Over at Columbia Journalism Review, Kristian Williams introduces, explains, and defends comics journalism–not journalism about comics, but using the comic form to do journalism. An excerpt:
The ability to alternate between the realistic and the symbolic, is a major strength of comics journalism. It is also one reason why editors are likely to shy away from it–or, as with the recent newspaper strips, to relegate comics journalism to cultural coverage and human-interest stories. When it comes to the front page, newspapers favor plain language, in part to protect the readers from the seductions of rhetoric, of art. And comics are irreducibly artistic.
But such reasoning also cuts the other way. The hard-nosed, facts-are-facts tone of "journalistic language" is also seductive. Plain-speaking is itself a kind of rhetoric, which wins trust precisely by seeming to leave rhetoric aside.
Art Spiegelman argues, "The phony objectivity that comes with a camera is a convention and a lie in the same way as writing in the third person rather than the first person. To write a comics journalism report you're already making an acknowledgment of biases and an urgency that communicates another level of information."
One big flaw in the story: no mention of the brilliant regular long-form comics journalism done by Peter Bagge in the pages of, ahem, Reason magazine.