- That’s because of the pictures.
- Adults like pictures, too.
- Yes. But when we learned to read, the first thing we decoded weren’t letters and words. We decoded pictures.
- Like D is for dog.
- Right. And the younger the reader, the more pictures there are to the book.
- To help the kid decode?
- That. And to amuse the child. The pictures are something to look at while the adult reads the story.
- It keeps the kid entertained.
- But as kids grow, books provide less and less pictures.
- Because they can fill in the visuals with their imaginations?
- In theory.
- So you’re saying that when a story is told with pictures, we think that it’s for kids because, as kids, we learned to read with pictures.
- That’s right.
- But lots of things are told with pictures – for adults.
- What do you mean?
- Street signs,
bathroom signs. . .
Any sign where you don’t need to read words to understand the meaning.
- Like the skull and crossbones on a bottle to indicate poison.
- Exactly. It’s another kind of reading.
- Reading that doesn’t require literacy.
- Right. That’s been around forever. It’s why a hatmaker would have a sign with the picture of a hat,
or shoemaker had a sign in the shape of a shoe.
- But nowadays most people are literate.
- A few aren’t.
- True. But they’re not likely to buy books.
- So, if you know how to read, the old sign shapes are unnecessary. You can read the words.
- But it’s easier with shapes and pictures.
- Yes. Just as it’s easier to read “dog” when there’s a picture of a dog next to the word.
- Your point?
- That when we see comics, it brings us back to that easier kind of reading. Or at least, that’s what we associate with the pictures.
- So even when the subject matter is really for adults. . .
- We think it’s for kids.