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    confused Question about strip #484's speech balloons

    http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0484.html

    What is the correct order of speech balloons? And is there a general rule for whether vertical order takes precedence over horizontal order or vice versa?

    Durkon knows the plan. He'll contact us magically--and Vaarsuvius, too--as soon as he's able.
    Wait, hold on: You're saying the boat ACTUALLY left us behind?!?
    Keep your voice down!

    or

    Wait, hold on: You're saying the boat ACTUALLY left us behind?!?
    Keep your voice down! Durkon knows the plan. He'll contact us magically--and Vaarsuvius, too--as soon as he's able.
    Last edited by Gift Jeraff; 2013-11-04 at 03:01 PM. Reason: You're* not your; that's what I get for copying a wiki instead of typing it out myself.
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    Default Re: Question about strip #484's speech balloons

    I think it's the second alternative. It ties in with what Haley and Belkar were talking about last time we saw them and makes a natural transition to Xykon's usage of Cloister.

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    Default Re: Question about strip #484's speech balloons

    Yes, definitely the second.
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    Default Re: Question about strip #484's speech balloons

    I've always read it as the second, yeah.
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    Default Re: Question about strip #484's speech balloons

    I would assume the first alternative:

    With her statement Haley confirms that the boat left, triggering Belkar's reaction.

    As for a general rule: I don't think that there is one, normally it is pretty clear from context. Even the Wikipedia article is imo not really helpful:
    Quote Originally Posted by Wikipedia
    In order for comic strip and graphic novel dialogue to make sense, it has to be read in order. Thus, conventions have evolved in the order in which the communication bubbles are read. The individual bubbles are read in the order of the language. For example, in English, the bubbles are read from left to right in a panel, while in Japanese, it is the other way around. Sometimes the bubbles are "stacked", with two characters having multiple bubbles, one above the other. Such stacks are read from the top down. Poor use of speech balloons can unintentionally make the proper reading order ambiguous, confusing the reader.
    So it is either a series of three bubbles left to right (resulting in option B) or a stack of multiple bubbles to bottom (resulting in option A) [I personally lean toward stack/option A].

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    Default Re: Question about strip #484's speech balloons

    Quote Originally Posted by ChristianSt View Post
    I would assume the first alternative:

    With her statement Haley confirms that the boat left, triggering Belkar's reaction.

    As for a general rule: I don't think that there is one, normally it is pretty clear from context. Even the Wikipedia article is imo not really helpful:
    So it is either a series of three bubbles left to right (resulting in option B) or a stack of multiple bubbles to bottom (resulting in option A) [I personally lean toward stack/option A].
    I think that, if it had been option A as you suggest, the smaller speech balloon would have been connected to the larger one by a direct line, not with a separate pointer to Haley's head. The reason that there isn't a direct line is probably because those generally imply that you should read down the line, which leads to the conclusion that Rich wanted us to read the other way.
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    Default Re: Question about strip #484's speech balloons

    Quote Originally Posted by Flame of Anor View Post
    I think that, if it had been option A as you suggest, the smaller speech balloon would have been connected to the larger one by a direct line, not with a separate pointer to Haley's head. The reason that there isn't a direct line is probably because those generally imply that you should read down the line, which leads to the conclusion that Rich wanted us to read the other way.
    Without rearranging the bubbles a direct line wouldn't make it clearer imo.
    Rich uses such direct lines pretty often in all directions.
    Compare that to 480. In Panel two there is a connection between the two speech bubbles, with a similar angle as one between Haley's bubble would have. And from the content it is clear that the bottom left bubble comes before the top right bubble. So comparing that panel with the situation in 484, providing such a connection would imply the second reading order. The conclusion would be that it is not there, because the first reading order is intended .

    I don't know if that is true, and personally wouldn't consider that as proof, but I think it pretty much discards your argument .

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    Default Re: Question about strip #484's speech balloons

    Quote Originally Posted by Gift Jeraff View Post
    http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0484.html

    What is the correct order of speech balloons? And is there a general rule for whether vertical order takes precedence over horizontal order or vice versa?

    Durkon knows the plan. He'll contact us magically--and Vaarsuvius, too--as soon as he's able.
    Wait, hold on: your saying the boat ACTUALLY left us behind?!?
    Keep your voice down!
    I agree, and think that this is the correct order. Haley is worried, telling herself (and Belkar) that they will be contacted by Durkon soon. Belkar gets upset with the implication, shouting out an objection, and Haley tells him to be quiet. The other way around seems a bit odd to me; why would Belkar just spontaneously shout out something like "You're saying that..." at Haley when she hadn't said anything?

