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In this article, I argue first that text is an inherent element in all comics—i.e., comics are rather a text made out of drawings than a movie made of stills. Secondly, and more important, that the essential element in the multimodal medium of comics is what I call "format codings." Format codings are in themselves neither text nor images, but a third category separate, inseparable from text and/or narrative images. They not only affect the meaning of a sentence or a strip, they regulate crucial elements such as the rhythm, the perceived time, the reading order of a comic page, and the status of the lines. Furthermore, it determines the way in which we interpret the combined or separate information of text or images. In other words, format codings serve as the intermediary between text and images, and while there can be comics without words as well as comics without images, there cannot be comics without them.