A comic-book section is probably not high on the list of things for a campus bookstore to offer, but maybe it should be. Our brains process print and digital media differently, according to Tufts University professor Maryanne Wolf, and comics just might be a bridge between the multitasking brain used when viewing digital content and the “deep reading” brain used for printed material.
Comics, often presented like a collage, can provide a reading experience that is different from other forms, wrote Bill Kartalopoulos, editor of Best American Comics 2014, in a blog post for The Huntington Post.
After centuries of reading one way, it’s not always easy to process the way information is presented online. Constant linking to different websites is also disruptive when reading, but Kartalopoulos said comics are a form that melds linear typography with an Internet-like real-time grouping of different parts.
“Artful comics induce a kind of double vision in the reader. We fully experience the work by understanding the relationship between parts and the whole; between linear sequence and the simultaneous perception of related fragments,” Kartalopoulos said. “This is the medium-specific quality that make comics something more than simple storyboards, and this is the element of comics that brings us back to the Internet and our endangered ‘deep reading’ brains.”