Working in an art school library, the calmest part of my day comes in processing the new periodicals. Looking through the April 2015 issue of Psychology Today, I was extremely excited to see that they have unveiled a new comic strip, Dear Interior,.
Eleanor Davis (@squinkyelo), the artist, posted this announcement on her Twitter account.
So why did I get so excited about this? I mean, I love comics and all, but there are comic strips everywhere. I could go pick up any newspaper or New Yorker and find similar strips.
A comic strip appearing in Psychology Today speaks to something that I have believed for a long time – that the visual symbolism of comics, and the ability for the reader to both view an emotion or meaning and instantly interpret its meaning for themselves, is nearly therapeutic in nature. Scott McCloud talks a bit about this idea in his Understanding Comics – the more cartoonish you make a character, the more the reader puts himself in the character’s place. This way, the reader can both explore what’s happening with the character, and with themselves.
There has been other talk of this regarding superheros specifically (see The Rise of Superhero Therapy, for example). This specifically reflects the idea that avidly reading about superheros, and maybe putting ourselves in their place, is an empowering act. I believe this is true, but I also believe that this can apply to anything a reader is working through. And I am so excited to see how Eleanor Davis represents these internal struggles.