as Marvel or Buffy the Vampire Slayer. So, just because I don't tend to focus on the graphics, doesn't mean that I hate the genre. I think it just means that I read the genre in a different way than other people might. I can't exactly say why my eye immediately goes to the speech bubbles before the art, other then maybe conclude that it has to do with what I'm used to. I only got into graphic fiction within the past couple of years, but I've loved fiction books for years. So perhaps, I gravitate towards the words in a graphic novel because I was trained to look at words before I look at pictures. Or, perhaps this all says something more about learning practices.
I was telling a seminar that I teach that when they plan out their essays for the course, they should use whatever methods they learn best in to help them. So if they're a visual learner, they should draw out a mind map. If they're an oral learner, they should speak their essay out loud and record themselves. If they learn best by reading, they should just start writing. I align myself most with reading, as sometimes graphics don't allow me to grasp what I'm supposed to understand, and orality doesn't engage me. So I wonder if the way I learn best has allowed for me to almost gloss over the graphics in a comic book and instead trust the text to tell me all that I need to know about the story, because I'm confident that the text will carry me through. Now, this isn't always the case, as graphic fiction relies heavily on the graphics. Since the text is not really the focal point of the comic, there isn't always enough description in the text to build the world of the story. The pictures do crucial work in establishing setting, that the text cannot always do. However, no matter what, I will always see the text first. It's just an odd way of how my brain works.
Usually how I read graphic fiction is by reading all of the text, and then going back and looking at the pictures. I know that may sound really odd, but nothing about how I read makes sense to me either. But either way, I do think this opens up an interesting conversation about learning methods and how people practice the great art of reading. However you read graphic fiction, it is a valuable genre, and I'd love to know more about how you approach it.
How do you read graphic fiction? What kind of learner are you?
Emily @ Paperback Princess