Science and comics: from popularization to the discipline of Comics Studies

Keywords: scientific communication, applied comics, comics-based research, comics studies


Modern scientific communication traditionally uses visual narratives, such as comics, for education, presentation of scientific achievements to a mass audience, and as an object of research. The article offers a three-level characterization of the interaction of comic culture and science in a diachronic aspect. Attention is focused not only on the chronological stages of these intersections, the expression of the specifics of the interaction is offered against the background of scientific and public discussions that accompany the comics–science dialogue to this day. Within the framework of the first stage (the appearance and distribution of popular science and educational comics), the characteristics of comics content necessary for the different genesis are highlighted: documentary storytelling, educational practices of learning through drawing, active cooperation with well-known companies and institutions, informativeness and empathic involvement of the young reader in a heroico-romantic narrative of scientific discoveries and mastering nature. With the intensification of interdisciplinary approaches (the second stage), comics are increasingly involved in presenting scientific results within the most diverse fields. Comics-based research is becoming an interdisciplinary method and a widespread practical area with the corresponding formation of scientific tools (applied comics, data comics), forms of interdisciplinary interaction (graphic medicine, ethnography, narrative geography, urban comics, comics journalism, etc.), and scientific publications (“The Comics Grid: Journal of Comics Scholarship”, “Sequentials”). The national format of comics-based research is presented on the example of Ukrainian comics projects (historical, feminist comics). In the genesis of development, Comics Studies have gone from a field of research to disciplinary definitions. In the creation of the metadiscourse of the scientific direction (the third stage), the authors focused on scientific discussions, the formation of academic directions and approaches, and markers of disciplinary self-identification. Emphasis is placed on the unique phenomenon of the simultaneous concordance of various stages of the dialogue between comics and science, on the prolonged replication of successful inventions into modern experience, and the active testing of known narratives at new levels of a scientific presentation.


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How to Cite
Hudoshnyk, O., & Krupskyi , O. P. (2022). Science and comics: from popularization to the discipline of Comics Studies. History of Science and Technology, 12(2), 210-230.