How Comics Promote Delayed Gratification

Image Comics. Used for non-commercial purposes.

I just finished reading Volume 2 of Lazarus, the excellent Image Comics series from Greg Rucka, Michael Lark, and Santi Arcas. Let me be honest right up front; I am no serious comic book fan. I bought a few random issues of super hero stuff (mostly Batman) when I was kid in the early 90s, because that was what people were doing, before quickly losing interest. My recent interest in comics is mostly through The Walking Dead (which I don’t actually own), two issues of The Wicked and the Divine (which I didn’t actually like) and the Lazarus series. Not to mention that I am buying these things in “volumes” on Amazon, not actual comic books, which I know seriously hurts my street creed. I just don’t have a comic book store anywhere close to where I live, and I enjoy reading them this way for now. Essentially, reading and following comic series is a fresh, new experience for me at the age of 29.

What struck me today was the intense feeling that I needed to read the next installment of Lazarus immediately. Unfortunately for me, Volume 3 does not exist yet, and will not for at least another 3 months. 3 months?! Even if I was able to shop for the individual comics, there are only two new issues out now, with just one new issue every month. If we think about comic books as episodes, that would be like waiting a month between episodes of Game of Thrones. When I have to wait a week for a new episode of Boardwalk Empire, I absolutely lose my mind! How I am going to wait months for Lazarus?

Comics are a unique medium. Reading a good one resembles reading a novel, looking at a painting, and watching an episode of a TV show, but at the same time is nothing like any of those things. The visual sequences feel like watching a movie in slow motion, giving the reader an opportunity to really absorb and enjoy the art. The unraveling of the story, character development, and cultural relevance can rival some of our best literature.

Yet, comics are almost more unique in their distribution. I think it goes without saying (since you are reading this on the internet) that we live in a world of instant media access. When I want to read or watch something, I don’t have to wait for it. I don’t want to ever have to wait. And if I do have to wait more than 20 seconds for something, I am going to fill that time with a quick look at Twitter or Instagram. I love this world. But it frightens me to think of what it may be doing to our psyche. We may be too quick to lump comics in with this category of fast media since they are so popular and engrained in our culture through Hollywood movies. However, comics demand that you wait for them. Even if you are reading them electronically, you still wait the month for the next issue. And when they’re really great, you are brought right back into the story, the world that has been created by the artists. When we are forced to wait, different things happen in our brain.

Perhaps this delayed gratification for comic books is a good thing, a counter balance to the overwhelmingly rapid pace of information. I often cite reading a novel as an opportunity to slow down, but I will be adding the experience of waiting for comic book releases to that list. It is an important list, even though it is a short list. For now, I will embrace this long period of waiting for the next volume of Lazarus. Will it get any less painful? I don’t know, but I think that pain is good for my health.

What is your experience of following a comic series? Is there any value to this delayed gratification? Discuss in the comments.


Must Reads #media Edition: Human Helicopter, Animated #Asiana, #Canon Crash Test, and Complex #comics

What were the best, most fascinating, exciting, puzzling, or inspiring things I read or watched this week? Some will be about technology, photography, or education. Some will not. Catch up on some things you missed. Maybe I dug up a few obscure gems that are totally new to you. Check out the brief ones now and save the more lengthy ones for later. Share and share alike…here’s the Must Read list:

Update 7/12 8:28 – Fixed bad links.



Prize-winning Human-Powered Helicopter (1:45)

This video shows off a beautifully efficient use of energy! And the poetry of the size of the machine! Congratulations to the @AeroVelo team for their accomplishment. These are the people I want working on renewable energy solutions!

Computer Animations Recreate the Asiana Crash (:27 and 1:04)

This set of animations contrast the Asiana crash with a normal landing. I am not sure if this is 100% accurate, but it does give some interesting context to the incident. The company that created these is the project of a former airline pilot, turned computer animator, which does lend some legitimacy to the videos.

Impact Testing on Inexpensive Canon Lens (1:25)

It’s nice to see that strong glass is used on less expensive camera lenses! I hope that my Nikon lenses would hold up the same way, but I’m not trying it!


Superheroes’ histories — Minimalistic posters showing the strength that comes from hard pasts

I just love the depth and poetry of these minimalist designs – a story in each image. Plus, super heros are still hot, right now!

Aging Ninja Turtles

You know you’re getting old when the Ninja Turtles look like this! This one’s just for fun.

Rare uplifting Bukowski poem…

…made into a beautifully surrealist comic by @zenpencils (amazing artist and blogger!), with an enjoyable Game of Thrones reference.

Must Reads: A Personal Glimpse at Amazon Founder, Free Tethering, Lying Authors, Comics, Healthcare, and More

This is my weekly list of what I most want to share. What have I read that was fascinating, exciting, puzzling, or inspiring. Catch up on some things you missed from the past week. Maybe I dug up a few obscure gems that are totally new to you. Check out the brief ones now and save the more lengthy ones for later. Share and be share to…here’s the list:

News and Tech

Well written piece from the New York Times. Interesting to see a glimpse into the private life of such an influential person. Amazon founder, Bezel, and his large financial support of gay marriage.

Is Groupon actually harming some small businesses? Interesting knowing that they are also seeing steep declines in their stock price lately.

Free tethering without penalty could set a new precedent in the cell phone industry, even if it is not a voluntary policy for Verizon.

A short comic about Jesse Owens in Nazi Germany for the Olympics. Plus this is an awesome comic website worth following. Useful for your personal enjoyment or for teachers looking for relevant, motivating materials.

The kind of woman who needs a late-term abortion. Although the essay is clearly for one side of the issue, you don’t have to be to read it. I was impressed with this powerful, expertly written piece of political writing with a fresh angle.

Health and Education

An Ed tech cheat sheet from Edudemic. Also excellent example of a straightforward, well designed infographic.

Five ways apples culture can improve your class. I was going to suggest reading Imagine: How Creativity Works, by Jonah Lehrer to go along with the above post. He delves into more creative, innovative organizations. But I just found out that he admitted to making up and misrepresenting quotes from Bob Dylan (the Dylan section of the book never sat right with me). Anyway, if you do get your hands on the book, I still think it is worth a read for the other sections, unless we find out he made those up too. Then I will recall this post like they have recalled his book

Not all completely new information about weight loss but some interesting findings here worth taking a look at.

Long Reads

What Mississippi Can Learn From Iran? Informative, inspiring and with some absolutely crushing moments. Why are poor communities deprived of health care, and how can it be fixed?