    Also, as ChristianSt points out, the word bubbles are formed differently when the speech from one follows the other. There would be a connection between the two if "Keep your voice down!" was likely the first comment. Also, the "Durkon knows..." balloon is noticeably higher than the other, rather than directly across from it.

    That said, both readings are similar enough that I think both can work and give the same results. It doesn't seem to matter too much which you read it as.
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    Default Re: Question about strip #484's speech balloons

    First way round. Note the speech bubbles are read that way in the Kubota Panel.
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    Default Re: Question about strip #484's speech balloons

    I think it works both ways anyways. I think Belkar is supposed to be talking over her in confusion and shock.

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    Default Re: Question about strip #484's speech balloons

    I've actually always read it as (A), as otherwise I would expect that everything Haley said would have been in one speech balloon.

    I'm curious though, what brought this question up? Is there some greater potential significance to one order over the other?
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    Default Re: Question about strip #484's speech balloons

    Quote Originally Posted by Gift Jeraff View Post
    http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0484.html


    Wait, hold on: You're saying the boat ACTUALLY left us behind?!?
    Keep your voice down! Durkon knows the plan. He'll contact us magically--and Vaarsuvius, too--as soon as he's able.
    This one, IMO.
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    Default Re: Question about strip #484's speech balloons

    The opinions seem to be pretty evenly split on this. Interesting. I myself have always read it as option 2.
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    Default Re: Question about strip #484's speech balloons

    Quote Originally Posted by Cizak View Post
    The opinions seem to be pretty evenly split on this. Interesting. I myself have always read it as option 2.
    So, who starts and organizes a "Favorite Speech Bubble Reading Order Tournament"?

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    Default Re: Question about strip #484's speech balloons

    IMO, it's the first alternative.

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    Default Re: Question about strip #484's speech balloons

    A short statement followed by a longer explanation seems to me to flow better than a long, detailed explanation followed by a short statement.

    That may just be the freelancer speaking, though.
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    So the song runs on, with shift and change,
    Through the years that have no name,
    And the late notes soar to a higher range,
    But the theme is still the same.
    Man's battle-cry and the guns' reply
    Blend in with the old, old rhyme
    That was traced in the score of the strata marks
    While millenniums winked like campfire sparks
    Down the winds of unguessed time.

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    Default Re: Question about strip #484's speech balloons

    I'm surprised Rich hasn't spoken up yet.


    Anyway, I think it's "obviously" #2. (I put that in quotes because apparently it ISN'T obvious since a lot of people disagree with me). The other reading just doesn't work.

    "Durkon will contact us" isn't actually explaining "the ship just left". I think a better explanation is: (starting from the previous strip)

    Nice illusion. Now can we just get out of this stupid city already?

    ...Vaarsuvius?

    It's no illusion, idiot. They're gone.

    Wait, hold on: You're saying the boat ACTUALLY left us behind?!?

    Keep your voice down! Durkon knows the plan. He'll contact us magically--and Vaarsuvius, too--as soon as he's able.



    especially when you see it as Haley trying to keep Belkar calm (and thus, his voice down) by reassuring him that Durkon will contact them in the morning.
    Last edited by littlebum2002; 2013-11-04 at 06:07 PM.

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    Default Re: Question about strip #484's speech balloons

    It was always obvious (to me) that it was the first option. Notice how Belkar's speech bubble is nestled between Haley's, indicating that "Keep your voice down!" is a response to Belkar's loud exclamation. The whole vertical nature of the strip lends itself to reading the speech bubbles as a stack when they're not exactly side-by-side.
    Last edited by KillianHawkeye; 2013-11-04 at 06:17 PM.
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    Default Re: Question about strip #484's speech balloons

    Quote Originally Posted by littlebum2002 View Post
    "Durkon will contact us" isn't actually explaining "the ship just left". I think a better explanation is: (starting from the previous strip)

    Nice illusion. Now can we just get out of this stupid city already?

    ...Vaarsuvius?

    It's no illusion, idiot. They're gone.

    Wait, hold on: You're saying the boat ACTUALLY left us behind?!?

    Keep your voice down! Durkon knows the plan. He'll contact us magically--and Vaarsuvius, too--as soon as he's able.



    especially when you see it as Haley trying to keep Belkar calm (and thus, his voice down) by reassuring him that Durkon will contact them in the morning.
    Yes, this makes perfect sense to me.

    Quote Originally Posted by KillianHawkeye View Post
    Notice how Belkar's speech bubble is nestled between Haley's, indicating that "Keep your voice down!" is a response to Belkar's loud exclamation.
    It's a response to Belkar's explanation in both options.
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    Default Re: Question about strip #484's speech balloons

    I always read it as the second one, but in a recent reread of the strip I read it the other way and it blew my mind.
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    Default Re: Question about strip #484's speech balloons

    I read it as:

    Haley: "Durkon knows the plan. He'll contact us magically--and Vaarsuvius, too--as soon as he's able."

