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PROCESS: Vertigo Quarterly: SFX-BANG!

PROCESS: Vertigo Quarterly: SFX-BANG!

By DCE Editorial Thursday, January 28th, 2016

Krak. Slam. Pop. And now…BANG!

For the last year, Vertigo has celebrated the art of the sound effect in comics by releasing anthologies in which creators use the chosen effect as inspiration. The short stories they’ve created have ranged from the serious to the absurd, with settings both realistic and fantastical.

For the final installment of VERTIGO QUARTERLY: SFX, the writers and artists have used BANG! as their jumping-off point. Be it the bang of a drum, the roar of a cannon, or the start of a universe, the contributors used this, the loudest of sound effects, for maximum impact.

To commemorate the end of the run, we asked a few of the participants to share their thoughts on sound effects.


NATHAN FOX

WHY ARE SOUND EFFECTS IMPORTANT IN COMICS?

They can help give texture, color and audible vibrancy to the visual communication inherent in sequential storytelling and provide emphasis or "effect" to direct a viewer’s attention — sounds inherent in the internal narration we all do as viewers, reading or experiencing the work. And just by their nature, when viewed on a page, cause our brains to give it audible meaning and import. On my end, they are a typographic curiosity that continues to baffle me to this day, but I still can’t get enough of them. Language, meaning, and form, all in one, read and experienced in a split second once viewed — Amazing stuff! 

WHAT INSPIRED YOUR STORY IN BANG?

For the SFX series, I wanted to bring the actual sound effects to life. So that in a world of silence, words could have power, height, and physical movement, emotion, and impact. When I got started on it, the “Sticks and stones…but words can never hurt me” adage kept coming to mind and EKOH started to develop from there. 

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE SOUND EFFECT?

SPLAK! So many varied uses with so many implied visual possibilities… :)

On a side note:…

I’ve always been attracted to and fascinated by type in comics, fine art, design, and illustration. The first time I came across Japanese Ukiyo-e wood block prints, the work of Edward Ruscha’s painting, and Saul Bass’ design and film work, I became fascinated with type and image. There was so much language and movement in the graphic forms and visual language. I didn’t know what to do with it or why I was moved by it at the time, but I knew I had to find out. It was Otomo’s books (Akira and Domu, especially) that got me addicted to sound FX and the beauty of violence, form, movement and narrative communication in comics. They energized the inaudible. I was hooked and it had a great influence on my design and story work.


NIMIT MALAVIA

WHY ARE SOUND EFFECTS IMPORTANT IN COMICS?

It's an essential part of the marriage that is visual storytelling. They help to focus the drama of a scene, while also serving as a great design tool for the page. 

WHAT INSPIRED YOUR STORY IN BANG?

Cavan Scott wrote a tremendous script. The nuanced terror of the piece really jumped off the page, so I wanted to try and juxtapose the visual style with the written narrative. Take on the future aesthetic of the world with a sleek clarity, so that the tumult of the character could subtly rumble along.  

WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE SOUND EFFECT?

I think BANG, actually. The old earthquake sound effects from Akira are a close second: "BROOOOOO." 


CAVAN SCOTT

WHY ARE SOUND EFFECTS IMPORTANT IN COMICS?

There’s something about sound that seems more immediate, more visceral, than an image on its own.  Sound effects instinctively connect you with the action on the page. You know what they sound like, what they feel like, invoking an almost physical reaction to what is happening. 

WHAT INSPIRED YOUR STORY IN BANG?

It was inspired by a friend talking about a relative who had recently committed suicide. He was angry, telling me that it was the easy way out, the selfish way. “They didn’t give a damn about the mess they were leaving behind for the rest of us,” he said. "It was all about them, right to the end —  and we’re the ones who have to live with it, not them. We’re picking up the pieces.” It was a hard conversation and stayed with me, eventually spinning into “Not With A Bang.”

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE SOUND EFFECT?

The sound of Doctor Who’s TARDIS materialising in comic book form as coined by writer Steve Moore: “Vworp Vworp!”


These are just a few of the responses we received. You can read thoughts from Howard Chaykin, Jonathan Case, Leila Del Duca and more in the back of all January Vertigo comics.

VERTIGO QUARTERLY: SFX-BANG! is now available in print and as a digital download.