Beyond the Gutter

Interactivity and Closure in Comics
  • Tiffany Neo
  • Alex Mitchell
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 10045)


This paper examines the impact of the introduction of simple interactions to comic panels on the reader’s process of interpretation and narrative closure, perception of time, and experience of immersion and agency. We conducted two qualitative studies of reader response to interactive comics using semi-structured interviews. Our findings suggest that interactivity creates an additional level of interpretation, which may be seen as a second interpretive gap or ‘gutter’. The studies also identified some preliminary design criteria that allow interactivity to have a meaningful impact on the portrayal of time, story immersion and comprehension, and an increased sense of agency. These findings suggest new areas for research in the field of interactive comics and storytelling.


Usage scenarios and applications Interactive comics Reader response Agency Immersion Interpretation Narrative closure 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Communications and New MediaNational University of SingaporeSingaporeSingapore

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