(Except, that boils down to saying “thought captions are bad except where they are good” .)
That’s far too broad and restrictive. Narration is used to explore characters’ interior to great effect in many comics. It’s not simply a case of a crutch to explain the artwork (as it often was in the Silver Age).
It seems to me that the main strength comics have over screen is that they can portray multiple characters’ thoughts. (Well, that and the unlimited special effects budgets.)
Do you hear people’s thought in real life too? Hence…
Really? Realism is your argument against first person narration? I guess you must really hate most prose too.
That is such pretentious bollocks.
Wait… Whose hand is stroking that emoji’s chin??
As David said then, your argument is “narrative captions are terrible except when they’re good” if you’re using “stylistic reasons” as a catch-all justification for good ones.
I do think there’s a valid argument that you shouldn’t just scatter thought captions randomly “just because”. You need to ask yourself why you have decided to use them, and whether it’s the right decision for the work you want to create.
But you should ask yourself the same question about every single sentence you write.
I’m not sure I was being quite that tautological, but hey, if that’s what you take from it, I’m good.
When we did the reread of Watchmen (though I never quite finished) not long ago, one of my primary complaints was how overly wordy the whole book was and how much it limited the art from doing the job it was already doing.
That is fair. Moore’s love of language is a big part of his writing, and I think he’s probably a more text-heavy writer than most. The book is deliberately set up to be like that, but I can see why it might be off-putting for some.
(He’s up there in the top tier of comics creators for me, but you can look at other creators in that top tier like Frank Miller and see a stark difference in terms of how they deploy language. Miller is often - not always, but often - very economical with his words, usually to great effect.)
The staccato rhythm of Miller’s words (and his page layouts as well, when he’s hammering out those sixteen-panel grids) is one of my favourite aspects of his work. His comics just have such great rhythm.
Going back to thought bubbles, captions and the like, I think there could still be more experimental ways to push it. I’m thinking it could all be a little more David Mack than Brian Bendis, y’know?
Yes, it’s good that great writers vary so much, offering different styles for a diverse audience. Moore is very Michael Moorcock-influenced, whereas Miller comes across as more of an Elmore Leonard type.
It’s not just the tautology, it’s the broad proscription. You’re being like Robert McKee in Adaptation declaring that all voice-over narration in film is hacky and shouldn’t be used, ignoring every time it’s been used well. Comics are a narrative medium and some times that narrative requires more than just what’s presented on the surface in the art, just as successful prose is more than a series of statements of events. Not every character does or should let everything out on the surface, especially in a medium so filled with characters in masks. Captions and thought bubbles can be crucial in letting us know what they’re thinking and feeling and thus making us actually care about them.
And then coming back to Moore, some of his comics have a beautiful rhythm too, but in a more poetic sense. Miller’s style tends to feel more visceral (and as a writer-artist he can have a lot more control over exactly how a reader is led through his page).
Ya. I’ve been pretty upfront that my tastes are more in the “show don’t tell” realm. To my sensibilities, Moore’s more verbose work always made him sound like a frustrated novelist. Though I admit that a couple of his shorter stories are among my all-time favorites.