What are things you need to insure when using text bubbles for off-screen characters in a comics panel? I have a few panels where we see 1 character visible, but there are 2 other characters speaking at the same time in the same panel, but I am not sure how to visually make sure it's clear to which character the text bubbles belong. Are there some tricks used in order to make sure this is easy to understand?
There's a few different approaches you can take:
- Lettering/speech bubble appearance - using Marvel as an example, Venom, Thor, and Thanos all have distinct styles for their text and direct bubbles
- Dialog - the word choice or sentence construction can try to make it clear. Using another Marvel example, the Thing's dialog is usually very different from Reed Richard's dialog.
- Referring to self - for example, the Thing often refers to himself as "bashful Benji" when talking to others, which makes it clear that he is the one speaking.
- Referred to by other characters - comics characters refer to each other much more frequently by name than in other media so that traders can identify who the characters are, especially if they are small or obscured in the panel. The Daily Bugle scenes in early Spider-Man used this approach frequently.