I've also been reading Greg Rucka's Queen & Country, a comic set in the contemporary world of British intelligence, and it occurred to me that comics can sometimes convey information more efficiently than non-graphic books — verbal information, I mean.
Say an author decides the contents of a report about complex, high-level, multinational drug, arms and financial transactions are essential to his or her story. How is the author to convey that information without dragging the story to halt?
Queen & Country's characters spend good chunks of their time at their desks discussing intelligence and other data, but the discussion is never boring. One reason is that we can see their reactions.
A spy chief might slap a report on his desk in disgust or grit his teeth as a superior shoots down his plans. It's a lot easier on a reader to see a skilled graphic rendering of such reactions than it is to read: "He slapped the report on his desk in disgust, grinding his teeth as his superior shot down his plans."
Rucka himself provides an opportunity to test these questions. He has written several novels based on the graphic-novel series. Read excerpts here and here.
© Peter Rozovsky 2010