The Morning Line: When Sounds Have Just the Right Effect
In his new "10-pound" coffee-table book "Dilbert 2.0," cartoonist Scott Adams says he prides himself on a particular comic gift: His knack for coining the right word to match the desired sound effect.
As one who has wrestled mightily with nailing the "piffs," "sploofs" and "ker-splats," I can speak from cartooning experience -- this gift should not be underappreciated. It's a rare ear that gets it just right.
As proof of how important the Art of the Cartoon Sound Effect is, cast your "ears," if you will, toward today's funnies.
In "Big Nate," a lesser cartoonist might assign the word "crack" to the opening of a laptop instead of the righter, and lighter, "Fwip!" And then there's Nate's typing. Some cartoonists settle for a mere "tap tap" or even "type type," but Lincoln Peirce gives us the eloquent "Tik tak tik tikka takka..."
And there is today's "Brewster Rockit," in which Tim Rickard lets the words tell the story.
What strikes me most about Rickard's choices is that he moves from the more obvious, "Batman"-esque "Pow!" "Biff!" and "Bam!" to "Doink!" (can't-ya just hear it?) and then one literal sound I too rarely see: "Hurt!"
Likewise, 'Riffs looks at "Lio" and admires the paintball sound effects.
Another artist might have gone with "pow!" or "blam!" and missed the airy sound of a projectiled paintball. Five "poof's!" : Here is a one-panel symphony.
Lastly, Rover in today's "Red and Rover" makes the common "pant" sound. But by the time a coupla dozen "pants" have permeated the frosty air, I can hear the friendly sounds of every dog I've ever owned.
Got a favorite effect? (Perhaps the "klik" with Spidey's "Hitler Gump" or the "thump" in "Fastrack.") We're all ears. Literally.
ONLINE COMIC NEWS:
King Features announces that it is launching "Comics Kingdom," a digital platform that will deliver comics content to online newspaper publishers. The core of "Comics Kingdom," in effect, will be a content-based ad engine. So what's that mean for readers? For one thing, viewers on any subscribing news site will reportedly have access to all King Features comics (from "Blondie" to "Beetle Bailey" to "Brilliant Mind of Edison Lee"). For more details, check out King Features' site.
| November 19, 2008; 6:00 AM ET
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