Is Reading Comics as Good as Reading Books?

Reading is one of the oldest and greatest pastimes the world has ever seen as doing so will put you in an entirely different world that is great for your imagination. Comic books are now some of the more popular modes of reading because of how they showcase the events in a visual way more than any other form of literature. This was also where some of the greatest characters in history such as Batman and Superman were born out of the imaginations of their writers and creators. But is reading comics as good as reading actual books?

Reading is reading no matter what form of printed media you use. Even though one comic book won’t be as long and sometimes not as complex as a classic book or a novel, it is still a form of reading and will still develop your reading comprehension as well as your love for literature.

Parents of young children and even regular adults often belittle those who would rather spend time reading comic books rather than actual novels. But neither of them is more valuable than the other as both have the same artistic and literary value even though there are some stark differences between them. So, if you want to understand what makes reading comic books similar but also different compared to reading novels or traditional books, read on to find out more.

You also may be wondering “is reading comics online illegal?” You can read my detailed article about reading comics online clicking here.

Difference Between Reading Comics and Reading Books

When you go to a library or a bookstore, it is most likely the traditional book or the novel that dominates the shelves as this is still the most popular way of reading literature. Books, for as long as they have been in use as a way to teach and inform people or as a way of telling stories, have always been what people go to whenever they need something to read either to learn something new (such as for school or for general learning) or to keep themselves entertained.

But, throughout the decades, the comic book has risen up as one of the most popular forms of literature thanks to how it provides a new avenue for avid readers to exercise their love for reading and storytelling. In some cases, comic books have even stolen the spotlight from traditional novels or text-based books because of how they have become increasingly entertaining in terms of their presentation.

Make no mistake about the fact that both comic books and traditional novels or books still make use of texts heavily as a way to present what they are about. However, there are stark differences between the two that makes comics unique on their own in comparison to the usual books we see in libraries and bookstores.

As such, here are some of the major differences between comics and novels:


Again, there is no doubt that both comic books and traditional books use the same medium when it comes to presenting what they are about. They still use paper as their form of displaying their presentations (although more and more people are now using the digital forms of comics and books today by reading them on tablets and mobile devices).

However, the difference lies in the way they present their ideas even though both forms still use text heavily. In the case of the traditional books and novels, we know for a fact that they are so text-heavy to the point that most of them are entirely made of text. There are some instances where there are textbooks and novels that display images but using images has never been the main medium of presentation for them.

On the other hand, comics are also making use of texts but in a way that advances the dialogue between the characters or by narrating the story in certain panels. That’s because comics are based more on images that present the events of the story panel per panel rather than to leave the imagery up to the imagination of the readers. This allows comics to have a more vivid and clearer way of presenting the events of the story to the readers in comparison to traditional books.


The length of the two forms of reading is also one of the major differences between comic books and traditional books. In some ways, it is also one of the reasons why more and more people read comics rather than novels.

Novels, as you might have noticed, usually are quite long. Some of the shorter books tend to be somewhere between 150 to 300 pages all while being presented in smaller forms so that they would be easier to carry around. On the other hand, some of the longer novels can reach 500 to 1,000 pages depending on how they were written. This means that it would take longer for someone to finish a novel.

On the other hand, comic books are more likely to be somewhere under a hundred pages long unless there is a need for one comic book to be quite long. That’s because comics can present their stories and ideas faster by making use of images so that they can reduce the need for texts. Of course, you also have to consider that printing comic books is more expensive than printing text-based novels.


Some people might not think that price should be a determining factor in choosing a form of literature over another. But it really affects the choices of some people as the way a form of literature is presented can actually drastically affect its price.

Traditional novels are more likely to be a lot more affordable compared to other forms of literature because they rely only on texts and on paper that is of lesser quality. Texts are a lot more affordable to print. That’s why even novels that are more than a thousand pages long can still be quite affordable.

Meanwhile, comic books are generally more expensive because of how they use paper that’s more expensive (so that they can hold the ink) and because of how it is more costly to print images compared to texts. And if the comic book uses colored ink, it would be more expensive compared to the black and white comics (such as the Japanese manga, for example).


Yes, the storyline of comic books and traditional novels have some stark differences because of how they the way they are being presented demands that there should be differences between them in that department.

The storyline of novels differs from one novel to another as most of them are narrative-based instead of heavily describing action scenes. Writers of books often try to allow the reader to imagine the setting and place themselves in the shoes of the characters in the story.

But comics differ in the sense that they are more action-based precisely because it is easier and better to present actions on printed images. There are some comics that are still based more on the narrative but they focus a lot on how they deliver the setting via the images instead of focusing on the narration of the story.

Is Reading Comics as Effective as Reading a Book?

So, now that you know that comics are different compared to a book, you might be wondering if reading comic books is just as effective as reading a book. Well, it really depends on how you define the word “effective”.

If we mean effective in the sense of how easy they are to understand, it depends on the person because some people are better off understanding some concepts and ideas in a more visual sense by making use of images while there some who are better off understanding them by reading texts.

On the other hand, if we mean effective in the sense of how they develop reading comprehension and skills, comic books won’t be as effective as novels because everything is handed down to the comic book reader due to the images. Meanwhile, the reader of a traditional book or novel has to make sure that he or she reads all of the words and sentences carefully to make sense of what is happening. As such, this allows the reader to improve his or her reading comprehension better in comparison to a comic book.

But in terms of entertainment value, we cannot really say which one is more effective than the other because they both have their own niche markets. Some people prefer the comic book’s use of images to keep themselves entertained while others love the narrative-based approach that text-heavy novels often have. Again, it really depends on the reader’s preferences.

Does Reading Comic Books Count as Reading?

Finally, let us go to whether or not reading comic books still counts as reading. Well, of course it does even though some of the avid fans of traditional literature would rather not include comic books as a form of reading.

Let’s face the fact that, when you are reading comic books, you are still relying heavily on your reading comprehension and your ability to understand the dialogues because comic books are still relying on texts to deliver their stories and themes even as the images make things easier for them.

That’s why, for parents out there, you should never discourage your children from wanting to read comic books out of the misguided belief that this is not a form of reading. It still is very much a form of reading, and it could be a great start to a child’s reading habits as he or she learns how to handle combining dialogues with images better while reading comics.

Probably the only reason you should discourage a child from reading certain comic books is due to how some of them have severe amounts of violence and sexual content. But, other than that, children should be encouraged to read comics as it still is counted as reading although in an easier and lighter way.

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