Understanding Comics – In this day and age, who does n’t know comics? Comics can be found anywhere because they have circulated freely. You can find comics in the library, in the room of your friend who likes to read, in bookstores, even in used bookstores!
So, what is the comic? Let’s read the following description!
Meaning of Comics
As the times change, the definition of comics also follows the changes. However, the change in definition only acts as a complement to the previous definition.
According to Scott McCloud who thinks about comics that “comics are pictures and other symbols that are juxtaposed (close or side by side) in a certain order, which aims to provide information or to achieve an aesthetic response from the readers.
Comics are also referred to as image literature. Comics are one form of visual communication that is useful for conveying information and has the advantage of being easy to understand. There is a collaboration between pictures and text that are arranged in such a way as to form an interesting storyline.
The average comic reader is young people aged 15 to 25, but it cannot be argued that someone in their 40s also likes comics as their reading material.
Components Found in Comics
Try to pay attention when you are reading the comic. What components are in it? Let’s take a look at the following description so that you can better understand what components are contained in a comic!
1. Panel Components
A panel is a box that contains illustrations and text that can form a clear storyline to read. Panels can also be called frames and have various shapes, not just square boxes. According to McCloud, the way to read panels in a comic is from left to right, top to bottom or clockwise.
2. Ditch Components
This trench is the term for the space between the panels. Whether or not there is a moat in a comic depends on the creativity of the comic. However, having a trench in a comic can make it a sort of ‘glue’ of story panels.
3. Word Balloon Components
Words or writing become the form of conversation or story narration that is being depicted in the comic panel. Word balloons are also called speech balloons. The word balloons have three forms, namely speech balloons, thought balloons, and captions .
a. Speech balloons contain speeches or dialogues of characters.
This speech balloon is usually shaped like a thick circle with a tail that leads to a character who ‘seems’ to be speaking the dialogue. The shape of the speech balloon does not always have to be a thick circle but adapted to the content of the character’s dialogue.
b. Thought balloon
That is, it contains the character’s thoughts that seem to be conveyed in the mind only and not spoken. The shape of a thought balloon is usually an interrupted circle. However, there are also comics that draw thought balloons in the form of a white background with the character’s mind dialogue only. Look at the following example!
c. Caption box
That is, it contains non-dialog narrative explanations that are usually box-shaped. The explanation of the narrative was created by the comic so that the reader can better understand the situation and conditions that occur in the storyline. Look at the following example!
4. Illustrative or Photographic Components
This illustration component becomes the most important component in the comic, besides the text. This is because from the aspect of illustration, it can make the comic look aesthetic for the reader.
In fact, some comics only feature illustrations in their panels without including any text because the reader already understands the story line only through the illustrations.
According to McCloud there are two types of illustrations, namely realist illustrations and cartoons. Realist illustrations are images that are judged to be most similar to humans or real objects. While cartoon illustrations refer to abstract forms in a simple way, so they are judged further away from the original object. Cartoon illustrations can be a form of funny ideas in visual imagery.
The use of realist illustrations and cartoons can be used in a comic depending on the creativity of the comic. Each comic has its own unique style and characteristics of illustration, so there is no demand in the fulfillment of this component in a comic.
5. Story Theme Components
The theme of the story becomes one of the basic strengths in making comics in addition to the illustration component. In fact, there are still additional components, namely the viewing angle and the size of the illustration in the panel. The point of view includes letter sounds, splash, motion lines, symbols , and comic headlines.
Well, now let’s try to retrace the comics that have circulated in Indonesia, what are the themes of the story?
Uses of Comics
In today’s increasingly sophisticated era, comic media is said to have many uses in people’s daily lives. The variety of story themes in a comic that circulates becomes a form of addressing the social life of the community. Even now there are many comics with mystical or spiritual themes.
1. Comics as a Business
Comics actually do not only serve as entertainment but can also be a source of money for comics. Comic artists can actually make money through their comic works. This can certainly be a real proof that comics are currently a profitable medium for artists and publishers.
Especially in an age with advanced technology such as today, comic making has become younger due to the presence of advanced tools in the process of coloring, illustration photography, marketing, and others. In addition, comic marketing can also be done through newspapers, social media, and others.
One of the comic publishers who are currently still loyal in the comic publishing process is Sinaumedia. Sinaumedia is quite consistent and continuous in its efforts to publish comics. The comics are usually translated so that Indonesian readers can easily enjoy them. An example is the comic Detective Conan which until now is still faithfully published by Sinaumedia because of its many fans.
2. Comics as Campaign Media
Previously, it has been said that the average comic reader is young people aged 15-25 years. However, it does not exclude the possibility that children aged 9-12 years also like comics especially with colorful illustrations. Therefore, a media campaign appeared, for example about the impact of online games in the form of illustrated comics, with the target audience being children aged 9-12 years old who are addicted to online games.
The use of comics as a campaign media is considered to be successful because it conveys a moral message through light and interesting stories. In addition, campaigns using comics can also provide useful information to parents, certainly in a “relaxed” way and not patronizing.
3. Comics as Innovative Learning Media
Comics have become a favorite reading material for all ages, including school-aged children. Therefore, comics can certainly be used as an innovative learning media for students. Currently, the comic learning media has been widely developed by educators so that students can understand the learning material easily and pleasantly.
Comic learning media can create a fun learning atmosphere so that students will feel motivated in understanding the material. Comics with its main component, namely picture illustrations, have interesting visualization nuances and are not boring for students.
