TOM THE DANCING BUG: Super-Fun-Pak Comix, featuring Naked Percival Dunwoody


From what I can decipher behind the censor bars, Cathy is trying on swimsuits again, and there’s a man with her! AACK!


The funny thing is that in superhero comics, thought balloons aren’t really used anymore.

Pow! Blam! Take that, outdated cartoonist man!


But this is Superhero-Man’s 1960’s origin story. I know it’s confusing since he looks the same as he does today, but he got the timelessness superpower when he was bitten.

What would happen if he was bitten by a radioactive thought balloon?

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But who is REX, the mystery author referenced in Marital Mirth panel?

But you are the world’s smartest detective!

Yes, but I’m being written by a moron.

Now I wonder if that’s because the writing got smarter or the superheroes got dumber.

Neither: styles changed. Starting in the 1990s, there was a major movement towards what is now called ‘Decompression’. Basically, comics have become more like manga, which were in turn influenced by cinema (via Osamu Tezuka). This has led to removing elements like thought balloons in favor of narrative boxes or more literal cinematic approaches. I’m not sure this is an improvement in all cases, as it has had the net effect of removing the internal monologue in most comics.

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I just realized:
While manga tends to avoid internal monolog generally speaking, anime is just chock full of internal monolog. And (in poorly done anime) when there isn’t much use of internal monolog there’s a tendency to do exposition outloud when it would make more sense for the characters to play it closer to the vest.

It’s funny, I never noticed that before. Although the narrative boxes in manga often contain the direct thoughts of the character as well. So maybe it makes as much sense as anything. It’s probably just stylistic variation.

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