I’ve been annoying people on Whedonesque again. Not even about anything particularly righteous either just comics. It’s odd because it’s not as if I were really much of a comic book fan, I’ve read three American style books and the omnibus of Clover and that’s it unless you count Astérix chez les Bretons on a French exchange visit or the odd copy of the Beano. Still it’s always profoundly puzzled me when other people, equally new to the story-telling medium, seem to find it so much more opaque than non-graphic novels or film or TV. You read the words and look at the pictures, what more could there be to it? Don’t people (sighted people) learn to read pictures before they even learn to read? But puzzle no more. Today I had to mark a set of embryology practicals and obviously some of the variation had to do with application but it was striking how little some of the class were able to describe compared with others even though all of them had the same images and specimens to observe. Reading images critically and interpreting their sequence takes a certain aptitude (and a lot of practice). It’s something I’ve had to do for most of my working life so it’s hardly surprising that reading comics feels like a natural thing to do. And now I feel stupid for not seeing that connection before.