It’s probably fair to say that “grammar” and “comics” are not often words spoken together in a typical classroom. Comics still get a pretty bum rap these days, even though more and more educators are seeing the value in alternative literacies such as graphic novels and comics. To understand the wealth of thinking that goes into a comic (both as a writer and as a reader), Blambot has created a chart of “Comics Grammar.”
While the site frames the discussion around fonts and design, there is plenty to learn from here about how to read comics. You learn about balloon tails, double dashes, emanating dialogue, and more. What emerges is the use of the visual in connection with the written word, and the combination of these forms almost a literacy of its own when it comes to comics and graphic novels.
In the Classroom
Do you let your students make comics? How about read comics? This site could be a valuable resource around reading skills that are not traditionally taught, and I bet that your students would have fun with it, too. Keep an eye out for the annual Free Comic Day each May, and head down to the local comic book shop to grab free comics that you can use in the classroom. Analyzing comics as text and visual information can be a way to engage non-traditional readers and learners in a new way, and making literacy visible is always a rewarding experience.
Comic Book Grammar and Tradition via Blambot Comic Fonts and Lettering