View Full Version : Telepathy Caption Format

08-30-2015, 09:13 PM
Hey guys,

Let's say you have a character who is communicating with telepathy. I'm thinking these would be good as captions, since they aren't coming from any particular direction.

Should the captions be in quotes - like someone doing a voiceover - or no quotes, since the character doing the telepathing is in the panel? Any thoughts on this?

08-31-2015, 03:36 PM
No quotation marks. Telepathy is still dialogue, and quotation marks in dialogue means the character is quoting someone. "A rose by any other name..." etc.

Also, I wouldn't use captions. Just use a balloon without a tail. Maybe distinguish it with a special shape, color, or font for each telepathic character.

Stewart Vernon
09-01-2015, 04:30 AM
Yeah... different stories and art styles call for different things... but I would think a different shape or color balloon OR different font possibly as well... and no tails... but definitely not a caption, especially if the telepathy works both ways and he might be reading the thoughts of others so you'd need to have balloons for them as well.

09-01-2015, 07:27 AM
Here's an example:

I'm using image tags, but it won't post the image for some reason...

09-03-2015, 03:31 AM
Thanks for the responses guys.

The reason I was leaning toward captions, I guess, is because the device is first used where the character communicating with "her mind" is not on panel. And we've never seen this device before in the book(s). Basically it's supposed to come across as if this voice is in the on-panel character's head, and it's freaking her out. (And then the third panel shows the telepathic character telepathing on-panel.)

Another balloon shape and different text color will probably work for this though. Thanks again.

09-03-2015, 12:51 PM
I think a caption would not get that across. Captions are generally directed at the reader, not the character, so it would come across as some weird fourth-wall-breaking thing (like in Stranger Than Fiction, when the character can hear the writer narrating his actions).

I knew I'd seen some examples of telepathic balloons somewhere:

From here:

09-03-2015, 05:18 PM
Good call. I did see that on Blambot at some point, and then totally forgot about it.

Stewart Vernon
09-04-2015, 04:14 AM
In my comic strip, I have used captions for a character's speech... but only when that character is off-panel speaking in narration. Like, in my examples... a character is talking about the past, my entire panel is a dashed-line instead of solid ones I normally use... and the caption is clearly narrating what is showing in the panel, as you would expect to hear if someone was describing a flashback to you.

I haven't done anything with telepathy, but was imagining how I might do that to answer your question... and I just know I wouldn't do that with a caption. It's a little tricky when the character "pushing" the telepathy is not on-panel... but you might be able to address that with the on-panel character saying (or thinking) something to reflect the WTF reaction of having those other balloon thoughts projected into his head.

Comics Commando
09-07-2015, 04:07 PM
Yes, no quotes. Yes on the telepathy balloon style.

As a letterer with hundreds of deadlines behind me, I have several telepathy-style balloons in my lettering template. It affords me a choice depending on the script's context.

Kurt Hathaway
Cartoon Balloons Studio
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