1. I read it, and I suppose if the narrative was short enough, sure. It’s just as easy to keep reading as it is to look away.

    Anything requiring real effort, on the other hand, has to have some inherent interest to the reader. Simply starting a narrative is no guarantee that anyone will follow you after they’ve seen the beginning.

  2. The challenge is a little less than with some comics I’ve seen. Here, within (macro-)panels 1 and 3, the scan order of micro-panels is consistent; and is the easier-to-handle book-page order. He doesn’t try to push us into a down-the-left/down-the-right pattern.

  3. Well, I can say I’ve spent time follow things to the end because I started and I want to see how it finishes. I’m less likely to do that now. As I have gotten older, I’m quite willing to quit stuff and accept I won’t know how it ends. But I used to finish books because I started them and watched a movie to see the conclusion, even though I did not like it so much. Sometimes it was the characters I didn’t like but I wanted to see the structure of how the story is put together.

    Storytelling is a really primal thing and being able to tell a good story can draw people in. The stories can get people to act in a certain way, giving them a sense of purpose. For example, there are three narratives, all from desert dwellers, that have shaped the actions of billions of people throughout the planet, from snowy tundra to steaming jungles and all places in between. These narratives continue to pull people along despite all evidence to the contrary.

  4. ….”But is it a valid claim?”

    I’m confused why you ask. Didn’t the strip just demonstrate it? Wasn’t that the joke that it was difficult to read the middle panel but we felt compelled to do so by the narrative.

    Of course like all generalizations it’s … a generalization. I suppose the quantifiers “can” and “almost” are enough of a contractual loophole that it need not always be so. The narrative needs to be in some degree compelling…… Frankly I find these types of platitudinal remarks rather banal. (“Congratulations! Your comment just went platitude!”)

  5. Reading inverted writing was one of the little things I taught myself back during grade school in the ’40s. It is a handy skill and came into play during my own schooling and, more so, during my professorships. Latter occurred mostly when wanting to see what a student was writing while I stood in front of the student’s desk.

  6. There have been relatively few times I’ve given up on a narrative or similar situation. I generally do stick to it. Some like the TV series “The Alienist” I decide to pass on the next season.

  7. I get Zippy in my local newspaper every day, and this time I did not take up the challenge.

  8. But there’s no narrative to follow in this strip; it’s just some guy talking about narrative.

  9. I think I read to the end of the fairly uninteresting statement to see if it would wander off into some surreal non sequitur of the kind I associate with Zippy the Pinhead. Like continued stories in the print version of the Onion where “Passersby were amazed at the unusually large amounts of blood”.

    I suspect there are examples of the claim (serialized Charles Dickens with fans at the New York harbor clamoring for the next part) and more often tricks like mysteries and cliffhangers to get you coming back, but the comic is not for me an example, since I followed through looking for the rug being pulled out rather than just an end and thus the joke was on me.

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