When I first started out in comics a million years ago, I thought the letterer held total mastery and control over dialogue placement.
I thought the writer’s job was to write the dialogue and the letterer figured out the best way to place it on the page. End of story.
While this is “mostly” true—letterers do have the last word and a GOOD letterer will work to make the best of what the writer delivers, the writer is the one responsible for defining what dialogue is separated into each bubble.
In other words, if you deliver a single character, half page panel, 60 word monologue in a single paragraph of your script, assuming the letterer will break the monologue into multiple bubbles at the natural breaking points—you’re in for a rude awakening and a massive bubble blob.
As the writer, it’s your responsibility to break the bubbles in the script.
Breaking long stretches of dialogue into multiple bubbles give the panel a little more breathing room—allowing the letterer to juggle balloon placement around the art, rather then being forced to dump a big balloon over the art.
Breaking balloons is also like adding paragraphs to a page of prose. Multiple balloons with fewer words looks less oppressive to the eye and makes for an easier read.▪
About the Author —
Nick Macari is a full-time freelance story consultant, developmental editor and writer, working primarily in the independent gaming and comic markets. His first published comic appeared on shelves via Diamond in the late 90’s. Today you can find his comic work on comixology, amazon and in select stores around the U.S. Visit NickMacari.com for social media contacts and news on his latest releases.