Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Bolds Bolds Everywhere Bolds

What’s the deal with bold words in comics? I’ve never gotten a straight answer as to what the heck they’re supposed to mean. The best answer I’ve ever gotten, and the one that makes the most sense is that they’re supposed to show you where the speaker would be putting an emphasis in his/her speech. I’ve seen actors circle words in their lines to show where their voice should change to show emotion. Alec Guinness was an actor that did this with his scripts.

The “smash” being where the Green Goliath raised his voice at the height of his anger.

A curse word would be another place where a bold would suffice.

However, being the one responsible for bolding these words as I transfer the script to the comic page, I realize that 99.9% of the bold words I see are completely ridiculous. Words that just make no sense are bolded over and over again. And if you were to read the dialogue with the speech emphasis idea placed on the bolded words, it would sound so silly and absurd that the writing would lose any impact the writer intended. Instead turning into something quite funny. However unintentional it may be.

That’s the kind of stuff I usually see. The only thing I can think of is that the writer is using bold words as a “Hi-Lighter”, emphasizing words he thinks are important and that the reader should notice. In my opinion, you should have confidence in your writing and dialogue, if you did, you wouldn’t need to hi-light an important point. It would come across through your story. It’s like ringing a bell after every important point or hitting your reader over the head as if he/she is incapable of understanding the scene you’re presenting.

I’ve done hand written letters. Complete with paper captions, a hand written font, which was loaded with bold words. When was the last time you sat down to write a letter and used 2 pens? One fine point and the other with a thick point for bold words? Probably never. When’s the last time you used a bold word in a casual email? Maybe once in a while, but I can’t remember getting an email with a bolded word.

Well, that’s it for now. Hope you liked my Andy Rooney-esque Blog. It was a much therapeutic as it was fun to write. Now go read a comic out loud and laugh at what you sound like as you emphasize the bold words.

1 comment:

Jared said...

In email people use ALL CAPS instead of bold and it means SHOUTING! I agree with your analysis of what bolds are supposed to do and how writers usually just use them to emphasize words or concepts they want to highlight.
I think that all bolds are in vain though. When reading a comic I ignore all bolds as a matter of course. I don't even notice them. Words and pictures together create a space in the readers head where the story exists. It is the words that are important and not the bolds so my mind doesn't even see them. Unless I read them out loud to laugh at how little sense they make.