Affect is a set of terms that describe how reading the comic makes you, the reader, feel. This is less about subjective judgement and more about what the author and artist intend.

To choose the best Affect terms:

Step 1:  Look at the comic and identify how the creators intend the reader to feel.

Step 2:  While doing Step 1, read the definitions below to help guide your decisions.

Step 2:  Choose a couple of the main affect terms that apply for most of the comic.

Note:  Many stories, such as comics, operate on a few levels at a time, but typically there are only a few dominant affects.  Try to focus on the dominant affects.  Remember, the idea is to help finding other similar stories.


Stories that make your pulse race and keep you on the edge of your seat.

Sub-categories include:

Pumped: Faster than a speeding bullet, able to leap buildings in a single bound, pumped comics are all about action. They make you feel ready to take on the world.

Thriller: Threatening or delivering physical, emotional or mental dangers, thrillers will have you ready to tuck and roll. A thriller is distinct from pumped comics because danger is perpetrated against the main character, and there is a touch of fear for the character.

Horror: Be afraid, be very afraid. Comics with a horror affect have the goal of producing fear and fostering a feeling of foreboding that permeates the story. It creates a sense of unease as we await the unexpected.



Remember your first love, that magical summer, or imagine where you’ll be in fifty years, or what would it mean for the world if XY or Z crazy thing was possible. Comics with a reflection affect make you, the reader, think about things in a thoughtful, contemplative manner. Expect to connect to characters, wrestle with intellectual concepts and have your horizons expand.


Everything always works out and things are always getting better. Comics with a optimistic affect help us see the sunny side, even if characters are going through tough times. Expect to feel good, inspired and hopeful.


Sometimes it seems like things are never getting better, everything is going to hell in a handbasket. Comics with a pessimistic affect warn us that things may well just keep getting worse. Expect to be bummed, frustrated, and hopeless.


Lighten up – there’s always something to smile about, even when the going gets tough. Comics with a humor affect aim to make us laugh. Prepare to be amused and laughing, at least to yourself, if not out loud.



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