By Duo_forbidden 16 Comments
There's a saying that, "A picture is worth a thousand words". This can work with comics. This method isn't anything new, but I just thought about the concept with the comics I read today, Amazing Spider-man #655, and the final issue of Fantastic Four #588 (I am leaning a bit since Amazing Spider-man #655 did have dialogue in it). Both comics conveniently focused on death and the follow up.
Usually when comic writers use this approach, they use it when someone has died and they reflect on the aftermath. There are other issues where it's about the main character(s) typical day or the main character(s) out of the ordinary day. Sometimes there's dialogue at the end of an issue, but about 95-100% of the issue is without dialogue or even sound effects.
They're a couple of comics out there without dialogue. Take G.I Joe #21 for example. It was the first comic to try this approach. I've never read (or rather seen) the issue before, but I'm pretty sure it was unusual for its time. After all, the issue focused on Snake-Eyes.
I think the first comic that I ever read without dialogue was Amazing Spider-man #39. This was part of Marvel's "'Nuff said" event. This issue was during the time Peter and Mary Jane were, "separated" or taking a break from their marriage . It shows Mary Jane living the life as a famous actor/model, but sad at the same time, hinting that she misses Peter. Meanwhile, Peter is doing his heroics as Spider-man. It also has Aunt May canceling her newspaper from the Daily Bugle due to the negativity towards her nephew. All of this was without dialogue, but it was written by J. Michael Stracznski with John Romita Jr. for pencils and Scott Hanna for inks and Dan Kemp for color. Despite no dialogue, it was the artwork that told Stracznski's story.
Another example is the Ultimate Spider-man 133. This was a during the Marvel event: Ultimatum that wiped out the majority of both superheroes and villains in the Ultimate Universe. This issue focused on the possible death of Spider-man, as both Spider-woman and Kitty Pryde search for him while helping others after the huge tidal wave hit New York. At the end, they could only find his mask, leaving both Peter's Aunt and friends moaning. During that time, I was a bit worried as Peter was the only character I really cared in the Ultimate universe, so reading that issue made me feel depressed that after 133 issues (and 3 annuals) Ultimate Spider-man was no more (That is until I heard that Ultimate Requiem was coming out giving me some hope).
My final example is Moment of Silence with Kevin Smith, Joe Quesada, Bill Jemas and Brian Michael Bendis as the writers and Igor Kordey, John Romita Jr., Mark Bagley and Chuck Austen for the artist that dealt with the 9-11 attacks. In the tradeback contains 4 amazing stories but without dialogue.
What are your thoughts about comics without dialogue? Do you like them? What's your favorite comic book without dialogue? Personally, I don't mind as long as the artwork is great and it captures the story. I can't think of a comic without dialogue that was bad.
Also, if you can find it anywhere, I recommend checking out Marvel's 'Nuff said tradeback that has comic book issues without dialogue.