Campaigns Within Graphic Novels

Like every week, I sit in my room and contemplate “what can I bring to the table in regards to discussion about graphic novels.” Most of the time I’m stumped, but this week I was scanning my room for inspiration and my eyes caught my textbook “Political Communication Campaigns.”

It got me thinking! Outside of political cartoons, are comics used in advertising or campaigning? If not, well.. why not? I figured I’d tie my two classes together and put this concept on paper.



Campaign: “work in an organized and active way toward a particular goal, typically a political or social one.” Furthermore, a series of actions and messages used to change or confirm an audiences personal beliefs or actions.

Most, if not all, campaign organizers strategize around marketing across numerous channels. These can include paper advertisements, TV commercials, entertainment education (i.e. computer simulators or subliminal messages within shows). However, within my study, I haven’t heard much about graphic novels. So I did a bit of research.



Now, I don’t know about you, but I’m not fluent in Tanzanian so I can’t read this cartoon. However! I can infer that it is a health campaign spreading awareness about Malaria. I thought this was particularly interesting because this concept seems foreign to me. It’s rare we see these types of campaigns within the US.

I’ve come to this conclusion: roughly 2/3 of Tanzanian’s can read. The adoption of graphic novels aid those who have difficulty reading in comprehending the messages. The supplementation of graphics allow the message to get across to an audience otherwise unreachable by paper advertisements.

So why is this type of advertisement unpopular within the USA? I reckon it’s because of the childish stigma around comics! Hardly any adults recognize graphic novels as a valued source of literature. Campaigning across a comic channel may turn off much of your intended audience due solely to the fact that people don’t recognize them as credible.

Now, I’d like to take this conversation in a different direction. Within Digital Games, both mobile and desktop, comics are often used to set the scene or further the discussion.



It’s not uncommon you see pop-ups like these within a game. The usage of comics in these situations provide a separate connotation from one’s that are solely used in campaigning. Why is that? I don’t know!

The website Games for Change is filled with campaign games. Take a look and let me know what you think the role of comics were used within them!