Four Factors of Credibility
Explain in your own words what four factors you believe make an author/ artist most “credible” when it comes to telling stories like the kinds we’re reading in Maus, Part One by Art Spiegelman and Fun Home by Alison Bechdel. By “credible,” I mean more believable and more trustworthy, things that assure you that the story details you are reading are truthful versus lies, exaggerations, or mistakes.
Factors of Credibility in the Comic Books, Maus and Fun Home
Credibility is an aspect bestowed upon the audience to judge how believable a communicator is. In the comic world, this facet is relatively rare because many authors use supernatural abilities, sci-fi myths, and epic adventures to explain their stories’ plot. However, two authors, Art Spiegelman and Alison Bechdel, in their comic books Maus and Fun Home, respectively, have established credibility to their sources by using features such as reference to factual events, outstanding images, reasonable structure, and other rhetorical techniques of persuasion.
Firstly, both authors use quality images since it establishes that they are operating on a professional standard. In Spiegelman’s comic book, characters have animal faces, but each character’s bodies resemble that of a human being. On the other hand, Bechdel uses actual drawings of people and the environment. On every page, Bechdel uses animated photographs of herself as a reference to her pictures. Using human characters helps instigates the theme of realism in the events that ensued since the audience will view different traits as influential behaviors associated with high credibility.
Secondly, both authors refer their stories to actual events. For instance, Spiegelman focuses on the events during the holocaust by depicting the Jewish as mice, Poles as pigs, and Germans as Cats. This style was to describe the different racial backgrounds of the three cultures. On the other hand, Bechdel features her past experiences with his life and those he loved. Using themes such as sexual orientation, suicide, gender roles, emotional abuse, and dysfunctional family, the author clarifies all the typical characteristics of normal society. The authors used accurate references to easily relate to the comic book’s plot and themes, considering that these facets are evident even today.
The third feature that guarantees comic books’ credibility is using rhetorical techniques to deliver their messages. For example, Spiegelman uses logos (logic) to express evidence and facts associated with the events leading to World War II. Logically, racial discrimination and political inclinations are the ones that instigated the events of the holocaust, which the author clearly explains through the conversations made by different characters. On the other hand, Bechdel uses ethos (ethics) to sensitize her sexuality, as she is a “lesbian.” The authors used these rhetorical techniques since they help in establishing persuasion and emotional connections with the audience.
Lastly, the feature that also justifies the credibility of the comic books is their structure. Both authors take into account all the actions that occurred during their early to late life, chronologically. Spiegelman chronicles his life from childhood to being a youth while living with his father in Pennsylvania. The author takes into account how the relationship with her parents and friends had impacted her adult life. Similarly, Bechdel weaves around to the timeline before and after World War II. The author narrates how the Jews, Germans, and Polish lived before the Germans decided to wage war on the Jewish and Polish people. Using this credibility aspect was to instigate the theme of pragmatism to the audience in line with the events that ensued.
In conclusion, both Spiegelman and Bechdel observe the most important aspects in making their graphic novels credible. By using actual drawings, rhetorical techniques, referring to historical events, and a proper structure, the authors have been able to persuade the audience on the relevance of their respective themes hence making their graphic novels credible even to modern society.