Comics in the time of COVID-19: Tracking data on web-based comics and evaluating their potential for communicating public health messages

Authors: Feigenbaum, A., Blazquez, J., Byrne, C., Demirkol Tonnesen, Ö., McDavitt, S., McDougall, J., Okon, K. and Sexton, J.

Publisher: Covid Comics

Place of Publication: Bournemouth


Our pandemic lives are deeply entwined with visual, web-based public health messages, from instructional hand-washing pictograms to infographics about R numbers. Alongside these official public health communications, people have created thousands of web-based comics conveying public health messages. In 2021 Our Bournemouth University-based research team collected a sample of over 15,000 ‘COVID comics’ posted and shared over Instagram between January 2020 and March 2021. We then coded our sample of comics to explore how the medium was used to shape and share public health messages.

Insights from our analysis reveal how comics can work to help governments and health professionals reach wider audiences, humanise public health messages and challenge infodemics online.

Source: Manual