A person in the foreground sees a person speaking a few feet away, but
the person speaking is not facing the first person (or the viewer for
that matter), so the words in the balloon are backwards.
A person can see a balloon emanating from a speaker around the corner,
and so can see only part of the conversation.
Are word balloons holographic? In the cartoon universe, they inevitably
appear facing the viewer, oriented correctly. This fails if the
character is viewing a cartoon drawing within the cartoon drawing, so
the balloon physics fail in the printed world of the character AND in
real life (That is, a balloon does not always face me if it is printed
on paper and I turn it to an oblique angle. Then again, word balloons
don't exist in my real life...)
Have you ever noticed these rules:
Thought can be viewed in thought balloons: puffy clouds emanating from
the cranium of the thinker.
Whispering is generally accomplished through a balloon whose edges are
bound by a dotted line, rather than the solid line of speech.
Electronic reproductions of speech (answering machines, televisions,
etc.) are represented by a balloon whose edges are stellatted, and the
tail (that part of the balloon showing the origin of the sound)
resembles a lightning bolt.
Sometimes artists will alter the balloon to render inflection. A woman
whose reply is emotionally curt or cold might speak in a word balloon
with icicles dripping from it. "where were YOU last night?"
Uncertainty is rendered in a balloon too large for the words spoken: it
is not unusual to see a character say something like:
in a word balloon far too large for the phrase to impart a feeling of
loneliness or uncertainty...
Characters speaking foreign languages often have their speech
translated. When that happens, it is typical to see surrounding the translated text>
Aliens or Machines sometimes speak in a balloon whose color is different
OR whose font is not hand-printed, but rather a mechanical futuriistic
font instead, OR sometimes both.
If the balloon is coming from a character's nose or chin (one assumes
that any object can speak in this cartoon world), how can the
reader determine the difference between me (in which case the balloon
would come from my mouth), or a tooth inside my mouth? (I often debate
Thought into action:
A picture of Jeff with the balloon coming from his mouth: "I often
debate my teeth."
A second smaller balloon coming from inside the mouth "No you don't. I
can prove we agree on everything."
Have you considered writing a small book "Cartoon Balloon Theory"? A
small tome exhausting this delightful topic would surely sell somewhere.
And just think: years from now it will become a cult classic...