Thursday, June 6, 2019

009 - #blogjune 006 - The Sound of Silence

"If it's a good movie, the sound could go off and the audience would still have a perfectly clear idea of what was going on."  - Alfred Hitchcock

*In case anyone thought it "could be, could be not or couldn't rightly say" - the left panel is from Asterix!
One of my favourite words in the "English" language is onomatopoeia - .
As a cartoonist, or comic book artist, putting sounds into words is an important element of the story telling process. What word do you choose to portray certain sounds. It can sometimes be quite a tough choice, because certain words COULD conjure up a different experience of sound from person to person. So, one hopes to make a sound decision.
Most people will be familiar with most of the common variations of comic book sounds, your POWs (incl. KAPOW), BAMs, ZAPs and BOOMs. And my personal favourite WHAM... Ok, yes - also because I was a big fan of their music in the 80s *smile*

Reading a comic is mostly a silent event - in these colder winter days, sitting in the warmest spot in the house with maybe the sound of thunder and the rain on the roof. So, the story itself needs to be able to create convincing sound effects enabling us to (as Scott McCloud described it so well) "LISTEN WITH OUR EYES"
We can all appreciate a good BANG...

Both Scott McCloud's "Making Comics" and "Understanding Comics" are amazing books.

People having grown up up with Tintin books will be familiar with the exploding mushrooms in the story of the Shooting Star. Those BOOMS are quite subdued compared to some of the other exploding sounds in comics, especially the American super hero ones. It's can also be an issue with different languages. For instance the Dutch word for BOOM is BOEM (because BOOM actually means TREE in the Netherlands) - then it is >BOUM< if you’re French, or >BOM< if you’re Swedish and >BUM< if you’re Italian!

I like it when they get creative and make up words that aren't your normal stock standard variety of usual comic book sounds... From simpler words like WHUMP, KRAK, and BUDABOOM .. to the more complicated versions like:


All these remind me of the great sounding words imitating the sound of thunder from Finnegans Wake by Irish writer James Joyce - like this one:

Some of these panels were taken from THOR comic - the God of Thunder!