Reading Comics Makes You Smarter — Here’s Why

Comic books and graphic novels are not just a way to pass the time for “nerds.” They can be a fantastic way to make you smarter too. So, let’s get into it and look at what the research has shown so far. 

The Stories Benefit Your Brain

When you read something, especially fiction, your brain often imagines the story in your head. Comics can do the same thing with just a bit more guidance. The drawings on comic panels can produce a feeling of movement even though they are just still images.  


That is because your brain is working, and the more you read, the more the brain function will change positively. The neuron activity will increase, and it will last for a few days longer after you have finished reading. Illustrations are also a great way to pull readers into the world of the story and help guide their imagination.


Cognitive psychology has shown that reading comic books positively affects all of our mental processes. That includes memory, perception, creativity, attention, the use of language use, problem-solving, and reasoning.   


Therefore, reading, regardless if you are reading classics or original future classics, is a way to look smart in front of people with the bonus of becoming smart in front of them too. And the latter is definitely more valuable. 

You Will Learn to Love Reading

You want to know how to look smart? Well, smart people like to read, and others perceive reading as an intellectual pastime. However, some people may find it difficult to stick to whatever they are reading. But, since comics are a visual format, they can reall help those who are struggling with words on the page.  

That is because the material can be more engaging and more visually dynamic than plain text. The illustrations with the plots and characters can help some people process information and understand it. They could find it hard to do so with plain text such as the journal of consumer psychology.  

Comics can help their readers process the information in different ways, which can benefit them. And while there can still be some stigma when it comes to reading comics, it is unfair to comic book lovers since their favorite medium is now aimed at intelligent people more than ever before. There are dark, meaningful lessons to be learned from comics.

You Will Begin to Think Differently

There is something called multiple modalities, and it has to do with intertwining all components of a creative medium to tell a story. This is the main concept behind several types of art, such as theater plays, films, television shows, video games, and comics. In the latter, the images, text, word balloons, framing, etc., come together to feed the audience the story, the characters, and themes. 

A lot of the time, there are only illustrations to show how a character reacts without any text, much like in movies. But, research shows that comics demand a more complex neurological process on the reader’s part when compared to some other mediums. 

A good comic makes you question and think about what you would have done in that situation. Or if what the characters did was the right thing to do, and that is what good art should do regardless of format. 

Comic Books Are Cool

The main highlight of reading comics is that they are fun. So much so that the film and television industry took notice and adapted a lot of comic books into movies and shows. The Marvel and DC Universe are the first that comes to mind. However, comic books have a long history of being adapted into movies or TV shows, from “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” to “Men in Black” to “The Walking Dead.”  

Not only are many comic books and graphic novels made into films, but a lot of them are turned into video games. How else would you be able to explore Gotham City without playing “Batman Arkham City?” Well, you can while reading “Batman,” but it is not the same feeling. That is why comics are awesome — they can generate other forms of entertainment. Whether or not they are well adapted is up to debate, but there has been a massive improvement in recent years.  

Comic books are the origins of a lot of the superhero stories that you see. However, you can go deeper into your favorite hero’s background and read more about what they have done or what they will do. Plus, a whole new and other world is opened up to you that the movie only introduced you to. Comic book characters have a huge history behind them. It is fun to be able to explore that as well as meet new characters that could be more interesting.

There Are More than Just Superhero Stories

While superheroes are a great way to explore certain topics and themes, they are not the be-all of comics. Many genres, styles, and stories come in comic book form. This makes the medium more accessible to those that are not into superheroes. Some stories are more down to Earth and show a harsher side to reality, such as “Persepolis.” Other graphic novels such as “Blankets” can explore the notion of love and loss. 

Plus, many comics show a range of topics where some are more rooted in the real world. This can deal with the writer’s experiences of addiction, such as “The Alcoholic”. And, some stories are not as rooted in reality, but they still explore themes related to it. Such as the idea of life and death in “Colder,” which is strictly for adults due to its illustrations and storylines. 

Reading graphic novels and comics that step away from superhero tropes is often more perceived as intelligent reading due to their hard subject matters. While heroes can still explore similar themes, the general population does not know that. 

Moreover, many comics are more on the lighter side of things, such as “Girl Genius.” 

The Language Used Is Quite Advanced

Looking and sounding smart is so much more than just using big words. It means understanding words. It is a misconception that comics use simple, childish language. According to a study performed by Stanovich and Cunningham, comics often feature vocabularies larger than those of your average college students.  

Therefore, comic books are a way to improve one’s verbal intelligence. They can help those that are on a lower reading level improve while consuming something that interests them more. In short: the more you read, the more you will know, learn, and understand.

While we are not taking away the value of reading novels, we are not downplaying comic books reading either. Both are useful to improve one’s brain. But one is more suited to some people than the other. For example, some people would easily read “War and Peace,” while others would read it in a graphic novel form. It is the same story, plot, and characters, just a different presentation of it.  

The Last Page

The best thing to do is to try out a comic book and see if it benefits you. There are different strokes for different folks. However, comic and graphic novels are not only for children. They can improve someone’s life a lot. It sounds a bit dramatic, but that is media for you.