tisdag 29 maj 2012

Comics storytelling 20: Speech – tone and tempo

Here, the creators of Zits, Jerry Scott and Jim Borgman, use a combination of body language and speech characteristics to bring home the utter and total desperation of poor Amy when her boyfriend Rich has left her. I'll just concentrate on the speech part, though.

First, note the shading at the bottom left of Amy's speech balloons (except the final one, when she's blissfully reunited with her boyfriend). This is an indication of the darkness of her mood, and how it impacts her tone of voice – a rather impressive thing in a purely visual medium to so effortlessly let you immediately understand that.

Second, note the spacing of Amy's words in the second panel. By separating them into almost-independent balloons, the Zits creators puts additional emphasis on them, allowing each of them to sink in fully with the reader before going on to the next one.

Of course, the joke is that Rich has only abandoned her for a couple of minutes to go to the bathroom, as subtly indicated by the Men's room door in the final panel, making all that drama that was so expertly signaled by Scott & Borgman in the previous pages seem a bit... exaggerated.

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