Wikipedia:Reference desk/Archives/Entertainment/2014 March 14

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March 14[edit]

COMICS: reasons, why SPEECH is written in CAPITAL letters[edit]

Greetings! We are debating, why lettering (in speech bubbles) in most (all?) comics is done in capital letters. One argument could be: faster, als capital letters run in one hight and: more "graphic", as no ups and downs of g / p / q / t / d / l have to be "balanced". Are there other - documented - reasons why capitals are used? Are there comics not written in capitals? GEEZERnil nisi bene 07:19, 14 March 2014 (UTC)

We had a similar question almost seven years ago: "Why Uppercases With Comic Strips?" addresses some of your questions (e.g. an example which doesn't use all caps), but no conclusive answer as to "why". ---Sluzzelin talk 08:30, 14 March 2014 (UTC)
Thanks for the link! I did a search before but got a queue error ... GEEZERnil nisi bene 09:30, 14 March 2014 (UTC)
The main reason is tradition - it's always been done that way. I can think of a few likely reasons the tradition began. One, comics were traditionally lettered by hand, and it's much easier to keep hand-lettering neat, readable and consistent, and much easier to make corrections to it, in all caps. Two, in newspapers comic strips are often printed severely reduced to fit the available space, and capitals use space more efficiently are easier to read at small sizes. Three, comics and newspapers were traditionally printed cheaply on poor quality paper, and capital letters, being larger than lower case ones, are less likely to be rendered illegible by inconsistencies in the ink coverage or absorbency of the paper.
These days comics and newspapers are printed digitally on better quality paper, and are generally lettered digitally using fonts designed to mimic hand lettering, so these factors no longer apply, and there are indeed comics that aren't lettered in all caps. Marvel Comics switched to sentence case for their lettering for several years. Webcomics like Girls With Slingshots or (ahem) my own The Cattle Raid of Cooley are lettered in sentence case. --Nicknack009 (talk) 09:21, 14 March 2014 (UTC)
You must spent a fortune on pens ... ;-)
Readability argument ... I have my doubts. Comics are made for looking at - not flying over text. However, I have seen Text where the words e.g. get bigger and bigger towards the end of the sentence - or ar drawn in wriggly snake lines (indicating a weak, broken voice). I favor - next to the "easier to draw/write"-argument the "more flexible in graphic modification"-argument. THX for the answers so far! GEEZERnil nisi bene 09:39, 14 March 2014 (UTC)
One well-known comic, not mentioned in the previous thread, that used caps & lowercase (typeset, not hand lettered) in speech balloons was Barnaby. Deor (talk) 10:14, 14 March 2014 (UTC)
Michael Leunig doesn't use speech balloons as such. He sometimes uses caps Image 23. He sometimes uses caps and sentence case in the same cartoon. But typically it's just sentence case. -- Jack of Oz [pleasantries] 11:17, 14 March 2014 (UTC)
While Calvin and Hobbes mostly follows the tradition of using all caps, one character, Moe the bully, uses (hand-lettered) caps & lowercase letters. I'm sure there are other examples, but this is the one I remembered (and loved). ---Sluzzelin talk 12:06, 14 March 2014 (UTC)
Visual support... GEEZERnil nisi bene 12:27, 14 March 2014 (UTC)
Another example of character-specific c&lc usage was Pogo, in which, among other "typographic" (but hand lettered) exuberances, Deacon Mushrat spoke in c&lc blackletter and Sarcophagus MacAbre spoke in (black bordered) c&lc script. See, for instance, here. Deor (talk) 12:32, 14 March 2014 (UTC)
It is more difficult/harder/time consuming to write a clear lettering in caps and lowercase than in all caps.--Carnby (talk) 21:10, 14 March 2014 (UTC)

I remember as a small child trying to decipher the elegant cursive script in the speech balloons of Edward Ardizzone's rather wonderful children's book illustrations. I can do it now, but at the time I was a bit annoyed that he didn't use capitals. Alansplodge (talk) 01:49, 15 March 2014 (UTC)

Well, I read Claire Bretécher's comic books (particularly Les frustrés) as a teenager, and though perfectly able to read cursive writing, I found this feature quite annoying then too, and still do now. Even if it takes just a little bit longer, this fraction of a second doesn't allow for the same immediacy as a speech ballon filled with caps, taken in with one gulp, no deciphering involved. ---Sluzzelin talk 18:44, 15 March 2014 (UTC)
And a very much older example: George Cruikshank's satirical cartoons can be a bit of a struggle. Alansplodge (talk) 23:11, 15 March 2014 (UTC)
On the other hand, the Tintin albums are lettered in sentence case - but they're not cursive. Neil Hyslop's hand lettering in the older versions of the English translations is tight, regular and and controlled, used the space efficiently, and was overall very readable and graphically pleasing. The publishers have relettered the books with a font similar to the hand lettering in the French originals [1], which to my eye isn't as nice or as effective, but still doesn't slow the eye down as much as a cursive hand does. --Nicknack009 (talk) 23:24, 15 March 2014 (UTC)
Either of those Tintin styles (linked above) seems to be an excellent solution to me. We should send the other cartoonists back to school so that they can learn them. During research for the UK's widely imitated road signs by Margaret Calvert and Jock Kinneir, it was found that it was easier for people to read lower case than all capitals. This was the end result. Alansplodge (talk) 09:06, 16 March 2014 (UTC)
Posy Simmonds also letters in sentence case. It's very controlled, but I think there's too much variation for it to be a font [2].
Here's an interesting discussion among professional letterers. Richard Starkings suggests that kids like all caps lettering in comics because adults don't, and says "The cleaner and gentler lower case lettering in TINTIN or WHEN THE WIND BLOWS—or EIGHTBALL—is appealing to a more sophisticated reader who can see past the idea that lower case lettering is for kids, and frightens off the less mature readers who want their dialogue in short, sharp urgent upper case lettering that grown ups don't understand." --Nicknack009 (talk) 11:18, 16 March 2014 (UTC)

Roberto Benigni's song[edit]

In the article about the Italian actor, Inno del corpo sciolto is explained with a {{citation needed}} as a hymn to defecation. Actually it is a hymn to defecation and everyone in Italy knows it. I would like to find a reliable source and acceptable source in English to put as a reference in the article. Also, a more "English sounding" translation is needed than The hymn of the nimble body or The anthem of the loose body, since in Italian (and especially in Tuscany) corpo sciolto does not mean a body who is speedy, agile or untied but simply diarrhea.--Carnby (talk) 21:17, 14 March 2014 (UTC)

"L'inno del corpo sciolto/The Hymn of the Slippery Body, a scatological song about the joys of defecation" in Carlo Celli's The Divine Comic: The Cinema of Roberto Benigni, Scarecrow Press, 2001, p 44. ---Sluzzelin talk 22:54, 14 March 2014 (UTC)
Thank you very much!--Carnby (talk) 14:20, 16 March 2014 (UTC)