Comic Strip / Comics

Is a Comic Strip a Narrative?

The Definition of Narrative

Before we can answer the question, we need to define what a narrative is. At its core, a narrative is a story that has characters, a plot, and some kind of conflict or resolution. A narrative can take many forms, from novels and short stories to movies and even video games.

The Elements of a Comic Strip

A comic strip is a series of images that tell a story. The images are arranged in panels, with each panel containing one or more pictures and often some text. Comic strips can be found in newspapers, magazines, and online.

Comic strips may seem like they are just a collection of individual images, but they actually have all the elements of a narrative. Each panel contains characters (usually represented by cartoon drawings) and often includes dialogue or narration to move the story forward. The panels are arranged in sequence to create a plot with conflict and resolution.

Examples of Narrative in Comic Strips

To illustrate how comic strips contain narratives, let’s look at some examples:

Calvin and Hobbes

  • In this comic strip, Calvin (a young boy) and Hobbes (a stuffed tiger who comes to life in Calvin’s imagination) are the main characters.
  • The plot often involves Calvin getting into trouble or having wild adventures with Hobbes.
  • The conflict usually comes from Calvin’s own mischievous nature or his interactions with other characters like his parents or classmates.
  • The resolution typically involves Calvin learning some kind of lesson or coming to appreciate something new about the world around him.


  • In this comic strip, the main characters are Charlie Brown and his friends.
  • The plot often revolves around the characters’ everyday experiences and struggles.
  • The conflict can come from a variety of sources, such as Charlie Brown’s unrequited love for the little red-haired girl or Lucy’s attempts to make money by offering psychiatric advice.
  • The resolution may not always be clear-cut, but there is usually some kind of lesson or moral to be learned from the characters’ experiences.


So, is a comic strip a narrative The answer is yes.

While it may not be as obvious as in other forms of storytelling, comic strips have all the elements of a narrative: characters, plot, conflict, and resolution. They are just presented in a different format that uses images instead of words to tell the story.

Whether you enjoy reading comics or not, there’s no denying that they are an important part of our popular culture and can tell some truly compelling stories. So next time you pick up a comic strip, take a closer look at how it uses narrative techniques to engage you in its world and characters.