Tag: comic sans


Why Interactive Comics Journalism Is Exploding and Your Paper Bin Is Not

In recent years, interactive comics and virtual reality have found their way to journalism. Comics journalism is a hybrid medium combining elements of sequential art, journalism, documentaries, and political cartoons.


On the importance and relevance of this burgeoning art form, we turn to Dan Archer, a Brooklyn-based Englishman who is ready to embrace the potential of virtual reality as a journalistic tool. Archer is the founder of Empathetic Media, a multimedia agency that uses graphic journalism—virtual and augmented reality—to tell news stories in an immersive new way.


Archer has drawn comics on topics ranging from the recent closing ceremony at the Olympics in Pyeongchang, to prison escapes at Alcatraz, to human trafficking in Nepal. He is an atypical journalist who documents his stories through the use of comics, 3D simulations, and is at the forefront of this ever-growing storytelling medium.


Dan Archer

Image Via Twitter


In an interview with Junkee Magazine, Archer revealed his greatest inspirations include Joe Sacco and Art Spiegelman, who, through their graphic novels Palestine and Maus, pushed the form into popularity and opened up the floodgates of making unwieldy subjects more digestible to the reader.


On the explosion of comic journalism, Archer says to Junkee that “given the proliferation of visual and graphic content online and how undeniably viral that sort of content is, it represents a massive opportunity for people. Now that the internet is evolving, we can make it work a lot harder to tell stories that are uniquely suited to this medium.”


This is where we stumbled upon Screendiver, an online digital comics directory whereby visitors have over forty-three interactive comics to choose from. The website also accepts pitches from new artists and journalists to publish their work and contains a batch of “how-to” videos on strengthening one’s knowledge of comics and virtual reality journalism.


Here are a few examples of the interactive comics on the website:


1. The Ocean is Broken, by Stu “Sutu” Campbell.


This interactive comic from Australian craftsman and storyteller Sutu is one of the most brilliantly detailed and well put together graphic tales I have ever had the pleasure of reading. The marriage of organic soundscapes and mind-bending visual experiences drag the reader into a five star journey through the trash-filled seas of the future and the peril faced by the humans who inhabit these regions. Sutu’s love of people, and his passion for the endangered environment are pressed into each facet of this project. 



Image Via ocean.sutueatsflies.com


The story is an invitation to see what Sutu has seen, having lived within the indigenous communities of Greenland. It’s also based on the future he envisions for this community. Journeying through desolate and trash-ridden seascapes, it is the story of a young boy, Pitaaraq, and his family who, over the course of six color-contrasting chapters, fight for survival.



Image Via ocean.sutueatsflies.com


2. The Art of Pho by Julian Henshaw.



Image Via artofpho.submarinechannel.com/


The Art of Pho is a delicious tale set against the backdrop of bustling Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam, and is about a little creature named Little Blue, who ventures to the Vietnamese capital to learn how to make the perfect bowl of noodle soup.



Image Via artofpho.submarinechannel.com/


This interactive graphic novel is about friendship, love, and finding your roots, and is told through the perspective of lovable little creatures. A sight for sore eyes some might say.



3. Utopolis


Poverty, luxury, freedom, and dictatorship are the themes composing this game made by Dutch students of art Michelle Malais, Johan Lipman, Veerle Zandstra, and Kristel Versteegh. Metaphorical of today’s society, Utopolis represents a city in which appearances are not always true, and every level of society is riddled with deception.



Image Via Screendiver


What’s cool about this storyline is that the reader is in control of it. Hannah and Claus are eager to leave their under-privileged side of town in search of a city that ensures a happy life. Influence their adventure with your own choices and make sure they are the right ones, because they cannot be reversed. That is the catch, in life and in Utopolis.


4. Here by Richard McGuire


The story is about the corner of a room and every event that has occurred in that space over the course of hundreds of thousands of years. First published in RAW magazine in 1989, McGuire’s pioneering comic vision Here has been redeveloped into this interactive short story over the course of fifteen years.



Image Via Screendiver


The ebook scenes can be shuffled and reshuffled, giving the reader the opportunity to lead the narrative in a new direction through different combinations and connections. For example, the following images show different conversations that happened over time.



Image Via Screendiver


This ebook’s concept is groundbreaking and applicable to a thought many of us have had—what has happened in this exact spot since the dawn of time?


As we venture closer to the day in which print becomes obsolete (gasp), it is a time to cherish the sentimental value of our physical books. But it’s also a time to get excited about the potentialities of what technology can do for the reading experience, and for the era of information and how we process it all.


Feature Image Via Screendiver

comic sans

Hilary Explains It All: In Defense of Comic Sans

For as long as I can remember, it’s been chic to hate on Comic Sans. The font is aesthetically, absolutely terrible, though if you ask font designer and creater Vincent Connare, it’s “the best font in the world”. I might disagree (because I’m a Helvetica fan) but you know who doesn’t? Anyone with the learning disability dyslexia. 



The font, which was released in 1994, is based on John Costanza’s lettering from The Dark Knight Returns comic book. Times New Roman seemed far too formal for a speech bubbles, and so Comic Sans came to be. 


“Comic Sans was NOT designed as a typeface but as a solution to a problem with the often overlooked part of a computer program’s interface, the typeface used to communicate the message,” Connare says on his website. “The inspiration came at the shock of seeing Times New Roman used in an inappropriate way.”


Despite its comic origin story, Comic Sans has been hugely instrumental in other ways, specifically, helping those with the learning disorder dyslexia. In an article for The Establishment, Lauren Hudgins recounts just how beneficial the font has been to her sister Jessica, but Jessica isn’t alone: it’s estimated that one in ten Americans have dyslexia, with statistics on school-aged children reporting one in five. 


That’s one in five children that have to work that much harder to do the same assignments – but it’s not just children. In Hudgins’ article, her sister describes difficulty in higher level classes:


The lecturer printed out these handouts in Times New Roman. Everyone’s like, ‘Oh my god. This is so easy!’ I handed him the thing back and I was like, ‘It’s not that your instructions are difficult, I cannot read them. I’ve nearly cried three times during this.’ What I did is I eventually downloaded the handout, blew it up to 16 point font, turned the paper green, and turned it into Comic Sans.


But it’s not just about getting the work completed, it’s also about acceptance within submitted work. When people ask Jessica why she doesn’t begin her assignments in Comic Sans and hand in her papers in Times New Roman: 


Have you ever tried to format a scientific paper when you have to get everything lined up so specifically? You’ve got all of your legends that have to go underneath your figures. 12 points in Comic Sans is not 12 points in Arial is not 12 points in Times New Roman. You can spend hours formatting your paper in Comic Sans and then turn it into 12 point Arial and it will mess up everything.


And then there’s proofreading. 


You cannot fix formatting errors you cannot see! I can and have had people in my class look over my work, but you need to understand that we’re not collaborators, they’re my peers. This is an encroachment on their time.


When people imagine using Comic Sans in an educational environment, most people’s minds go directly to grade school, but the impact of dyslexia and hard-to-read fonts goes beyond primary school. Dyslexia isn’t “curable”, but it is manageable. Using Comic Sans just one of the tools many Americans with dyslexia use to improve their quality of literacy. 


Comic Sans isn’t the only font available for those with dyslexia, but it is the most well known, and for many, the easiest to use. So why are we still so angry at a font whose existence is so beneficial to so many people? Because we don’t know any better, I guess, but ignorance isn’t a good excuse any more.


Featured Image Via Reader’s Digest.