Scene from David Alexander Robertson's 7 Generations series (Scott B. Henderson)
When I was a child I played with action figures, watched cartoons (even Jem, which is truly outrageous), and read comic books. But when I became a man I put away childish things... except comic books.
In fact, I started to write them. Strangely, I started to write them for educational purposes. Stranger still, they did incredibly well.
Today, the graphic novels I have done have sold thousands of copies across Canada, the majority of sales coming from schools and libraries. That was my dream from the start, and to see the education I'd hope for actually happening is a huge validation that the graphic novel can be... strike that... should be, used for education.
They make education so much easier. And more fun. They are the only educational tool that can engage a boy or a girl, grade 3 students or university students. How awesome is that?
The effectiveness of the sequential art medium can be explained in five simple points:
They are the great motivator Put a comic book in the hands of a struggling reader, or a kid who isn't interested in reading, and watch their reading skills grow, as well as their excitement for reading.
They are visual Youth today are visually stimulated. But, really, this isn't all that new. We used to communicate through pictures. The graphic novel's effectiveness is tapping into an anciently established truth.
They have visual permanence Watching a movie, listening to a lecture... that's all fine and good. But the pace of learning is dictated to you. With a graphic novel, you become the master of your learning. You dictate the pace of learning so you retain and learn more.
They are popular Simple enough. But while we're on the subject, thank you Sin City, 300, Watchmen, Road to Perdition, Batman, Avengers, and so on. You have made comics cool again.
They funnel into more learning Give a kid a comic book on math (and they're out there), and they'll actually want to do math, and it will make teaching math out of a workbook way easier. Creating their own comic also builds amazing skills in students related to technology, art, film-making, and writing.