Saturday, February 02, 2008

The Redundant Dialogue Files: "Yeow! I slipped on the floor!"

The wise Bill Reed reminded me of an amusing panel from The Mighty Thor #432 that I just had to scan.

This seems like a perfect time to start off a new recurring feature here at Dave's Long Box: The Redundant Dialogue Files, a celebration of comic book dialogue that needlessly explains what is made painfully obvious in the comic art itself.

During a battle with monstrous living statues, one of the stalwart cops from NYPD's Code: Blue anti-supervillain team slips on the floor. Perhaps the creative team felt that the art in the panel was ambiguous and needed further explanation - we may never know. But for whatever reason, the fallen trooper says: "Yeow! I slipped on the floor!" Thanks for the update, guy. Good thing he's wearing a helmet.

I'm not sure why, but I find this hilarious.


Ryan said...

You're not alone, Mr. Campbell. I often find myself staring confused at a page trying to figure out the 'hidden meaning' behind them needing to make a character tell us exactly what they're doing (or, for that matter, why they feel the need to make an otherwise badass character slip in the first place). Maybe they're trying to show that tragic human flaws occur even in the mightiest of heroes?

Maybe not.

Chris said...

It seems to me the more painfully redundant dialogue in that panel is "At last! We finally reached the elevator bank!" The scripter really trusted the artists, didn't he?

Anonymous said...

I am typing a post and about to use my computer mouse to post it!

It is so you will read this!

Unknown said...

Some people in the audience just need a story to tell, rather than show, ryan. They'd trust the word of someone like Mephisto or Mr. Sinister over actually being shown something.

Anonymous said...

I'm still trying to figure out how they're going to safely detonate an explosive against the elevator doors which they are pinned against.

But you must admit - those are some damned slippery-looking floors.

Anonymous said...

Chris already made the comment I was going to make. (Curses!) So to avoid further Redundancy, I'd like to point out just how much fun you could have taking that "Consider them blown, Lieutenant!" word balloon out of context. That's the kind of can-do attitude we need more of around here.

Anonymous said...

On one level, I have to agree. It's silly and funny and all that.

On the other hand...

These guys are in the middle of a pitched battle. One of them is down. Think of what it'd look like without that dialog. Yes, once he tells us he slipped on the floor, it's painfully obvious. But without that clue...

Kid reading comic: "Hey, one of them is down! He's on his butt! I wonder what happened. Was he knocked down by a shockwave? Hit by some mysterious blast? Wounded by some flying debris? This is an elite trooper here. Something had to have happened to take him down. But I don't see it..."

Trooper: "Yeow! I slipped on the floor!"

Kid: "Oh. It's not that the enemy is terribly effective. He's just a klutz. Okay then."

So, sorry to be so boring and mundane. I do so hate being so. But in this particular example, it seems to me that the dialog actually serves some real purpose.

Now, if only we could figure out why it was so important to the plot that one of the elite Code: Blue troopers, despite all the training and screening and whatever, still managed to be klutzy enough to take himself out of the action....

Anonymous said...

Actually, upon further consideration... It does give the readers a bit of vital information.

We now know that not only are they fighting for every foot to reach their goal (as evidenced by the relieved exclamation "At last! We finally reached the elevator bank!"), and not only are they being pressed from all sides by the living statues, but the very terrain is working against them. The floor is so slippery that even a member of the vaunted Code: Blue can slip on it.

Next question: If the floor is that slippery, then how are the living statues (which apparently explode into pieces when hit by a couple of bullets) managing to advance so threateningly?

Anonymous said...

Devils of Darkseid! Perhaps the terrain is... techno-active?

Monica said...

I foresee a lot of Claremont in this new feature, Dave.

K. D. Bryan said...

On the one hand, I am compelled to point out that a lot of obvious things that are said in superhero comics are so that small children can understand what is happening.

On the other, freakishly larger hand, I can hardly wait for you to rip into the insanely large number of idiotic redundancies in comics. God. I can't even count the number of times I've read "Oh, no! I'm out of web fluid!" or "He's changing into some sort of monster!".

Clarmindcontrol said...

Ow, that was written by DeFalco, right? I love TommyD as much as legally possible, but he's the absolute master of over-explaining everything that's going on in his comics. His run on Fantastic Four with Paul Ryan is filled with prime examples of redundant dialogue.

Still, the oddest thing is: when I first read those issues when they came out over 15 years ago (... urgh, gettin' old...) I didn't even notice it, until blogs like this started pointing it out.

Bill Reed said...


Anonymous said...

"I foresee a lot of Claremont in this new feature, Dave."

Damn, you stole my line.

Anonymous said...

Claremont? I'll see your Claremont and raise you 60s-era Stan Lee. On the Lee/Kirby team books, whenever all the team members were on panel, each of them had to have a line of dialog, no matter how inane. "That rock...falling towards time to dodge!" (But time enough to spit out a whole line of dialog with two ellipses, evidently.) You could fill this feature for years without leaving Marvel circa 1965.

Anonymous said...

I really like this idea for a theme and I'm sure the comics world is replete with examples. But... (you knew that was coming, right) ... I think the 'Yeow! I slipped on the floor' does serve a purpose. It sets up the other line "Too bad we can't call time out while you check for bruises". OK, both lines are uber-lame, but the former sets up the latter while the latter expresses the direness of their predicament. But just as an observation - how bad were some of the Thor comics around that time? (Working up to 499, I guess.) I gave up on Thor sometime in the 390s around the time of Earthforce.

For the Thor-ites here: what later ones are worth reading? (I have the 2007 series.)

Robert said...

Heh. It's a shame comics have moved away from redundant dialogue, though I'm glad there's a lot of love out there for King Claremont.

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