Thursday, February 10, 2005

BAM! POW! SURU SURU? Sound effects aren't just for --

In Toronto's Eye Weekly, Guy Leshinski traces the evolution of comic-book sound effects:
Sound effects are now a finicky artform, applied with precision. One of its most advanced practitioners is Chris Ware, who cartoons many scenes with nothing but noises to punctuate the tracts of aching silence. His technique reached its zenith in his star-making graphic novel, Jimmy Corrigan: The Smartest Kid on Earth. The book is largely wordless, relying instead on a symphony of onomatopoeia. A nose being blown: SNNZLP. Change put into a vending machine: CLTKTY. A drink falling: DNK.

It was a virtuoso performance, rivalling the very best manga. The Japanese, after all, are the undisputed masters of comic sonics. When American cartoonists were still saving their ears for gatts and jabs, manga artists were sounding out noodles being sucked (SURU SURU), leaves falling off trees (HIRA HIRA), even silence itself (SHIIIN).