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Comic book sound effects help
Posted: 03 October 2012 10:04 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 16 ]
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kmw_ - 03 October 2012 07:39 PM

I’m going to be anal here but people do not make sound FX.

If the image itself says everything appropriately, then no sound is necessary.  We don’t need to hear ‘Gasp’ if the expression and pose tells us all we need to know.  I don’t need a man shot in the foot to tell me it hurts.  I’ll be able to tell by the look on his face.  (And seriously, outside of Liz Lemon, who really says ‘arghh’?)

If you feel compelled to use some kind of dialogue, try to imagine what you want to convey, not some concept of what should be said.  Or better yet what you’d say in the situation.

Yeah, I’m kind of torn about it. I myself agree with you but people who make comic books and graphic novels for a living do not, from what I’ve seen. It’s part of the comic book style, I’m told.

I just thought I would give it a shot, put the sound effect bubble in then take a look over the whole thing and decide whether to keep them or go back to the “silent” art speaking for itself that I had before. I thought it was fine without the sound effect bubbles but after hearing from multiple people that it’s not, I begin to believe it. In the end though, I’ll do it the way I want to do it. That’s the great thing about being the sole creator of something!

@lordvicore

If I get hurt I say the worst words that come to mind unless it’s a really, really bad hurt in which case I am mostly silent. I stub my toe or cut my thumb with a potato peeler really bad (like yesterday) I swear like there’s no tomorrow. I get my thumb shut in a car door with autolock or slip while cleaning a window and hit my knee on a trailer hitch… the sheer amount of pain takes all the breath out of me. Although getting shot in the thigh with an arrow is painful (especially if it’s an old school arrow, ouch!), getting shot in the knee is said to be the most painful thing you can do to a person. I think he would just let out an odd sound rather than be able to articulate a full word or more. That’s my theory anyway… I don’t intend to test it out!!

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Posted: 03 October 2012 11:00 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 17 ]
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kmw_ - 03 October 2012 07:39 PM

I’m going to be anal here but people do not make sound FX.


People in real life do not make sound FX, I agree.  But a comic book is not real life, it’s fantasy.

A good comparison would be with movies.  There’s no sound effects (or musical score) accompanying people in real life.  But in horror movies, it builds up tension.  In adventure movies, great sound effects can add to the audience’s experience.  The right musical score can even make a drama more dramatic.  Instead of just experiencing the movie visually, people get to experience it auditorily.  And a great sound system can make a person feel the sound vibrations.  All this adds to the experience.

Is this realistic? No.  But it can greatly enhance the movie experience.

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Posted: 03 October 2012 11:26 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 18 ]
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Sorry about the scr00d-up URL, everyone.  (That’ll teach me to preview my posts.)

Anyway,

kmw_ - 03 October 2012 07:39 PM

I’m going to be anal here but people do not make sound FX.

If the image itself says everything appropriately, then no sound is necessary.  We don’t need to hear ‘Gasp’ if the expression and pose tells us all we need to know.  I don’t need a man shot in the foot to tell me it hurts.  I’ll be able to tell by the look on his face.  (And seriously, outside of Liz Lemon, who really says ‘arghh’?)

True, but we’re not talking about real people in real life.  We’re talking about comics and representing a story with words & pictures.  I’ve started creating the pages for my comic & I have to say it’s not that easy to convey exactly what someone’s feeling with gestures and expressions alone.  The most important thing for any panel is that your readers can glance at it and follow the flow of the story.  If they have to stop and think, “What is she supposed to be feeling?”, it will interrupt that flow & take them out of the story.  If sound FX help keep them focused, you should use them.

There’s also a long-standing tradition of sound FX in comics.  The most iconic are the fighting sound effects in superhero comics, but just about every comic I’ve read uses them. They’re just another tool to help a storyteller tell a good story.

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Posted: 04 October 2012 04:51 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 19 ]
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I think it’s a case by case thing, some stories suit sfx, some don’t. For example the classic Watchmen doesn’t use sound effects, they wouldn’t suit the seriousness of the story. But a more light hearted adventure or superhero story might suit them, although I’d use them sparingly myself.

And when I hurt myself (stubbed toe sort of thing) I often go “Fffffffffff…..” rather than the full swear depending on who is present. Or the always reliable “B*****d!”

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Posted: 04 October 2012 02:30 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 20 ]
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Mr Leong - 03 October 2012 11:00 PM
kmw_ - 03 October 2012 07:39 PM

I’m going to be anal here but people do not make sound FX.


People in real life do not make sound FX, I agree.  But a comic book is not real life, it’s fantasy.

