Monday, December 7, 2015

Silent Audio in Darth Vader

With the 'Force Awakens' just around the corner, I picked up Marvels 'Darth Vader' series in order to re-familiarize myself with the Star Wars universe. What was most fascinating while reading Darth Vader is how the cartoonist is able to create sound in comics. The following images are taken from issue #6 and occur immediately after Darth Vader discovers he has a son. In this first image, there is
very little speech being utilized with the exception of the two in panels 2 and 4, aside from these the entire page is completely void of anything denoting sound. However, the third panel features a single crack in the glass, and despite the lack of a sound effect, you can imagine the sound of the glass cracking. This is achieved by the cartoonist limiting the amount of 'audio' used on this page. When readers reach panel 3 and see the lack of audio effects, they still associate the image with the sound of glass breaking. If any other 'audio effects' were present in panel 3, the 'silent crack' would not be as prominent as it is because the readers would be distracted by the other sounds. By makign an entire page silent, as seen in the image on the right, readers fill in this silence by association. For example, the cracking of glass is seen again in the second image, but readers might also hear the hissing of the smoke as pipes shatter and break before the power of the force. Again, we see a lack of audio effects with the exception of the speech bubble.  There is smoke, cracks in the glass, and small bends in the metal floor, and interestingly enough there are a lack of sound effects here, yet readers can still hear the hissing of the smoke and the screams of the metal being bent by the force and most importantly, Darth Vader's ominous, robotic, breathing.

-James Holland


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