Sunday, October 11, 2015

Food For Thought (Balloons)

Creepy use to run a series about how comic books were made. In #70 (1975), they tackled this topic:

And as part of lettering...

Well, that was interesting. I hope we all learned...

Wait. What was that last one?!?

Oh, the nostalgia.

It's like sighting a dodo, or finding Amelia Earhart!!

Somehow, someway, thought balloons are now verbotten  across the entire industry. Nope, you have to have dramatic self-narration captions, as characters no longer think. They narrate their lives, as if they were dictating their memoirs, even during moments of crisis. They are graphic novels after all--and novels don't have thought balloons!

I'm not saying it's a terrible stylistic choice. But every single time, in every single book? Seriously, who thought that this group-think would somehow take over the entire industry? Is it a delayed Watchmen effect? Are there writers and artists trying to turn in work using thought balloons, but editors are beating them back?

I think the over/under for the disappearance for the speech balloons is 5 years. Soon comics will be nothing but hundreds of captions--dozens of multi-colored, multi-fonted captions filling every page.

Yeah, I'm certainly wrong. But 15 years ago, you would have said the same thing to someone predicting the demise of thought balloons, wouldn't you?


Smurfswacker said...

We could go all the way round back to "Prince Valiant" style caption blocks.

SF said...

Were there still thought balloons even 15 years ago? The first Batman/Grendel (for instance) from 1993 features narrative captions from all four main characters. (Wagner actually provides reasons for each character to be narrating -- Batman's is his after-action report on the events of the story, for instance.) Without my copy handy, I can't double check that there are no thought balloons, but I don't think there are.

I don't have time to do it properly right now, but please feel free to read this as a rant about how most of today's creators just mindlessly regurgitate the style of Watchmen without ever stopping to consider why Watchmen did it that way or having the talent to even do a bad pastiche of Moore and Gibbons...

-3- said...

You may not say it's a terrible stylistic choice, but that's my opinion.
The whole thing traces to insecurity and envy. Creators (more to the point - editors/publishers) who felt that comics need to grow up and be more like movies have sacrificed one of the unique strengths of the medium because the 'growed ups' don't do that kind of thing.
It's pitiful, but you've seen that kind of complete lack of self respect from the industry on a regular basis, and commented on how pathetic they get when they get to work with "real" creators from the industries they quiver to moon over.