InfoComics tell stories of relatable characters navigating common situations as way to convey the findings of current research. As readers we are not passive observers, we are engaged by the content; the story becomes our story. We accompany the characters unconsciously drawing upon our own experiences to fill gaps that we don’t realize exist. This project grew from the realization that traditional factsheets, no matter how informative, are not visually or emotionally engaging. InfoComics are unique from traditional factsheets and these differences offer several potential advantages.
Comics provide information both as images and text; they simultaneously show and tell. This means that comics encourage processing in both the visual and linguistic centers at the same time. This is called “dual-code-processing” and can help promote deeper comprehension and more durable recall by engaging more areas of the brain than text on its own.
Presenting health information by telling a story gives the reader a framework to position the new learning within. This can help with recall, especially if the reader is just learning about the topic. This means that InfoComics are particularly well suited for teaching about chronic conditions, or providing context to recent diagnoses.
Perhaps the most significant advantage InfoComics is that they engage the reader on a personal level. Any comic requires you to use your imagination: when you look from one panel to the next you are using your own experiences, beliefs, and emotions, to draw conclusions that explain the differences between the two panels. When you read a comic, you’re literally putting parts of yourself into the story. That means that you’re the only person who will ever read that exact story because you’ll be helping author it.
InfoComics engage the readers brain more fully by telling a story that is unique to their experience. This personal story becomes as a frame that houses the new information, giving it personal context and relevance. There are many other advantages of educating with InfoComics: they’re easier to translate, more visually appealing, and enable richer communication. For more about the utility of InfoComics, see the InfoComic: Why Comics?
Our comics are written by Silas James and Ayla Jacob, and illustrated by David Lasky. It’s important that our InfoComics both present accurate information and are engaging, so before they are finalized, each of our comics is reviewed by a panel of experts and evaluated by people with firsthand experience with the subject we’re addressing.
Bio: Silas James
“I usually find myself drawn to complex problems and enjoy work that helps people. I’m currently focused on learning how the expectations of an audience shapes the way that they receive information. Empathizing with whatever group I’m trying to reach helps to craft a more effective message. Reaching an audience on an emotional level can change hearts and minds. Only information that resonates with people can change their behavior.
“I’m interested in furthering social justice and equity; advocating for and embracing otherness; learning/teaching about social theory; and building coalitions building.
As an undergraduate I studied sociology, philosophy, and political economy. I have a MPA (Master of Public Administration), and focused on leadership, systems building, and concluded my program with a mixed methods study comparing the levels comprehension and retention of information presented in an InfoComic versus the same information in stand-alone text.”