Google Chrome & the Power of Comics

Over the next few days you will hear a lot about Google Chrome, the new web browser from the internet behemoth. I’ve tested it out and am happy to report that it’s quite nice. Of course, I’m a long-time Mozilla Firefox user, so the transition has not been very stark. But if you’re one of the poor people who still use Microsoft Internet Explorer (or worse, if until now you didn’t even know what a web browser is and that there are mutliple available ones), then Chrome will be a revelation.

Even for me, the new browser is an intriguing new beast. It’s very quick, intuitive to use and so far does things well. I can see myself using it for most tasks, at least those that don’t require certain firefox plug-ins that I’m used to (but there will no doubt be equivalents for them in Google Chrome eventually), and I’m very happy that there is now a new robust, polished open-source browser. Competition and choice can only lead to better products in this regard.

But as impressive as the browser is, it is not the thing that I really wanted to blog about here. For you see, the most impressive thing about Google Chrome for me today is the fantastic comic that serves as an introduction to it.

The name Scott McCloud should be familiar to most comic book geeks such as myself. The author of seminal works like Understanding Comics has carved a name for himself as true master and expert of the comics medium. Who better to explain a new web browser; an application that’s so simple to use it’s invisible, but is so complex underneath that entire careers can be dedicated to it? Scott McCloud, of course.

I love how he manages to represent even the most arcane programming concepts in a fun and exciting way (helped, of course, by the words from Google Chrome’s programming staff), how there’s a single narrative thread but multiple voices from members of the team — this is a feat you can’t really achieve as well in video, for instance, but as a comic it works great. Alan Moore has always maintained that comics as a medium are rich beyond measure, that there are things you can do in it that you can’t do in a movie or a book. I can think of several examples of Moore’s own work to support this, but Scott McCloud’s introduction to Google Chrome is a shining example too.

So even if you don’t give Google Chrome a spin (I highly recommend you do), please do check out the comic that goes with it. It’s simply superb.