Today I had the last seminar on Language Acqusition. We had two presentations during the seminar, and one of them managed to keep me amazed for the whole day. It was on English as an International Language, and it included 1337 5p33k as a variety of English online. As an example the student who gave the presentation showed us a short message written in 1337, which contained something like "I learned leet from Megatokyo". The student said Megatokyo is another forum poster, but I concluded it would rather be the online comic, since one of the characters speaks 1337 occasionally. And this opened a whole trail of thoughts for me.
Megatokyo's readership is huge. It's not particularly deep or philosophical, but a good comic and an enjoyable read. Still, I wouldn't have imagined anybody would start learning a new sign system, or even a new language, because of an online comic - until I remembered people discussing subtle linguistic differences in Japanese on the MT forums. Just imagine what comic creators could achieve with that in mind. It's a completely different approach to bridging cultural gaps and making people aware of what is going on in other countries and their cultures. What bigger compliment can exist for a comic artist than to have people start a learning process that might take years because of their work?