I think that everyone responds to comics in much of the same way- we enjoy them. Kids (well, the ones I grew up with) were particularly fond of them. Adults, on the other hand, have “grown out” of them, or will say they have as they flip to the comics in the Sunday paper before reading anything else. Drawing pictures that represents some sequence of events has been around as long as Homo sapiens have been around. Comics evoke, in its own way, a “simultaneous awareness of a complex group of causes and effects.” They are a dynamic way of presenting information that can simultaneously arouse all the senses, release a flood of emotions, and present complex, interconnected concepts in a moment- all the while maintaining the engagement of the reader. While this may be a stretch, but one that I know others will relate to… is that while I often fall asleep reading a book (even interesting ones), I cannot recall ever falling asleep reading a comic.
Additionally, I think that comics are instinctual because they are, in a sense, similar to concept or mind mapping. Just about everyone I know uses concept mapping to help them understand difficult concepts, relationships, etc… It is often a great way to explain something to someone else. It helps to comprehend the bigger picture. Concept mapping consist of boxes and arrows, and can be related spatially, in movement from one idea to another, and in time. In other words, concept mapping is a comic. Before we are taught what concept mapping is, we do this naturally. For me, it’s no wonder that comics strike a cord with everyone. Comics seem to represent a very natural, instinctual way that humans learn and process information. It’s too bad that it seems to be reserved for the funny papers.