How to Read Comics, Graphic Novels and Manga

Comics is still one of the most popular platforms of storytelling. The uninitiated mistake them for children’s books because of the drawings, but comics have inspired a lot of movies and television series not made for kids.

Parts of a Comics

Comics is reading with pictures. Unlike picture books, however, the creation process is more complicated. Picture books have illustrations to enhance reading, but comics need the illustrations to tell the story. Comics is composed of graphics, panels and text. The text are enclosed in shapes called speech bubbles. The panels or frames are like individual scenes or shots. Think of them as camera shots in a film. Sometimes, instead of a speech bubble, the comic artist will provide a narrative box for a narration or voice-over. It’s also not unusual to see bleed pages or a spread. Bleed is the term used for an image the runs off the page on all sides. There are no visible borders or gutters (the space between panels). A spread on the other hand is composed of two pages facing each other. One scene is depicted on the two pages.

What are Comics?

Comics eliminate the need for describing details. Instead they can be shown in drawings. It gives the comic artist more freedom to place a lot of details in the illustration as well as focus on the dialogue. Some argue that comics can pack more information than the text in novels. Comics are like serialized short stories. The stories are told in several volumes and will take years to complete. Comics are read from top to bottom starting at the leftmost panel.

What is a Graphic Novel?

Sometimes you’ll hear people say graphic novels instead of comics. Although the basic elements are the same, graphic novels tend to have longer and more complex stories. Graphic novels don’t take several volumes to finish one story. Unlike comics, you don’t need to go through several story arcs to complete it. Like comics, Western graphic novels are read from top to bottom starting at the leftmost panel. Graphic novels are not to be confused with visual novels which are interactive video games composed of static graphics. Visual novels are comics-style video games.

What are Manga?

Manga is the Japanese name for comics. Some comics artists (mangaka in Japanese) consider manga as graphic novels. They have a distinct artwork from the Western superhero comics and graphic novels. Manga is divided into 5 types based on the age bracket and gender of the target audience. Some argue that manga has more diverse genres compared to Western comics. Genres range from slice of life to science fiction. Manga are often adapted into animated television series called anime. You might be confused the first time you read a manga. You read manga from top to bottom like regular comics, but you begin at the rightmost panel. English translations, however, can sometimes be read from left to right.

Three Poems to Make Her Fall for You  


It is important that we know famous poems because they will come in handy one of these days. Yes, we know some poems from our English or Literature classes but there are aplenty out there. If we are the type that does not work well with many words, poems can help us express our feelings.


So, here are some poems that we should know about:

  • When You Are Old: When You Are Old was written by a renowned Irish poet William Butler Yeats. His poems revolve around his unrequited love for Maud Gonne. When You Are Old tells about Yeats’ imagination of Maud Gonne in her later years where she tends a waning fire.
  • How Do I Love Thee? Elizabeth was a women’s right advocate and when she married Robert Browning (another poet), they became one of the famous coupling poets. One of Elizabeth’s greatest works is entitled “How Do I Love Thee?”


  • Do not stand at my grave and weep: Mary Elizabeth Frye has no formal education but her words to console a young Jewish girl who cannot be with her mother when she died pierced through the heart of everyone. Her poem includes “Do not stand at my grave and weep: I am not there; I do not sleep. I am a thousand winds that blow”.

The list goes on. Poems are gift that we should be thankful. The least that we can do is to read and share it. Who knows we can use poems to impress our employers here in Singapore or our teachers. We might even get the man/woman of our dreams. How’s that sound? Good luck and enjoy the words!


Developing Reading Habits

You have to admit that you do not like reading because you feel that it gets boring every minute. You are not alone but if you do not overcome this, you will not be successful in life. You have to understand that reading is crucial in school and in the workplace. People who don’t know anything will not get far.


The good news is that you can still redeem yourself. It is not too late to like reading. You will find reading fun in no time. The trick is to develop reading habits. It is not easy at first but you will eventually like it. Just give books a chance. Here’s a start:

  • Pick a book: The first thing that you should do is pick a book. There are many books out there, how do you pick something? You only have to examine your interests. For sure you are interested in something. Pick something the interests you. You are off to a good start.
  • Practice reading: Now that you found the book that you are interested in, the next thing that you should do is set a goal. If you can stand reading for 15 minutes, that is a good start. Read for 15 minutes every day and when you are used to it, increase the time.o-PERSON-READING-BOOK-facebook
  • Do not yield: There are times that reading is boring but you should not yield to the temptation of closing the book and discard it. You should not give up. No matter how hard it gets, you should never give up.
  • Go to libraries: If you want a wider selection of books, you can always go to the nearest libraries. The good thing is that you can borrow books just make sure to return it right away.
  • Go to book fairs: If you want to meet people and join the celebration of reading, you should consider book fairs. Speaking of book fairs, there will be a book fair here in Singapore on June 10 to 16, 2014. This is book fair is an annual event here in Singapore. More than 150 publishers in Asia will come together to give you great books.

If you still consider books boring, there is something wrong with what you are doing. You have to examine yourself and create a solution. You cannot forever ignore books and other reading materials. If you have kids around, it is good if you practice reading so they will know its importance. You have to teach them the importance of reading while they are young so they will have no difficulties when they grow old.

You have to be positive and think that reading is fun.