A speech bubble, also known as a speech balloon, is a graphic convention used in comics used to represent what a given character is saying. A speech bubble is comprised of two parts: the bubble itself and its tail. The bubble is where the text is placed. Conventionally, it's a white oval of varying proportions with a black outline. The tail extends from the bubble (usually the bottom), and points towards the character the speech or thoughts belong to.
A variant of a speech balloon is a thought bubble, used to represent a character's thoughts. Its bubble is similar in shape to a cloud, and its tail is replaced by a line of circles in descending size. Thought bubbles, however, have fallen in disuse by the 2000s, being replaced by caption boxes.
If a character is speaking another language it will be bracketed. Depending on the intonation, the speech bubble may have different shapes; when a character screams, conventionally, the bubble around the words is drawn in a starburst shape, while the words are highlighted in bold italics, or written with a different, more garish font with the words spilling out of the bubble's confines for exceptionally loud yells or beastly roars.
While most characters speech bubbles have a white background, Deadpool's are yellow. This is down to represent his distinctive voice (although nobody knows exactly what is distinctive about his voice, only that it sounds different). Cable of Earth-5701 has described his voice as having a "gravelly, Demi Moore" quality before "killing" him. Blind Al has also stated that Deadpool's voice sounds like a distinct mixture of "gasoline and gravel." In his earliest appearances, his speech balloons were normal balloons with red borders (soon changed to yellow borders); in later appearances, the interior would be colored yellow and the text would be written in a slightly mangled font. Due to Deadpool's ability to break the Fourth wall he can see the speech bubbles.
As an "anti-Deadpool", Evil Deadpool's speech bubbles are black with yellow text.
When Tony Stark is donning the armor (at least the helmet), his voice issues out through the helmet's built-in speakers, giving him speech bubbles with an electronic quality. At first, this was represented by geometrically correct bubbles with a lightning-shaped tail and the text in italics. Recently, though, the shape has been varying. Currently, Iron Man's speech bubbles are golden with red outlines, drawn as rectangles with rounded corners, and with the text written in italics. Other Stark-armored characters, such as War Machine, Rescue or Doctor Doom as Iron Man, have similar speech bubbles, color-coded to the respective character (Doom's speech bubbles, notably, have an octogonal shape).
Similarly to Iron Man, speech bubbles belonging to robots, androids and synthezoids have a more technological quality to them. There are exceptions, such as Life Model Decoys (who are structured to be functionally identical to organic humans) and sometimes, Doombots, for the same reason (usually, when it is known from the outset that a Doombot is being used for a story, their speech may be rendered in italics to reinforce their nature). Vision's speech bubbles, in particular, are usually yellow with black outlines and font.
Asgardian speech is not much different from normal speech, however, as of the 2000s, their text uses a different font, reminiscent of old tomes.
Thanos' speech bubbles are only different from the average ones in their rugged look and thick black outlines, supposedly representing a booming, deep voice. Sometimes the speech's font is also rugged to follow the bubble's shape.
Many cosmic beings have different forms of speech bubbles, some of them not even having a tail, to indicate that their voice is being projected through unnatural means; the Living Tribunal, for example, used to have his speech not constrained in bubbles at all, instead simply rendered in block letters next to him.
For some time, the Thing's speech font was rugged-looking, to convey a gravelly voice.
[top] [Edit Speech Bubble]