So, I have been working on a graphic novel for some time now, but I find myself battling with a familiar demon: word balloons.
Is it a necessary evil? Is there another way to tell a story, narrative wise and NOT use word balloons? Is there a law that says it can't be a graphic novel unless it has word balloons? Here's what my graphic novel muse says about it:
Word balloons arose from convenience: using captions makes it hard to know who's speaking in a panel with multiple figures, unless you go with "George said" and "Sally said." Word balloons are a convention that everyone who reads comics understands, and used wisely, they not only convey dialogue but carry the reader's eye through the panel and even through the page--look at some well-placed balloons, and you'll see how they direct you, sometimes breaking panel borders to guide you to a panel that might not seem like the next natural one to move to.
"The desire to belong and the need to stand apart are the two contradicting impulses driving fashion."
—Thessaly La Force
"Just so you know, elephants really like 'Funk 49'."
—Joe Walsh relating to Conan a sound check at the Portland Zoo when an elephant started dancing to "Funk 49"