Speech Bubbles are graphic interpretations of characters' speech. Therefore, cartoonists show interruption or talking over another person's speech most conveniently by Painting the Medium — specifically, obscuring a speech bubble with something. Obscuring with another speech bubble means that the character is interrupted or drowned out by another. Obscuring◊ with Written Sound Effects means the same for sounds. Sometimes a speech bubble may even be obscured with an object: Either this object produces loud and specific sounds that drown out the speech or the character stops talking immediately. Or perhaps it just shows that the other characters weren't listening. The Wall of Blather uses this on Wall of Text to indicate "long lecture that no one listened to." A form of odd-shaped speech bubble, and so a Sub-Trope of Painting the Medium, often used for Curse Cut Short. When the speech bubble blocks something else, it's Speech-Bubble Censoring. See also Sound Effect Bleep.
open/close all folders
Anime & Manga
- Soul Eater:
- Excalibur is infamous for interrupting other characters' sentences with his own non-sensical speech, and his speech bubbles reflect this as well. A particularly notable example appears in the last chapter, where he obscures most of Kid's mourning speech about his father.
- Black*Star provides another example when he fights Crona. When he starts screaming in response to Ragnarok's scream resonance, his screaming bubbles block out Ragnarok's scream bubbles.
- Pokemon Special used this to avoid revealing Lady Berlitz's first name until the release of the game she'd be named after. (It turned out to be Platina, after Platinum Version) Every time she'd introduce herself, it would be covered up by another character's speech.
- Karen in My Monster Secret is an occasional victim of this, notably in her introduction chapters where her "demon" act falls apart and no one listens to her threats. The author seems to have become particularly fond of this trope in the post-120 chapters.
- Played for drama in the Episode 3 manga of Umineko no Naku Koro ni, when Battler screams to not hear the self-destructing red truths that Beatrice delivers to eliminate the witch EVA (because he considers he has to discover these truths by himself).
- It appeared in Empowered at least once. Searches needed.
- In The Tick, when our hero first encounters the Chainsaw Vigilante, his nigh invulnerability gives CV some difficulty. CV's investigation is censored as follows...
CV: He has an upper arm of steel! I chin of steel! An elbow of steel! MY GOD! He has a...
The Tick: HEY WATCH IT! (The words are centered on his crotch)
CV: ...of steel!
- Invoked in Ach!lle Talon, when the title character tries to explain the conception of a strip but gets a bubble saying "that text" glued onto his speech by an incompetent assistant. The entire end of the strip has him trying to speak while the glued bubble gets in the way of his text.
- There was a For Better or for Worse strip that did this a few years ago, in which April cut off her friend Becky with an overlapping speech bubble when Becky referred to a mentally disabled character as a "retard".
- Played with, hilariously, with Get Fuzzy. In order to make their lives "edgier," Bucky begins censoring Satchel by yelling beep over his speech bubbles. He even tries to use a little black box to cover up written swearwords. Of course, Satchel reveals he is trying to say, "oh sugar," but with Bucky beeping him, all you see ''oh s—." Rob ultimately stymies him by holding up a speech bubble out of Bucky's reach.
- In the Horrible Histories book The Awful Egyptians, the narrator refers to the fact that at times, after great military victories, ancient Egyptians would gather the genitals from dead enemy soldiers and pile them up in public. In a caricature illustrating such a pile, a son says to his father, "Look at this huge pile of" "That's enough, son!"
- The PlayStation 1 Final Fantasy games do this — all three of them.
- Occurs in some of the supplemental comics for Team Fortress 2.
- Occurred in an 8-Bit Theater strip when Sarda put the team into yet another deathtrap airship.
Black Mage: You know what? Sarda can just go fu—
- Adventurers did that, also◊.
- The Adventures of Dr. McNinja combines this with Curse Cut Short: In earlier chapters, Doc's swears would be cut off by a Mook screaming, "HE SAID A BAD WORD!"
- This strip of Awkward Zombie, last panel.
- This Strip in Books Don't Work Here.
- Concerned has this in an early strip where Frohman introduces himself:
Citizen: The Sausage King of Chica-
- DM of the Rings uses this all the time because the characters continually interrupt the DM's monologues.
- Dork Tower: To indicate he really did tell the adventure.
- In Ears for Elves, Myari cuts off Tanna in this way. It fits with her hyperactive personality. Later, a VERY angry Tanna does this to Rolan three times in one panel.
- Electric Wonderland: NJ and Trawn interrupt the narrator sharing details the readers already learned (or should have learned) after reading the two previous comics.
- Footloose Nevermind the rules.
- The Fuzzy Five:
- Gunnerkrigg Court does this at least twice: once when Zimmy is trying to say "Bastard" and has her bubble cut off by the sound of thunder, and another case when the "End Chapter" symbol cuts off Kat as she says, "What a bitch."
- Happens at least once in Little Dee.
- The usually bubbling Claudia interrupts her mentor in this panel of M9 Girls!
- Nip and Tuck: The details on why the rabbit has so many children.
- Nobody Scores! does this fairly often.
- In No Rest for the Wicked, the Boy interrupts Ricardo's explanation to ask if some girl beat him up.
- Doc Franken does this to Iggy on occasion in Nosfera.
- The Order of the Stick: "DON'T say it! It's trademarked."
- Happens in Penny Arcade too many times to list.
- Rusty and Co.
- Schlock Mercenary. The "blind date with a". And here. Also, Schlock "is like a giant child made of".
- In Sequential Art interrupting a mean-spirited joke.
- In Sinfest Yo. Time out.
- This comic from Something*Positive. Wil Wheaton isn't interrupting Davan, but his Speech Bubble means we don't find out whom Davan's addressing.
- String Theory: on a date.
- Thistil Mistil Kistil: In context, you can even make out what was overwritten.
- Times Like This: A few examples:
- As pictured in the VG Cats panel above, Aeris shows us how to effectively cut off Leo's idiotic banter.
- In The Wotch, all information about a Noodle Incident is censored by the results of an Education Through Pyrotechnics class.
- Squid Row does it here when Randie's quip about "little woodland fairies" obscures B.B.'s full name.
- In Bob and George the Author's not listening to what is said: thought bubble over speech bubbles.
- In Parallels, a speech bubble breaks up a long-drawn out (bubble-less) scream.
- Com'c: Here.
- Some of Seanbaby's articles for Cracked do this, in conjunction with his irreverent, highly stylized writing. Such as in "Man Comics: Number One Adventure Series Among Non-Pussies!" when Captain Marvel Jr. finally confronts The Punchmaster:
Captain Marvel Jr.: The good citiz—(PUNCH!)This spoiler tag is just her to better demonstrate how there's a huge speech bubble, but only the first two and a half words are in it and he's cut off by the sudden punch to the face.