Well, I like to look at things from a realistic perspective in my fiction.  Whether there’s a dragon, a superhero or an alien invasion, if there’s no grounding in reality, it’s not going to work as a realistic piece of fantasy/science fiction/action adventure.

If your comic book is not real life, well, then your audience won’t be as involved as they could be, because they’re going to see it the same way.

There’s nothing wrong with the approach though.  There are very wealthy writers who operate from the same foundation as yours.

Mr Leong - 03 October 2012 11:00 PM

A good comparison would be with movies.  There’s no sound effects (or musical score) accompanying people in real life.

I’d disagree.  Many of us create that soundtrack to our lives.  Why do you think so many of our young drive around with the radio blasting?  Or why private music systems are so popular?  I have a playlist solely for pumping me up on the treadmill.  Shoot, studies have shown how fast we walk or how motivated we are at work can be gauged by the music we’re listening to.

Mr Leong - 03 October 2012 11:00 PM

But in horror movies, it builds up tension.  In adventure movies, great sound effects can add to the audience’s experience.  The right musical score can even make a drama more dramatic.  Instead of just experiencing the movie visually, people get to experience it auditorily.  And a great sound system can make a person feel the sound vibrations.  All this adds to the experience.

Film and comic books are different animals.  You can’t use a soundtrack (which isn’t sound effect, by the way) in a comic book.  But I understand what you’re saying.  But I will regurgitate what I said before:  if the scene doesn’t convey its message correctly, realistically, all the music in the world won’t make it better.

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Posted: 04 October 2012 02:33 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 21 ]
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dylyn.prosser - 03 October 2012 11:26 PM

The most important thing for any panel is that your readers can glance at it and follow the flow of the story.  If they have to stop and think, “What is she supposed to be feeling?”, it will interrupt that flow & take them out of the story.  If sound FX help keep them focused, you should use them.

If readers are doing that, the artists didn’t do their job appropriately.  :(

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Posted: 05 October 2012 04:39 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 22 ]
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kmw_ - 04 October 2012 02:30 PM

I’d disagree.  Many of us create that soundtrack to our lives.  Why do you think so many of our young drive around with the radio blasting?  Or why private music systems are so popular?  I have a playlist solely for pumping me up on the treadmill.  Shoot, studies have shown how fast we walk or how motivated we are at work can be gauged by the music we’re listening to.

Sometimes, when someone hears a song, it brings back memories of a certain time in their life.  But that specific song just happened to be there by chance during a pivotal time in a person’s life.  It wasn’t intentional orchestrated to enhance that time period.

With a few exceptions (like classical music intentionally played to stimulate the brains of toddlers, or someone blaring their stereo to show off the awesomeness of their sound system), music, as played on personal music players, is for the individual only and is not used to communicate with bystanders in the immediate environment.  Here,  the music does not intentionally enhance any impending occurrences set to unfold for everyone around.  There is no audience interaction like that between a comic creator and the reader.  (In a live performance, the musician will interact with the audience with his or her music, but this doesn’t count since the music is not for FX.)


Ok, back on the topic of comics: 

kmw_ - 03 October 2012 07:39 PM

If the image itself says everything appropriately, then no sound is necessary.

Overall I agree with this.  I believe there’s no reason to add sound effects just for the sake of adding it.  If the artwork can convey the story, there’s no reason to add any Adam West Batman’s Pow, Bam, etc.  They may even detract from the story.

But suppose we have a page showing people going about their business, then they suddenly stop.  Everyone looks in the same direction.  On the next page we have a splash page showing what everyone’s looking at.

An artist can do an exceptional job of illustrating this.  Sound effects may not be necessary.  But adding a sound effect, in the panel where everyone stopped what they’re doing, can enhance the story.  Did the people stop because they heard a rumbling sound, breaking dishes, sirens, an explosion, or creaking made by the ghost in the attic?  It builds up the anticipation to the splash page.

 

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Posted: 05 October 2012 06:24 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 23 ]
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LizzieP_D9S - 03 October 2012 10:04 PM

I thought it was fine without the sound effect bubbles but after hearing from multiple people that it’s not, I begin to believe it. In the end though, I’ll do it the way I want to do it. That’s the great thing about being the sole creator of something!

There are quite a few stories of disagreements between comic book artists and their editors.  The artists don’t like their creativity and vision stifled.  But the artists were hired to do a job as an illustrator.  This is not the same as having complete creative control.  On the other hand,  the editors know the business and realized that this is a business.  And as a business, it must produce a product that is viable to the market.

Since you’re the writer, artist, and editor, you have complete control.  But something to keep in mind.  Are you creating this just for your own personal satisfaction?  If so, you can do it any way you like.  On the other hand, if you’re going for mass appeal to reach the largest audience possible, then some compromise may be necessary.

