I remember the old Spider-Man bits from the Electric Company. Which means there are three kinds of people reading this now:
- Those who are roughly my age, and remember.
- Those who are older than I, and vaguely remember.
- Those who are younger than I, and must go to YouTube to find them.
The idea was to bring in a comic book hero, and force the kids to read the word balloons to follow the story. It was a great exercise for its time, but the expectations have changed for graphic media in the last 35 years or so. Pictures are indeed supposed to tell their own stories, and some of the “highest art” in graphic novels comes where there is no narration or dialogue to further the story.
Still, as communicators, we need to be mindful of the stories our pictures tell. Particularly on the web, where too many websites and blogs rely on “art” to break up a page, rather than as a tool to tie concepts back to a central theme. And remember – if you don’t provide captions for your pictures, you’d better make sure they are crystal clear in meaning. Or else someone will beat you to the punch with a different interpretation: