Your average human being has five basic senses – Hearing, Sight, Smell, Taste, and Touch. Comics, being a very visual medium, are usually limited to just Sight. You’ve got your words and you’ve got your pictures, which each come out to about another thousand words apiece.
There’s nothing inherently wrong with this, of course – you can tell a perfectly good story using just sight. Or even with just sound. But there’s something more immersive and enjoyable about a story when you find a way to combine the two. And for comics, that’s where sound effects come in. Those words – be they big or little, inconspicuous or a major part of the page – that can be largely meaningless on their own but add so much to a scene.
Given their history, it sometimes becomes hard to imagine comics without them, especially as some sound effects have managed to become iconic in their own right. After all, where would Spider-Man be without his ‘thwip!’? Or Wolverine without his ‘snikt!’? Or can you possibly try to imagine the classic Adam West Batman without the cheesy yet beloved ‘Bam!’, ‘Pow!’, and ‘Biff!’s?
So here’s to the little words that are so much more that the ink they’re printed with and the pages they’re printed on.