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Posted: 27 October 2012 02:42 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 24 ]
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Lizzie, your novels look great. I’m going to enjoy reading them, I know. I thought I’d offer a few quick observations:

In a regular novel authors try to convey what is happening with all of the senses. They use dialog, but they also use narrative and description. In a graphic novel you still have dialog and the pictures take care of a lot of the rest, but they can’t do it all. IMO you still need to paint a complete picture with all of the senses—you just use a shorthand to do it. The standard shorthand for sound in a comic or graphic novel is the sound effect word/graphic. (Still no smell, taste or touch effects yet, so these have to be described in other ways.)
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For example, in Journeys when David Bly is shot, the rifle is strangely silent. In my opinion this isn’t reallistic. In a regular novel, would you say something about what David hears the instant before the bullets pierce his leg? The feeling of the impact?  In addition to having David react by having the air knocked out of him, consider having the rifle make some noise, too.

Another example—earlier, when David throws the torch, it would whoosh, wouldn’t it? That conveys the movement, the feel of the heat of the light and the flame.  And when he finds the latch for the secret door it might click in some way, and when the secret door opens, it might make some sort of rumbling sound.  You don’t have to include all of these sounds, of course, but leaving them all out is rather like leaving out all of the seasoning in a stew.

Also, not because you need them (your work is wonderful) but just because I love the sites so much, have you ever visited blambot.com and comicbookfonts.com? They have some great SFX fonts and cool inspiration. Both have many free fonts for noncommercial projects as well as amazing paid fonts.  Blambot has a nice summary of Comic book grammar that has excellent tips (check out the little gasp mark in one of the early tips), and there are other articles, too. ComicBookFonts has a nice collection of tips and tricks.

Now leave me alone. I’m going to read!

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Posted: 27 October 2012 06:13 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 25 ]
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Thought of adding my own suggestions with respect to the original post, but there have been so many contributions already that any new ones from me would probably be superfluous. smile

I’m standing for the use of sound effects in comic books and graphic novels as well. It’s already become part of the tradition. Even the Japanese use lots of them in their manga.

jestmart - 02 October 2012 10:26 PM

In my opinion it is not so much the word/sound as it is the font/style used that has the most impact.

Fully agree!

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When we see people being shot, roasted, crushed, beheaded etc on the big screen, we consider it standard entertainment fare. But when we see child porn on the big screen, we immediately call the authorities.

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Posted: 27 October 2012 07:06 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 26 ]
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Cool, I had almost forgotten about this topic! Glad to see it’s still kickin’!

I had to take a break from my redoing of this novel to get some commercial work done but I plan to get back to it soonish. I’ve got everything laid out and planned (including adding sound effects according to that awesome resource on Blambot) so I just need to sit down and get the actual work done. There’s just too much on my plate right now!

BTW,
I’m in the midst of writing a new novel that I’ll get to work on illustrating once I fix Journeys. It’s a spy novel set in the 1960s that I fully intend to have as much fun as possible with. I’ve only got a summary written so far but it looks awesome. I can hardly wait to start writing the first draft of the full story! smile

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Posted: 27 October 2012 07:36 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 27 ]
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I presume your graphic novel(s) will consist of rendered images, as opposed to hand-drawn ones?

You know, I once had a dream in which I sneaked up behind Spider-Man in this costume party setting and pinched him in the butt before running away. Serious. Wonder what sound effect would suit such an event? LOL (In my dream he jumped up with shock but made no sound.)

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When we see people being shot, roasted, crushed, beheaded etc on the big screen, we consider it standard entertainment fare. But when we see child porn on the big screen, we immediately call the authorities.

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Posted: 05 November 2012 07:00 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 28 ]
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I would think a “Growl” would work for a Yeti. Something like a Wookie. smile

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Posted: 05 November 2012 07:42 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 29 ]
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Lizzie,

I think Hellboy has created a comic book resource for users with a host of fantastic things in it; for the life of me I can’t remember where it is though but I remember seeing it and thinking it was fabulous. 

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Posted: 06 November 2012 10:54 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 30 ]
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K T Ong - 27 October 2012 07:36 PM

I presume your graphic novel(s) will consist of rendered images, as opposed to hand-drawn ones?

Yeah, rendered images only with lots of postwork. I used to be able to draw quite well but I developed arthritis back in the 8th grade and haven’t been able to draw much at all since without lots of pain. It’s gotten a little better now though as I can hold the pen for my Bamboo tablet without much pain as long as I take occasional breaks. Writing with a pencil is still hellish though.

@tercel
I’ll do some Googling and see what I can find. Thanks for the tip!

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