Friday, May 21, 2010

Cartoon Grammar

Did you know that there are rules and regulations when it comes to comic book grammar? I didn't! When I was a kid, EVERY comic book word balloon ended in an exclamation point! Really! Dialogue would go like this:

Pass the salt!

Here is the salt!

Thank you!

You're welcome!

No problemo!
And on and on. I was fine with it. And then, at some point in the 1970s, Marvel began experimenting with periods at the end of its sentences.



Ho hum.

Hulk smash.

It's clobberin' time.


Pretty dull, huh?!?!?

I had no idea you could do this! Really! There are RULES! Like McEnroe says a million times a day in those commercials, You CANNOT be serious!!!!!!!!

Well, yes, fanboy, there ARE rules.

Blambot has a page of rules of comic book grammar to guide all of us who are still smarting over the exclamation point to period transition. And if you have any questions regarding balloon tails, captions -- well, Blambot has it covered.

Hat tip to Sean Kelly!

Related: Mort Walker's LEXICON OF COMICANA. Wikipedia page here. The LEXICON is a self-described parody, with made-up words describing cartoon conventions. For instance:
Wiggly lines around an object that is shaking

Blurgits, swalloops
Curved lines preceding or trailing after a character's moving limbs

Clouds of dust that hang in the spot where a swiftly departing character or object was previously standing.
Hat tip to Marc Tyler Nobleman for serendipitously reminding me about the LEXICON this week. Seriously.


cartoonist said...


The Jenya said...

I LOVE that book! We have a copy at the CCS library. Thank Batman for Mort Walker.