The Sound of Digital Comics
This article explores the role of sound in comics and provides a critical analysis of how that role has changed with the digital remediation of the form. Comics are traditionally thought of as a monosensory and multimodal medium in which information is communicated through a combination of written and visual languages, relying solely on the reader's sense of sight. The digital mediation of comics has brought with it the potential for plurisensory comics that directly incorporate audible sound alongside the visual modalities of word and image. With reference to the theories of Groensteen (2013), Hague (2014), Smolderen (2014), Miodrag (2013) and Cohn (2013), this article considers the relationship between the imagined sounds of traditional comics and the perceived sounds of digital hybrids. It examines the use of both diegetic and non-diegetic sound, drawing on ideas concerning the role of sound in cinema (Chion 1994) and videogames (Nitsche 2008). Within this framework it considers the potential impact of audible sound on a comic's navigation, pacing, narrative and atmosphere. It considers a range of digital comics that feature audible sound and focuses its central case study on a new digital comic created as a practice-lead inquiry into the incorporation of audible sound with the comic form.