With comics now reaching more people than ever, thanks partly to the film franchises and gaming talked about more in the mainstream zeitgeist the time for intellectual studies of the fields is apparent. As with many subjects that start off as pulp and kid culture, the gaming, and comic mediums are slowly moving to be more legitimate fields. Courses are offered in these areas at most universities, and many will even allow students to specialize and focus on them offering degrees and certificates in the study. These are fields that deserve study and need to understand truly the changing nature of the culture.
Games and Comics used to be viewed as an outsider medium. It was something kids did, or adults that many viewed as lacking maturity. This stigma is slowly starting to fade away making way for study and analysis of what makes these mediums unique. As with books and more recently film, the ability to use the medium to tell complex, controversial and interesting subjects has been an ever changing goal. Each medium offers new ways for storytellers, and new ways of subverting the norm.
From politics to revolution, the media gives people the tools get a message out and spark the imagination. We saw this with the Soviet Montage movement in Russia, using editing to create the perfect “Soviet” idea with the use of cinema. Now we see similar things with games and comics. Books like Muse and games like The Path look at subjects that many would not touch on. Muse using a graphic novel to tell the story of racism and Nazi concepts and how they hurt Europe and the world. The simple story that young adults can understand goes through image and word, some of what the horrors people would be facing being the “other” in WWII Europe. The Path using a simple narrative about girls visiting grandma to explore womanhood and the act of getting old and losing one’s innocence. Both these concepts would be something that 30 years ago would be considered impossible for games or comics to do, yet today these are just 2 of a slew of examples.
It is hard to say what the future holds for more of these mediums. The use of them in education, religion, conflict and even personal issues cannot be overstated. It is an exciting time for the mediums, and this is only the beginning.