Comics on Screen: Reading, Comics and Screens

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Emergent interactive technologies, such as tablet computers and smart-phones, and consumer demand for media forms to be available digitally for consumption through the internet, at any time and in any place has lead to a series of transformative changes in the ways we can read and interact with comics. With these changes come a series of difficulties and challenges in the ways comics are displayed on screen. It is these challenges in our reading of, and interaction with, digital comics that this study addresses through a critical evaluation of the required differences in presentation of the printed page and the screen ‘page.’ The focus of the study is on the use of double page spreads and how they can be adapted to the screen for an easier and less intrusive presentation or panels and their sequence. A comic printed in the form of the codex book has a different set of constraints to that of the digital screen and in turn the type and size of screen offers a different set of constraints again. The re-purposing of comics from paper pages to screen ‘pages’ must therefore reflect these changes in constraints by adapting to them; something which, at current, is only done to a limited degree. Through a study of super hero comics displayed on tablets using the more popular applications I suggest that simply transferring traditional comic book pages onto the screen is not enough and some other changes need to be made so as not to interrupt the reading process. These changes may include adapting specific pages to allow them to be more easily viewed so as not to interrupt the consumer’s process of reading through the addition of interactive elements that require breaking from the flow of the story (rotating the device, zooming in or out, etc.).
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCultural Excavation and Formal Expresion in the Graphic Novel
Place of PublicationOxford, United Kindgom
PublisherInter-Disciplinary Press
Number of pages10
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-84888-094-0
Publication statusPublished - 2013
Event1st Global Conference: The Graphic Novel - Mansfield College, Oxford, United Kingdom
Duration: 7 Sept 20129 Sept 2012

Publication series

NameCultural Excavation and Formal Expression in the Graphic Novel
PublisherInter-Disciplinary Press


Conference1st Global Conference
Abbreviated titleGN1
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


  • Comics
  • Reading
  • raster
  • interactivity
  • digital comics
  • portable display devices
  • redundant
  • intrusive
  • double-page spread


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