Currently, there are quite a lot of subjects in school that use comics as learning media such as IPA subjects, Languages, Accountancy, even Mathematics. The innovation of the use of comics, which was initially just for entertainment, can now become a learning media that is enjoyable for students to read.
The reading interest of young people, especially school-aged children, towards comics is quite high. They prefer reading comics to textbooks. This is because the components contained in a comic are presented in an interesting and not boring way. Many studies say that comics have played an important role in learning at school, which is creating interest in learning for students.
4. Comics as Product Promotion Communication Media
It has been previously stated that comics are quite effective media in conveying information or messages through the presence of images, text, and storylines. For this reason, the use of comics can be used as promotional media for a sales product. Especially by also relying on social media as “land” for promotion.
Product promotion through social media will be more interesting when using comics in its presentation. Looking back at the community’s interest in the existence of comics, comics can be used as a means of promotion with interesting storylines but implied product promotion in them.
The use of comics as a means of product promotion should be made with a storyline that is easy to understand and attract the attention of readers as consumers. Even though comics exist in the form of silent objects, the content of the comics can present a story as well as product promotion in it. Promotion of products that use comic means, some use panels and some don’t, depending on creativity.
Promotion by using this comic means when disseminated through social media also has many benefits because nowadays social media is a “must” for the community. Some of them are Meta (Facebook), Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, Youtube, and others. Promotional activities through social media are said to be able to influence the appeal of readers as consumers of the product.
5. Comics as a Media to Preserve Local Culture
Folklore is one of the parts of culture that binds people from generation to generation. Folktales are transmitted orally so that from age to age, there are many versions of the folklore itself. There are many folktales in the archipelago that give moral value to their readers.
However, folk tales are now forgotten. Society prefers stories that feel modern in this sophisticated era. In fact, folklore is a form of culture that must be preserved from generation to generation.
Therefore, the use of comics can be used as a way to preserve the local culture. Through comics with illustration visualizations that attract the attention of community readers. If more and more people read and get to know the local culture, then future generations will not be unfamiliar with the existence of the local culture.
The use of comics as media in an effort to preserve local culture has the advantage of portraying characters aesthetically as well as portraying the background atmosphere which is more understandable. When people read folk tales only through the text, they may not be able to create a suitable imagination.
In fact, comics that contain folklore can be accepted by the general public, especially comic fans. The creative strategy in addition to benefiting comics also benefits local culture to remain aware of its existence by society in the current era.
In this type of comic, only displays in the form of pictures, illustrations and balloons he said. Usually contains sarcasm to a party or comedic humor.
Comic strips usually contain pieces of comic panels that are made in a continuous or incomplete manner.
3. Comic Annual
As the name suggests, this type of comic is published only once a month or even a year.
4. Web Comics
We usually find Web Comics through online comic reader applications, such as Line Webtoon, MangaToon, and others. This type of comic uses social media as its publication media and is popular with many internet users.
5. Comic Book
Comic book is a type of comic packaged in the form of a physical book. This comic is usually found in the nearest bookstore.
Current Development of Comics
1. Digital Comics
With increasingly sophisticated technology, in early 2010, fans of physical comics slowly switched to digital comics. This is supported by the existence of a comic called Si Juki that appears on blogs or some social media. Furthermore, specialized platforms that provide digital comics such as Webtoon, Ciayo Comics , and even social media such as Instagram often provide digital comics that are uploaded directly through the comic’s account.
These digital comics have the advantage of being accessible through their respective devices, so comic connoisseurs do not need to go to a bookstore to buy physical comics. Even digital comics now have been created in a sophisticated way with programming so that there are sounds and movements from the comics.
One of the pioneers of digital comics in Indonesia is Nurfadli Mursyid, as a Tahilalats comic . Tahilalats digital comics are still loved by many people and “published” through Instagram and Twitter social media accounts. Just like the use of comics that has been explained before, namely as a means of product promotion, Tahilalats digital comics are also often used as promotional “land”.
However, that does not immediately make physical comics unsellable. Comic connoisseurs or collectors actually still like the existence of physical comics because for them, reading physical comics can increase the nostalgic experience. So, the existence of digital comics and physical comics are balanced in their use in the development of the comics industry.
Genres and Examples of Comics
1. Genre Action
The action genre or actions contained in comics usually describe the intense level of action between the characters. In this action genre comic, the battle scenes or fights of the characters are shown more than the speech balloons. For example One Piece comics, Naruto Shippuden, Bleach, etc
2. Genre Adventure
The adventure genre is the favorite genre of comic lovers. In this genre, characters are told to travel to various places for a specific purpose or mission. Examples of comics in this genre are One Piece, Dragon Ball, and others.
3. Fantasy genre
In fantasy genre comics, the depiction of the atmosphere and the characters are all related to the fantasy world. There is a magical storyline and a setting that looks like it doesn’t exist in the real world. Examples of comics in the fantasy genre are Sailor Moon, Yugi-Oh, and others.
4. Mystery genre
In this genre of comics, usually the comic depicts a mysterious atmosphere and invites the reader to solve a puzzle about the events in the comic. Examples of comics in this genre are Detective Conan, Detective Kindaichi, and others.
5. Genre Comedy
Comics with this comedy genre can be your choice when you feel like laughing or tired of work. The behavior or speech of characters depicted by comics in this genre of comics has a comedic effect. Examples are the comics Kobo-Chan, Crayon Shinchan, etc.