Because comic books represent a narrative through a visual medium, they are closer to celluloid than to other printed mediums.  In order to convey the sounds one would normally hear in a television programme or movie, they make use of very descriptive onomatopoeia.

Onomatopoeia (the word comes from the Greek  ὄνομα for “name” and ποιέω for “I make” (source: Wikipedia) literally refers to a word which sounds like the sound it is describing.  On a most basic level, we use onomatopoeia to refer to animal sounds: moo, oink, purr, chirp and such.  But there is a wealth of onomatopoeic words used by comic books which should be included in our lexicons.

Incidentally, it was a writer-artist named Roy Crane who introduced the concept of using onomatopoeia to comic books.

Here are some examples of onomatopoeia in comic books:

‘whap!’ is a common onomatopoeia used when contact is made with a villain.

‘thwip’ is a Marvel copyrighted onomatopoeia, which imitates the sound Spidey’s webs make.

‘snikt’ is also a Marvel copyrighted onomatopoeia. It is one of the most recognisable onomatopoeia around.

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