Today we’re talking about other ways to tell a story than just with words.
For me it was easy to decide what talk about for this topic:
I grew up with graphic novels and comics around me. My first heroes were Yoko Tsuno from Roger Leloup’s Yoko Tsuno series, and Philip Mortimer for Edgar P. Jacobs’ Blake and Mortimer series. I always kept on the look out for more graphic novels to fall in love with, and this is how I discovered Neil Gaiman: a friend let me borrow Sandman. I fell in love with it. The Sandman series is wonderful. There are so many cool characters, and the stories are magical and haunting at times.
But why are graphic novels so great?
I ‘read’ the first Yoko Tsuno book before I could read the text. But even without text I was engrossed in the pictures, telling me an exciting story about a young Japanese woman who has adventures in space. To this day when I read De 3 Zonnen van Vinea (The 3 Suns of Vinea) the story that I made up myself those first few times I ‘read’ the book, lingers somewhere in the background.
What I’m trying to get to, is how pictures can tell so much, even without text. Sometimes a picture can tell more than text ever could. Just look at the below pictures for example. On the left is Olrik, the villain from the Blake and Mortimer series by Edgar P. Jacobs. On the right: Edgar P. Jacobs. I think it’s pretty clear who Jacobs used as inspiration for his villain. If he had used words instead of pictures, I’m not sure anyone would be able to pick up on who the villain is based on. And yes: it’s an interesting look inside Jacobs' mind, that he based the looks of Olrik on himself, instead of painting himself as one of the heroes.
All in all I love reading graphic novels, and I’m always on the look out for new ones that are both beautifully drawn and have a great story to tell.