Comic Talk, Tips and Tricks

Sarcasm, I need your help here, no really, sure I do.
JustNoPoint at 11:19AM, May 30, 2007
posts: 1,375
joined: 3-16-2007
What is the most common way to portray sarcasm in a comic?

At the moment I am going with putting around the sarcasm.

Using italics is used a bit as well I believe, I may combine the two.

How do you represent sarcasm in your text?
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:12PM
StaceyMontgomery at 11:44AM, May 30, 2007
posts: 520
joined: 4-7-2007
I don't have a plan for sarcasm, I guess I handle it the same way I do any emotions - context, dialogue, body language and facial expression. I haven't used icons or other such cues in my dialogue, Im not sure that enough people would know that mean sarcasm for me to try that.

Well, I do sometimes bold certain words of dialogue for clarity.

But mostly, I think people look for clues in the face of the character speaking.
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:55PM
silentkitty at 1:15PM, May 30, 2007
posts: 620
joined: 1-15-2007
Yeah.. remember comics are a visual medium. If your character is being sarcastic, show them being sarcastic. Rolling eyes, tilting heads, position of the mouth, etc. If you do it right, you shouldn't have to have any sort of symbols within the dialogue at all that show sarcasm.

(In fact, I think 's are usually used to indicate people speaking in foreign languages.)
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:37PM
Hijuda at 1:25PM, May 30, 2007
posts: 460
joined: 4-12-2007
Sarcasm works best when it's subtle. After all, obvious jokes aren't very funny. If a character makes a witty remark, body language goes a long way. For example:

Notice the body language between the two. It's clear that they're thinking two very different thoughts. Also, take note of various punctuation.

Portraying sarcasm can be difficult, but making sarcasm obvious is worse than not putting in any at all.
It's a comic!

last edited on July 14, 2011 12:48PM
Sysli at 3:11PM, May 30, 2007
posts: 162
joined: 2-24-2007
As well as body language there's small filler-words that you could use to make it clear if you want to make it really clear. Small sounds like Pfh and such things.

Let's take it with Hijuda's example:

“Yeah, I like that skirt a lot!”

“Pfh, oh yeah, I like that skirt a lot…”

This isn't the best example I guess, and it dosn't work as well as the visual , but it can make it clearer that it's a sarcastic remark. That's usually one of the ways I do it when I'm writing*, as well as add italics to certain words and adding letters to show the word is being steatched.

*In stories and such. But I don't write that much sarcasm so I can't really come with better tips.

Hope it's helpful anyway, and good luck with it.
Because I may as well show a bit of pride. ^___^

last edited on July 14, 2011 4:05PM
Darth Mongoose at 3:27PM, May 30, 2007
posts: 488
joined: 1-7-2006
Use of italics or bold to stress words can be used to indicate sarcasm too!

I like that shirt a lot!

I like that shirt a lot.


Oh, that's great!

Oh, that's great.

Of course, this will work even better if you use the methods above and combine it with good visuals, and perhaps some empathic incidentals.
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:08PM
glenfx at 4:21PM, May 30, 2007
posts: 64
joined: 5-25-2007
great advises

Cant seem to add anything usefull to all thats been said, only that is best if you combine visuals with text, dont relly on words alone.

See why people in forums usually write something like text and things like that, is because you really cant tell what is 100% sarcasm, but you can tell after you see an image or body language.
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:37PM
JustNoPoint at 4:24PM, May 30, 2007
posts: 1,375
joined: 3-16-2007
For my human characters sarcasm will not be a problem. I have one of my armored up aliens and all you can see is his black pools of eyes while he is saying “Oh no! Another blast towards me!”

But it is not to be taken as if he is really worried.

The statement looks like this:

Please, these guys just need to give up.
They can't compare to our chosen abilities and training.

Should I stress “no”? Kinda hoping if I keep putting the around sarcasm people would notice it over time. It would be nice if there were some kind of standard for this for certain things/situations that can't use body language or expressions.

But if is mostly a standard for translations then maybe I should try something else…

I'll just use the stress words method like Darth Mongoose suggested if no other ideas for a standard can be made I suppose.

Thanks for all the feedback ^^
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:12PM
silentkitty at 5:06PM, May 30, 2007
posts: 620
joined: 1-15-2007
Well, even if he only has black pools for eyes, maybe you could show a hint of one arching eyebrow when he says it? =p Is it a zoom in on his face? If not, there's always body language outside of the face - hands, hips, etc.

