September 25th is National Comic Book Day!
From the very first sequential comic strip published in the Hearst New York American on February 16, 1896, the medium broadly referred to as “comics” has steadily evolved into a variety of formats that combine text and images to tell engaging stories of all kinds. From comic strips to webcomics, to comic books and manga to graphic novels—the medium offers just as many genres as traditional fiction and nonfiction books, and its popularity has grown exponentially in recent years with audiences of all ages.
Many believe that comic books primarily feature superheroes fighting supervillains in fantastic settings, but the medium has so much more to offer readers of all interests than just the latest adventures of your favorite caped crusaders. Comics also tell stories that are romantic, terrifying, heartbreaking, and even educational—graphic memoir and graphic journalism are two of the most popular genres in comics—but knowing where to begin can seem like a daunting task.
Engage, Excite, Inspire
Comic books, graphic novels, and manga offer an incredible opportunity to engage readers of all abilities and ages by providing a visual foundation that helps accelerate comprehension of an author’s ideas while inspiring them to find their own voices.
Comics foster empathy for others by providing immersive perspectives on lives, stories, and even classic texts that might otherwise seem abstract or unrelatable for some readers. From adaptations of classic literature to profiles of courage, nonfiction to memoir—the comics medium employs visual elements that help engage and excite readers about subjects they might not have otherwise chosen to read.
Comics can help ease readers into new subject matter while building their confidence, reading comprehension, and critical thinking skills, ultimately enabling them to engage with more challenging texts. They also help foster a joy of reading which can level the academic playing field.
Beyond their educational value, comic books, graphic novels, and manga also inspire readers to find their own voices. One of the most common ‘side effects’ of reading comics is telling one’s own stories—sometimes with their favorite characters, or creating their own, building their own worlds to explore and share.
Simply put, comics get children and teens excited about reading!
Engage, Excite, Circulate!
With LibraryPass’ ComicsPlus, students and library patrons can have access to thousands of age-appropriate digital comics, graphic novels, and manga—including popular titles for readers of all interests, like Avatar: The Last Airbender & The Legend of Korra, Big Nate, Bone, Disney Princesses, Geronimo Stilton, Stranger Things, Locke & Key, American Gods and timely, award-winning nonfiction like March and They Called Us Enemy.