The comic book is not dying. It doesn’t matter if the comic book changes, if printed comic book dies. Comic books are at the core sequential art, just like storyboards and guess what? Storyboards and sequential art are exploding right now and the good old comic book industry and the good old gang of readers just don’t see it. Sequential art, the way visual imagery tells a story is at the forefront of every development in Cyberspace, be it mobile, blogs or good old Website.
While at the core sequential art is about a series of two and more images with a narrative immersed through the change occurring between two illustrations, the narrative aspect doesn’t have to tell a real story. Sequences of images are everywhere. But more than that, single images that contain within their core a narrative also exist. Every time you hit that grid of icon on your smart phone, you are hitting a grid of images that within them contain stories about what will be unleashed once you hit on the icon. An app will be released and will offer you even more stories. If we think of the single icon as a panel and every other screen after it as more panels in a comic strip, we began to see sequential art being immersed in the core of the apps that we use in our smartphones. In other words, there are comic books in every smartphone from Google Android, HP webOS or Apple’s iOS.
Every screen in that app that you just launched is nothing but a new panel in a continuing grid of comic books that allow you interactively to do something, to touch something, to communicate with the world, to educate yourself, entertain yourself, or even save other people’s lives through an app. This same underlying structure of sequential art is also found on any Website, any video game, any electronic structure where contents changes from screen to screen. Cyberspace is more than the iconography, it is also the sequential nature of the world contained in that appears to us as bits of data and contents one screen at a time.
The iconography of comic books is also doing quite well. Strong icons with meanings, little graphics tell their own stories and have their own symbols that move through every Website and any kind of presence in Cyberspace. As a user, your avatar on Facebook, tells so much about who you are. Well there’s more, that photo album on Flickr and Photobucket, spinning with a coverflow is also a comic book. Every shot, of a continuing series of picture is in essence a comic book, a piece of sequential art telling stories about your life.
The new app called Color, which allows a group of friends to collectively exchange a series of pics when they are close to one another is the ultimate interactive comic book building machine. All of these pics taken from so many angles are all comics books with their own narrative. The only difference with the old photoboot shots which were also comic book sequences, is that the story and the panels can move around in Color in ways that would be unimaginable in the past. Our world, dear comic book reader has not abandoned comics at all. In fact, it has rediscovered it and integrated it everywhere so that there is more of sequential art everywhere. These are best of times for the person who savours sequential art as an art form. Vive la bande dessinée!