Hold on to the bubble …

… it has your words in it!

Today’s Mother Goose and Grimm strip goes all meta with speech and thought bubbles / balloons:

(#1) They’re physical objects, with words in them, and (like helium-filled balloons) they’ll rise in the air, taking their content — and, unless you fight against it, you too — with them. Aieee!

A recurrent theme on this blog, going back at least to my 10/8/13 posting “Speech balloons in Dingburg”, with a Zippy strip:

(#2) The strip treats word balloons as physical objects, revealing the thoughts of whoever holds them

I’m merely noting that this goofy physicalist conceptualization of speech bubbloons first appeared on this blog in the posting above; I have no idea when it first turned up in the comics (no doubt much longer ago than we’re inclined to suppose). Such meta-play has certainly been recently popularized in a few strips: MGG and Zippy, as above, and especially in Pearls Before Swine, as in my 5/22/21 posting “Up, up and away”:


The … cartoon is one of a species in which speech balloons are treated as physical objects in the characters’ context, objects that contain the words the characters say, words that the characters can see and read (see some similar examples in the speech-balloons Page on this blog) — and simultaneously are treated as lighter-than-air flotation devices that will rise in the air and carry objects with them.


One Response to “Hold on to the bubble …”

  1. Robert Coren Says:

    I think that Walt Kelly, in his Pogo strips, occasionally treated the speech balloons as physical objects, at least in having them take up so much space that the characters seem to be confined by them, although I don’t recall any instance of the characters taking overt notice of the balloons. I know he often had his characters leaning against the side of the panel as though it were a wall.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: