Comic book artists have described their medium as ‘a new literacy’ (Eisner), an ‘emerging language’ (Ware) and a form that is ‘closer to actual human thought than either words or pictures alone’ (Spiegelman). The medium’s ability to communicate complex ideas clearly and quickly using a combination of verbal and visual modes has been employed in political, educational and healthcare contexts. In recent times it has also been taken up by academics as a popularising medium to disseminate results and engage non-academic audiences in the outcomes and potentials of research. However, there is much more that comics and its praxis can offer to academic researchers and this project seeks to explore, experiment, discover and share what this might be.
We move away from positioning comic books as a form of knowledge exchange and seek instead to explore the medium as a form of knowledge making. In particular we are interested in the potentials of the form for how we construct, analyse and use academic knowledge. What happens when the comic form is integrated into the research process itself? What might comics offer academic researchers in both methodological and analytical terms? How might the constraints and affordances of the medium alter the collection of data, or help to represent aspects of time and space that are glossed over in writing? Could we compose a research article in comic strip form?