No real experts on Interactive Comics

When I first spoke to the the good people at RIDERS about interactive comics, I had to make a disclaimer: I am not an expert on interactive comics...

They interest me greatly. I’ve done a bit of reading on the subject, debated with creators, and I’ve handled more than a few interactive comics. Some completely astounded me with their elegance and creativity, or knocked me sideways with their untapped potential, and then there were those barely deserving of the term “interactive” - or “comic” for that matter.

It’s very possible, and even likely, to read two different interactive comics successively, and not feel as if the two works are even part of the same medium. My explanation for this phenomenon of unaffixed media lurch is what motivated me to disclaim that I am not an expert in the field and even speculate that there are no experts in interactive comics. What causes me to make such outlandish proclamations?

Simple:Interactive Comics are not a thing...at least, not yet. Understanding what interactive comics are for, their role in our culture, and how people best read them, is what will make them a storytelling medium, rather than simply an amusing technology. But that understanding only starts to take shape when we start asking the right questions.

At the RIDERS Summer School, I’m going to invite audience members to come along on a adventure to find those questions, so that we can start asking them together. Starting with my experiences as a comics creator and my formal training as a creative writer, we’ll trace connective lines between some seemingly unrelated academic disciplines, hear legends about our mysterious questions from colorful characters who’ve sought them before, and examine some artifacts that have been unearthed along the way. If there aren’t any real experts on interactive comics yet, I’m hoping that by the end of our time together, the first ones may be sitting in the audience. See you at Summer School...

Errol Rivera

Writer and Research Assistant Creative Writing on MA Edinburgh Napier University


Errol Rivera is a writer, teaching intern, and a research assistant on the Creative Writing MA at Edinburgh Napier University. He also works as a freelance learning facilitator, and has presented papers on literary theory within comics and graphic novels. Prior to his post graduate work, Errol spent seven years as an independent comic book creator. His current projects include a realist young adult crime novel, and research in pedagogical innovation.

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