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This is what happens when a comic's story literally transcends the capacity of the page to contain it (or at least, when the author thinks so).

In a Textplosion, the comic becomes an illustrated novel, or even a novel without any illustration at all. Note that this does NOT include comics which are crammed with word balloons or narration; that would be a Wall of Text. If the format is still recognizable as a comic (that is, most panels having things happening in them), as opposed to a glorified novel with a few pictures or even none, you have not witnessed a Textplosion.

Causes for the shift can be rather diverse, to include such things as the plot mushrooming out of control, the author deciding they can better express themselves in pure text, or simple artistic laziness.

This is not necessarily a bad thing, depending on the nature of the story and whether a Textplosion is intended as its own sort of plot device. However, a sudden or long-term shift from graphic art to Textplosion, regardless of quality or content, often results in losing large portions of readership — since, after all, they came to read a comic.



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    Anime & Manga 
  • There's at least one scene in Bastard!! (1988) where the author just outright goes "I don't feel like drawing this, so let me describe what happened instead."
  • Hunter × Hunter, which provides the page image, can get a bit silly about this occasionally. Because much of the fighting action revolves around characters overthinking about the moves and strategies of their foes, you can sometimes end up with whole pages dedicated to their thought processes alone. The standout example, however, is a chapter in which one character goes blind and the chapter is seen through his perspective, so it consists of 19 pages of black panels with speech balloons and 1 page at the end of the Chimera Ant King and Komugi dying together.
  • At the end of Town of Evening Calm, the illustrations disappear when Minami becomes too ill from radiation poisoning to open her eyes.

    Comic Books 
  • Cerebus ran several dozen issues which were almost entirely text save for a few panels and pages done in the classic illustrative style.
  • Deadpool (2022): As with Marvel's other Krakoan Age comics, there are some 'data pages' that are mostly, or entirely, plain text. However, Deadpool's also annotated some with his own scribbled red notes.
  • Thieves & Kings is about 50% comic and 50% illustrated text.
  • The entire Warrior comic, by The Ultimate Warrior. Check out Spoony's review of it. There's enough text to make your eyes hurt.
  • Burne Hogarth, who had done the Newspaper Comic version of Tarzan for many years, published a couple of Graphic Novels using text taken directly from the original Edgar Rice Burroughs novels. The art is gorgeous, especially in Jungle Tales of Tarzan.
  • Strangers in Paradise did this from time to time, under the pretence that the reader was looking at pages from a SIP prose novel.
  • An issue of Scion paid homage to Prince Valiant by being made in the same style. The art was laid out sideways, formatted like a Sunday newspaper strip, and the text was separate from the art, just like in Prince Valiant. An earlier, acclaimed issue of Scion was formatted like an illustrated novel, with blocks of text, sometimes integrated with the art.
  • Legion of Super-Heroes: During the “5 years later” arc, text pages were often used to provide exposition on events that occurred during the Time Skip or other background information. Issue #38, in which the Earth is destroyed by an environmental disaster, is told entirely in illustrated prose.
  • Played with in the various X-Men: The Krakoan Age comics. Most are standard comic pages but Jonathan Hickman, the writer who launched the saga, also uses lots of text-based 'data pages' to deliver large quantities of information. Some are pure text such as diary entries or emails (including some Conveniently Interrupted Documents), others use charts and imagery as well. Other writers working on the Krakoa arcs have followed Hickman's lead on this.

    Comic Strips 
  • A few Doonesbury strips were like this. There were a few strips that were nothing but a long list of names.
  • Prince Valiant stands out as an example of a Sunday-only Comic Strip which has always used this format.

    Video Games 
  • XenoGears: Due to harsh deadlines forcing the developers to choose between leaving the story off on a cliffhanger or telling the rest of it in highly compressed form, many scenes were cut out of Disc 2 and replaced with cutscenes of the characters doing a Exposition Break.

    Web Comics 
  • The writer of Erfworld started doing text updates to cover the gap between the strip's first and second artists. The updates were accompanied by a single panel of fan art and generally followed the comic's main story. When the second artist started to have personal issues, the text updates returned, and were eventually announced as becoming a permanent part of the strip. Between the second and third artists, text updates returned full time to flesh out the backstories of some secondary characters. With a new artist on board, the comic now alternates panels and text in the main storyline, and there are now weekly updates to text-only stories inspired by the strip's Kickstarter backers.
  • Elf Life has vacillated between comic and novel styles over the years.
  • Some Rogues of Clwyd-Rhan strips use wordless strips with text boxes rather than regular comic format.
  • In God(tm) several textplosions are used to interrupt the story to explain such things as the Robotech Saga and a system of censorship.
  • Keith Knight sometimes lets the text dominate over the art in his cartoons.
  • Several instances of Subnormality go beyond Wall of Text and straight into this trope.
  • Homestuck may count, as all dialogues are shown below the illustrations, and some are quite long.
  • Goblins sometimes has filler in the form of a single panel depicting another one of the previous paladins who wielded the magic axe and a long description of how they got it.
  • Alien Dice features a paragraph accompaniment below ever comic. Sometimes the text restates what just happened, and sometimes it tells a completely different story, which can lead to some confusion.
  • Ctrl+Alt+Del switched into this for the "Winter-een-mas 2012/Game Games Bowl" story-arc. Tim Buckley has said that doing it in comic-form would have taken several months, long past the Winter-een-mas "season," and that he didn't want to do another long-term comic story arc so soon after the "Scott and Ted" arc. It... works pretty well, actually.
  • Sonichu is absolutely notorious for this, often taking entire pages up with nothing but exposition, usually on comic sans.