Comics and Control: Leading the Reading

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In an age of easily accessible digital technologies the mainstream comic book form is undergoing a series of transformative changes as it is more and more frequently adapted to the screen. The nature of this adaptation seeks to use functionality offered by the digital environment to change the form of comics and accommodate a wider range of mediums of storytelling.
The interactive digital environment of gestural controlled touch screen devices offers a wealth of new possibilities in both the reading and creation of comics in the modern age. Animation and sound, for example, can be used by the author to control the pace at which the reader receives information and story elements. Likewise the lack of the physical page can allow for more types of transition from one panel, or set of panels, to the next.
However, this focus on the control given to the author by new media storytelling implies that outside of the digital environment the user is always in control when in fact this is not the case. The use of page layouts and the turning of the page can be used to control what elements are revealed when and which parts of the story can be seen juxtaposed next to which other parts. This paper will compare and contrast the control methods of the digital and print forms to outline the sets of rules that we use and help us further understand the reading processes of comics and digital comics. The aim of the paper will be to identify specific methods by which the creator can control the pace of reading in both digital and print media.
Original languageEnglish
JournalWriting Visual Culture
Publication statusPublished - 2015


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