Polish-American novelist Jerzy Kosinsky captured the essenceof political comic strips in a single quote “The principle of true art is notto portray, but to evoke” (Goodreads, 2017). Comics in general, like any othertext, convey a message to the viewers/readers. However this is carried out in adifferent form, as comics usually incorporate two different principles: writtenlanguage and visual graphics.
Why comic strips?Visual arts have a long history, they represent a substantialpart of our culture and some would argue that visual art preceded writtenlanguage. Cave or parietal art is dated long before any written languageappeared. In Europe, the earliest finds date back approximately 35.000 yearsago and it is proven that most of the drawings and engravings had both decorativeand observational purposes (Lawson, 2012).
What is a comic?While researching about comics, we stumble uponseveral definitions. What strikes as unusual is not only the vast range ofdefinitions, but the different understandings of what comics are. Some researchersprovide definitions which are based on the aesthetics, others deem them as theninth art but there are also some which are based strictly on the certainelements such as structured narrative that includes both visual and textualfacets. What is a comic strip, which are its properties and inwhat way does it differ from other forms of visual art? Many people think ofcomics as childish or unsophisticated fictional representations of humans withunusual attributes, but this is not the case with political comic strips.
Cambridge dictionary’s entry for comic strips is “a short series of funnydrawings with a small amount of writing, often published in a newspaper”(Dictionary.cambridge.org, 2016). This is a valid term which encapsulates theessence of comic strips, but it is overly simplistic as there is much more tocomics. Dirk Vanderbeke (Berninger, Ecke andHaberkorn, 2010, pg.72) examines the logic of the misperception and”debasement” of the medium of comics and categorizes it as such: