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Captions have been used in the comics medium to convey narration, description, and setting. It has become a recent trend in Western comics, starting from approximately UsefulNotes/{{the Dark Age|of Comic Books}}, to represent characters' thoughts with captions as opposed to {{thought bubble}}s, a comic-book equivalent of the cinematic technique of first-person narrative voice-over.

Creator/ScottMcCloud said it best in ''ComicBook/MakingComics'':
->"[Thought] captions seem to acknowledge the audience in a way that [thought] balloons don't, as if the character was sending their thoughts directly to the reader, and they can give the text an extra level of intimacy. They also don't require the thinker to be in panel to show where the thought originates from, so they can appear an panels that are framed from the thinker's point of view. Such 'thought captions' are usually in present tense ... and first person ... but past tense narration ... can cover a lot of the same ground." (155).

Note that in manga, this is essentially the norm, as characters' thoughts are generally not shown in thought bubbles though they are not necessarily in captions and can be simply written on the page detached from the characters.

When captions are used to represent the thoughts of different characters, it becomes an issue to indicate to which character the thoughts belong. Measures often taken to do so usually involve using different [[UsefulNotes/{{Fonts}} fonts]], different caption colors, or even different font colors that generally [[ColorCodedForYourConvenience match]] the costume or personality of whoever is using them.

Not to be confused with when a character's writing (e.g., [[ComicBook/{{Watchmen}} Rorschach's]] journal) is represented by a caption, or when a character's dialogue takes place in a caption (most commonly used for flashbacks).

!!Notable Examples:


[[folder: Dark Horse Comics ]]

* ''ComicBook/{{Hellboy}}'' initially employed this trope but eventually dropped the first-person narration.
* The ''[[Comicbook/{{Doom}} Doom Comic]]'' employs this both as a narration device and to represent the protagonist's thoughts. The odd one out is "Scant seconds later...", which either isn't a thought, or indicates Doomguy's mind is even weirder than previously thought.


[[folder: DC Comics ]]

* ''ComicBook/VForVendetta'', from the second part onward.
* ''Franchise/{{Batman}}: [[ComicBook/BatmanYearOne Year One]]'' subsequent stories within the ''Year One'' framework, distinguishing between different narrators with different fonts.
* Mostly averted in ''ComicBook/{{Watchmen}}'', which does not have ''any'' narrative devices to show characters' thoughts, let alone captions, except in Chapter IV, which reveals Dr. Manhattan's back story. However, this trope is played straight in the [[ShowWithinAShow comic-within-a-comic]] ''Tales of the Black Freighter''.
* A rare lampshading occurs in ''ComicBook/AmbushBug: Year None'' where Ambush Bug mourns the loss of thought bubbles as opposed to thought captions. In one scene he wakes up to discover his thoughts are in balloons again and there is third-person omniscient narration in the captions and suspects he's in the past.
* ''ComicBook/SupermanBatman'' used this trope to illustrate the differences in the two title heroes. For instance, Superman's caption while fighting the Parasite might read "It's a shame that someone with that much power went down the wrong path in life. Maybe this time he'll get back on the right track." While Batman's will read "Parasite, another example of a career criminal with no chance of reform."
* In ''ComicBook/BoosterGold'' it goes a little further than just different color and font, showing a little symbol in the caption to let you know who it is. Rip Hunter's thought captions are red with a green infinity symbol while Booster Gold is yellow with a blue star.
** This actually seems to be a line-wide stylistic choice in DC comics, as it's been seen in Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, Flash, etc.
* The third Flash is notable in that his CatchPhrase[=/=]BadassCreed usually only appeared in the Thought Captions. "I'm Wally West. They call me Franchise/TheFlash. And I'm [[SuperSpeed the fastest man alive]]. "


[[folder: Eclipse Comics ]]

* Scott [=McCloud=]:
** ''ComicBook/{{Zot}}'' uses this sparingly, namely in the early part of the series (viz., the opening monologue) and the later part (the characters' escapist monologues).
** In ''ComicBook/MakingComics'', [=McCloud=] points out this trope and discusses Thought Captions versus thought bubbles at length (see the quote above).


[[folder: Marvel Comics]]

* ComicBook/{{Deadpool}}. In fact, he has ''two'': one "normal" (yellow, with handwritten text, like his speech bubbles) and one more rational (white, with typewriter-like text), which dialogue between themselves as much (or even more, DependingOnTheWriter) as they do with 'Pool. It is hinted that each of them represents one of his brain's hemispheres, as seen in a ''Comicbook/DarkReign'' story involving him fighting Bullseye-as-Hawkeye: he has an arrow stuck in his head that does not let him think straight. When he removes it, his yellow boxes come back normally, but his white box blabs incoherently for a while.
--> '''White thought box:''' ''Be the meat''
--> '''Deadpool:''' Say what?
--> '''Yellow thought box:''' It was the ''other'' half. Ignore it.
** ...and Agent X.
* Madrox in ''ComicBook/XFactor2006'' sees himself as a FilmNoir detective rather than a superhero, and therefore slips into PrivateEyeMonologue.
* The Creator/MattFraction ''[[ComicBook/TheDefenders Defenders]]'' series has an unnamed narrator who speaks directly to the audience in these. They employ a very familiar tone, as if someone were letting us read his/her thoughts.
* ''ComicBook/NewWarriors'' #7-9 (vol. 1) has ''three'' boxes: a light yellow one for Silhouette, a light blue one for ComicBook/ThePunisher and a yellow one with a white outline for Speedball. All of them are prominent characters of this arc. Note that Speedball's box matches the depiction of his superpower-altered voice.


[[folder: Slave Labor Graphics ]]

* ''ComicBook/JohnnyTheHomicidalManiac'' employs this in a few instances with an [[InnerMonologue internal monologue]] from Johnny and [[spoiler:Johnny's soliloquy (before he says it aloud).]]


[[folder: Top Shelf Productions ]]

* Used throughout Craig Thompson's ''Blankets'' to draw biblical parallels from events in his life.