As far as a standard for showing sarcasm in text, I've never really seen one. Just like Darth said, stressing certain words that wouldn't be stressed in normal speech but would in sarcasm (try saying the line out loud, it may help to decide which words would need to be stressed). You could try something like "Oh no! Not another blast toward me…!", etc.

I'd just do a few variations and see which one reads best. Although like I said, I really would steer away from the 's.
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:37PM
JustNoPoint at 5:22PM, May 30, 2007
posts: 1,375
joined: 3-16-2007
I won't use the then.

The scene is not close up, it involves the tentacle wielding alien impaling bad aliens from a distance with his tentacles while blocking a laser blast. He's suspended in the air kinda how Doc Ock does on Spidey and his helmet prevents the use of showing expressions in his eyes especially considering how far away the scene is.

That's why I thought clarifying sarcasm even more with might help, but the italics and the statement below where he says “Please, these guys need to give it up” should hopefully get the sarcasm across.

Makes me wish I was making a manga comic so I could put a little emotion word balloon out next to his head =P

Thanks for responding before I posted it up with 's X_X
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:12PM
Memmy at 6:51PM, May 30, 2007
posts: 184
joined: 4-30-2007
For my human characters sarcasm will not be a problem. I have one of my armored up aliens and all you can see is his black pools of eyes while he is saying “Oh no! Another blast towards me!”

Well… You could get creative with eyes, even if they're just black pools or black eyes. One of the idea is that you could change the shape of the pool/shadow, change the eyebrows to emphistizes (I cant spell, argh). Or you can make it simple, just add white lines in the “black pool” that everyone will reconize as a expression that means he is being sarcastic.

Just throwing some ideas out there.
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:59PM
kingofsnake at 7:40AM, May 31, 2007
posts: 1,374
joined: 9-27-2006
I recommend natural sounding pause words. Think about how you'd say it sarcastically versus how you'd say it genuinely:

Wow! I love that skirt! —genuine
Ha, yeah, real nice skirt. — sarcastic

Also, how your other characters react will cue your reader how to react

“I really like that skirt a lot”
“Thanks!” —genuine
“Oh, yeah, I like that skirt a whole lot”
"Hey, screw you, I like this skirt!" –sarcastic

Finally everyone else is absolutely right about body language. A sarcastic character generally looks bored, eyes narrowed a little, flatness to the mouth shape and not alot of expression on the face, whereas a genuine character should be emoting.
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:16PM
JustNoPoint at 11:25AM, May 31, 2007
posts: 1,375
joined: 3-16-2007
All these tips will be very useful.

Just not in the scene I drew in this case since it is a fight scene where I can't use body language, nor facial changes (mask + kinda far away). :P

I'm just going to have to rely on the italics and the sentences that comes after the sarcastic statement.
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:12PM
reconjsh at 12:00PM, May 31, 2007
posts: 663
joined: 12-18-2006
emphasize by bolding the word that is the major player in the sarcasm.

It's very difficult to do, ya know!?
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:02PM
Kohdok at 1:33PM, May 31, 2007
posts: 776
joined: 5-18-2007
Another thing to do is be hyperbolic:

Person 1: “What've you been up to?”

Person 2: Oh, you know, saving the world from total destruction and all that jazz…

Forcing the person to mention the fact that they're being sarcastic is a fairly direct way of doing it, with a naive character saying “Really?” After the sarcastic one says something, followed by the sarcastic one either continuing in a hyperbolic state or just saying “I was being sarcastic” This also helps people identify whether or not someone is being sarcastic.

As for body language:

Lack of eye-contact
eyes narrower than normal
Relaxed pose
Crossed Arms
mouth slightly off-center or very slim.
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:19PM
glenfx at 8:35PM, May 31, 2007
posts: 64
joined: 5-25-2007
in action, sarcasm is easilly noted.. one example would be a huge guy beating up a small alien and is sayin, “im scared of little aliens”. The action is totally driving the sarcasm and not the words themselves.

The body language is not limited to a pose, but can be translated into an action. In your case the body language is the action your alien is doing.

BTW, did you see the movie 300?, if so, do you remember the scene where Leonidas was to go about to meet Xerxes and is telling the captain that “there was no reason for not being civilized” and the captain replyes “no there isnt” while stabing a soldier?
The body language was in the action and not in the poses yet it was quite sarcastic ;).

also, read the following link, youll note the sarcasm without the need of special simbols
BTW its “educational” too ^_^
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:37PM

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