    Belkar: "Wait, hold on: You're saying the boat ACTUALLY left us behind?!?"

    Haley: "Keep your voice down!"

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    Default Re: Question about strip #484's speech balloons

    The dialogue 'works' either way - that much is obvious. By intention or not, the ambiguous order doesn't affect the content.

    At first glance, I read it as A. As many others have pointed out, no join between Haley's bubbles suggests that Belkar speaks in between them.

    Over-scrutinising it into pointlessness, it's not been very neatly laid out (due to the necessity of showing the hobgoblins by the looks of it) making it the one slight mark on an otherwise impressive page layout.
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    Default Re: Question about strip #484's speech balloons

    Quote Originally Posted by ClockShock View Post
    The dialogue 'works' either way - that much is obvious. By intention or not, the ambiguous order doesn't affect the content.

    At first glance, I read it as A. As many others have pointed out, no join between Haley's bubbles suggests that Belkar speaks in between them.

    Over-scrutinising it into pointlessness, it's not been very neatly laid out (due to the necessity of showing the hobgoblins by the looks of it) making it the one slight mark on an otherwise impressive page layout.
    I really would not see this as any problem in the page layout, without this thread I wouldn't have even noticed it.

    And maybe it was even intended to be ambiguous?
    I wouldn't be really that hard surprised if that was the case. We have ambiguously gendered wizards - why can't the comic have ambiguously ordered dialogue, too ?

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    Default Re: Question about strip #484's speech balloons

    Quote Originally Posted by Gift Jeraff View Post
    http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0484.html

    What is the correct order of speech balloons? And is there a general rule for whether vertical order takes precedence over horizontal order or vice versa?

    Durkon knows the plan. He'll contact us magically--and Vaarsuvius, too--as soon as he's able.
    Wait, hold on: You're saying the boat ACTUALLY left us behind?!?
    Keep your voice down!

    or

    Wait, hold on: You're saying the boat ACTUALLY left us behind?!?
    Keep your voice down! Durkon knows the plan. He'll contact us magically--and Vaarsuvius, too--as soon as he's able.
    Definitely the first , there is plenty of room on the lower panel for one big balloon with the full text, so those are being said separately.
    not to mention comic rules dictate that way, i believe.

    whats happening in the narrative is that in the previous page (and this is probably your disconnect) Belkar and Haley are surprised and freaked by the Fleet leaving. this is the next page and Haley is reassuring Belkar (and herself) that the others will come back for them. Since she is talking about a circumstance in which would require the group having actually abandoned them...Belkar has caught on to the fact that he isnt just missing something. That they really left.

    Then Haley responds to Belkar freaking out by reminding him now to not die (shutting up)

    The dialogue 'works' either way - that much is obvious. By intention or not, the ambiguous order doesn't affect the content.

    At first glance, I read it as A. As many others have pointed out, no join between Haley's bubbles suggests that Belkar speaks in between them.

    Over-scrutinising it into pointlessness, it's not been very neatly laid out (due to the necessity of showing the hobgoblins by the looks of it) making it the one slight mark on an otherwise impressive page layout.
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    Though i agree it is not important it does have a KIND of relevance (unimportant relevance?)

    obviously this is probably the first time the pair of them have addressed the situation, and since Belkar is surprised by her first comment we can assume that before this panel that it has only been in Haley's head that the consideration of whether or not the Order will come back for them (this is a direct link to the last page in which her self doubt eats at her one last time).

    So she isnt really speaking to Belkar. She is talking out loud (probably mentally excusing herself from trying to reassure herself by thinking she is explaining "the plan" to Belkar) in order to reassure herself that "the plan" seems sound and they really weren't abandoned. So the importance is in showing How Leader Haley is trying to keep things together so that she doesn't break down into her self doubt. To her surprise the news (or confirmation of news rather) of what just happened shocks Belkar (thus showing how little she payed attention to him) thus causing his loud exclamation...bringing her back to reality and reminding her that there are more pressing matters than worring about if she will ever see her love again.
    Last edited by Cerlis; 2013-11-09 at 08:09 AM.
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    Default Re: Question about strip #484's speech balloons

    Second one makes more sense.
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    Default Re: Question about strip #484's speech balloons

    Second interpretation.

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    Default Re: Question about strip #484's speech balloons

    Either works. I imagine Rich did it that way on purpose. It's up to the reader to figure out how they will read it, and which way you read it seems to me at first glance to be a factor of how you read the characters. It's a good bit of ambiguity, I think.
    Last edited by SaintRidley; 2013-11-09 at 03:52 PM.
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