Speech Balloons

It occurred to me today that, in comics, speech balloons are called that because they are meant to be lighter than air. This doesn’t mean they can’t be deep or contain great meaning. It’s just that they need to pull the rest of the panel up. If the speech balloon (or bubble, as I’ve heard it called) is crushingly heavy, think of what happens to your drawings.

I’m always struggling to eliminate unnecessary dialog, and I have to admit, when I read other comics, my internal editor is switched on (“could that have been trimmed or cut out altogether?”). But when I read a great comic, I get lifted just like everyone else.

There is a comic by Lyonel Feininger that includes a long voyage via hot air balloon. How apt, for a cartoonist working at the very beginning of comics, to make that analogy.

That’s my Deep Thought for the day.


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