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What are comics or manga?

Comics or manga (comic strips), are an artistic literary resource that serve to convey a short message; curious or fun and funny. Through drawings or images; in physical and digital formats.

From a sequence or series with a structure of panels such as boxes or vignettes and that are composed of characters in adventurous situations, in addition to dialogues and texts, the use of balloons, backgrounds and onomatopoeias.

They represent the graphic humor (of a comic) of a story or tale, being a short means of communication of expression, where there is a narrative that can be directed to children in elementary school, young people in high school and adults, including children.

Characteristics of comic strips

  • They are a narrative element of the epic genre because most comics are “adventure stories”.
  • Comics are events that follow a structure; and the stories revolve around or talk about one or several central character(s) who are the important part of the comic.
  • A direct and funny language is used to relate situations through expressions such as onomatopoeias, for example: Zoom, Crack, Oops, BOOM, PUFF, etcetera.
  • The sequence or series of images or drawings of vignettes or boxes; they are read from left to right and from top to bottom.
  • In the 20th century, it was a resource for people who could not read or write, because it can convey profound ideas through illustrations.
  • They were called funnies in 1929, instead of short comics or comic strips.
  • Mexico was the largest consumer of comics in the world in the 1980’s and was the largest producer and seller of this genre of literature, both comic strips and photonovels of Mexican comics.
  • Memín Pinguín, Kalimán and Chanoc comics, among others, were predominant.

Names and synonyms of comics (Denominations)

Comic books are known in other countries with other names, but all of them have the same characteristics and functions except for Japan; some of the names given to comics or comic books are:

  • In Spain, they are known as tebeo and also as comics, this term was thanks to the magazine TBO, for being a quite popular magazine from 1917 to 1998, which originated this term in its sections on comics such as Dominguín, Superman (Action Comics in 1938) among others.
  • In the United States, they are known as comics (funnies and cartoon), comic book (comics in English), comic strip (comic strip) and graphic novels (graphic novel). However, there is a distinction between these terms. The term comic book was common among American publishers since many of these companies were also dedicated to the publication of pulps.
  • In Japan, they are called Manga, one of the main characteristics of Japanese comics is the style of drawing, which is a little more with shadows and more striking expressions. One of the distinctive features is that the vignettes and pages are read from right to left.
  • In Belgium, France and Switzerland it is called bande dessinée, these countries represent along with the United States and Japan, as the ones that have marked a global style to the comics.
  • In Mexico and Chile, they are known as comics, monitos or muñequitos although it is a little known term, besides comics Argentina.
  • In Italy they are called fumetto or fumetti (little clouds).
  • In China as Manhua and in Korea as Manhwa, in the Philippines as Komiks and in Brazil as História em quadrinhos (history in squares) and in Portugal as Banda desenhada.
  • In Colombia they are known as monachos, caricaturas or monos and in Peru as chistes (jokes).
  • In Venezuela they have been called “comiquitas” due to the extension of the word comic.

What are comics for?

What many will think, is that they serve to distract, however, they have had a deeper use, and it all depends on the author and how he wants to illustrate what he imagines. Obviously, whether to distract or to make the readers’ minds have a good time.

They can narrate a story and/or short story. Thus recreate a historical event, make criticism in some area of society. Or leave a teaching to different generations, children, adults or young people. In order to educate that part of the population.

The purpose of comics is to spread a message, or the experiences that the author or some population has had to other readers. It can function as a means of information. In short, their uses can be very diverse, but they will never move away from the world of visual and written artistic expression.

Benefits of reading comics

In the 1970s, it was thought that comics could not have any benefit for children. However, the opposite has been proven to be true. The benefits of comics range from learning about oneself and developing an interest in art. It is also a support for academic learning according to several studies.

Some of the benefits of the comic strip are:

  • It helps to know oneself.
  • The creation of comics teaches the initiate ways to artistically communicate his inner world, his ideas and emotions with a combination of images and words.
  • The appreciation and analysis, the manifestation of ideas, feelings, emotions and experiences, the observation and identification of different ways of representing objects, situations or ideas.
  • Stimulates imagination and cognitive development.
  • Encourages curiosity and spontaneity.
  • By exchanging points of view with their peers, students feel a greater respect and attraction for reading comics.
  • It allows to reinforce learning among students about some task, activity or simply to learn better about a subject.
  • It is an excellent resource to invite everyone to enter the world of fantasy.