Monday, May 24, 2010

clarity in communication. a hyperlinked missional church comic book

This is what I long for …

The trick in either comics or animation is to embody your ideas rather than sugarcoat them; to make plain, through images, the patterns and concepts you see clearly in your head, secure in the knowledge that even the most byzantine, advanced, jargon-laced topic probably rests on a few fat visual metaphors almost anyone can grok with a little explanation.

Via cartoonist Scott McCloud. (Who wrote the most awesome Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art, a comic book about how to understand comics.)

I’d love to write a missional church theology book as a comic book in order to present “a few fat visual metaphors.” But I know I can’t draw. But … I suspect that the discipline of trying would probably make my words a whole lot crisper. So maybe I could use pictures as part of the concept design?

While I’m waffling about books, I’d love to write a book which was not only a comic, but could also be hyperlinked. So that I could be talking about say a missional practice and the reader could choose whether they flipped to the theology, or the Scriptural resources, or the history of how the practice emerged, or the story of how it played out at Opawa, or the change processes that lay behind the idea.

Books are so linear.

All this by way of saying that when this semester ends, which is in only 14 days, my semester from hell is over, 75% of my entire year’s teaching being squeezed into the first half of the year, and I get a chance to write … 🙂

Posted by steve at 10:30 PM


  1. What about a combination of digital photos arranged and scripted using software like Comic Life?

    Comment by Stephen — May 25, 2010 @ 8:31 am

  2. McCloud’s Google Chrome comic is fantastic, the way pictures illustrate software concepts.

    Many years ago I incorrectly predicted a great proliferation of non-linear stories as the web became a more popular medium.

    Technology gives us lots of options about how we share information, but we still default to the world of text. The work that college students do is often in essay form, and sermons another common format. But the evangelists of this generation need to be able to preach a good non-linear sermon! (ie dialogue).

    Something I was writing last month was proving difficult, and I turned it into a big page with arrows and text boxes and it was easier to write. It turned back into fairly plain text again, but the different shape was handy along the way. I started my current one as plain text, maybe I should have thought with different possible end-format in mind, as ppt, YouTube etc are all available.

    Comment by Eric — May 25, 2010 @ 4:49 pm

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