I've been speculating on the move of comics from print to electronic for some time (a lot of it here, quite frankly), Something struck me lately as, yet again, I pursued the world of electronic publishing (which I do a lot).
Comics is a world with it's own language – both as a way to express ideas about comics, and as a way to portray ideas in comics. We know that instinctively of course, to the point where we take it for granted. We discuss coloring, bleed, 9-panel, etc. with ease.
So we have a language. Much of this language is based on a mix of art style and technology. Fine, we know that. We know our comics history.
Now that's all changing.
It's the age of the e-comic now, the web-comic, the hyper-comic. The old words may be used now, but the languages – both about the comics and how the comics communicate information – will change in this electronic age. They'll change because we need new terms, and because we have new ways to express stories.
The language used to discuss comics a decade from now – perhaps even five years from now – is going to contain a lot of new terminology. The way we tell stories in comics may have a lot of "extras" as well.
It's a bit daunting. Trust me, I've worked in IT for 16 years and I watched language mutate rapidly in those years for various media. For comics, I imagine it seems rather strange.
Think about it. We'll be talking a different language in a decade.
It's important for us to keep up on this as well:
- For current professionals you don't want to seem (or get) out of date.
- For future professionals you need to speak the lingo.
- Language is often a key to current or upcoming technology changes.
- Language shapes thought – so knowing how it changes can keep us from thinking too much inside the box.
- We can actually shape it if we're aware it's coming.
Strange to think we need this conversation – but the importance of language in changing times and industries is too often ignored.
But if you pay attention, then you're on top of it when so many others aren't . . .