01 January 2009

Kamitsuki versus Chomp

A helpful quote from Art of Drawing Manga, by Sergi Càmara and Vanessa Durán:

In Western comics sound effects are often seen accompanying sudden sounds, such as shots or explosions, or sounds that add something to the story, such as slowly opening doors, footsteps, and so on. In manga, sound effects are used, not only to represent all these sounds, but also for imperceptible sounds like breathing blinking, or smiling.

Sometimes, the definition of the action itself is used as a sound effect, so if one character bites another the word kamitsuki, which is "bite" in Japanese, is written instead of the classic sound effect "chomp," which we would use in English.
Showing the worldwide reach and cross-fertilization of comics, Càmara and Durán's guide to Japanese-style comics was written and published in Spain. (The US edition was translated by Michael Brunelle and Beatriz Cartabarria for Sterling.) And my "toss" example comes from Robot Dreams, by Sara Varon of Brooklyn.

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