August 08, 2014 at 11:12AM

August 8, 2014 by  
Filed under Blog

How to make a documentary comic.

The more you study history, the more you'll find the complex and ambiguous nature of motivation and circumstance behind every historical moment. So how do you clarify that complexity in a medium that relies so much on images to tell the story? How can comics creators use design principles to explore an event that people have argued over for decades?

+Rob Stenzinger and I talked with +Dan Mishkin about his upcoming The Warren Commission Report: A Graphic Investigation into the Kennedy Assassination ( –a comic on which I served as artist. Throughout our discussion we highlighted some key ways comics is an even better medium for telling nonfiction stories than film or text.

Watch the video (or listen to the audio here: to find out how a cartoonist can use these wayfinding techniques to efficiently navigate a complex nonfiction story:
– passing the narrative baton between captions and dialogue
– color and sound effect cues to round back on and embellish important ideas in the story
– switching to an impressionistic style to explain the complexity and ambiguity of a historical moment
– using expressionistic color to dig into a character's mindset
– nesting repeating imagery within different contexts to explore the various viewpoints on an historical event

(and hat tip to +Jake Parker, the first person I've heard use the term "comics documentary!"

#comics   #comicbooks   #graphicnovels   #history   #jfk   #warrenreport50  

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