One of my first hoots was a recommendation to read Understanding Comics. Here's a direct effort to use the grammar of comics in data viz, using gutters to omit the parts where nothing happens.

It's not a perfect fit for data and chart type (it's very close to just a chart of y=x), and when and how to show nothing is a big and tricky problem. (And obviously the default axis labels aren't gonna cut it). Still, I'm excited about the idea (which is probably not completely novel).

And I gotta say, this was even easier to do with ggplot than anticipated. To go from the Line Chart on top to the Gutter Chart on the bottom was primarily one line of code.

@alexwein did you stumble upon the link between comics and vis on your own? It's recently been a generally hot topic

@matth I started reading comics in the last few years, and it was easy to see some parallels with viz, but it wasn't until hearing McCloud on 99% Invisible in January and reading his book that it all really clicked. Since then, I've noticed -- no surprise -- that others were also thinking this through. I definitely drew inspiration from what you've published on Medium.

@alexwein Ok, do you know about Dr. Ben Bach's work on it? He has an enumeration of design patterns in data comics if you search for "data comics design patterns"

@alexwein nice! this would be useful for series with very long periods of nothing happening. and then having the top chart much smaller for reference would be a good space saver; and the bottom could accommodate annotations aplenty

@alexwein Fantastic idea! You should definitely checkout out Benjamin Bach. For example

@jonasoesch thanks. Yeah, Bach et al seem to have thought the hardest about this. It's been super inspiring.

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