Given the markedly different image based approach of comics as compared to traditional novels, comics can achieve different effects. Many of these are positive, but there are also some limitations. A major advantage that I’ve thought about throughout the semester is the way that comics can paint a constant picture for readers. When a class reads a traditional novel, each person has a different mental image of different characters and settings. Comics, on the other hand, dictates exactly what everything looks like, which is pretty cool. By crafting a consistent mental image for everyone, class discussion can be more on the same page. Additionally, I love how images can convey emotions or tensions without any words, as much of real life is like that. We use our words a lot, but there is also a lot of power in actions and gestures, which is a nuance that comics capture well.
The biggest limitation of the form, for me, is the reduced word count. Images provide their own special advantages, as people can often understand universal actions and feelings through visual cues. When I think of the way that certain sentences from my favorite novels are emotionally moving or just beautiful, I realize that something is lost through the abbreviated text in comics. Additionally, even though it’s very cool that comics make everyone have the same image of the world of the story (an advantage I discussed above), I associate the subjectivity of an individual reading experience more with a novel than a comic.