Tuesday, September 9, 2008

The medium and the message

Scott McCloud continues to pioneer.

For those of you who haven't already suffered my enthusiastic recommendation of his seminal work 'Understanding Comics', here : "You really should read 'Understanding Comics'. It's essential for anyone even slightly interested in comics as a form."

Now, with this promotional/evangelistical comic for Google's Chrome, McCloud is again at the forefront of taking the medium to new places.

I have always believed, and often said aloud, that modern media like games and comics can, and indeed should, be used to deliver content other than pure entertainment. The medium is always separate from the message. Imagine if the visual medium was used purely for feature films (no advertisements, no funny YouTube clips, no fitness videos, no wildlife documentaries), or if the printed word was used only to deliver works of fiction (no Godel Escher Bach, no newspapers, no textbooks, no comics).

So why do we limit our perception of game engines and comics? 

Google's comic isn't the first instance of comics being used to convey instructional information, but it is in my memory one of the highest-profile efforts, and one of the better ones. Hopefully, it will help other people recognize the power of the comics medium to deliver any kind of non-fiction content.

Hey, maybe someone will use the Unreal engine to deliver an interactive product brochure. I don't think it's very far off.

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