Comic Books #66: Sound Effects

Quick.  What's the sound of a spike being plunged into an animated statue of a bull?  The answer: "Zunk!"

How do you express the sound of a mud monster absorbing a small child?  How about the sound of a werewolf bitch slapping someone?  Or the sound of a magic sword being hit by a warlock bolt?

Such is the challenge for comic book writers to come up with textual representations of odd and unusual sounds.  It's the art of the onomatopoeia, and it's not as easy as it seems.

BAWHOOOOOOOM! - The sound of a laboratory experiment exploding

CRRRRRACKLE! SPRZZZZZZZ! - The sound of malfunctioning electronics about to kill a child

WHUH! WHUH! WHUH! - The sound of a helicopter

CLANG! TINKLE! CRRASH! - The sound of a plant monster breaking through a greenhouse

WHAAP! - The sound of a guy getting bitch slapped by a werewolf

FUSSSH! - The sound of leveraging open an airtight crypt

SCREEEOOM - The sound of a motorcycle gang lynching a monster

KREEUNCH! - The sound of that monster randomly smashing rocks

PWANG..THWHT - The sound of that same monster shot in the neck with a dart

CRASH! GARAAWW! - The sound of a monster breaking into a dude's office

WUHNN! - The sound of that monster slamming his fist down upon a telephone receiver

WHOOSH! SLURSH! GLURP! - The sound of a mud monster absorbing a kid

SQUOOSH! - The sound of that mud monster then saving a kid

BLAM! POW-EEE! - The sound of a gun

Not too hard, but the addition of the POW-EEE is a stroke of brilliance

PACHUM! PACHUM! - The sound of a robot construction vehicle spitting out bricks

BAWHUMP! UUBBLAWWW! - The sound of a train backing up over a monster

WHOOSH1 WAAACH! NYYAWRRRRRR! - The sound of villagers beating the shit out of a monster

WOO WOO WOOO - EEEEEEE! - The sound of sci-fi detector thingy

WHIRRRRRR! CRRRRACKLE - The sound of a woman being electrocuted by her hair dryer

SPLLATT! VVAAARRROOOOM! - The sound of a guy getting smacked across the face, then taking off on his motorcycle.

PWAMMP! - The sound of a guy getting smacked in the back by a pole
FWOOOSH! - The sound of a winged dragon being summoned

CREEEASSHHH! - The sound of a robot named Orville breaking down a metal door

WHUNNK! - The sound of a gorilla knocking the living crap out of a guy

FWOMP! KRASH! - Obviously, the telltale sounds of a bar fight

ZWEEEEEEEEE! - The sound of a police siren

WANNG! - The sound of a sword being hit by a warlock bolt

KWARM! - The sound of a grenade launcher

BAZOOOOM! - The sound of a thunderstorm

KWOOSH! CRRAACKLE! - The sound of a volcano

BRRAPP! - The sound of drilling into the side of a mountain (or general flatulence)

BAWHOOOM! - The sound of an exploding mine shaft

SWISSSHHH! - The sound of a swaying dinosaur skeleton's tail

CRRRACKLE! - The sound of an ancient beast being brought back from limbo

HISS-S-S-S-S, FWOOSH-H-H- The sound of a super-hard drill tapping an oil table

CRUMMBLE! CRUNCH WOMP! - The sound of god-knows-what emerging from a prehistoric cave

THWACK! HIZZZ! AOUGH! - The sound of Flanders shooting a wire electrocuting a monster

SSSZZZ! POP! SSZZZZ! - The sound of instant fried chicken

Well, we could go on all day.  But in case you haven't had enough, check out the Archie Sound Effects post.


  1. Mark CarterMarch 09, 2016

    Surely that thunderstorm sound effect is "Baloooom!", not "Bazoooom!" I'm sure you'll agree it makes all the difference.

  2. Excellent collection.

    Walt Simonson and Herb Trimpe had fun sound fx in their comics, I've always thought.

  3. I thought BAZOOOOM was there to mark the appearance of the chick and her bazooms.

    There's no doubt that Don Martin was the kind of sound effects, although Mad magazine isn't a comic book.

  4. Just the other day at work, a colleague and I were discussing how to put sound effects into writing. For a raspberry in the comics, it seems to be evenly split between "BRAAAAAZZZ!!!" and "THBFLLTT!!!", which is funny to me because they have nothing in common.

    For me, "UNNNHHH!!!" when a superhero gets walloped is my personal favorite.

  5. great examples of this under-rated creative skill :) Clabg! Pwang, thwt! Pwammmp! ...quite satisfying to type too, despite spell check.

  6. WHOLLLLPHHH! The sound of Captain America's shield hitting a villain in the gut

  7. My favorite was the sound of the "Honkers"in Turok Son of Stone comics.The dinosaurs all said "ARUUUUNK!"

  8. "RAMBO!" When Rogue powerbombs into Juggernaut.
    "VARK!" and "ZAKT!" Cyclops using his eye beam.
    "ZAM!" Any big laser firing in Marvel Comics.
    "PAM! PAM! PAM! PAM! PAM!" Heavy automatic personal artillery firing in Marvel.
    "KUL-THOOM!" "KA-WAHTHOOM!" and just plain "THOOM!" Stock explosion/super impacts from Legion of Super Heroes.
    "AIIIEEEE" stock scream of pain/distress from LSH. Apply as many multiples of the vowels as the situation demands.
    Richie Rich comics also had lots of great, to-the-point, no-nonsense onomatopoeias as well.

  9. I recently purchased an on-line newspaper archive and I've taken the opportunity to search through comics dating as far back as a hundred years. Unlike the unique sounds you list here some sound effects have become almost universal. I'll give you one example, BAW!!! is the "word" given when someone is crying, particularly when they are receiving corporal punishment. Having a well-known sound/word always represent the same thing means the writer/illustrator can have the action take place off-panel and with the noise being common knowledge the readers will absolutely know what is taking place behind that closed door.

  10. One of your funniest posts ever! Bwa-haw-ha-ha - The sound of the web surfer laughing.