I'm testing out Google's new open-source web browser, Google Chrome. So far, it seems delightful. Once the plugin makers get going, this thing could be better than Firefox, my current browser.

At launch, Google released a comic by comics guru Scott McCloud (author of Understanding Comics) explaining what's going on in the browser. It's a really fun piece, because it manages to make nerdy technical data accessible. As a sort-of-a-computer-geek, this stuff is interesting to me in the first place. But the comic made it a lot more interesting than it would have been. I believe that they managed to raise themselves above my interest threshold by publishing in comic form. I would probably have been not-interested-enough if it had been plain text with some diagrams.

The piece is interesting for McCloud's skill in conveying complex information graphically in a fun and accessible manner. It just goes to show that the comic format is incredibly useful not just for fictional narratives, but also for technical prose and essays (the two best examples I keep thinking of is precisely McCloud's Understanding Comics and Alan Moores appendix to From Hell which is a graphical essay (calling it "illustrated" is not adequate) on the history of the Jack the Ripper case's "Ripperology" - the authors who have made a living off of Ripper books - in addition to the philosophical and epistemological implications of studying the case. The example of "Koch's Snowflake" and his description of the actual Ripper as a quantum super-position still stick with me. I'm hoping to see more of this text in comics. Let's get beyond the graphic novel into other graphic genres.


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